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The Muse's News
The Muse's News
The Muse's News
An E-zine For And About Songwriters.
Issue 16.10
January 2014

In This Issue:
* Editor's Musings
* Music Reviews - Cyrus Rhodes
* New Artist Spotlight Additions
* Songwriting Book Review - by Tim Zbikowski
* Musical Notes - Songwriting Contests & Market Info.
* Muse's Clues - Songwriting Web sites that inspire - Looking for a new Muse's Clues writer! Could it be you?
* Featured Article: Quick Tip: Eat Your Beans and Do Your Homework by Brad Dunse
* On Site Featured Article - An article (or articles) already online for your viewing pleasure.
* Classifieds & Useful Services
* Contact information
ISSN 1480-6975. Copyright 1998-2014 - 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! :-) ) Have a Look!


I personally use HostDime - and LOVE them. Really. Their service is superb and prompt, they really know what they're doing, you can chat with them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and their pricing (The Muse's Muse uses a dedicated server) is very reasonable. Check them out!

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

Write Better Songs with MasterWriter 2.0 - at a New Price!WRITE BETTER SONGS WITH MASTERWRITER 2.0 - NEW PRICE!
(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.

Editor's Musings:

Welcome to another issue - for another new year! I hope those of you that celebrated it had a wonderfully Merry Christmas filled with good cheer and lots of laughter and love with family and friends. Though I probably should have included it in *last* issue's newsletter *before* Christmas, I thought I'd pass along this link to The Christmas Song that I did through SingSnap (I've talked about that site before). I hope you enjoy! It's still sort of the season, and New Year's is coming up ... so consider that my Happy New Year to you, too. ;)

In other news, John Brhel has had to move on from writing our Muse's Clues. I know he'll continue to do great things and I'm HUGELY grateful for all he's contributed over the years. (Thank you SO much, John!) That does leave a vacancy here though. If you'd be interested in becoming the new Muse's Clues columnist and feel you'll be able to contribute one article a month for this newsletter, I'd love to hear from you!

Thank you once again for subscribing and showing your support. I hope you've found this newsletter useful to you and if you have any suggestions on how it could be more useful, feel free to email me and let me know, ok?

And on that note, let's get to the raffle winners for this month, which are:

  • Shane Hazlewood, from Joplin, MO, has won a copy of Virtual Studio Systems' Lyricist software.

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

  • David Skelton from Bend, OR, 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.

  • Roger Roseborough from Freeport, NY, has won a ZEEDIS, pocket-sized, circular slide rule for finding the notes of chords, scales, modes and also for finding diatonic triads of scales/modes, instantly and easily. Thanks,! What a great tool!

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.)

Have a wonderful New Year, everyone! Time to get cracking on those resolutions ... ;)

All the best,


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


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Music Reviews: Cyrus Rhodes


Cyrus Rhodes:

* Falling You

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.


Terrell Bowers - Genre: ROCK

Turning Point acknowledges the darkness in life while it shines on the color. The earthy jamming rock runs deep with veins of blues, country, and funk. The stories strike a delicate balance of being light-hearted, serious, and uplifting at the same time. Eleven different musicians played on the album.

Songwriting Book Review By: Tim Zbikowski

The Story Behind The Song
Compiled by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor & Jo-Ann Geffen

The Girl In The Song

by Michael Heatley & Frank Hopkinson

For this month’s review, I’m offering a “two-fer” since both of these books have a similar relationship to songwriting.  Rather than providing instruction on the craft of writing, they illustrate the inspiration, or the muse, of the songwriter.  Seems appropriate for this newsletter’s namesake!

First up is “The Story Behind the Song”, a collection of short, personal stories about the creation of 101 well-known songs, compiled by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and Jo-Ann Geffen.  A few examples to pique your interest include:  “My Way” by Paul Anka, “Stop in the Name of Love” by Lamont Dozier, “The Heart of Rock and Roll” by Huey Lewis, “Garden Party” by Rick Nelson, “Daydream” and “Do You Believe in Magic” by John Sebastian, and “Breaking Up is Hard to Do” by Neil Sadaka.

If you are a “lyric junkie” like me, you like to study and analyze written words and stories told by the songwriter.  Each of the songs in the book includes a full set of lyrics.  Quite often, the songwriter discusses the origin of the hook or specific lines of the song.  Always interesting and informative, I found it hard to set the book down, always wanting to read just one more story.

A second book is “The Girl in the Song”, by Michael Heatley and Frank Hopkinson, subtitled “The True Stories Behind 50 Rock Classics”.  Did you know there really was a “Girl from Ipanema” and her name was Heloisa Eneida Menezes Paes Pinto?  Maybe that’s why they didn’t use her real name in the song!

Other examples include the mysterious Candy Darling of the Kinks song “Lola” (she? may have been involved in a couple of other songs), Joan Baez as “Dylan’s muse in “It Ain’t Me Babe”, Patti Boyd inspiring several songs due to her relationships with Eric Clapton and George Harrison, and (though he revealed it several years ago) Neil Diamond provides a bit more information of how Caroline Kennedy inspired his classic hit “Sweet Caroline”.

In most of these stories, the author includes a tale of what happened in later life to the girl in the song.  Their lives are often ordinary, sometimes uplifting, sometimes tragic.

Although neither of these books teach songwriting techniques, they are fun to read and demonstrate how songs can be created based on an experience in life or interaction with another person.  Find your own muse and write on!



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.

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


Berklee Online, Berklee College of Music's extension school, is the world's first accredited non-profit music institution to offer Bachelor's degrees online. We are now accepting applications for our two new programs: Bachelor of Professional Studies degrees in Music Production and Bachelor of Professional Studies degrees in Music Business. Applications are now open. Degree programs begin in 2014.

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 &
Please check there regularly for updates!


This is incredible offer that allows artists to gain access to $340 worth of music directories for only $59.95.

The ULTIMATE Indie Bundle consists of this year's edition of The Indie Bible, The Indie Venue Bible and Indie Bible ONLINE as well as a copy of next year's Indie Bible ... all for only $59.95! Over 50,000 music listings in all including Radio Stations, Music Magazines, Venues, Labels, Distributors and much more!

Click here for details and to order online.


Speaks Louder Than Words is a podcast that comes out every other week, with songwriters touching on their musical influences and upbringing, what's important to them in a song and often revealing the ideas behind their singles and albums. Since starting, Michael Kiwanuka, Nicky Graham, True Tiger and Ed Drewett have all appeared as have many more, sharing their thoughts on the craft. Click here to find previous episodes on iTunes... You can subscribe to get instant access to future releases.


IISC is an annual song competition to give recognition to some of the best emerging songwriters in the world, help develop their talent, and provide useful tools for developing the success of the artist. Contest are limited to 150 entries per genre so you don't get lost in the crowd! Choose between a Basic Entry (numerical score) or for $10 more, a Written Critique on your song. IISC is in its 8th competition and has given away more than $54,000 in useful prizes. Rock, Pop, Folk, Americana/Country, Instrumental, and Gospel/Christian genres are open! Visit our website for more details. Deadline is January 31, 2014.

A REVOLUTIONARY NEW WAY TO SHARE AND PROMOTE MUSIC 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!


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.


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.


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!

Muse's Clues - By John Brhel

©2011-2014 John Brhel. All Rights Reserved.
Used By Permission

John is unable to continue writing this column - but the search is on for someone to take up the gauntlet. Is that you? If so, email me and we can talk about it. Thanks!


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: Eat Your Beans and Do Your Homework

Have you ever wondered what green beans and math have to do with songwriting?

Ah, I knew you did! A common question we ask ourselves over the ages.

What’s that, you hadn’t? Oh.

Well, I’ll give it a go.

I grew up one of those meat and tater kind of kids. You know, fake out eating my green beans then spit them in the crunched up napkin. Sadly, mom busted me when she was cleaning up the table.

I even tried to mix them in with the mashed taters to dull the taste and get them down… all it did for me was scrunch my face thinking worms were in there and ruined my taters. I’d avoid veggies at all costs.

I had the same problem with math. I had a high school algebra teacher who just loved to look through those old-school, thick black rimmed glasses with those beady eyes burrowing a hole in my head, then smile while he gave out my D’s. 

The worse the assignments and tests got? The more that evil grin pushed those glasses up his face against those beady eyeballs, and the worse I did on the next assignment… wheeeeeeeew… he gave me a real math complex.

Like my veggies, I avoided math at all costs.

Eventually though, I realized a diet of just meat and taters isn’t good, and math is a pretty useful skill to have in life.

Happily I now love my veggies… even Broccoli… wow! And I wish that beady-eyed teacher would have been there when I not only finished my college tech math course a month ahead of schedule, but with an A+.

So what does this have to do with songwriting? Quite a lot actually.

It’s all about facing your fears and weakness and tackling them.

Do you have a weakness or fear in one part of songwriting? For me, I was always a groove minded person. I could listen to a song a hundred times and never recall a complete line of lyric in it.

You know…

Pretty woman… blah blah blah blah… street

Pretty woman, blah blah blah blah… to meet

Blah blah blah blah… truth

Blah blah blah blah… as you.

I was digging on the backbeat and that infamous guitar riff.

I would pay attention to the beat, the syncopation, the fills, the riffs… everything but lyrics.

I’d even pay attention to how the lyrics phonetic rhythm fell against the songs groove, but what the words actually said? ... I didn’t have a clue.

So when I started writing songs, I realized I had a real weakness and fear of making lyrics meaningful or even make sense. All my writing colleagues would reference various writers’ lyrical work, and I’d sit there like one of those faceless folk art figurines.

I had to admit to myself I had a weakness, and to challenge myself to effectively write lyrics.

For you maybe it’s to work on timing or structure. Maybe you find you write similar sounding songs in the same key, same tempo, and same rhythm patterns.

Maybe you write in the same genre and you really want to spread the net wider and catch some pop, jazz, or blues tunes.

Hey, you can’t have a balanced diet eating red meat and taters your whole life, and you can’t go around asking your friend how much to tip the waiter when you go to breakfast; sooner or later you’ve got to face those weaknesses and put an end to your fear.

And you know what? I bet you’ll find your fear is totally unsubstantiated, just like my math complex was, and you’ll learn that green veggies are awesome if prepared the way you like.

So what do you feel is your weak point in songwriting?

Take a few minutes to give yourself an honest evaluation of your writing and what you’ve avoided.

We’re all learning every day, and we never really “arrive.” There’s always an area we can improve on in songwriting… an area we feel less comfortable than others… what’s yours?

Identify it, work on it, open up and fork in a healthy pile of green beans to take your writing to the next level.

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.


Quickly Become An Excellent Guitarist By Studying John Petrucci's Playing
- by Tom Hess

Here are the top five commonly passed over areas of Petrucci’s style that will help you become a better guitar player...


How Making 'Fast Progress' Might Keep You From Becoming A Great Guitarist - by Tom Hess

Do you assume that becoming a superb guitarist requires that you make progress as fast as possible? In reality, this assumption can actually prevent you from reaching your musical goals in a short period of time.


The Top 7 Guitar Teaching Questions You Shouldn't Be Asking
- by Tom Hess

Are you ready to become a more successful guitar teacher but struggle to solve many problems that seem to be holding you back? Truth is, this happens to all guitar teachers. In order to move forward and develop a flouring guitar teaching business you must continually ask the ‘right’ questions that will promote growth and prosperity. Unfortunately, if you ask the ‘wrong’ questions (as most guitar instructors do) you will condemn yourself to mediocre success at best.

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!


Writing a great melody is the #1 component to writing a song your listeners will want to buy, and hear over and over again. If you want some easy ways to improve your melodies to start writing songs your fans will love, check out this FREE report. It'll teach you some great (and simple!) tricks for writing sophisticated and marketable melodies:

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.

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


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