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The Muse's News
The Muse's News
The Muse's News
An E-zine For And About Songwriters.
Issue 14.5
August 2011

In This Issue:
* Editor's Musings
* Music Reviews - Ivan Nossa
* New Artist Spotlight Additions
* Songwriting Book Review - by Anastasia Karalekas
* 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: Quick Tip: You Scheming Little Songwriter You - by Brad Dunse
* On Site Featured Article - An article already online for your viewing pleasure.
* Classifieds & Useful Services
* Contact information
ISSN 1480-6975. Copyright 1998-2011 - 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 make a fantastic present for a songwriter in your life (even if it's you! :-) ) Check it out!

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


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. Berkleemusic, 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. Online courses are college level, and 12-weeks in length. Students have direct access to Berklee's faculty through weekly chats, online office hours, and forums. Berkleemusic offers more then 130 online courses and certificate programs in songwriting, music production, business, music theory, arranging, composition, guitar, bass, voice, keyboard and drums.

Enrollment is now open for their September 26th term.

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Editor's Musings:

And here we are again. I hope those of you experiencing the heat wave as I currently am, are managing to stay cool. We've been seeing temperatures that aren't unusual for *India* - forget northern Ontario Canada! Talk about global warming ... Phew.

Ok. Now that talk of the weather has been duly competed :-D, we can move on.

Unfortunately, I have sad news to report. After many many years of excellent writing about the topic of online information for songwriters and how best to use it to your advantage, Irene Jackson has decided it's time for her to move on to other things. I know that this newsletter wouldn't be nearly as successful as it has been without her tireless support over the years and I wish her nothing but the very best in whatever she chooses to do in the future. Whatever that is, I know it'll be awesomely fantabulous! :)

That does leave something of a void here at The Muse's News though ... I'm hoping there's someone out there willing to make the attempt to fill Irene's rather large shoes. (Disclaimer: Ok. That's figuratively, not literally. I have no idea what size Irene's shoes actually are. :) )

If you're interested, feel free to respond to this email with some writing samples and/or why you'd like to step up. I'll look forward to talking with you about it!

As for the newsletter itself, there's a lot of new info for you including a new Quick Tip from Brad, a new book review from Anastasia, and a bunch of new articles online. Here are the raffle winners this month so that we can get right to it!

  • Dale Stevens from Saint Charles, Missouri, 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.
  • Dave Leach, from Chatham, Ontario Canada, 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.
  • Christina Baker, from Ft. Myers, FL, has won a copy of Virtual Studio Systems' Lyricist software.
  • Brooks Walthall, from Conway, AR, has won a downloadable version of Rhyme Genie, a dynamic rhyming dictionary featuring over 300,000 entries and 30 different rhyme types.
  • Dale Matthies, from Goderich, Ontario Canada, has won a copy of the book reviewed last month - "The Craft of Christian Songwriting".

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 the newsletter and have a wonderful rest of your summer!

Wishing you every success,


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. Windows and Mac compatible.

Music Reviews: By: Ivan Nossa, Cyrus Rhodes & Dan Cohen


Ivan Nossa:

* Steve Warner
* Jeff Riley

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.


shoe. - Genre: POP

shoe.’s 4th self-released album “The Speed of Life” is an emotionally musically piano-driven, MotownSuper Pop/IndieRock exploration of sounds, instruments and happy accidents. Lyrically it’s about being humbled by the magnitude and speed of Life. Want the album for yourself visit, for tracks and entire “The Speed of Life” album.

Songwriting Book Review By: Anastasia Karalekas

"Song Ideas -
3000 Titles, Phrases and Hooklines to Inspire Songwriters and Lyricists"
by Rick Wicker

In his book "Song Ideas - 3000 Titles, Phrases and Hooklines to Inspire Songwriters and Lyricists", author Rick Wicker decided to put all the ideas he's ever jotted down into a book and share them with us because he finally realized he'll never write songs out of all these phrases himself.

I have picked up quite a few "idea" books, and each and every time, I am pleasantly surprised to see that they are all very different. Like many of you, I'm sure, I have ideas and thoughts written in notebooks with loose pieces of paper sticking out everywhere, and it never ceases to amaze me how many interesting things one can come up with. I can only imagine what songs can be created out of, oh, so many prompts!

So, what else can be said about this book? Other than the great introduction from the author, just knowing that these are all thoughts that Wicker jotted down over the last 40 years made me think about the different phrases at different eras. For instance, the phrase "You know where I'll be" will take a much different path if you put yourself in the 70s, or 80s than it will if you put yourself in the present. It does create an emotional stirring, as promised. I just needed to read the first 20 ideas to get hooked; then I couldn't stop reading. This book will come in handy on many occasions in my future songwriting sessions. You can never have too many books providing inspiration.

Visit the author's website and you can listen to full-length versions of his songs, lyrics and all. After having read his book, visited his website, listened to his music, and even browsed through some of his photographs – he’s a photographer, too! -- I have come to the conclusion that Rick Wicker is not only talented, but also a really genuinely interesting guy. And the ideas that he offers us in his book are, well, really genuinely interesting, too! A must have!

**Don’t forget to submit your name if you would like to be entered in a draw to win a copy of "Song Ideas - 3000 Titles, Phrases and Hooklines to Inspire Songwriters and Lyricists" by Rick Wicker. Instructions on how to do that are in the Musings at the top of the newsletter.**



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 us know!

Sponsor Message:
(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 &
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.


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:


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:


Indie-Music is seeking artist submissions for its prestigious annual Top 25 Awards. This exclusive competition features the best independent artists and songs in a year-long campaign which exposes their music to thousands of potential new fans and industry backers. Artists worldwide are invited to submit their music for placement on the website, which receives millions of hits every year. All genres welcome.


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 to schedule a class.


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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Country music star Trace Adkins and Waggin' Train are partnering to search for the next great ode to the dog. From now through August 3, aspiring songwriters, and dog owners, can enter the Waggin' Train Tail Waggin' Jingle Contest by uploading a video of themselves, and their dog(s), singing an original jingle that describe how they enjoy a "tail waggin' good time" with their four-legged friend to The five finalists will be flown to Nashville during CMA Awards week to perform in front of Adkins, and the Grand Prize Winner will go into a recording studio and record his/her jingle, with Adkins producing the jingle. For more details, visit must be received by August 3, 2011.


The Indie Reviewer is now accepting submissions for the TIR Indie Awards. Entrance is free, and winners will be featured on the main pages of and
All submissions music be received by September 15th, 2011.
For contest rules and eligibility, please visit


NewSong Music is proud to announce the launch of the Mountain Stage NewSong Contest – one of North America’s premier showcases of emerging performing songwriters that spans an array of genres, and includes regional rounds. The 2011 contest winner will get the opportunity to record an EP with award winning producer Mikal Blue who has worked with the likes of Colbie Caillat, Jason Mraz, Five for Fighting, One Republic, Augustana, Jason Reeves, and current indie fave Lady Danville, which will be released on the NewSong Recordings label. In addition, the winner will perform on an internationally broadcast Mountain Stage (NPR) show, and will receive 1,000 copies of the completed disc.

For more info, visit .
The final deadline for submissions is September 13th


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

©1998-2011 Moonstone Productions All Rights Reserved.
Used By Permission

PRO's or performance rights organizations exist in most countries to collect, manage and distribute royalties for composers, songwriters and music publishers. In the US, the three main PROs are ASCAP, SESAC and BMI. Whether or not you belong to a PRO, you can always find interesting information on their websites. This month's clues comes from the BMI website and features a series of videos called "Behind The Song".

The first video is a talk by Kara DioGuardi, whom you might recognize as one of the judges who recently served on American Idol. Aside from that she is a singer-songwriter, record producer, music publisher and A&R executive who has had Grammy nominations and won many other prestigious awards. She talks about the role of the record producer in contemporary pop music. When we hear pop hits by Kati Perry and others, we might assume that they all begin with a song/lyric, but that ain't necessarily so! Here's a link to the video:

So all of you music producer wannabe's out there, pay attention! Sometimes your funky tracks that don't seem to have any "song" to them, might have hope yet!

Another familiar face, Colbie Caillat, talks about being a performing songwriter in the music business world, and then speaks on a more personal level about her own songwriting beginnings and what she has learned from other writers along the way:

JR Rotem is a record producer who has his own label, Beluga Heights, and who has written hits for Rihanna, Sean Kingston and Britney Spears, among others. Rotem is now primarily involved in writing and producing for artists on his own label. He describes his job in terms of what he has to think about when writing material for his artists, but also talks a little about how his songwriting began:

There are videos featuring several other songwriters and producers as well, all giving you a little insight into their world and discussing their challenges and successes in today's music industry. So if you want to take your songwriting and/or production to another level, there's certainly something to learn here. BMI and ASCAP and most other PRO's often offer workshops and information sessions to their members and to those who are interested in learning more, so check out their websites for more. has a list of pretty much every PRO on the planet here: wherever you are in the world, check your local PRO out!


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 Brad Dunse

QUICK TIP: You Scheming Little Songwriter You

Imagine if I
Wrote everyone of my
Songs so that I
Had them sound alike
And all other rhymes
Just went bye bye...

Alright I can stop now, you get it. We know rhymes are important in songs because it helps people remember the words and gives a certain amount of inner satisfaction that coincides with melody and other parts of song structure. However, an important thing in rhyming is the proper use of a rhyme scheme or pattern to break things up a bit. Over use, as in the example above, produces boredom and difficulty to remember the lines.

For example a verse might have an ABCB type rhyme with...

A) He took all my money
B) But he didn't get far
C) He mistook Sam the cop
B) For his get-away car

Or maybe an AAABCCCB pattern...

A) He stole the money
A) Then started running
A) It sure was funny
B) Man what a loser
C) We couldn't believe
C) The bumbling thief
C) Jumped in the back seat
B) Of the cop's cruiser

Rhyme schemes come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, but it is important that you use the same one for each of your verses, and yet a different one for other sections of your song. For instance you might have an ABCBDD for your verse and then do a AABB for your chorus. Or maybe an ABABCC in your verse and a ABCB for your chorus. It really doesn't matter as long as you are consistent.

Using identical patterns in all the sections of a song will bore a listener. The same goes for the vowel sound within the patterns. If you are using the "ee" and "oo" sound in a verse, use an "ah" and "i" sound in your chorus to help distinguish a difference in sections. That doesn't mean in your second verse you couldn't use an "oh" and a" sound as well, just as long as it doesn't match what you have in the chorus.

OK so you're cool on the pattern idea, you're locked in and man you're writing up a storm, but, there's that one line you've been struggling with. Now, to keep in your rhyme pattern you're about to consider...

"To finish up my song
With this line, I can't go wrong"

Oh no. The dreaded moon walk writing. Yeah moon walk, you saw Michael Jackson do the moon walk haven't you? YouTube it and you'll see what I mean. He'll move his feet in a way it appears he's moving forward but actually moving backwards, that's something the second line shown above has done, and we don't want in our lyrics. These "backwards talking" types of lines tend to wriggle their way into songs. Some of them pretty famous songs even. Do a search on the words:

"Now don't hang on
Nothing' last forever but the earth and sky
It slips away
And all your money won't another minute buy"

Yes a very famous oldie and every time I hear that last line my face crinkles and I think, "Dudes, Couldn't you have come up with something different for that last line? No one talks like that!"

That would be a rudimentary example of a forced rhyme. Something that is unnatural in speech in order to make the rhyme. There are times we have more subtle showings of it in our songs. Maybe something as...

"The end of the date he held her hand,
As he walked her to the door
He leaned in for a kiss good night
And thought 'You can't buy that in a store'"

OK so hopefully you didn't need a barf bag for that one, sorry, that's pretty pathetic but you get the point. The last line isn't moon walking on us, but is totally out of context. We're visualizing a nice end to a date and we wind up with some abstract thought to try to rhyme with the word "door". The writer probably opened a rhyming dictionary to "door" closed his eyes, whirled his hand around in the air, and put his finger down on "store" and tried to make it work... it obviously didn't.

Study some of your fav songs and make note of the pattern. Study your own songs for pattern inconsistencies, forced rhymes or moon walking lyrics.

Next month we'll take a different spin on songwriting. We'll look at you, a songwriter, and see just who you think you are anyway.

Happy writing!


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.


10 Steps to a Great Song - by Dan Rivers

If you have a great idea all you need to do is follow 10 steps as you write the song . If you don’t have a great idea no amount of craft will give you anything more than a mediocre song!


How To Use Lady GaGa's controversy techniques to your advantage
- by James Moore

Indie bands - What can we learn from the marketing techniques employed by the world's biggest pop star (except Justin Bieber), Lady GaGa? If at this point you're saying "She's a sellout" or "I hate pop music" you've quite possibly closed the doors available to you and sorely missed out.


Tribes - by Mick Polich

Thought about joining a local group of musicians, a band, or making your own group? Mick has some 'quick hits' on the subject for this short installment... 


Your Producer - by Bronson Herrmuth

A chapter taken from my book, "100 Miles To A Record Deal", for any of you musesmusers out there who might be seeking a producer for your music.


Jan Rietman Interview - by Bronson Herrmuth

He's a world class pianist, artist, producer, and songwriter, from Belgium. Meet my new friend, Jan Rietman.


Your Demo Singer - by Bronson Herrmuth

Singing your own song demo is fine, as long as you're a really good demo singer.


How To Improve Your Lead Guitar Playing - by Tom Hess

Find out how great guitar players come up with their awesome guitar solos.  This article will help you to learn the secrets to improving your lead guitar playing. 

Classifieds & Useful Services


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!

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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.

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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