The Muse's News
||The Muse's News
Copyright 1998-2011 - Jodi Krangle.
For more contact information, see end of issue.
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Welcome to another issue of The Muse's News! I'm going to do something now that I don't think I've ever done ... I'm going to express a somewhat "political" opinion. If you'd rather not hear it, you're welcome to skip down past it and I won't fault you in the least
*Rant Begins Here*
Here it is: I love the summer. :-) This summer has been a bit difficult, however, due to a highly annoying Canada Post strike that has kept me from getting my mail for the last 2+ weeks. :-/ Businesses have halted because their accounts receiveable isn't *receiving* anything. Some companies have even gone bankrupt. I know I've used this time as an opportunity to sign up for online billing - which means Canada Post will have even less mail to deliver than the already dwindling bit they deliver now. What's still NEEDING to be deilvered? *Checks*. That's where the problem really is.
Honestly - I appreciate that the workers want a better contract. I really do. But striking and keeping folks from getting *money* for over two weeks when the economy is still bleeding? NOT a very good way to get sympathy from anyone. Especially a lot of hard working people who have MUCH suckier working conditions and/or pay and benefits than Canada Post employees do.
I also certainly don't appreciate anyone making my entire country look like a backwater hick frontier town. Apparently, they are back to work now and things should be mostly back to normal soon, but neither the corporation that locked out the workers and refused to negotiate, nor the workers who decided to take strike action in the first place, are very popular right now. As a self-employed person who relies on the delivery of money through the mail to be able to PAY those online bills I signed up for, I'm actually pretty majorly pissed off. The strike is apparently over ...but I won't be forgetting this one for a long time. And I don't think I'll be alone in that.
*So Ends The Rant*
Phew. Ok. Got that off my chest. If I can't talk to you guys, who *can* I talk to? ;-)
So moving right along, we have a new columnist - especially for all you vocalists out there.
Please help me welcome Beth Lawrence and her new column, Viva La Voice! Her first article is online now so I hope you'll check it out. She'll be offering practical, positive, enlightened advice for creatives of the singing, songwriting and public speaking genres. These are all things she knows quite a lot about!
There's a great newsletter for you today, filled with fantastic articles, reviews, tips and other stuff, so I'm going to get right to the raffle winners now. :-)
Davis Stovall from Stansbury Park, UT, has won a 6 month membership to GuitarMasterClass.net. 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.
Eric Davis, from Kilgore, TX, has won a downloadable
version of Rhyme Genie, a dynamic
rhyming dictionary featuring over 300,000 entries and 30
different rhyme types.
And as I always say - if you'd like to be considered for a raffle prize yourself, 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. Yes, it's really that simple. :) (And yes, the mailing address is kinda important. I promise it won't be used for any other reason than to send you your raffle prize - and to mention your approximate location in the notice of raffle winners you see above here.)
Enjoy, folks! And have a wonderful month.
All the very best,
(Many thanks to the sponsors that help support this newsletter!)
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Great music is only a click away!
Here is a selection of the great artists and bands highlighted
the Artist Spotlight section of The Muse's Muse.
Jane Eamon - Genre: FOLK & TRADITIONAL
Firmly grounded in her own skin, Jane Eamon writes about every day things - life and all its glory both good and bad. Her new CD, Caught in Time is a reflection of leaving her home town and heading out on the road with nothing but an idea of writing music and experiencing life.
Tracy Gibbons - Genre: SINGER/SONGWRITER
Tracy almost always finds her songs on an acoustic guitar, blending influences of folk, country and blues with a contemporary edge. Rich, warm, occasionally haunting arrangements envelope a voice that is uncommonly pure and moving. Tracy strives to dig deep, coming from a place so honest that other can recognize her stories as their own.
|Songwriting Book Review
By: Anastasia Karalekas
"The Craft of Christian Songwriting"
by Robert Sterling
I'm not a Christian songwriter, but I certainly enjoy listening to spiritual music. So when I got Robert Sterling’s “The Craft of Christian Songwriting”, I was really anxious to find out how a great Christian song is built.
This book provides a complete and thorough description of what a Christian songwriter is -- and it's not only about the church. It’s important to know what a Christian song is, and learning to recognize both the subtle and heavy worship tones. You’ll learn about writing songs that you could hear in a church service. This is quite different than writing a pop song, and much more difficult, in fact. Why?
"Because there are limitations placed on the Christian song that would never apply to the pop song." (p. 9) Your challenge then, should you choose to accept it, is to write a Christian song.
Sterling goes through all the fundamentals of writing a song - the hook, the verse, rhyming tips, song structures, and even examples of “arresting” opening lines - and offers ways to add a Christian flavour to your song. You'll find suggestions on where to look for ideas on what to write about. And there are some really interesting suggestions here; some I never saw coming, even though they are so obvious! You'll also get priceless knowledge about collaborating, something that can always up your chances of scoring a hit.
Now, every book I’ve ever read on songwriting has its similiarities, but among those similiarities, each book also has its forté. For me, this book’s strong point is clearly the chapter on critical thinking. Sterling takes 12 of his own songs and analyzes them, then asks you to go ahead and criticize them, as a critiquing exercise. After all, one of the best ways to polish your songwriting skills is to study as many songs as you can, right? Here, you get to study 12 songs that the author has written or co-written, but with the added bonus that he tells you everything you need to know about the song. It's like having him right beside you, describing every facet of the songs he's written, telling you every thought that went through his mind as he created these songs. (And you can surf over to Robert Sterling's web site, which includes all the songs referenced in the book.)
Among many of the staples found in a book on songwriting, you'll find a chapter on how to build a demo. Sterling provides a sample schedule for creating a demo, from the preproduction (creating lead sheets, booking your musicians, etc.) to the mixing process. It's good to know how to properly allocate your time.
Finally, at the very end of the book, you’ll find songwriting exercises. Listed by chapter, there are numerous individual exercises for every topic found in the book. (Another strong point to this book; in fact, a close second strongest point for me!)
When I picked up this book, I thought that it would be a guide on channeling my inner Christian, but it's much more than that. It's about discovering the Christian songwriter in you. And even though it's a book on Christian songwriting, this is good reading for any kind of songwriter. Sterling really takes you through the process of BECOMING an artisan in the craft of Christian songwriting. I have yet to write a Christian song, but after reading this book, I plan to give it a go! And I could thank Robert Sterling for making me want to be more than a dilettante of the genre.
ABOUT THE REVIEWER:
Anastasia Karalekas is a self-taught guitarist and music absorber. When she is not learning, learning, learning, she spends her time writing fiction and poetry. After taking some private guitar lessons, her teacher encouraged her to try putting some of her poems to music, and she's been writing songs ever since.
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
(Many thanks to the sponsors that help support this newsletter!)
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|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 http://www.musesmuse.com/contests.html &
Please check there regularly for updates!
USA Songwriting Competition Launches "Songwriters For Japan", A Japan Relief Bid
The USA Songwriting Competition on Saturday launched a campaign to support relief in Japan as top names in the entertainment world offered condolences after the mega earthquake of a magnitude 9.0 and tsunami. Over 20 countries in the Pacific Rim were put on high alert on Friday, March 11, after a massive earthquake caused a tidal wave which devastated Japan.
13th ANNUAL GREAT AMERICAN SONG CONTEST NOW ACCEPTING ENTRIES!
The Great American Song Contest features awards for 45 winners in 9 categories and provides $10,000 in Prizes. Entrants receive written song evaluations from music-industry judges, including publishers, music producers and recording artists. Open to songwriters, lyricists and composers around the world. Sponsored by Songwriters Resource Network, a trusted educational resource for songwriters everywhere. Submission deadline is October 28, 2011. For details, visit: http://www.GreatAmericanSong.com
2010 GREAT AMERICAN SONG CONTEST WINNERS ANNOUNCED
Michael McGarrah won top honors for his original song "Dancin' In the Bone Yard." First-Place category winners were Ken Feldman for "Living Together" (Acoustic/Folk); Daniel James Maguire MOG for "All Good" (Rock); Lynn & Russ Case "Jesus, Hope & Me" (Christian/Gospel); Kin Vassy & Kent Maxson for "Dirt" (Country); Tracy Newman for "Fire Up the Weed" (Special Category); Eric Roberts for "Children's Song" (Instrumental); Ariel Rose, Juan Vicente Zambrano & William J. Snihur, Jr. for "My Perfect Day" (Pop); Blänk for "Shirt Off" (HipHop/R&B) and Archie Brodsky for "Sunday Dinner Goin' Down" (Lyric Writing). You can hear these winning songs at the Great American Song Hall Of Fame at: GreatAmericanSong.com
AWARD WINNING SONGWRITER OFFERING SONGWRITING TIPS AND CRITIQUING SERVICES
Award winning songwriter Jane Eamon is offering songwriting one on one classes via Skype. These sessions are one hour in length and can cover any topic you'd like to address. From writing, to critique, to ideas and games. Or just to share your thoughts and get feedback. If you're interested in a session contact email@example.com to schedule a class.
SELL YOUR MUSIC FOR FREE & KEEP 100% OF YOUR SALES
VibeDeck is a free direct-to-fan music sales solution that's easy to use and quick to set up. All you need is your digital tracks, some album artwork and a PayPal account. When a fan buys your music, the money goes directly into your PayPal account so you can access it immediately. VibeDeck does not take a cut or charge a service subscription fee. It's truly free, easy and invaluable for any artist with music to share with the world.
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2011 SONGWRITERS RETREAT - REO RAFTING RESORT, NAHATLATCH RIVER, BC
Qualify for the Songwriters Retreat Travel Grant! We are giving away 4 grants ($250.00 each) to assist in your travels to our Retreat! REO understands that people are coming to this retreat from around the world and may need assistance with increasing fuel prices and travel expenses. If you are a Muse's Muse subscriber, you will then receive an additional $50.00 off your tuition package. Don't miss an opportunity to learn from Pat Pattison, Bonnie Hayes, Steve Seskin & Don Osborn! Sign up for the 2011 Songwriters Retreat, July 17 to 22, 2011 at REO Rafting Resort (located 2.5 hours from Vancouver in the beautiful Fraser Canyon)! All-inclusive packages start at $949.
Grant Requirements and Process
1. Send one original song that showcases your talents as a songwriter to REO Rafting.
2. Write two paragraphs. One paragraph summarizing your musical and songwriting interests and goals. The other indicating why you would like to attend the retreat.
3. We will let songwriters know within 1 week of submission if they qualify for the travel grant.
Please email your song and paragraphs to firstname.lastname@example.org or email us for more information. There is more information on our website. Check it out.http://www.reorafting.com/site/retreats/songwriter_retreat.html.
SUBMIT TO PLAY AT MUSICGORILLA.COM'S LIVE MAJOR LABEL SHOWCASE FOR ISLAND DEF JAM
Music Gorilla is now taking submissions for the upcoming LIVE MAJOR LABEL SHOWCASE, which will take place at Kenny's Castaway in New York City on July 15, 2011.
The Artists selected to perform will receive great exposure and priceless written feedback from an A&R Coordinator for Island Def Jam Records Group, who has contributed to such projects as Bon Jovi, Justin Bieber, Chrisette Michele, FeFe Dobson; and to acts like Saliva, Neon Trees, and Electric Touch, among many others. The artists selected will receive the written feedback as mentioned and will also be introduced to the rep after their set. Other industry pros invited to attend include Major and Indie Label A&R, Managers, Entertainment Attorneys and more
For more info and to submit, click here.
About Music Gorilla:
Music Gorilla works with unsigned artists with original material to get you heard by record labels, music supervisors, publishers and other Industry reps. Our artist members receive free film/tv and songwriting submissions. They are eligible for Live Label Showcases, MTV's catalog, and much more! Some successes include signing to labels, songwriting, and publishing deals, along with placement on various films and television shows.
MUSIKPITCH: NEW ONLINE MARKETPLACE FOR SONGWRITING OPPORTUNITIES
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! http://www.musikpitch.com
SONGWRITING CONSULTATION SPECIAL OFFER:
Pete and Pat Luboff are offering a special rate to Muse's Muse
readers on a single song consultation: http://www.writesongs.com/consults.html MM readers get a $5
discount by sending $15 via PayPal to email@example.com 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.
THE INDIE VENUE BIBLE - A GROUNDBREAKING VENUE DIRECTORY FOR ANY
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Jumpstart your tour today! Click here for more information!
Muse's Clues - By Irene Jackson
©1998-2011 Moonstone Productions All Rights Reserved.
Used By Permission
This month I'm going to point you to a website that takes songwriting from a different angle...recording. A lot of you songwriters out there already know a little about recording and software, and some of you don't. One thing you might not know is that songwriting is often done, or at the very least tweaked, in the recording studio. Of course, it's not a MUST to know all about recording to write a song...that's obvious. But it might inspire you to think about songwriting backwards.
What? Backwards? I don't mean write the last note or lyric first, I mean think about all the parts, the instruments and the arrangements BEFORE you write the song! Does that sound insane? Well, I'm sure if you're in a songwriting rut just about now, you'll probably try anything :-).
Tweakheadz.com is a website all about the technical side of music including instruments and recording software, but the website owner ("Tweak") decided one day to write an article all about writing a song from a recording/production starting point called "A Recipe for Song Construction" . He (I'm assuming it's a "he"!) starts with a midi sequencer, explains how it works, teaches you the basics, and then step by step takes you through arranging and producing a song using technology first. Even if you don't actually want to do it yourself, it's a great study on how to think about your song in terms of its individual parts and it makes some great points along the way.
Every now and then, there is a "Time Out!" section that stops and explains or defines an element of songwriting or instrumentation. In one, for example, he defines the "Rule of Similitude" and the "Rule of Contrast". Interesting.
As Tweak takes you step by step through the process, he actually writes a song at the same time, and at certain points he allows you to listen to his progress. But Tweakheadz also has a lot of other good info on the site along with this article. There is a discussion group, lots of other articles on arranging, everything you'd ever want to know about project studios and equipment, choosing instruments and so much more that I can't even begin to explain!
You may have no interest at all in the production/technical side of things but that doesn't mean you won't learn something from Tweak's article and even find some interesting tidbits of info about other things that you ARE interested in.
Tweak away :-)
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: http://www.irenejackson.com/tips.html
Featured Article - By Brad Dunse
QUICK TIP: Songwriters Live With Stress
There are times when stress or an emphasis on the wrong part of a word is purposely done. As a general rule, however, songwriting is not among them unless humor is involved. You will find TV, film and plays will purposely do this to depict a character. Such as portraying a southern US accent they'll say, "Look at that DISplay" instead of … "Look at that disPLAY," or "Quick! Call the POlice" instead of "Quick! Call the poLICE."
Here in the heartland of the US, north of Dixie we hear "PROject" and "proJECT" but both have distinctively different pronunciations, each insinuating different meanings or uses. Such as, "I'm working on a new music PROject (prah-ject) this week"… or "Gee… Do you see how far his nose proJECTS (pro-jects) from his face?" (Oops; I probably could have found/re-written a better example, but we writers naturally resist rewriting don't we?) The point is one is a task and the other an extrusion. Make sure you aren't putting stress or emphasis on the wrong part of a word just to make the melody ring out or sing on beat. It can become confusing and even frustrating to a listener and distract (or should I say "DIStract"?) them from your song.
This is one of the more common mistakes or oversights in songwriting. We'll even hear experienced writers lean back on their laurels and manage to get radio cuts or song accolades because of the overall power of their song. As in the song Key Largo the singer sings "my leading laDY (lay-DEE) but it's still not generally acceptable to do it. There are some fixes when you run across this in your song though so don't stress over it, pun intended.
Once a melody has been established in verse one, for instance, it sets precedence for verse 2. For the most part, we're in a position to fit our lyric in that melody frame, meter and syllable pattern. If you find you are emPHAsizing inappropriately, look at the words prior to the problem word. See if there is a word that is redundant or not needed. See if there is one word that can say the same as two, or see if there is another one-syllable word that says the same as a two-syllable word. Basically shave or slide the meter back from the problematic stress point. Of course you always have the option of rewriting the problem word as well.
Another possible fix is if you find latitude in your melody and can alter it, try giving equal time to the syllables and stretching it out some, even if the melody on the end is higher in pitch. For instance, the word "somewhere" is usually pronounced "SOMEwhere" in speech and not "someWHERE". But in "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" the writer chose to disguise the pitch-accented "where" by giving "some" equal time, stretching out the word and diluting the ear's ability to hear the incorrect emphasis. So that's another way to bring relief to the problem. You will find that if you try the solution in the last paragraph, your melody may change as a result and perhaps simplify the line as well, both lyrically and melodically.
Yet another method is to look at your key words in the line and look at how the key or important words line up with the beat of the song. Not only will this help give a map to line up your syllables, it also brings the listener to hear the most important words. For example, if you are writing a song about a person who is "out of love" and a bit beside themselves and you had a line as:
Slowly she scuffled THROUGH the park under her lonely GREEN beret.
The beat-stressed word "through" tells where she went in the park but not the most important word. Similarly, "green" is a descriptive word but not important to the emotion of the song, unless perhaps the song's idea depicted her as "jealous"; then green would take on a metaphorical meaning besides being descriptive of her hat. It might be better if it were stressed as follows:
She SCUffled through the park under her LOnely green beret.
The word "slowly" is redundant and thereby removed because we've never seen someone scuffle fast. Now we're emphasizing not just the key words but the appropriate syllable stresses in scuffled and lonely. This supports not only the emotion of the song but also the emotion of the two words themselves.
To help your lyric build strength, run a quick check after your first draft and arrange or re-write the lines to make the key words fall on the beat, stressing the proper syllables, and tightening up the emotion and flow of your song. In that process, simultaneously be on the lookout for ill-stressed syllables or insignificant words within the lyric.
Next month we'll look at rhyme schemes and some things not to do to keep them. Until then…
Brad Dunse is a performing songwriter based deep in the country's heartland reflecting sensitivity of daily living in his songs. Writing primarily in Folk, Country, Pop, or Americana, he occasionally writes CCM. Co-writer of The Wall, a tribute to Viet Vets receiving major market airplay, he's also received airplay on NPR, local public, independent, and web radio. He is a freelance writer, is board member of Minnesota Association of Songwriters, been member or involved in ASCAP, NSAI, SongU and other organizations. You can visit his web site at WWW.BRADDUNSEMUSIC.COM as well Add As Facebook Friend or Follow Him On Twitter.
|"ON SITE" FEATURED ARTICLE(S)
An Artist's Worth - by Beth Lawrence
Learning to stand proudly while declaring to the world that you are a professional musician isn't always the easiest thing to do. In fact, it may take some practice when confronted by nay-sayers and 'Nine to Fivers', but knowing your artist's worth is priceless!
Role Call: You Are Bartholemew Cubbins
- by Bill Pere
In the traditional music business model, you, the songwriter or artist would be under contract to a large record company and publisher, who would then call all the shots. In today’s world of Independent artists, YOU are the one who puts others under contract to you. The key is to know: (a) what types of roles/tasks need to be done, (b) which ones you can do yourself, (c) which ones you need to engage others for, (d) how to find the right person(s) to do the tasks you want to contract out.
The Secret To Finding Good Gigs -
by Bronson Herrmuth
This one is for all of you musicians, artists, performing songwriters out there, trying hard to find a good gig. I wrote this just for You.
Your Song Demo - by Bronson Herrmuth
The title of this new article speaks for itself and it's also an open invitation to send me your demos, to all songwriters in The Muse's Muse family. Sure hope you like!
What It's Really Like Being A Songwriter In The Music Industry
- by David M. Talor II
As bona fide artists, in as much as crafting a good song is just as much of an art as performing said song, we as writers unfortunately do tend to fall prey to thinking a few highly erroneous things...
The Three Voices of the Music Industry
- by David M. Talor II
David talks about the three "voices" you'll need to deal with in your musical career and understand if you want to get where you'd like to be.
|Classifieds & Useful Services
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LYRICIST VERSION 3: THE SONGWRITER'S BEST FRIEND
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INDIE-MUSIC.COM - WHERE SERIOUS MUSICIANS SURF
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