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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Here we are at another month and WOW. It's like spring around here! It was even like *summer* for a few days. Pretty wonderful, I must say, though I hear from other California friends that you guys weren't having a good time of it out West. Very weird weather. Not that I'm complaining, mind you. :)
Now that I've gotten the weather discussion out of the way.. :) My health is still improving and I'm still eating raw and vegan as much as I can (definitely vegetarian). I've picked up a decent blender so that I can eventually make some green smoothies. Waiting though, until I take a course here in Toronto with a woman named Meghan Telpner. She seems like a real sweetheart from what I'm seeing on her website, and she gives a bunch of courses regarding preparation of vegan foods. The course I'll be taking is one on Juicing and Smoothies in the middle of April. For those that are in this city and interested, I highly suggest you check her site out! In any case, I want to wait until I have that course under my belt before experimenting too much. I'm juicing like a madwoman all the time now, but smoothies seem a bit ... I don't know. Trickier, I suppose. I'll let you know how the course goes the next time I send out a newsletter - though those of you who are really not interested can certainly just scroll down for the rest of the newsletter. I won't hold it against you. ;)
So - moving right along, here are the raffle winners for this month (and remember to write to me using the instructions below if you want to be considered for a raffle prize yourself!):
As I've mentioned many times before (you guys should have this memorized by now :D) 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 Spring, guys! Let your inspiration take you flying. :)
All the best,
(Many thanks to the sponsors that help support this newsletter!)
NEW ONLINE, INSTANT COPYRIGHTING SYSTEM NOW AVAILABLE FOR SONGWRITERS
With copyright theft currently running at an estimated $1.25 trillion annually, ($40,000 per second) songwriters can now establish the exact instant of copyright using their Computer, iPhone, Tablet, Blackberry, or any Internet device. Scots musician and inventor, Norm MacLeod, is offering songwriters free membership of his patent-pending Copyright over Internet Protocol™ (CoIP™) copyrighting system. “You just load in the title, lyrics and MP3 of your song, click a button, your copyright is fixed and delivered to you in an email,” says MacLeod.
“ipCOip™ establishes worldwide copyright in 164 countries immediately, but we do advise songwriters to use the Government services too, especially when offered a contract. But ipCOip™ allows users to copyright instantly. It has no detrimental effect if you want to make an ‘official’ copyright later. It gives songwriters added, instant and legal, worldwide security - especially with online copyright theft at today’s levels.”
New members can create 3 copyrights free.
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.
Graham Hobson & the BRS- Genre: POP
Award-winning piano powerpop that will have you singing at the top of your lungs in the car. Soccer mums stopped at traffic lights will be disturbed - you'll play air drums - you rock! If you dig Folds, Elton and Billy you'll love Graham Hobson & the BRS!
Alicia Selby - Genre: SINGER/SONGWRITER
Alicia Selby is a musician, singer/songwriter out of Houston, Texas. Her debut pop album, “Out of the Blue”blends the smoothness of a Sarah McLachlan with the vocal power and sassy attitude of Annie Lennox to create what she calls a “Bombay Sapphire gin and tonic cocktail of music”.
|Songwriting Book Review
By: Anastasia Karalekas
by Rikky Rooksby
Bruce Springsteen fans, this book’s for you.
“Bruce Springsteen” by Rikky Rooksby is a book from the Songwriting Secrets series, where you can “learn from the greats and write better songs.” The idea is to take apart and analyze Bruce Springsteen’s songs, everything from verses and choruses, to studio and stage, to guitar techniques, and learn from The Boss himself. By using Springsteen’s songs as examples, you can learn how he created his sound, and you can apply similar techniques to achieve success in your own songs.
For instance, Rooksby briefly explains arranging, and uses concrete examples in the form of Springsteen songs. No better way to understand than to have a tune to compare to. Make it a successful tune, and you’ve just increased your chances of writing successful songs of your own.
I like the concept of this book. Other songwriting how-to books will use examples of popular songs from various artists to show what they mean. Some even use examples of songs written by the author him/herself. This is fine, as it gets the point across more clearly when you have a solid example to go by. But to take one artist and use their material throughout the whole book… well, lots of us have a favorite artist who influences our own songwriting, so this is a great way to study the songs that we know quite intimately.
Among other sections, you’ll find a complete Springesteen discography. The author also provides songwriting theory so you can better follow along with the Chords and Sequences and Guitar Techniques sections. As you will see, this book may not be too big in volume, but it is definitely bursting with useful information.
As I said before, if you’re a true-blue Springsteen fan, you’ll really enjoy, understand and appreciate this book. For the rest of us… well, reading about Springsteen’s songs definitely made me want to hear some of my favorites again. Think I’ll go do that now, and if I get inspired by something, I’ve got a great guide to consult. And you’re in good hands with Rikky Rooksby guiding you; he’s really a leader in this genre of books. And he does a great job of helping us learn from The Boss himself.
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 (when I need to), 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!
ECO ARTS AWARDS IS NOW CALLING FOR ENTRIES
Enjoy our entry fee discount of only $20 per song up to the end of May, 2012. Eco Arts Awards is an annual thematic arts competition that features six different categories including songwriting. We have three A&R executives who will select our winning songwriter based primarily on your inspired and original interpretation of the meaning of Ecology. Of course, all the other aspects to make a good song will be needed to set you apart, i.e. melody and arrangement. We do not judge on production quality or vocal ability. Aside from being heard by A&R executives in the music industry we pay $1,000 USD cash to the first place juried winner. We also feature a People's Choice vote. Our deadline for entries is August 15, 2012 and the entry fee after May 31st will resume to the normal $30 per song, and $25 per multiple entries. www.ecoartsawards.com
A HIGHER LOVE SONG COMPETITION
This is a short turn around promotion with an entry fee of $20 per first song, $15 per second and third entry with a cash prize of $500. Our deadline is May 31st. Think Steve Winwood' - Bring Me a Higher Love, Bob Marley's - One Love, Foreigners - I Wanna Know What Love Is. This competition is being hosted by Eco Arts Awards at www.ecoartsawards.com
UNSIGNED ONLY MUSIC COMPETITION DEADLINE APPROACHING ON APRIL 11, 2012
A new competition launched by the same team behind the International Songwriting Competition (ISC), Unsigned Only is a unique music competition designed for solo artists, bands, and singers all over the world who are not signed to a major label record company. Unsigned Only's goal is to find an outstanding, talented performer: a band, singer, or solo artist...a newcomer or veteran...raw or polished - the “gem” that needs to be discovered. Unsigned Only is looking for the total package. High-profile celebrity judges include Cyndi Lauper, Kenny Rogers, St. Vincent, 3 Doors Down, Kelly Clarkson, and many more. Grand Prize includes $5,000 and mentoring from influential record label professionals (Universal, RCA, Capitol, Word, Atlantic, and more). To enter, go to http://www.unsignedonly.com.
SONGWRITERS NEEDED TO HELP KIDS IN HOSPITALS AND ORPHANAGES!
The Sing Me a Story Foundation™ is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit that combines the imaginations of children with the talents of songwriters to create stories and songs that bring joy to all those involved. The premise behind the organization is that we give children in children's hospitals, orphanages and youth organizations around the world the chance to write and illustrate stories about anything they want. We then give those stories to songwriters who turn them into songs, record them and send them back to the kids via our program. It all takes place online on our website which is www.SingMeAStory.org and it's simply a matter of reading the stories, writing and recording a tune, and uploading it back to the story.
We would love to have you participate by going to www.SingMeAStory.org and clicking on the "Join Us" tab. We hope to hear from you soon!
MUSIC CLOUT: CREATING NEW MUSIC INDUSTRY RELATED OPPORTUNITIES FOR MUSICIANS EVERY DAY
We are music based promotion experts with the solutions, services and support to help you optimize the success of your promotion strategies. Our services capitalize on intelligent and proven forms of promotion to achieve maximum awareness building for your music. Within our first year of business, Music Clout has placed artists in over 1,000 different music industry opportunities including deals with record labels, publishing and licensing, radio stations, blogs, and many more.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a class.
HAVE YOU EVER STRUGGLED TO FIND THE RIGHT CHORD OR NOTE TO FIT SOMEWHERE IN YOUR SONG?
Hooktheory is a free resource that can show you how to integrate basic music theory into your songwriting process, making it easier to write catchy chord progressions and melody. Hooktheory currently consists of three main areas:
1. The Hookbook demonstrates basic principles of music theory and how they relate to popular music. It's filled with multimedia-rich content explaining musical concepts synchronized to real songs so you can hear what you are learning and make connections easier.
2. The Music Editor lets you write chord progressions in Roman Numeral notation and listen to them in any key. Add a melody, save your work, share it with friends, or export it to Garageband, sheet music, or guitar tab.
3. The Analysis Wiki is a user-generated collection of analyses of popular songs. Look up the chord progression and melody of a song, or use the music editor to create your own analyses.
Check it out now!
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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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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mics. There are also 1,500 festivals listed as well as over
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Jumpstart your tour today! Click here for more information!
Muse's Clues - By John Brhel
©2011-2012 John Brhel. All Rights Reserved.
Used By Permission
“If this is it
I want to know
If this ain't love baby, just say so”
--“If This It It,” Huey Lewis and the News
You said it, Huey.
Many of us know what it’s like to be in a failing relationship where a significant other refuses to admit it’s over. Been there, done that. As evidenced by the super-amazing (in my opinion) 1984 single “If This Is It” and a plethora of other pop songs, doomed couples make great fodder for song lyrics.
Unfortunately for my songwriting output, I happen to be in a healthy, stable relationship. No ill will, no sense of longing. I wouldn’t think to write a song like “If This Is It” at the moment; my mind just wouldn’t go there. Who wants to hear a tune about a relationship that’s totally copacetic? “I Had a Great Time Last Night Cuddling with You and Watching ‘Jeopardy’”? Just doesn’t sound right.
Last weekend I had the pleasure of meeting up with an old buddy for a co-writing session. As it turns out, it was actually more of a “tell jokes and write generic-sounding melodies and lyrics” session. My friend was inspired, coming up with plenty of lines about the girl he’s currently chasing (currently being the key word.) I, on the other hand, was useless. My amazing nine-month-old relationship wasn’t providing me with any melody or lyric worth pursuing. I wasn’t really in the mood for writing an exuberant, I-feel-great pop ditty a la the Police’s “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic” or Lionel Richie’s “You Are.” It’s not that love songs are the only way to go; it’s just that I prefer to write them. So, what did I accomplish over a three-day period of writing/shooting the breeze? Well, I ate a lot of horribly unhealthy food and came up with one pseudo-catchy chorus. Meh.
What do you do when you’re struggling to come up with a song idea? Take a line from a billboard or magazine? Sure, that works sometimes, but what if all you’ve got to run with is stuff like “Call us at 555-555” or “100% Fat-Free”? There are tons of books out there with lists of songwriting ideas, but who has the time to flip through one of those ancient things? Us modern songwriters need an instant muse.
“Write a song about money.” “Write from the persona of: your neighbor of past neighbor.” “Write a song about your past life.” These are just a sampling of the titles offered by the SongFight Song Ideas Generator. If you aren’t familiar with Song Fight, it’s a songwriting competition website. Approximately every ten days, the site posts new song titles. Users are encouraged to write songs to these titles, which are then judged by “the Internet at large.” Minus a select few, all of the 377 ideas offered by the SongFight Song Ideas Generator were suggested by Song Fight users.
The SongFight Song Ideas Generator is stupidly simple. When you visit the page, it provides you with a song idea from the get-go (e.g. “Write a song about smoke.”) If you like the idea, go with it. If you’re non-plussed with the idea you’re presented, click on the “Gimme another one!” button and the SongFight Song Ideas Generator serves up another odd song idea.
Let’s take a look at a few sample ideas offered by the program: “Write a song about a character in a book, but try and do it so subtly that only people who have read the book will ‘get it.’” I’ve actually done this before, writing a song from the point of view of Doctor Emmett Brown from the “Back to the Future” series. Cheesy, huh? Or how about “Write a song that shares a title with a spam e-mail that you have received...” This is fantastic. I’ve been dying to write a ballad about a Nigerian prince in need of a $10,000 wire transfer. Or how about “Turn on TV during primetime and have the characters in your song have the same problems as the people on the show.” I’d love to write a song from the perspective of Don Draper from “Mad Men” or any one of the zombie-fleeing folks from “The Walking Dead.”
If you’re in need of rapid-fire song idea inspiration, give the SongFight Song Ideas Generator a shot. It’s a quick go-to if you and/or a cowriter are stuck writing a song about each other’s pants. It might not inspire a “Sympathy for the Devil” or “Stairway to Heaven,” but then again it might. Part of being a songwriter is being open to new ideas, so who’s to say you can’t write the next great classic with the instructions “try to horrify yourself.” If you hate Huey Lewis, here’s your chance to write from the perspective of a suit-wearing 80s pop star.
John Brhel is a songwriter from upstate New York who wrote his first batch of pop songs before graduating from elementary school. A lover of all music, John writes country songs, plays in a punk band and spends a good deal of his free time listening to Diane Warren ballads. John regularly attends industry events in New York and Los Angeles and is a member of ASCAP and the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame. A lover of melody and the left-field chord change, John lives and breathes songs. He is always on the lookout for Skype cowriters.
Featured Article - By Rachelle Nones
Unblocking Writer's Block
It’s horrible. Writer’s block makes me want to fill the #!!!### white space and write “I am a fraud” over and over again. Here is a peek at a recent conversation with my willful Muse:
“Muse? Where are you? I have an appointment at the hair salon today and I cannot write when I’m woozy from inhaling all those hair product chemicals.”
"Why don’t you jot down your rant about how Red Bull should be sold in five gallon containers?”
“Hilarious. I can see that I am wasting my time. I am feeling parched. Can you fetch me a can of Red Bull? Is it too early for absinthe?”
You are creative. Close your eyes. Now imagine you have the Green Fairy by its wings.”
If your Muse is like mine, I am guessing that he or she is not always there when you are ready to write. Then, WHAM! You are swept into a whirlwind of creativity. Guess what? The Muse is a tornado and you are going to wrestle it as long as you continue to write.
You cannot control a tornado so what is the use? Don’t give up. I can teach you a few tricks.
Speedwriting at 80-Miles Per Hour
One of the best ways to get unblocked or to get started writing is to freewrite. The Merriam Webster’s dictionary defines freewriting as “automatic writing.” It is a pre-writing stream-of-consciousness technique in which you write very fast without censoring your writing and do not stop writing until the time limit is up. Writer Natalie Goldberg is my favorite timed writing guru. You should read her books on writing if want to use this pre-writing technique in your daily practice because she has a great approach to using this tool to generate fresh material.
Wild Mind: Living the Writer's Life by Natalie Goldberg really changed my entire perspective on writing practice. It is a great book choice for writers interested in an offbeat approach to writing.
If you need prompts to get you started writing, you can always check out Toasted Cheese’s monthly writing prompt calendar at http://www.toasted-cheese.com.
Some writers do not benefit from freewriting practice and really hate it. That’s okay. I hate it when people try to fit me into a box and I do not want to fit you into one either. Do not fight the feeling and do not feel that you have to do something you do not want to do just because other writers do it. If you have given freewriting a fair trial of at least 30 days of continual practice and it does not contribute to your writing in a positive way, then you should to seek out alternative methods.
You might also want to consider using clustering or brainstorming techniques instead. Creating lists of related words or thoughts or organizing your ideas into an outline can also be helpful when you are feeling blocked.
Write down potential themes and then jot down twenty words or ideas related to those themes and see where it leads you.
Breaking the Block
Sometimes, it is best to walk away and do something else. I grab my camera when I am tired of writing and wish to shift gears by hunting down interesting captures. Shifting gear releases stress and I return to my writing feeling refreshed and receptive to the process. If you know how to draw, you might want to use your visual images to brainstorm ideas or create characters and settings that you can “see” in your mind and then translate the sharpest of those visual images into words.
Inspiration can also come from art, music, fashion, films, nature and other interests. As you expand and explore interesting hobbies and activities, your writing will also expand in scope. A great place to find interesting words, names, and ideas is in the newspaper. For example, I recently read a story about a junkie who died of an overdose while residing at a seedy motel in New York. The motel was named The Paradise Motel. Isn’t that ironic?
It is a good idea to keep notepads around so that you can jot down interesting names and ideas when you stumble upon them. You never know when you are going to need to use those unexpected gems!
If you’re feeling completely lost you can also work your way out of writer’s block by asking questions about what you don’t know about your topic and writing about what you do know about it. Keeping your focus on your topic will help you to stay on track even if you don’t know where you’re going at the moment. If you saturate your mind with details about your topic you will eventually work your way out of the forest.
Finally, I think that there are times when you are just burnt out on writing and need to take a break for a few days or even a few weeks. It’s okay to take an extended break as long as you set a definite date to return to your regular writing schedule when your batteries are recharged.
Other Ways to Break the Block:
Circle the Wagons
- Rest. You’re probably just tired.
- Read. The dictionary is a good start.
- Listen to music.
- Take a long walk.
If you feel the need for feedback and support you might want to befriend other writers for feedback and possible collaboration on My Writer’s Circle: www.mywriterscircle.com.
I have always gleaned a lot of useful and motivating information from Lee Silber's books on creativity and from his website. I highly recommend that you visit his website to sign up for his free newsletter: http://www.leesilber.com. You might also want to check out Teddy Bart’s website. Teddy’s insightful blog posts are on-target and uplifting: http://talentsurvivalguide.com.
Rachelle Nones spends her days playing with words. Her eBook on overcoming writing challenges is available on Amazon.
|Classifieds & Useful Services
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SUBMIT YOUR MUSIC FOR INDIE-MUSIC'S TOP 25
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.
THE 11th EDITION OF THE INDIE BIBLE IS NOW AVAILABLE!
The Indie Bible shows you where to get your music reviewed, your
songs played, and your CDs sold. Now in its Seventh Edition, The
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The 11th Edition of the Indie Bible contains:
4200 publications around the world that will REVIEW your CD!
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LYRICIST VERSION 3: THE SONGWRITER'S BEST FRIEND
Lyricist is the first-of-its-kind word processor designed
specifically for musicians, songwriters, and poets. The software
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The new version 3 release adds support for "Piano Style" chord
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THE SUCCESSFUL SONGWRITER MOTIVATION & MEDITATION AUDIO
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For Classifieds: US$50 Max. 7 lines (though I
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