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The Muse's News
The Muse's News
An E-zine For And About Songwriters.
Issue 16.3
June 2013

In This Issue:
* Editor's Musings
* Music Reviews - The reviewers have a break this month! (Doesn't mean you shouldn't send something in!)
* New Artist Spotlight Additions
* Songwriting Book Review - by Tim Zbikowski
* Musical Notes - Songwriting Contests & Market Info.
* Muse's Clues - Songwriting Web sites that inspire - brought to you by Songwriter's Hall of Fame member, John Brhel.
* Featured Article: Quick Tip: One Thing, That's All It Takes 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 1998-2011 - 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!)

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:

Hi folks! It's finally starting to feel like spring/summer again. Phew. What a roller-coaster spring this has been. The weather just has *not* been cooperating.

I'm still singing on SingSnap and enoying myself HUGELY. If any of you decide to check it out, look me up and say hi. I'm JodiMuse over there.

Anyway, going to keep things really short this time around because I know we're all busy right now and to be honest, the newsletter deadline came upon me rather quick this month. :)

The raffle winners for this month are:

  • A`nji from Snellville, GA, has won a downloadable version of Rhyme Genie, a dynamic rhyming dictionary featuring over 300,000 entries and 30 different rhyme types.

  • Terri Jo Jenkins, from Denver, CO, has won a copy of Virtual Studio Systems' Lyricist software.

  • Lisa Meissner, from Tupper Lake, NY, 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.

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.)

There are actually green, growing things out there! Who knew? :) Maybe nature will be inspiring to you. In any case, I hope you find lots of writing fodder (preferably of the good kind) in the coming month. Enjoy!

All the best,


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


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Drop by for more details and start yourself on the road to improving your vocal chops today.

Music Reviews: None for this month


The reviewers are pretty busy this month, so I'm giving them a bit of a break. :) They'll be back with more reviews next month. Thanks for your patience!

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.


Priscilla Hernández - Genre: NEW AGE

Priscilla is a singer/songwriter and illustrator from the canary Islands, Spain. From ethereal haunting gothic sounds and dark lyrics to celtic pop and new age landscapes, discover the spellbinding side of fairytales with her bitter lullabies.

Songwriting Book Review By: Tim Zbikowski

How To Write Songs That Sell

by Anthony Ceseri

The title of this month’s reviewed book gets your attention like you hope the first line of your latest song grabs the listeners: “How to Write Songs that Sell”, an ebook by Anthony Ceseri. This author seems to me to be the consummate student of songwriting. An excerpt from Ceseri’s website, www.successforyoursongs,com , describes him best.

“Anthony Ceseri is a songwriter and performer who has traveled the country in pursuit of the best songwriting advice and information available. From classes and workshops at Berklee College of Music in Boston, to Taxi’s Road Rally in Los Angeles, Anthony has learned from the most well-respected professional songwriters, producers and performers in the industry.”

Ceseri divides “How to Write Songs that Sell” into 4 main modules:
• The Big Idea
• Chord Progressions
• Melody
• Lyrics

He further separates each module into two distinct songwriting approaches named: ‘The Find Inspiration Method’ and ‘The Do It Yourself Method’. The former is based on taking an existing song and analyzing, deconstructing and reconstructing it to form a new song. The latter leads you through writing from scratch.

Beginning with ‘The Big Idea’, an example of ‘The Find Inspiration’ approach is observing an existing song’s lyrical concept and writing it from a different point of view. The DIY method describes how and where to listen for song ideas and hooks. A brief introduction to song structure is included. I found particular interest in Ceseri’s concept of developing an avatar for each character in your song.

In ‘Chord Progressions’, the Inspiration method is again based on existing songs with suggestions on how to alter rhythm, tempos, chord lengths, strumming patterns, plus a variety of other techniques, with a mention chord progressions cannot be copyrighted. The DIY method lists commonly used chord progressions, plus Ceseri provides a supplement called “The Chord and Melody Cheat Sheet”.

Moving on to ‘Melody’, Ceseri is quick to note melodies can be copyrighted. He presents a variety of techniques to use existing melodies as inspiration and modify them for a result sounding significantly different than the original. The DIY approach begins with using notes in your chords to create the melody. Also, “The Chord and Melody Cheat Sheet” is a useful tool for this task.

Ceseri backs off a bit from his two-method approach in the Lyrics module, stating it is difficult to take an existing song and modify lyrics to create a new song. He concentrates a large portion of the book on lyrical writing techniques. I recognized many of these from participating in a Berklee online songwriting course. A partial list of topics includes: engaging all senses, use of metaphors, the concept of balanced and unbalanced ideas, line length and number of lines, lyrical rhythm, rhyming techniques, and more.

Finally, Ceseri includes a bonus module entitled “Mindset & Practice” to help you overcome mental obstacles to songwriting success. He suggests several actions to keep you motivated and concludes with the “Five P’s for Success”. I’m not giving away the ending, so visit the site to download a copy of “How to Write Songs that Sell”, 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!)


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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 &
Please check there regularly for updates!


The OpenMic.US Singer-Songwriter Competition provides performing songwriters an opportunity to showcase their music on an national stage. All artists compete head-to-head for votes. The acts with the most votes get great prizes and incredible industry exposure. OpenMic.US president, David Craver, stated, "As the world's leading promoter of live-music open mics, we are in contact with some of the best emerging talent in the world. We're excited to provide a platform where they can get the recognition they deserve."

The top-five acts that garner the most votes will receive prizes. The prize packages include:
Alvarez Guitars: Acoustic guitars
Electro-Voice: RE 320 microphones
TC-Helicon: Vocal pedals
A&R Network: Exposure to labels/publishers
The competition is open to all. Recorded songs may be solo or with a band.

Visit the competition website to enter: 
Entry fee: $25 ~  Competition deadline: July 15, 2013


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:

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!


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.


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Muse's Clues - By John Brhel

©2011-2013 John Brhel. All Rights Reserved.
Used By Permission

Tucked in between sci-fi novels, biographies, existential Russian literature, and fitness guides, you’ll find several songwriting books on my bookshelf. One of my favorites is “Songwriters on Songwriting” by Paul Zollo, a collection of interviews with some of popular music’s most famous songwriters.

Ever wonder how Brian Wilson writes songs? How about Carole King? Crack open “Songwriters on Songwriting” and you’ll find out. Brian Wilson and Carole King may be amazing songwriters -- “God Only Knows” and “You’re So Vain” could play in my head on repeat forever and I probably wouldn’t go insane -- but they’re kind of hard to relate to being mega-successful and all. Where can you turn for advice from lesser known songwriters i.e. songwriters more like yourself?

That’s just what Rick Jamison is attempting to provide with On Songwriting, a fantastic blog featuring interviews with an eclectic variety of successful-yet-paparazzi-free songwriters.

Much like Mr. Zollo, Rick Jamison is fascinated by the songwriting process. Unlike Mr. Zollo, however, Rick shines the spotlight on emerging songwriters -- folks just like you and me. It’s cool to learn about Paul Simon’s songwriting process during the making of “Graceland,” but it’s just as cool hearing vocalist and songwriter Paula Lane describe how she wrote the song “Harry Lee” about her axe murder ancestor. Beat that, “You Can Call Me Al”!

As of this article, there are 35 songwriter interviews available at “On Songwriting.” If you’re looking for inspiration, go ahead and find out what your songwriting brethren have to say. More likely than not, you’ll notice commonalities with your own songwriting techniques -- I know I did -- and improve your craft. Whether it’s Chris Austin Song Contest winner Audrey Auld, CD Baby founder Derek Silvers, or some other awesome tunesmith, the songwriters at On Songwriting have a lot to say. Way more than Prince will ever tell you, that’s for sure.

On Songwriting isn’t just some random blog put out by some obsessive pop music fanatic like Rob Gordon in “High Fidelity.” Quite the contrary. Rick is an accomplished songwriter, as well as a flatpicker, author, and oil painter. He’s produced three CDs of original music “and is perpetually working on new songs and projects.” Now here’s a guy that digs the creative process. If he thinks these songwriters are worth paying attention to, they probably are.

Take Phil Rosenthal, for example. In his interview for On Songwriting, Phil said “The worst songs I’ve written have been the ones based on someone else’s suggestions or advice.” As someone who’s tried to write “commercial” at various points in my songwriting career, I wholeheartedly agree with Phil’s statement. That’s just one valuable nugget of information, however, in a sea of great content.

According to his About page, Rick created On Songwriting in 2008 “to help unravel the mysteries of how to write a song.” No matter how masterful of a songwriter you think you are -- whether you’re just starting out or have more Grammys than Mr. T has gold chains - you can always improve. Heck, I’ve been writing songs for 20-plus years and I feel like I’m just getting my feet wet.

Along with invaluable interviews, Rick also offers helpful tips and ideas to help songwriters do their magic. Take “An Intention to Listen,” for example, in which Rick encourages songwriters to actively listen and seek out ideas in order to facilitate the songwriting process. I might go weeks at a time without developing a concrete idea, so this is great advice for my procrastinating self. Then there’s “Too Good to Be True,” a post highlighting that feeling you get when you realize that great idea you stumbled upon isn’t a pre-existing song like you thought it was but rather an original idea. Totally makes those times I subconsciously rip off Michael Jackson melodies not seem as bad.

Too busy to visit On Songwriting because you’re painfully slaving away for hours figuring out how to resolve that bridge in the weird key you thought was so amazing? No worries. Just sign up using the email subscribe list and you’ll get On Songwriting info sent directly to your email. Sweet.

Rick is active on Twitter and Facebook, so be sure to hit him up. Who knows – maybe he’ll interview you on your songwriting techniques one day and you’ll tell him how you sometimes come up with melodies in the shower and sing into bottles of body wash. Oh wait, that’s me.

If you’re curious as to how Randy Newman and Madonna write songs, check out “Songwriters on Songwriting.” If you’d like to get an inside look into the mind of the not-famous-yet songwriter, however, I'd take a gander at On Songwriting. Some interviews are longer, some are shorter, but all offer insight to help you find your muse and write better songs. Okay, now I’d totally like to see Randy Newman and Madonna co-write.


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: One Thing, That's All It Takes

Swaying from the craft side of songwriting this month; if I were to sneak a peek at your notes app on your iDevice, To Do list in Outlook, or your task list in your day timer; would I find things like:

• Fix dripping kitchen faucet

• Write out new workout routine and start every morning it… for real this time!

• Get back to Dave… he’s called three times now and wants to meet for lunch.

• Research on the boss's pet project he’s thinking about having me head up.

• Get computer set up with image back up routine before another unrecoverable crash occurs.

• Make out new healthier meal plan and go shopping.

• Read up on the school board candidates and decide who to vote for

• Make an appointment for the car—strange noise going on under hood.

…and the list goes on.

Ever feel like your list is longer than your day, your week, longer than your month? And on top of that you want to keep your songwriting momentum going, but with everything going on… how?

Well, there are times in life we have to make room for emergencies or important priorities, and if we don’t watch it they can run away with the show. Weeks or months later you may realize you hadn’t done anything with songwriting. Shame… shame… shame…

There is an extremely easy thing you can do to prevent that from happening and also surprise yourself in a week or so on just how much you did.

The secret? Do at least one thing towards songwriting every day.

For some it might be calling a publisher to see if they’d gotten the CD you promised to send them. For another it might be making the call to book studio time to get a song recorded. For yet another it might mean scheduling a writing session with yourself, shutting off the phone during that time and hanging a Do Not Disturbed… Or Else sign on your door.

And for those really busy days it might mean just stopping off at the music store for a set of guitar strings you need, writing potential titles from conversations you hear on the train to work or during lunch, or… taking 15-minutes over morning coffee to read a songwriting book or e-zine instead of the depressing news.

Whatever it might be, commit to doing at least one thing every single day towards songwriting and don’t hit the pillow until one is done.

Hey, it’s just like a savings plan. If you were to take the $5 you spent on a cup of exotic coffee and a bar at the coffee shop or C-store and sock it away, by week’s end you’ve got $35… and by year’s end you’d have over $1800!

I’m not anti-coffee… there’s a cup on my desk as I type, it’s illustrating the culmination of the small steps that can bring a tidy sum… keeping you “in the game”. Granted, the idea is to keep writing all the time, but for those busy times, it’s nice to have a plan to help make you feel you’re getting things done.

And don’t forget an earlier tip of making it known to new acquaintances or people on the street you have conversations with, that you are a songwriter. Those little nudges help get the next song written even though you are living a busy life.

So, what did you do today to advance your songwriting?

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.


Use Your Favorite Singer's Voice To Write Guitar Solos

- by Tom Hess

Would you like to have the ability to write guitar solos which are highly melodic, expressive, and passionate? If you are like the majority, then you have a hard time making your lead guitar playing sound exactly how you want it to. A great way to solve this problem is to start listening more closely to your favorite singers.Here's how...


How To Promote Your Music Career And Build Your Music Fan Base
- by Tom Hess

Are you trying to find the best way to promote your music and gain a huge following of fans? Read this... 


How To Know If You Have Mastered Vibrato On Guitar - by Mike Philippov

Take this test to learn how good your vibrato technique is on guitar and to learn how to measure progress with this area of your playing.


Little Boxes and the Flow of Information in a Song - by Bill Pere

Keeping a listener engaged in a song requires a flow of information that unfolds at a fast rate with a logical flow, just as in a conversation or spoken presentation. This article presents some techniques you can use to help you organize and evaluate the flow of information in your songs, to help you craft them for maximum impact. 

Classifieds & Useful Services


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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