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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Hi folks. I'm going to keep this musing pretty short so that you can get to the stuff you *really* want to read about. ;) Though I will take this opportunity to share a song I recently performed on SingSnap that some of you might enjoy. Just if you feel like listening (no obligation whatsoever as I only do this for fun. :) )
I do want to mention though, that we have a new columnist over here on the Muse's Muse website. His name is Rajiv Agarwal from AudioShapers - and he'll be talking about the various aspects of audio and music production. This is an area that has been woefully underrepresented here on the site - especially in this day and age of "do it yourself" music production. But no longer!! :) I invite you to check out his new section and read his first article where he lays down the foundation for what will come in the future. You can also email him with questions. Feel free to welcome him to the site!
Beyond that, for those of you who enjoy Country music, there's an email publication I think you should know about, mentioned below. I think you'll really enjoy it. Lots of new stuff in this newsletter and on the site, too. I invite you to check it out.
Without further ado, here are the raffle winners for this month:
from Point Roberts, Washington, has won a 6 month membership to GuitarMasterClass.net. 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.
from Darlington, England, 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.
- Jamie Kiffel-Alcheh from Los Angeles, CA, has won a copy of the wonderfully useful book, "100 Miles To A Record Deal" by author and publisher, Bronson Herrmuth.
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.)
Thanks for subscribing, and never stop writing! (even if it's not necessarily songwriting. It's amazing what comes to you much later after you've had some time to digest ...) Have a wonderful August!
All the best,
(Many thanks to the sponsors that help support this newsletter!)
COUNTRY MUSIC CLASSICS IS A F-R-E-E- WEEKLY EMAIL NEWSLETTER -
...with news and information about classic country music -
Story Behind The Song - Question and Answer -
Today in Country Music History - Number Ones On This Date -
Jack Blanchard's column - plus news and updates on classic country artists and songs.
For a F-R-E-E- subscription - send a blank email to:
Great music is only a click away!
Little Miss Higgins - Genre: BLUES
Here is a selection of the great artists and bands highlighted
the Artist Spotlight section of The Muse's Muse.
Across The Plains, is the 4th full length album she's recorded. It was recorded in Winnipeg, Manitoba at Bedside Studio. She co-produced this album with fellow musician and producer Jaxon Haldane. The album is filled with all original songs. Lots of horns, muck-bucket bass, upright bass, wonderful percussion, guitar, mandolin, banjo, and even one song that is a acapella vocals accompanied by stompin' and clappin' and a sandalwood fan. She won the 10th Annual Independent Music Award for Blues Album.
|Songwriting Book Review
By: Tim Zbikowski
The Arpeggio World
by Josip Pesut
We add a bit of international flavor to our book review this month with an eBook entitled The Arpeggio World by Josip Pesut.
Josip Pesut is a guitarist and music composer from Zagreb, Croatia. Learn more about Pesut and access this eBook offering through his website at www.josippesut.com.
The Arpeggio World is an instructional book about learning to play arpeggios on the guitar. Since I am only a “strum-a-few-chords” guitar player, I asked for a bit of help from my cowriting friend and guitar instructor Claire Van De Crommert.
Pesut begins his book with four chapters he calls “Necessary Music Theory”. He believes to enable one to perform guitar arpeggios well, it is important to understand certain basic concepts of music theory. These are: 1) Major and natural minor scales, 2) Degrees and intervals, 3) Diatonic triads, and 4) Major scale modes. Although I feel better texts exist for music theory, what makes this book different is how he relates music theory directly to the guitar. For example, he includes visual aids to demonstrate triad finger positions on the neck of the guitar. If you’re thinking there’s nothing new about chord fingering on a guitar, perhaps you might be surprised, like I was, to see nine different ways to play a C Major chord on a guitar.
Moving past music theory, take your guitar in hand and get ready for an extended journey in mastering fingering for increasingly complex arpeggios. Guitar instructor Claire commented Pesut’s approach is a reasonable one. He knows you want to dive right into it, so he starts with a chapter on basic 5-string arpeggios and offers techniques and a variety of patterns. Then he takes it back down to 2-string arpeggios and gets deeper into the technical aspects including chord progressions, fingering and picking techniques, pattern variations and more. Pesut adds chapters to cover each additional string. As you would expect, the level of performing complexity also increases.
Throughout the book, Pesut gives you exercises to improve your skills and assignments to challenge your understanding and ability to use the techniques he teaches.
If you’re looking for casual late evening bedtime reading before you nod off, this isn’t the book for you. However, if you’d like to improve your guitar playing skills and are willing to put some effort into it, The Arpeggio World might be just your ticket to ride. You may soon be adding interest to your songwriting with terrific riffs between lines of your favorite composition. Play on, 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!
15th ANNUAL GREAT AMERICAN SONG CONTEST NOW ACCEPTING ENTRIES!
The Great American Song Contest features awards for 50 winners in 10 categories and provides $10,000 in Prizes. Entrants receive written song evaluations from music-industry judges, including publishers, music
producers and recording artists. The event is open to songwriters, lyricists and composers around the world. Sponsored by Songwriters Resource Network, a trusted educational resource for songwriters everywhere. Submission deadline is October 31, 2013. For details, visit: http://www.GreatAmericanSong.com
2012 GREAT AMERICAN SONG CONTEST WINNERS:
Ed Romanoff, Crit Harmon & Josh Ritter were the Grand Prize winners for their song "St. Vincent de Paul." First-Place category winners were Martin Flanagan for "Screen Door" (Acoustic/Folk); Randall Michael Tobin for "Kinda Cool" (Adult Contemporary); Cal Scott for "Paid Too Much For the Diamond" (Singer-Songwriter); Daniel James Maguire for "Ricochet" (Rock); Lanny Sherwin for Airport Blues" (Special Category Music); Dawn Kenney for "Sing Me Home" (Christian/Gospel); Carol Kay for "Parking Spaces" (Country); Lou DeAdder for "Jazzy" (Instrumental); Stephanie K. & Michael J. Powell for "Story of A Broken Heart" (Pop); Tjuan Benafactor for Casualties" (HipHop/R&B); and Mark Stepakoff for "Cold Blood" (Lyric Writing). You can hear these winning songs on the Great American Song Hall Of Fame at: http://www.greatamericansong.com/hall-of-fame.php.
SPEAKS LOUDER THAN WORDS SONGWRITING PODCAST
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.
NEWSONG MUSIC & NPR'S MOUNTAIN STAGE LAUNCH 12TH ANNUAL PERFORMANCE AND SONGWRITING CONTEST
NewSong Music has recently announced the launch of its 12th annual Mountain Stage NewSong Contest – one of North America’s premier showcases of emerging performing songwriters. Twelve finalists in this year's contest will be invited to perform in the live performance finals at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts' David Rubenstein Atrium in New York City. The 2013 grand prize winner will receive a suite of career-advancing recording and performance opportunities that include:
• A fully-funded EP, produced and mixed by producer, musician and songwriter Charlie Sexton at Asheville, NC's Echo Mountain Recording Studios
• An appearance on National Public Radio's highly acclaimed Mountain Stage show
• His/Her own featured performance at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City during the 2014 season.
• A Sonus Musician's Chair, custom made to the winner's specs by Brian Boggs Chairmakers
• A fully-funded EP release PR/publicity campaign, courtesy of PledgeMusic
• A featured showcase spot at the 2014 Sundance ASCAP Music Café
• Cool new gear from Moog Music.
Additionally, ALL entrants will receive the following discounts, simply for entering:
• Oasis CD Manufacturing is offering a 5% discount off of any order
• Brian Boggs Chairmakers, makers of the Sonus Musician’s Chair, is offering a 15% discount
• Echo Mountain Studios is offering a 15% discount on studio time on their day rates
For more information and to enter please visit: https://www.newsong-music.com/contest/
The deadline to enter this year's General Round is September 15, 2013.
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!
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.
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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
I’m about to out myself big time.
Oh well, I’ve already declared my love for more than a few notoriously nerdy things since I started writing for The Muse’s News (Hall and Oates and ABBA come to mind), so what I’m about to reveal shouldn’t come as too big of a shock to those who’ve read my prior articles.
I heart video game music. There.
Talk to anyone who’s ever written a song with me and they’ll most likely tell you 1) “He likes weird chord changes” and/or 2) “He’s obsessed with melody.” Short of songs about rabid circus clowns or flapjacks, I can basically get down to anything if the melody is decent enough, no matter the lyrics. And that’s what I love about so much video game music: the gosh-darn, oozing with catchiness melodies.
I know what some of you might be thinking: That video game music isn’t “real music,” that it’s for kids, that it’s just mindless background noise to keep you pumped up while you shoot aliens, drive cartoon go-karts, and battle orcs named Gaththrog. And you’d probably be a little bit right. But dismissing video game music because it’s “video game music” is just as stupid as dismissing film music or classical music. I mean, Tchaikovsky wrote “The Nutcracker” merely as the score to a ballet, so it must not be worth listening to, right? Umm, wrong!
As it turns out, there are tons of geeks out there just like me who appreciate the craft and beauty of video game music. Some of them even host podcasts devoted to analyzing video game music at a level usually reserved for the likes of The Beatles or Bach.
Here are some video game music podcasts I suggest listening to if you’re interested in expanding your musical palette:
The Legacy Music Hour
Like jazz? Funk? How about New Age? Tune in to the The Legacy Music Hour and you can hear these and various other popular music genres…in video game form. Co-hosted by comedians Brent Weinbach and Rob F., The Legacy Music Hour is focused on “only 8-bit and 16-bit era video game music” i.e. stuff that came out generally from the mid-80s to the mid-90s, most of which is super catchy. Each week the duo plays music relating to a particular topic, whether it be a musical style (e.g. Slap Bass), composer (e.g. Junko Tamiya) or theme (e.g. Fire and Lava levels), so things never gets stale. With more than 140 episodes and new episodes every week (without fail, I must add), the Legacy Music hour is a fantastic resource for songwriters interested in the nuances only video game music offers. Oh, and Brent and Rob are hilarious to boot.
Super Marcato Bros. Video Game Music Podcast
Have you ever wanted to dissect a Donkey Kong song like it were a piece written by Rachmaninoff? Well, tune in to the Super Marcato Bros. Video Game Music Podcast and get your weekly dose of scholarly video game analysis. The show’s co-hosts, Karl and Will Brueggemann, are not only brothers but composers themselves, and it shows. Each week the pair focus on a particular topic (e.g. Pokemon, Romantic Music) and give deep, music theory-approved analyses of obscure and popular video game tracks, going into detail on things like melody, harmony, chords, timbre, and rhythm. If you think video game music isn’t complex or intricately composed, one listen to the Super Marcato Bros. podcast will change your (chip)tune.
The VG Island Podcast
Looking for some inspiration beyond Radiohead or Lucinda Williams? How about some deep cuts from Street Fighter or Half-Life 2! The VG Island Podcast is such a great listen. Each week host Michael Villalon plays and analyzes tracks from all throughout video game history. With an emphasis on instrumentation, rhythm, and melody, The VG Island Podcast shows just how intricate video game music can be. I recommend giving it a listen if you’re looking to introduce new elements into your songs. Maybe, just maybe, some track from Streets of Rage or BioShock will inspire you to write the next great pop song. You never know.
Whether you’re a hardcore gamer or haven’t touched a video game since you played Duck Hunt at your uncle’s house in 1987, you ought to give one of the above podcasts a listen. I’ve honestly learned a lot and have discovered new melodic ideas by listening to them. I’ve even considered writing some of my own “chiptune” music myself.
Video game music IS music. So why not expand your musical horizons and give it a listen sometime? You might never blast Legend of Zelda music while driving around in your car (guilty!), but you just might appreciate the artistry beyond the blips and bloops. And hey, it probably wouldn’t hurt to throw in a Metroid-inspired guitar lick in your songs every once in a while.
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: What Color Is Your Songwriting?
Before we get to this month’s tip, I’ll ask you to try something.
We’ll need a color, let’s pick green? Sound good? Great!
Next, set a 30-second timer so you don’t have to be distracted looking at the clock. Don’t just say you’ll give yourself a guesstimated time, set a timer.
Then, when I say GO! Start the timer and as quickly as you can, find every item in the room or in view that is green.
I mean try to find everything green! Find as many as you can. Don’t waste time writing them down; just dart your eyes around making mental note of the green items as fast as you can. Okay?
On your mark, get set… GO!!
Alright, did you do it? Great! If not, please go back and humor me for 30-seconds.
Now, close your eyes and say out loud everything in the room that was the color… BLUE!
Ah-ha! I know it… I tricked you. I told you originally to find everything green, but now without looking around, go ahead and list what was blue.
Close your eyes and try to think of everything you might have seen that was blue, then come back.
So maybe you remembered seeing the sky outside, the shirt hanging in the closet, and a book on your desk.
Look around now, what about that blue mini-disk, smart phone, the on/off button on the monitor, a fridge magnet, or the kids shoes laying there you tripped over coming home from work.
There’s a lot more than you remembered seeing, isn’t there?
Go back now to the beginning and list all those things that were green. I’ll hang out here.
Did you notice it was much easier to recite all the green items compared to the blue things? What does that have to do with songwriting?
It has a lot to do with what we tell ourselves we can or cannot do. We might tell ourselves we are capable of the A-B-Cs of songwriting, just like listing the green things we had a chance to study, but then miss out on the blue things—not pressing in a bit in our writing.
In other words, we really can reach far beyond what we think we can, though if we don’t stretch ourselves, we’ll metaphorically fall into the rut of only looking for green items in our songwriting routine.
Let’s drop the limiting ideals and have a full color palette and open mind as to what we actually can do.
That way, when I suggest for this month’s tip to write one song per day… 30-songs in 30-days, your face won’t turn green in the gills and think it an impossible task.
It’s not impossible. You can do it!
Here are the simple rules.
• You’re not looking for ASCAP or BMI song of the year here; it simply needs to be a song.
• It needs to have complete lyrics
• It needs to have music or a melody if you aren’t a musician.
• It needs to have a complete song form: verse-chorus, AAA, AABA, etc.
• You should stick with one a day. Try not to fall into the "I wrote half today, I’ll do one and a half tomorrow" trap.
Are you up for the challenge?
It doesn’t have to be a perfect song, certainly you should try for the best you can, but it just needs to qualify as a completed song for the day. The idea is to exhaust your comfort zone and get to the point of really digging in. You know, get to that place where you are doing more than you ever thought you could.
See if you can get to the end of the 30-days with 30-songs. You might be surprised it can produce some very nice songs and song ideas otherwise not thought of if you hadn’t pressed in more than you usually do.
It will really get your songwriting chops kicked in high gear. You can go back after the challenge and re-write or tweak what you’ve written.
What color are your songwriting expectations? Are you limiting yourself with only green items, or will you get out a color wheel and use all the colors you need in the 30-days?
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)
How To Play Awesome Guitar Licks and Empower Your Lead Guitar Playing - Pt. 1
- by Tom Hess
Wish you could play killer guitar licks every time you pick up your guitar? The truth is many guitar players think that great guitar licks are made by playing specific notes or scales. However, this usually not the case. As you will find out in this article (and video), the key to playing killer guitar phrases is focusing on ‘how’ you play… not necessarily which notes you use.
How To Play Awesome Guitar Licks and Empower Your Lead Guitar Playing - Pt. 2 - by Tom Hess
Do you struggle to play great lead guitar licks? Chances are you’re making the same mistake as most guitarists: You add extra notes to your licks in order to cover up your lack of guitar phrasing skill. To make your lead guitar playing sound great, you must understand how to play every single note in your licks with as much expression as possible. Read this article and learn how.
Here Is What You Need To Know To Teach Guitar Lessons
- by Tom Hess
Want to become a guitar teacher? Learn how while avoiding the most common mistakes made by new teachers.
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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:
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