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The Muse's News
The Muse's News
The Muse's News
An E-zine For And About Songwriters.
Issue 13.6
September 2010

In This Issue:
* Editor's Musings
* Music Reviews - JJ Biener, Cyrus Rhodes & Don Sechelski
* New Artist Spotlight Additions
* Songwriting Book Review - by Ed Teja
* Musical Notes - Songwriting Contests & Market Info.
* Muse's Clues - Songwriting Web sites that inspire - brought to you by singer/songwriter & teacher, Irene Jackson.
* Featured Article: Three Keys to Driving Home Your Hook - by Jay Speight
* On Site Featured Article - An article already online for your viewing pleasure.
* Classifieds & Useful Services
* Contact information
ISSN 1480-6975. Copyright 1998-2010 - Jodi Krangle.
For more contact information, see end of issue.


All sorts of products and services especially for songwriters, negotiated so that you get the best price possible. You'll find means of promotion and distribution, songwriting aids, educational products, musical instruments and their accessories, and lots more. Any of these items would be a great way to kick start your creativity and marketing efforts. Check it out!

Sponsor Message:
(Many thanks to the sponsors that help support this newsletter!)


Study Songwriting Online with Berklee - Take a Free Online Sample Course!

The best way to learn about writing it to write - and what better way to learn than under the mentorship of Berklee College of Music songwriting instructors., the online extension school of Berklee College of Music, offers a number of instructor-led online songwriting courses that provide the tools, the support, and the practice environment you'll need to express yourself more effectively in words and music. You can also blend your musical ability with business savvy in forward-thinking online music business courses covering music publishing, marketing, management, and more.

Over 130 courses and programs in music production, guitar, bass, voice, music theory, arranging and orchestration are enrolling now for Berkleemusic's September 27th Term.

Take a free online sample course! Click here.

Editor's Musings:

Welcome to another edition of the Muse's News - and thanks for subscribing! If you know of anyone that might find this newsletter useful, feel free to forward it along to them, though I'd appreciate it if you left the entire issue intact, including the credits at the end. Much appreciated!

Lots of great stuff to get to in this issue, but I'll start with saying that we have a new reviewer. His name is Jean-Baptiste Collinet and he hails from France - so those of you Europeans who were hesitating about sending in your works of art all the way to the States, you now have someone in your general neck of the woods that you can send your package to instead. :-)

Before we get to the meat of the issue, here are the latest raffle winners:

  • Karen Morand from Windsor, ON Canada, has won a beautiful (and highly useful!) notebook from The Jotted Line.

  • Paul David Stanko from Plymouth, MN, has won a 6 month membership to GMC has tons of helpful videos, instructors and lessons along with a forum for chatting with teachers and students 24/7, recording collaborations, attending video chats, & content for bass, drums, singing, piano, etc.

  • Mike Hawkins, from Newport News, VA, has won a copy of Virtual Studio Systems' Lyricist software.

  • Becky Wright, from Tahlequah, OK, has won a free 3 month membership to SongU, an Internet-based learning environment providing online coaching, co-writing and pitching opportunities, in addition to over 70 multi-level courses developed by award-winning songwriters.

  • John Hamilton, from Boulder, CO, has won a downloadable version of Rhyme Genie, a dynamic rhyming dictionary featuring over 300,000 entries and 30 different rhyme types.

To put yourself in the running for a raffle prize of your very own, have a look at the various prizes offered at the top of The Muse's News webpage, decide which prizes you'd most like, and email me with your top two choices along with your mailing address so that I can get the prizes to you. Yup. It's that simple - but only those folks reading this newsletter get the opportunity. ;-)

I wish you all a very productive end of summer beginning of fall, and I'll see you again next month!

All the best,


Sponsor Message:
(Many thanks to the sponsors that help support this newsletter!)

(And Muse's News readers *still* get a special discount!)

Looking for something really special for that songwriter in your life? (Maybe it's you!) MasterWriter 2.0 is the most powerful suite of songwriting tools ever assembled in one program. MasterWriter is endorsed by ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, NSAI and is used by some of the world's leading songwriters including Gwen Stefani, Rob Thomas, Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, Jimmy Webb, Kenny Loggins, Trent Reznor, Clint Black, and many more.

In addition to giving you Rhymes, Close Rhymes, Phrases, Pop-Culture, Synonyms, and the Definition, new features include Word Families and Parts Of Speech, two unique and revolutionary reference dictionaries that will open up a new world of possibilities for descriptive words and ideas. There have been updates and improvements to the existing features, including greatly expanded Sound-Alikes (close rhymes), and a completely redesigned Interface. These are serious tools for the serious songwriter.

MasterWriter's NEW price is now only $199 - but you'll still get a *$20* discount (your price is just $179!) by ordering through The Muse's Muse! Take the Tour, Download a Free Trial, and get a $20 discount! Note that the auto-inserted discount number 3004 will apply the $20 discount when ordering online.

Music Reviews: By: JJ Biener, Cyrus Rhodes & Don Sechelski


JJ Biener:

* Craig Urquhart

Cyrus Rhodes:

* Dan Bruder Band

Don Sechelski:

* Intra
* Nathan Wade and The Dark Pioneers
* Bobtown

Click here for bios on each of the reviewers. If you're considering sending in your own CD for review, you can also view that page to find out which reviewer reviews your genre. Thanks!

Artist Spotlights:

Great music is only a click away!
Here is a selection of the great artists and bands highlighted
in the Artist Spotlight section of The Muse's Muse.


Gene Keller - Genre: FOLK & TRADITIONAL

In Every Song the Mockingbird Knows, Gene Keller cooks up a feast of folk & blues, mixing elemental rhythms, vivid lyrics, & articulated vocals. He adds the pepper of intelligence & the sage of insight, with a dash of humor & a pinch of humility. Savor the flavors.


Abeze - Genre: RAP & HIP HOP

He rose up out of the 'Hood to come up with his new album, I Die 2Nite, featuring Bignut, Walas, Gloria and Auston.  Hip Hop with an international flair.

Songwriting Book Review By: Ed Teja

Pearls of Love: How To Write Love Letters and Love Poems
By Ara John Movsesian

The vast majority of songs written in the Western world (probably elsewhere as well) are about love. The problem with the vast majority of songs about love is their sentimentality (sentiment is good; sentimentality is bad as a nice rule of thumb). Writing on such a popular and well trodden topic makes it hard to find a fresh approach, yet, as songwriters, one of the things we strive for is a fresh way of saying time-honored things. We want to express common feelings in an uncommon way—in short, we want to avoid clichés. It is hard to remember, sometimes, that “I love you, yeah, yeah” sounded fresh and different when it came out.

Pearls of Love is not a new book; its first printing was in 1983. But newness is not the point of the book and freshness is. The point is to look at the structure, the intent of writing about love and see how it can be lifted from the mundane; the meanings made clear, and the correct message transmitted (that phrase might not sound romantic, but if the sentiment is not communicated correctly, romance might not ensue.). Although it was originally intended, as the subtitle says, to help people write love letters and love poems, what works for poetry can inform lyrics as well. So it is worth a look.

Two main sections of the book deal with love letters and poems. The letters section provides a number of famous examples, such as a letter from Napoleon Bonaparte to Josephine (it is fascinating to imagine Napoleon writing “what a strange effect you have on my heart”—and it isn’t a bad phrase either), before launching into a discussion of the basics of love letter writing—structure, form and other considerations. There are some interesting observations on word forms, such as using a noun phrase as a subject (much more evocative than a straightforward noun-as-subject sentence), creating variety with word choice, and so on.

Then there are some techniques for organizing the writing, including determining the order that thoughts are presented in. There is also an interesting section on the intent of the love letters, such as attraction, first encounter, love letters to parents, anniversary letters and so on.

The section on poems really shows how to use the various poetic elements effectively. The context may be love, but the awareness it offers should help any aspiring poet develop their craft. There are discussions of the use of, for example, understatement, hyperbole, symbolism, and paradox—all important tools.

The appendix includes a variety of useful things, ranging from punctuation and parts of speech to imagery terms, rhyming words and love terms (basically, the love-related meanings of various words, which proves interesting).

This isn’t a book a songwriter might put on the “must have” list, yet it might provide triggers that take your lyric writing up a notch. Why settle for hackneyed or struggling lines when your lyric lines might soar along with the music?.



Ed Teja writes a broad range of music. His songs and instrumentals have appeared in television shows (Court TV and Discover Channel) and in a variety of videos. He has had two CDs released by Morrhythm Records ( and is currently cowriting songs with an exciting singer who is working on her second CD. As a performer, Ed has appeared at strange venues in Hong Kong, Canada, St. Martin, Bequia, Venezuela, Grenada and Trinidad, as well as the Silver City (New Mexico) Blues festival, Pickamania, and the Tucson (Arizona) Folk Festival. You can hear some of Ed's music at:

If you'd like *your* book reviewed (as long as it has something to do with songwriting, of course!), please do email us and let us know!

Sponsor Message:
(Many thanks to the sponsors that help support this newsletter!)


It's the "secret weapon" used by some of the winners of the world's most prestigious vocal awards, including the Doves, the CMA Awards, and yes, the Grammies.

Learn the one mistake even professional singers make, that drains away 3 times more vocal energy and yields only half the needed vocal power. Find out about the 3 simple exercises that allow even a "beginner" to make rapid increases in range (this also eliminates vocal strain). Learn Brett's secret for "dissolving" your break, so you'll never have to flip into falsetto again, but you'll still sing as high as you want--in full voice - and LOTS more.

The package includes 12 audio CDs (packed with 17 repeatable lessons, including both technique--the simple, yet powerful exercises, and style lessons for building vocal licks and trills); a workbook for illustration; and a DVD for visual reference and demonstration. It's a complete course - and it has a money-back guarantee!

Drop by for more details and start yourself on the road to improving your vocal chops today!

Musical Notes: Songwriting Contests & Market Info.

In the interest of conserving space, I will be including only changes to this listing in this newsletter. All other contests and market information that have already been listed here, are displayed at &
Please check there regularly for updates!


The highly recommended Great American Song Contest is open to amateur songwriters everywhere. This international event features prestigious awards for 45 winners in 9 style categories and provides over $10,000 in Prizes. Entrants receive written evaluations of their songs. GASC music-industry judges include prominent publishers, music producers and recording artists. Songwriters, lyricists and composers are welcome. Sponsored by Songwriters Resource Network, a trusted educational resource for songwriters everywhere.

Submission deadline is October 15, 2010.
For details, visit:


You Write The Lyrics, The Show is coming! You Write The Lyrics! is the only show, where on a weekly basis an opportunity to write lyrics to a melody recorded by a major recording artist is granted to lyricists online and visa vie T.V. One lucky lyricist will win a chance of a lifetime. Each week, a new melody written by a prominent songwriter/producer is uploaded onto our server. We call it “The Tune of the Week.” The artist who’ll be recording this song appears on the TV show as well. Songwriters will be able to go online at Yahoo, YouTube,, Facebook & MySpace and download it. They’ll have 24 hours to write lyrics to the melody and email them back to us.

For more information go to: or


The Lyric Check Contest and all affiliate contests are open to both amateur and professional songwriters. All genres and song categories are included. If entrant is under 18 years old, the signature of a parent or guardian is required. All entries submitted must be original songs and shall not infringe any copyrights or any other rights of any third parties. Songs may have multiple co-writers, but only one name should be designated on the entry form. Entrant shall, by entering, indemnify and hold Lyric Check harmless from and against any claims inconsistent with the foregoing. Contestants may enter as many songs as they wish in contest. A panel of Music Business Professionals will select the winners. Songs will be judged based on composition, lyrics, melody, and originality. The quality of performance and production will not be a consideration. Winners will be announced February 14, 2011. Click here to enter and view prize lists!

Entry Deadline is Dec 31, 2010


The 7th Annual IAMA (International Acoustic Music Awards) is currently accepting entries, this awards competition is judged based on songwriting, performance & artistry. Win prizes in 8 different categories: Best Male Artist, Best Female Artist, Best Group/Duo, Folk/Americana/Roots, AAA/Alternative, Instrumental, Open, Bluegrass/Country. There will also be an Overall Grand Prize winner awarded to the top winner worth US$11,000, which includes radio promotion to over 250 radio stations in US and Canada, featured on Acoustic Cafe, a syndicated radio program. You may also obtain the entry form at:


MusikPitch is a brand new website where songwriters can find the latest opportunities from companies, studios, and individuals looking for custom songs. It's a straightforward marketplace, where you can get your music heard and win contracts, regardless of your experience and location. New projects are posted daily — from big name movie studios and company brands to non-profits and schools. Start browsing for great new opportunities today!


Pete and Pat Luboff are offering a special rate to Muse's Muse readers on a single song consultation: MM readers get a $5
discount by sending $15 via PayPal to instead of using the $20 single-song button on the site. Please email the songs to the same address (mp3 attachment with the lyrics in the body of the email - lyrics only are fine).
Response will be by email.


32,000 live music venues of all sizes are featured including clubs, bars, restaurants, lounges, coffee shops, theaters, halls, churches, book stores, community centers, house concerts and open mics. There are also 1,500 festivals listed as well as over 1,000 colleges for any artist that wants to plan a college tour.

Jumpstart your tour today! Click here for more information!

Muse's Clues - By Irene Jackson

©1998-2010 Moonstone Productions All Rights Reserved.
Used By Permission

Continuing along the same lines as last month's clues, this month I decided to focus specifically on creative writing. One thing you'll hear over and over again in regards to getting your lyrical juices flowing is to keep a journal. But actually, any kind of writing, whether it's short stories or blogging (which I suppose could be considered a "journal" of sorts), or writing exercises, can help you to find some kind of inspiration for your songwriting.

I used the search term "creative writing" in Google to come up with some of these sites, and can do the same to explore many sites that dedicate themselves to some type of creative writing. One of the first sites I came upon is called Creative Writing Prompts (, which is simply a series of 346 different writing "prompts" for stories or short writing exercises. You could even apply these directly to your lyric writing, but do yourself a favour and get away from lyrics just for a little while so that you're not hampered by phrasing or rhyming and can simply write your stream of consciousness. Many times when we're stuck for ideas, we actually need to take ourselves away from the "familiar" and try something new or different. In Creative Writing Prompts, I found examples like "List the 7 worst things to say to a person who just got dumped" and one that simply says "My old room was...". Sometimes the prompts suggest writing a poem about something, and sometimes a news headline. The idea is to get out of your writing rut and try something different.

Another site called Language Is A Virus ( not only has writing prompts similar to the website above in the form of a writing prompt generator, but you can also generate character names or Haiku (a type of poetry), or even a random line. But there are many other creative writing tips, such as "66 Experiments by Charles Bernstein". Among the tips are individual experiments, like translating something from a foreign language word for word, or group exercises like having everyone write a word or phrase and putting it in a hat and then each picking one and writing something with it. Tip #7 is "Write a poem and cut it somewhere in the middle, then recombine with the beginning part following the ending part." You might take a song lyric that you're already working on to play with that one :-) . Some of the writing exercises really make your head spin, like Bernadette Myers tip "Write what cannot be written...".

There are many more creative writing tips on the Language is a Virus website, enough to spend hours there!

One clever little generator I found specifically for writer's block is the "911 Writer's Block" idea generator ( It's set up like a touch dial phone where each number represents a different aspect. For instance, you punch 1 and it generates "settings", such as "A quiet suburban cul-de-sac. A child's bicycle lies on its side, one wheel slowly turning." You can keep moving through different settings, or you can try "dialogue", "verbs" or "characters", among others, to find all kinds of ideas.

Of course, writing a journal is a tried and true way of inspiring all kinds of ideas...your own life can provide all kinds of inspiration! But in visiting the above websites, or by finding other creative writing websites on your own, may just give you the boost you need to write something fresh and new.


Irene Jackson is a performing songwriter from Victoria, BC in Canada. Aside from writing, recording and performing, she also maintains a website for songwriters that includes tips, articles and a songwriter's messageboard.

Songwriting Tips:

Featured Article - By Jay Speight


Lyrically, the most important part of any song is the hook.  I know, I know - you’re shocked, right?  Of course, as songwriters we all know this. But how do you drive home the hook and get it to really payoff for the listener? 

After nearly a decade in the music industry, that’s still the question I ask myself every time I sit down to write a song.  Here are a few things I’ve learned:


I began my college career studying music composition and theory.  On the first assignment given to me by my professor, I tried to impress him by making the piece as complex and hard to play as possible.  When it came time to turn in my assignment, I received my first, and perhaps best, songwriting lesson.  Harder doesn’t equal better.

The same applies here.  The first key to driving home your hook is to make sure you have a good hook to begin with.  A great hook idea shouldn’t be complicated.  Clever, creative, brilliant?  Yes.  But never complicated.


A veteran songwriter once told me that a song is like a picture that’s being painted with one hand then immediately erased with the other.  And when it's over, the listener should be able to sit back and see the whole picture.  We only have a three and a half minute canvas to work with, so every line counts. 

Ask yourself if each line moves the song forward and helps paint the picture for the listener.  There have been many times I've come up with a really great line that I eventually had to set aside because it just didn't fit the song or point to the hook.

If you want to drive your hook home, you have to be willing to do what's best for the song.  Even if that means scrapping a line you like.  Make sure every line points to the hook.


If you've ever watched a volleyball game, you know what a thrill it is to see someone score a spike.  One teammate sets up the spike for another, followed by that moment of anticipation.  Then, SMACK!  But who has the most important job?  The player spiking the ball, or the player setting it up? 

The analogy applies to setting up a hook as well.  The right setup line can make all the difference between a hook that misses the mark and one that scores with the listener.

There are many different tricks and techniques you can try when working on your setup line(s).  But if you have to bend over backwards trying to make it work, then you may need to revisit key #1 and ask yourself if you have the right hook to begin with.


Jay Speight is a professional songwriter, musician and the owner of, which offers songwriters simple, and affordable demo solutions and song critiquing services.

His songs have been recorded by Trace Adkins, Travis Tritt and various indie artists.  In addition, he has had numerous holds with artists such as Carrie Underwood, Rascall Flatts, Faith Hill, Tim McGraw and Celine Dion.

For more information on Jay and/or the services offer, you can visit the website or email him at


(GIGS & BEYOND) The Indie Bible can help - by Cyrus Rhodes

Looking for ways to get you and your band out there along with valuable marketing tools?  This is a great resource to check out.


(GIGS & BEYOND) Maybe it's time you joined a Booking Agency 
- by Cyrus Rhodes

Here's why it would be a good idea to have a booking agency on your side...


Do's & Don'ts of Pitching Your Songs in New York City (By Someone Who Barely Has a Clue) - by Jennifer Haase

Pack your great song, your open mind and your thick skin for some unique song pitching event advice from a songwriter who shouldn't probably be trusted yet. 


Craft, Creativity, Customization - by Kole (Kyle Hicks)

In this article, Kole discusses 3 essential keys to successfully write your music. 


A PRO is one of several organizations that are highly beneficial to producers, songwriters and musicians and if you’re a studio owner or operator, you should definitely have some background on them and what they can do for you.

Classifieds & Useful Services


The Indie Bible shows you where to get your music reviewed, your songs played, and your CDs sold. Now in its Seventh Edition, The Indie Bible has 330 pages of valuable contacts and music-related articles.

The 11th Edition of the Indie Bible contains:
4200 publications around the world that will REVIEW your CD!
3400 radio stations around the world that will PLAY your songs!
500 vendors and services that will help you to SELL your music!
200 sites where you can UPLOAD your band's MP3 files!
500 helpful resources and sites where you can PROMOTE your band!
52 articles that will help your career to MOVE forward rapidly!

Listings include web, e-mail and physical address, as well as phone and fax numbers.

Click here for details and to order online.


GMC is a video lesson archive & community. GMC has tons of helpful videos, instructors and lessons. GMC also features forum for chatting with teachers and students 24/7, recording collaborations, attending video chats + content for bass, drums, singing, piano etc. All genres and styles are covered - Rock, metal, shred, blues, jazz, country & acoustic, funk.. We want you to have fun while learning - so get rocking NOW!

Get instant access to:

-14273 videos, 2262 lessons and 37 instructors.
-Register at GMC forum - join a virtual band, chat with any instructor etc
-Backing tracks at different speeds & jam loop with every lesson
-Daily updates (average of ~10 new videos per day)
 -EXTRAS: Gear-, singing-, recording-, bass-, piano- and drum lessons. GMC Theory Grimoire eBook !!!

Special for Muse's Muse visitors: 
Get a 10$ discount for your first month of subscription!


Lyricist is the first-of-its-kind word processor designed specifically for musicians, songwriters, and poets. The software includes a Rhyming Dictionary, Thesaurus, Album Categorization, Chord Charting, Chord Generator, Song Arrangement, and On-Line Copyright Link.

The new version 3 release adds support for "Piano Style" chord symbols, Nashville Number System, and Transposition features - all in one easy-to-use package - and all for only $54.95! (That's $5.00 off to all Muse's News readers who purchase from the review link at!)

This tool will revolutionize the way you write and organize your writing.
Be the best songwriter you can be and purchase Lyricist today!


Inspired by the songwriter's journey, and through understanding the principles talked about in "THE SECRET", this audio program is specifically created for the songwriter based on those findings. Through Power of Thought and Understanding the Law of Attraction, you will have the tools, knowledge & ability to create the thoughts, experiences, and circumstances to be a phenomenally Successful Songwriter. Included is a guided meditation that is as passionate as it is empowering!

Muse's Muse Visitors - Enter Promo Code: 42567 for Discount.

Limited Introductory Offer of $12.95 for Digital Download Discounts for CD, and CD/Digital Download Combo shown on ordering page.


One of the most respected and imitated indie music sites on the web, has been serving the Independent Music Community since 1996 with streaming audio, monthly CD Reviews, huge industry search directory, success-building resources, classifieds, and much-needed recognition. The site offers a wealth of information to artists trying to survive & thrive in today's competitive music industry.

For Classifieds: US$50 Max. 7 lines (though I do make exceptions), where a line = 65 characters including spaces and punctuation. All contracts must be prepaid. Write to:

Click here for Newsletter Sponsorship rates and other advertising opportunities.

Contact Info & Credits

Jodi Krangle, Editor:

The Muse's News is a free monthly newsletter for and about songwriters. Subscribers are welcome to recirculate or reprint The Muse's News for nonprofit use as long as the appropriate credit is given and the ENTIRE text of the newsletter is included (including credits and information at the end of each issue). Others should contact me at All articles copyrighted by their authors.

Back issues and other information will be available here.

The Muse's News is part of The Muse's Muse, a web resource for songwriters.

For further information, send your e-mail to: - How to place a classified ad, pass on market information or sponsor The Muse's News. - How to subscribe or end your subscription. - To submit articles,reviews,ideas,etc.

SNAILMAIL: Please contact me first at

Back issues of the newsletter can be read here or in an archive at the National Library of Canada ecollection.


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