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The Muse's News
The Muse's News
An E-zine For And About Songwriters.
Issue 17.7
October 2014

In This Issue:
* Editor's Musings
* Music Reviews - Dan Cohen
* New Artist Spotlight Additions
* Songwriting Book Review - by Tim Zbikowski
* Musical Notes - Songwriting Contests & Market Info.
* Muse's Clues - Songwriting Web sites that inspire - by adventurer and songwriter, Richard Miller.
* Featured Article: Quick Tip: Your Song And Its Big W 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!)

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“MasterWriter will not only help you write great songs, it will make you a better songwriter in the process.”
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–Rob Thomas

Editor's Musings:

Hello and welcome back for another month, folks. If you're just joining us, great! Welcome! :) If you've been here a while, thanks for sticking it out. I appreciate it.

Well, fall is on its way ... but here in the Toronto area, you'd never really know it. October is my birthday month so it's one of my favorite times of the year. Right now, we're actually getting 25 C degree weather though. And I certainly won't complain. Considering we had very little of a summer, I feel it's only fair. ;) I hope the weather is great where you are too!

Thanks to all of you that answered my questions about Florda. You sent me some wonderful information and I'm hugely grateful. I have a lot to think about!

And I just got back from Tucson, AZ where I was at a voice over conference with a hundred or so of my peers. What a *wonderful* bunch of people they are. Truly. I was inspired. And it's remained with me like an afterglow. :) Tucson was beautiful, too! Not really my kind of weather ... especially considering we were there in monsoon season ... but it was a great place to visit and I had a fantastic time. The trip also introduced me to an artist named Ted DeGrazia. WOW. If you ever have a chance to go to his Gallery in the Sun, I highly recommend it. Truly inspirational. You can find more information on the man and his art here. You'll probably recognize some of his pieces.

As for this issue, there's lots of new stuff to help encourage and inspire you. And the raffle winners are mentioned below:

  • Alice Hesselrode, from Windsor, ON Canada, has won a copy of Virtual Studio Systems' Lyricist software.
  • Tamika Collins, from Port Macquarie, Australia, 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.)

I'll let you get to the good stuff now. ;) Have a wonderful month!

All the best,


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


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Music Reviews:


Dan Cohen:

*Jazz Orchestra

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.


Jane Joyce - Genre: POP

Jane Joyce explodes onto the 2014 music scene with her debut hit single “Kill This Beat”! Co-written and produced by Gardner Cole who wrote “Open Your Heart” by Madonna. Bringing fun, excitement, and sass, Jane is shaking up the pop world, one banging track at a time.

Songwriting Book Review By: Tim Zbikowski

"The Gershwins and Me"

by Michael Feinstein

I’m deviating a bit from our customary books about songwriting to an interesting book I have been reading about a legendary songwriting duo, George and Ira Gershwin. Author Michael Feinstein is quite an accomplished songwriter, composer, musician and singer in his own right. He started playing piano at age 5 and has continued playing and performing his entire life, earning five Grammy nominations.

As Feinstein describes in the book, his connection to the Gershwins began in his early 20’s when he was introduced to Ira Gershwin. Ira was impressed by Feinstein’s knowledge and performance of Gershwin compositions and he hired young Michael to catalogue his sizeable collection of phonograph records. This lead to more involved work researching and cataloguing published and unpublished sheet music and recordings, much of which were stored in Ira’s home.

Working with Ira Gershwin for many years yielded a wonderful set of contacts to well-known celebrities in the music and acting trades. You can’t blame Feinstein for name-dropping and telling celebrity tales, that’s what adds interest and entertainment value to the book.

Along the way, you have an opportunity to study Gershwin songs. Each of 12 chapters begins with Ira’s lyrics to one of their compositions. From his discussions with Ira and others, Feinstein relates why and how the songs came to be. Much of the time, these songs were written for musical theater and the success and failure stories, plus behind-the-scenes details, captivated my attention. A CD is included with the book of Feinstein performing each of the 12 songs.

One might think there is little to learn about the art of songwriting by reading a book about songwriters. However, I learned at least one thing by examining pictures of George Gershwin’s original manuscripts shown in the book. Gershwin composed on piano. In fact, he was a very talented pianist and quite often was asked to perform at social gatherings. (Getting him to stop was another matter!) From the manuscripts, it appeared to me little or none of the composing was driven by chord progressions. George was creating melodies, generally played by his right hand. The left hand (bass clef) added harmony and chord symbols were rarely noted.

I have often marveled at the complex chords in works by legendary composers like Gershwin and Harold Arlen (“Over the Rainbow”). My best guess was chord analysis came later based on the bass clef notation. As an experiment, I tried composing a short melodic section on piano without regard to chords and added a left hand part that simply sounded good to me. Then I ran a chord analysis on the left hand part using my Logic Pro program. I was amazed at the result, I had unknowingly created chords I would never have dreamed of using!

If you need a break from reading books about mechanics of songwriting, I highly recommend “The Gershwins and Me”. I think you’ll find it enjoyable and entertaining, and you just might learn something interesting or be inspired to create a great work of your own.


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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Before you do anything, you have to make sure that your demo of your song is as strong as the song itself. Competition is very high among songwriters.

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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 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 November 20, 2014. For details, visit:


Don Clarke & Kalla Bremer won top honors for their original song "The Long Walk Is Over." First-Place category winners were Jonas Friddle for "Man Was Make to Fly" (Americana/Folk); Ryan Gollogly for "Almost Famous" (Adult Contemporary); Dave Gunning & George Canyon for "These Hands" (Singer-Songwriter); Chase Manhattan & Night Argent for "Immortalized" (Rock); David Haley Lauver for "Mary Saw the Angels" (Christian/Gospel); Scott Stevens for "We Grow Up" (Country); Johnny Vanderlip "I Know A Secret" (Instrumental); Machine McKee "Too Damn Beautiful" (Pop); T. Edwin Doss for "Gonna Be A Blue Elvis Christmas" (Special Category Music); Jutes for "Plastic Smile" (HipHop/R&B); and Mark Stepakoff for "Memory Museum" (Lyric Writing). You can hear these winning songs on the Great American Song Hall Of Fame at:


Win one of 5 amazing prizes worth over $2000. Also don't miss the Mini-Monthly Giveaways and stay tuned for the MelodyFusion.Com jingle contest kicking off in September 2014. Enter now by simply registering on the website!

Whether you’re a music lover, promoter, musician, singer, or just want to win a smoking hot instrument, the “MelodyFusion Band Gear Give-Away” gives you more chances to win every single day! Grand prize winner selected 2/28/15 but mini winners selected monthly!


The IAP and the Best CD of the Year Awards gives recognition to outstanding innovative works of independent music from around the world. There is never a fee of any kind for any aspect of these awards. For more details, please visit our website at: , and click on Submissions.
Deadline: December 31st, 2014.


The DSA 2014 Song Contest is one of the longest running international song contests for amateur songwriters. Offering over $5,000 in cash and prizes this year, the DSA has EIGHT categories in all: Country, Pop/Rock/RandB/Alternative, Americana/Folk/Bluegrass, Christian/Inspirational, Love Songs/Easy Listening, Children's/Novelty, Singer-Songwriter and Instrumental. See Contest Rules for eligibility. Accepting Submissions 7/1/14 through 9/16/2014. Click here for more info about this contest, and for more information about joining DSA (membership not required to enter contest). Click here


Women of Substance Radio is an Internet Radio Station (with our own Mobile App) that has been on the air for 7 years. Our review board hand-picks the BEST music by female artists in all genres from both label artists and Indies. New music is added weekly and promoted on Social Media. We also feature videos on our blog daily. WOSRadio is a unique platform for Female Indie Artists to showcase and promote their music to targeted listeners and music buyers.

Visit:  / Listen:


The 11th Annual IAMA (International Acoustic Music Awards) is currently accepting entries, this awards competition is judged based on songwriting, performance & artistry. Win prizes in 8 different categories: Best Male Artist, Best Female Artist, Best Group/Duo, Folk/Americana/Roots, AAA/Alternative, Instrumental, Open, Bluegrass/Country. There will also be an Overall Grand Prize winner awarded to the top winner worth US$11,000, which includes radio promotion to over 250 radio stations in US and Canada, featured on Acoustic Cafe, a syndicated radio program. You may also obtain the entry form at:


Songwriter Connect will connect you to established artists near you. We are creating a new platform for songwriters and composers. The main feature will be that we will connect you to established artists near you. We also cater for local, unrecognized singers and bands who are on the lookout for talented and screened songwriters to collaborate on their next project. Register now to be one of the first songwriters on this innovative platform!

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 - Richard Miller

©2014 Richard Miller. All Rights Reserved.
Used By Permission

Trying To Dig Deeper

As I was writing last month’s article it struck me that it didn’t really draw from the full spectrum of music  and it’s time to broaden the search.  It soon became apparent the results depended heavily on how the question was asked.  There are many ways to percolate savvy designs to the top of search algorithms on the internet but could there be other ways to look?  I can’t confess to a magic formula but reflecting on this I remembered how we would always wander into the tourist office wherever we travelled and that seemed as good a place as any to start.

For no good reason whatsoever I chose Ghana, Indonesia, and Barbados and tried to find a media site from within the area that opened an avenue to local music.  In Ghana the GhanaWeb reported on MUSIGA support for aged musicians.  I’ve yet to find a link to the music. If anyone digs one out I’d like to hear about it, but I did stumble across GhanaMusic where there are samples to a variety of Ghanian music.  From there it’s easy to follow up on any artist or idea that may spark interest.

Wandering off to Indonesia I couldn’t find much at the official tourist site but eventually unearthed something at the bottom of ‘People and Culture’.  There’s plenty of Gamelan Music on YouTube and there’s also some on Bali & Beyond.  Another side turn introduced Kroncong music.  There seems to be a lot of it about and Smithsonian Folkways has some samples.  If you’re interested in Dangdut you can wander over here.  This site is based in the U.S. but it is dedicated to the music of Indonesia.

The tourist site for Barbados offers samples of featured artists direct from their website however I must say that ‘Barbados Rocks’ made me gag.  The other song I tried wasn’t much better so I ran away, very fast.  Another search brought me to the calypso section of the same website and that was quite a bit better.  In a short paragraph at the bottom of the page there were references to ragga soca and ringbang which, eventually, lead to Eddie Grant.

In the searches above there generally weren’t direct links to dig deeper into the music directly from the websites but there was enough in the narrative to give ideas and names to plug into a search engine and start to uncover some of the diversity out there.  Needless to say this month’s search has not even begun to scratch the surface but it did offer up a few listening pleasures from outside my normal spheres of influence and stimulated an interest in developing these exploration skills further.

Almost everyone in music agrees that the best way to develop your own musical skills is to listen as much as possible and that was what this month was about; beginning to look around for ideas outside one’s immediate knowledge and which don’t pop up automatically in today’s web world.  It’s a theme that could be interesting to develop so if anyone has some suggestions for wise searching on the internet I’d love to hear about it.


Richard Miller is a caterpillar who has begun his chrysalis phase. Originally from Maine, Richard has, via a series of mis-adventures and accidents, worked as an accountant in the English Midlands, a systems programmer on the South Coast of England (where he also pursued an illustrious career in rugby) and a statistical programmer in Belgium. Now he has put all that aside, bought a house, stripped it back to the brick and started to renovate it from top to bottom while simultaneously transforming himself from a results oriented automaton into a winged song writer. You can peak inside the chrysalis at:

Featured Article - By Brad Dunse

QUICK TIP: Your Song and Its Big W

When I was a kid I remember watching a movie entitled It’s a Wide, Wide, Wide World. A zany comedy about people from all walks of life looking for the same treasure. I’m really pulling from a long way back, but I remember the big clue was the treasure would be under a big mysterious W.

After a crazy story about people crashing, stealing, and wheeling their way through clues to find it. The big W turned out to be a set of beachside palm trees leaned in and out of each other to form a huge W.

Would you believe that movie and your song have a lot in common? I’m not kidding! Your song needs a huge W for your listener’s treasure; and not just one W either, but five Ws.

Here they are:

• Who

• What

• Where

• When

• Why

Because just about any written media uses the five Ws, we have grown accustomed to wanting them, actually DEMANDING them, in order to grasp what we are taking in.

We need to know who the song is singing to. Is it to the world in general, to a specific gender, to a social group, to a lover, to a friend, or maybe directly to you the listener.

What is the song saying? Is it making a social statement, declaring friendship, claiming unconditional love, saluting hair-raising patriotism, or suggesting ways to live life?

Where is it taking place? We hear better when we can put an image to what we hear. Does the song paint a picture of a park, a library, a bedroom, a dance floor, a corner bar?

When is it taking place? Morning, noon, or night? Or maybe after the wedding, before a job interview, or after work.

And probably most important is why it is saying what it is saying. What is the purpose, why is there a need to say it in the first place? The song needs a reason to exist.

Either before you start writing, or as you begin to write, be sure you answer all of these in the first few lines or at least the first verse. Do not let it get past verse numero uno!

Let’s take a quick peak at a lyric to see if the Ws are answered and how effective it is. Another one of my favorite writers is Jewel. Check out this beginning lyric of You Were Meant for Me. Do you see the five Ws there? The imagery she painted and the emotion with them?

“I hear the clock it’s six AM
I feel so far from where I’ve been
I got my eggs -- I got my pancakes too
I got my maple syrup -- everything but you
I break the yokes and make a smiley face
I kind of like it in my brand new place
Wipe the spots off the mirror--don’t leave my keys in the door
I never put wet towels on the floor anymore.”

Who is she singing to? Ex-lover.
What is she saying? She’s not herself without him.
Where is she? In her kitchen making breakfast.
When is she saying it? 6:00 AM.
Why is she saying it? To make you, the listener identify with lost love and console you with the same feelings you might be feeling or have felt in the past… that you were meant for each other.

Take a good look at your lyrics and make sure you are answering the Ws, and you’ll be off to a great start.

Until next time… keep writing from the heart!


A performing songwriter, Brad Dunse is  member of ASCAP, NSAI, SongU, and Minnesota Association of Songwriters. His songs have been played on various independent, internet, and public radio stations across the country with The Wall touching a major country market station. Interested in song evaluations? Go to Brad's site for more information.


How To Create Awesome Sweep Picking Licks While Improving Your Guitar Technique - by Tom Hess

If you are having problems playing your sweep picking arpeggios fast and clean then you are not alone. Many guitarists have the same problem. I suffered from the same problem...


How To Quickly Become A Professional Musician - by Tom Hess

Learn what you need to do to become a professional musician. Read this article and start building a successful music career.


How To Play Guitar Lightning Fast Using The Most Effective Picking Technique - by Tom Hess

To easily play with greater speed, you’ll need to use the most effective picking technique possible. This doesn’t require learning many new exercises for guitar... you only need to change one thing in your current guitar playing approach. Follow this basic idea from now on to make your picking technique highly efficient, giving you the ability to play faster on guitar with ease...

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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.

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This tool will revolutionize the way you write and organize your writing.
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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:

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.

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