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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(Many thanks to the sponsors that help support this newsletter!)
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Hi folks. I'm going to keep this musing short because I'm just not my usual chipper self. I'm getting over a cold. Bleh. I think it's all this weird weather ... but my husband had a cold a week before me and I'm sure you all know how difficult it is to avoid catching something when your spouse/partner has it. (sigh) Ah well. I'll be spending the next couple of days recovering. I'm taking zinc lozenges, drinking hot water with lemon and honey and using a LOT of Throat Coat herbal tea while I try to do my voice over work through all this... Luckily, it's a pretty mild version. Even being healthy in general won't stop one of these buggers when it really wants in. :-/ But it does make it a bit easier to bear, I suppose ...
I did want to also mention that Brad Conner, another subscriber here, has graciously given me a promo code so that all of you can get a free year of membership ($50 value) to the Last Minute Travel Club. This will be especially useful now that the weather is starting to warm up and a lot of you are starting to plan either vacations or tours. Here are some of the benefits of being a member:
* Members only pricing on hotels. Discount savings vary up to 55% or more, depending on destination and star rating
* Additional savings on cruises, local attractions, car rentals, and more
* No gimmicks or short term prmotions - just extremely low rates anywhere and every time
* 24-hour call center, customer service and book agents
Sounds like a pretty good deal to me so I thought I'd pass it along. :)
And now on to the raffle winners:
from Gainsville, FL, 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.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR POTENTIAL RAFFLE WINNERS:
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.)
Hope you all stay healthy!
All the best,
(Many thanks to the sponsors that help support this newsletter!)
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Great music is only a click away!
Scott Turchin - Genre: REGGAE
Here is a selection of the great artists and bands highlighted
the Artist Spotlight section of The Muse's Muse.
Southern Boy with Rasta attitude SCOTT TURCHIN sounds like John Hiatt meets Ziggy Marley, and his newly released album RIVER CAN CRY features real instruments and a great live sound! With soulful voice and irie intent, half American roots rock and half positive Reggae, Scott's music has won national recognition and fans worldwide.
|Songwriting Book Review
By: Tim Zbikowski
Write Songs Right Now
by Alex Forbes
I live in Minnesota and at times cold winter weather causes car batteries to run down. We need a jump-start to get the motor running again. If your songwriting batteries seem a bit run down (or even if they are charged), give a listen to Alex Forbes’ audio book “Write Songs Right Now”, available from www.AudioGo.com. Achieving major songwriting success with Alisha’a 1985 dance smash “Too Turned On”, Forbes continued to write an abundance of Billboard-charting hits. She is currently a faculty member in the songwriting program of NYU’s Steinhardt School and hosts the website resource www.CreativeSongwriter.com.
Listen to Alex, in her voice, give you an initial pep talk and checklist to get you pointed, or perhaps rerouted, in the right direction for songwriting. Well-organized chapters begin with definitions of song structures and categories, an extensive list of lyrical devices, insights on melody and prosody, and basics of harmony and rhythm.
My favorite chapter delves into characteristics of great hooks and how to engage your listener with song dynamics. I particularly like her comparison of a good song to a roller coaster ride. Forbes continues with advice on collaboration and how individuals can each contribute their strengths to make the united result much stronger. As an audio engineer, I appreciate Alex defining and describing the importance of a low-cost “pre-demo”. She indicates when it is appropriate for, plus how to prepare for, a professionally recorded demo.
The final chapter is a primer on the music business including creating relationships, copyright and publishing fundamentals, and definitions for a variety of individual positions in the industry. Alex describes performing rights organizations and potential revenue streams for your songs. She concludes with a ten-point list of suggestions on how to get the most enjoyment and success from your songwriting. Let Alex Forbes help you “Write Songs Right Now.” Write on!
ABOUT THE REVIEWER:
Tim Zbikowski is an active member of the Minnesota Association of Songwriters, assisting with song critiques and presentations on songwriting. His introduction to music was piano lessons in the early 1960’s. He played drums in a garage band and in his high school’s band program. Tim bought his first personal computer in 1984 and by the 1990’s connected a keyboard to a computer. When notes appeared on a staff on the monitor, he was hooked forever! Tim is a free-lance audio engineer, seriously studies the craft of songwriting, and enjoys the mental recreation and stimulation of writing in multiple genres.
(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!
2013 (INTERNATIONAL) SHOW ME THE MUSIC SONGWRITING CONTEST ... $10,000 GRAND PRIZE OR A TRIP TO MUSIC CITY, U.S.A. IF YOU WIN... YOU CHOOSE THE PRIZE!
Why enter our contest? Since 2009 we have sent 6 artists to Nashville. From New York to Australia we have flown our winners into Music City, U.S.A. and introduced them to some of the biggest talent in the Music Industry. Last year we wrote a $10,000 check to Morgan Taylor Reid for his winning song "Stay Where You Are." You could be next!!!
As a small contest we are able to offer way less competition than the larger contests, yet we still offer a HUGE Grand Prize at the lowest entry fee.
Our mission from the beginning? ......."Open doors in an industry where most are closed" -Al Lopez -Contest Creator
Enter Here by September 30, 2013
THE GREAT KIDS' CBC VIEWER VOTED SONG SEARCH
Are you Canada’s next great children’s performer? Submit your original song, along with a photo for your chance to WIN A TRIP to Toronto to PERFORM at Kids’ CBC Days We’ll also produce your MUSIC VIDEO and air it on Kids’ CBC. Selected songs will play on our Kids’ CBC Music Stream. The song with the most votes WINS! Encourage your fans to vote for your song because…one lucky family will WIN A TRIP to Toronto to join as our VIP guests!
LEARN WITH 3 LEGENDARY SONGWRITING MENTORS AT 14TH ANNUAL REO SONGWRITERS RETREAT
Join acclaimed songwriting instructors and recording artists Jason Blume, Karen Taylor-Good and Deborah Holland at the REO Songwriters Retreat, August 11-16, 2013. All-inclusive 6-day retreat with 14 songwriting sessions, delicious meals, daily social hour, optional adventure tour, and choice of lodging or camping......all at an amazing river's edge setting near Vancouver, British Columbia (4 hours from Seattle, Washington). Attendees include songwriters from US, Canada and Europe, from entry-level to full-time singer/songwriters. Full details at: http://www.reorafting.com/site/retreats/songwriters-retreat.html
A REVOLUTIONARY NEW WAY TO SHARE AND PROMOTE MUSIC
Tunii.com pays Fans to Follow and Promote Songs and is 100% FREE to join for both recording artists and music fans. Join us in our mission of making Tunii the future of the music industry where together we can all share in the success for connecting artists and fans around the world. Sign up today through this special Muse's Muse link and please check out our short “How Tunii works video” It's Easy, it's FREE and it's Fun!
18TH ANNUAL USA SONGWRITING COMPETITION BEGINS
18th Annual USA Songwriting Competition is now accepting entries. Winning songs will receive radio airplay in United States and Canada along with great prizes such as a Top Prize of over $50,000. Past winners include Mike Schmid, Nenna Yvonne, Alannah Myles, Ken Hirsch, Ari Gold, The Waifs, etc. First 1,000 entries will each receive a USA Songwriting Compilation CD. Submission deadline: May 31, 2013.
BOOKING & TOURING SUCCESS STRATEGIES & SECRETS ONLINE COURSE
Getting great gigs, building your audience and selling more merchandise is exactly what your career is all about. This online course is jam-packed with 12 hours of downloadable audio mp3s and PDF Action Guides. There are 5 modules: Module 1: Tour Goals & Planning Strategies, Module 2: Routing Your Tours, Module 3: Negotiation Techniques & Contracts, Module 4: Working with Presenters, Bookers, Promoters/Advancing the Date, Module 5: Targeting Your Markets for Maximum Audiences. Plus 2 hours of bonus classes, BONUS #1: Website Maximizer-Is you’re your Website Selling You? Learn how. BONUS #2: Copy Writing: How to write fan emails, press releases and other promo copy that get responses. Bonus # 3: Three free Industry Biz Booster Monthly Mentor Interviews. And finally, weekly call-in office hours to talk with former agent, manager, author, creator, Jeri Goldstein directly, about the course and your career. Booking & Touring Success Strategies & Secrets gives you artist-tested, step-by-step strategies to help you reach your career goals and make all of your tours profitable. http://performingbiz.com.
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!
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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Muse's Clues - By John Brhel
©2011-2013 John Brhel. All Rights Reserved.
Used By Permission
Hello troubadours, tunesmiths, and musical mavens. You probably noticed something different about this month’s edition of Muse’s Clues. No, we haven’t changed to an Adult Contemporary format and this is not a guest post by Busta Rhymes.
Whereas I previously started each article with a lyric from an awesome (IMO) pop song, I’ll now be diving right into the actual subject matter. The reasons for this are three-fold:
1) It’s really hard to tie together lyrics from a random song with the overall vibe of a website (you try it)
2) You don’ t have time for fluff in your Twitter-centric lives
3) All I want to do is quote Michael Jackson lyrics and that would just be annoying
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about this month’s site: Music Think Tank.
According to Wikipedia, a think tank a.k.a. “is an organization that performs research and advocacy concerning topics such as social policy, political strategy, economics, military, technology, and culture.” As far as I know, nobody’s gone to the trouble of performing the research necessary to navigate a successful musical career. For some reason or other, knowing how to promote a show or record quality demos has taken a backseat to boring stuff like national defense and sustainable energy. Go figure.
Music Think Tank gives musicians a place to turn to for real, actionable advice from actual industry pros. It’s like the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (a think tank based in Washington), only less nerdy. This isn’t some site that purports to offer “PRO ADVICE!” but actually features articles written by people who’ve never set foot in a recording studio or played a dive bar at 1 a.m. for four people. Music Think Tank is a blog produced by pros for pros.
Take, for example, “How to be a Rockstar at Social Media: What Every Band Should Be Doing,” published on March 18. The article offers practical solutions to real issues facing modern musicians. As someone who works in social media every day, I can say that this article offers valuable insight on the benefits of listening to your audience via social media. It’s not some rehashed “How to Write Songs” gobbledygook. Not only that, but it was written by Simon Tam, founder of the dance-rock band The Slants and a well-known record producer, so it’s legit.
Music Think Tank’s tagline is “where the music industry thinks out loud” and the site truly delivers on that promise. It offers hundreds of articles in categories as far-reaching as “Creating a Strong Community” to “Displaying the Right Attitude” to “The Benefits of Blogging.” Like any good think tank, Music Think Tank is chock-full of info for those that seek expert advice.
Just take a look at another recent article, “The Musicians Guide To YouTube Marketing”. I don’t need to tell you how crucial it is for you to promote your songs on YouTube. If it weren’t for YouTube, the world might not have been blessed by the talents of Justin Bieber. This article offers tons of great advice for anyone serious about promoting music via YouTube. And, for the record, Justin Bieber is actually quite talented.
Along with informative posts, Music Think Tank is also a great place to share your music. The Radio page features tons of songs by a variety of artists. You simply click on a song and it starts playing via a convenient web player. A message at the top of the Radio page reads “If you don’t like the music on this page, please upload something better…” Why not take Music Think Tank up on their offer and upload some of your own jams?
While you’re reading articles like “The Justin Timberlake School of Landing Pages” and sharing your latest jazz-metal-fusion tracks, you can read news articles provided by Hypebot, Music Think Tank’s sister site. Hypebot offers multiple articles a day on topics as far-ranging as legal news, interviews, mobile apps, touring, and more. Some of the most recent posts include “Prince's 9 Principles 4 Becoming A Musical Icon” and “Discovering The Next Gotye With Social Media Data.” Rad.
For all you songwriters that are too busy writing lyrics and sleeping in vans to check out the website, you can subscribe for Music Think Tank updates via email. If you do happen to have time in-between sound checks and co-writing sessions, you can always contribute your own original material to the site. Just read the contributor guidelines before submitting your 1,000 page essay on how Lady Gaga ruined the music industry.
If solving social and political issues isn’t your speed, stop by Music Think Tank. This is just the type of think tank us musicians need. Economic and political stability? Big whoop. There are songs to be written!
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. A lover of melody and the left-field chord change, John lives and breathes songs. Write a song with him via Skype (berealmusic) and follow him on Twitter (@johnbrhel).
Featured Article - By Brad Dunse
QUICK TIP: Lyrical Ventriloquist
Many of you have probably seen the contemporary ventriloquist Jeff Dunham and his routine with Peanut, Achmed the Dead Terrorist, Walter, Jose the Jalapeno on a Stick, and others.
Imagine for a second if Jeff started working one of his puppet’s mouth, but Jeff’s normal voice came out instead, and when Jeff’s mouth actually moved, it was the voice of Achmed.
It just wouldn’t seem right. Visually it would make you scratch your head.
Well, as songwriters we are lyrical ventriloquists. We’re putting words in a singer’s mouth and want the right voice to come out too.
Regardless if we are writing for another artist or ourselves, the right voice or impression needs to be given. Sometimes we need to be concerned with a singer’s reputation or how the lyrics make a singer look to the public, and sometimes it is the delivery of the song’s content that dictates whose mouth we work in our song for it to be best received as a whole.
When writing your song, try writing from first person—I or me, second person—he or she, and the general they or we. It can make a huge difference how a song is perceived by the listener.
If you read last month’s tip, you might remember I sent you up to the web or your library to listen to Phil Collins’s song, Another Day in Paradise. Well, let’s take another look at this song again this month to illustrate a point.
Pull up the song, have a listen, pay attention to the lyrics this time and not the groove; and I’ll hang out here for ya…
Okay, so Phil’s singing this from an on-looker’s perspective… an innocent witness to an exchange between two people. A desperate woman needing help on the street and a man ignoring her trying to hide his inhumanity while whistling as he walks away.
This 3rd person perspective works best to get Phil’s point across. Why?
Try this and you’ll see. Go have another listen, but this time “be the lady’s voice.” Where he sings out “She” you sing “I”. Sing it as if you are the lady in the song and drop out the “me” in the chorus singing just “you in paradise” to keep the context right.
Go ahead; I’ll hang out here again…
Okay, now singing it from that perspective, does it not seem like a “poor me” song? There is compassion for the lady, yes, but if Phil sang it from the “I” perspective, it would not have had near the impact it does from an on-looker telling what he has seen.
Okay, now to finish up go listen once again, and where Phil says, “he,” you sing “I” or “me”, be that guy whistling as he walks across the street. And in the chorus, just sing it as, “another day for me in paradise” for perspective sake.
Go ahead and see how that sits with you, I’ll hang here…
Okay, makes a difference doesn’t it? This perspective makes you, the singer; seem pretty damned cold to humanity doesn’t it? Definitely not the right perspective to take on a song like this. I can pretty much guarantee if you pitched this to an artist in this perspective, you’d never ever get it cut. No agent, manager, or producer wants his artist to look like a cold-hearted selfish so-and-so.
So you can see having the right perspective or right voice, just like Mr. Dunham’s puppet routine, can make a difference in how a song is perceived and how the singer is perceived as well.
Look at your song catalog and see if a different perspective might help make a song or two a stronger song, or put you in a little better light in the public’s eye.
Until next time… keep writing from the heart!
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)
Top Seven Guitar Practice Techniques For Becoming A Better Guitarist
- by Mike Philippov
Want to make your guitar playing better RIGHT NOW? Read this article for 7 guitar practice ideas that will exactly that.
How To Gain A Lot Of Motivation For Guitar Practice - by Tom Hess
Have you been experiencing a lack of motivation in your guitar practice? Are you unsure about what and how to practice? Get effective guitar practice tips and become a more motivated guitarist by reading this article.
Interview With Robin Frederick - by Jan Fabyankovic
Robin talks about the difference between radio hit songs and film & TV songs, how a music supervisor decides whether or not to use a song, what the best way is for songwriters to get their songs used in film and TV, and many more relevant and interesting topics in this informative interview.
Making Cliché Metaphors New Again, As Done By the Script -
by Anthony Ceseri
Some metaphors are so good, they end up being overused by everyone. As a result, they lose their meaning. In this article, we'll look at how to put a new twist on an overused classic.
How to Make Your Songwriting Sound Better and More Professional -
by Ryan Buckner
Do you want to be able to write songs that take the exact ideas you have in your head and bring them to life in your music? Would you like to understand how professional songwriters keep their listeners interested in a song for the entire piece of music? Chances are, you struggle with these things in your songwriting from time to time (or perhaps frequently). Here are some tips on how to sound more professional in your songwriting.
Nothing Fishy About Scales - by Bill Pere
In working with artists around the world, I get many questions about how to make the musical aspect of a song both interesting and accessible. I was recently asked this question from a songwriter in London: "How does knowing about scales help you in songwriting, and if you write in a specific scale, are you limited to using just the notes in that scale?" His question is similar to many others I get on the same topic. Considering how much time we are made to practice scales when learning an instrument or in vocal exercises, and how much we do not enjoy it, what's all the fuss about scales? This article sorts out what you do or not need to know.
|Classifieds & Useful Services
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LYRICIST VERSION 3: THE SONGWRITER'S BEST FRIEND
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THE SUCCESSFUL SONGWRITER MOTIVATION & MEDITATION AUDIO
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Discounts for CD, and CD/Digital Download Combo shown on ordering
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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