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The Muse's News
The Muse's News
The Muse's News
An E-zine For And About Songwriters.
Issue 18.0
March 2015

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 - by adventurer and songwriter, Richard Miller.
* Featured Article: Quick Tip: Do You Experience A Breakdown Once Your Song Gets Cruising?
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 1998-2015 - 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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“Producers have Pro Tools. Writers have Word. Songwriters have MasterWriter.”
–Rob Thomas

Editor's Musings:

Hello again! March is almost here ... SO close to spring. I can't even imagine it at the moment with all the snow on the ground and the -20 Celsius weather (ugh), but I at least know there's a light at the end of the tunnel. I hope those of you in the frigid north east are managing to stay warm! And that those of you in warmer climes can hold yourselves back from rubbing it in. ;)

There's a great newsletter for you this month! But before I get to that, I wanted to mention a new course that will be starting up on March 9th about licensing your music for TV and film. I know how hard it is for musicians to make a living at what they do. Licensing your music is a great way to make an extra income- provided you know the ins and outs of doing so. To teach you that, Aaron Davidson has put together a program called "The 90 Day Music Licensing Challenge" . But there's only room for 50 participants at this time. (Full disclosure: I am an affiliate of Aaron's program - but I'm *very* picky about the programs I affiliate with and I truly believe this will be a very helpful course for you, should you decide to take it.) There are even a bunch of free courses included when you sign up. But click this link to find out more. Aaron can explain it to you in his own words. :) We've been given a unique opportunity to get an early start on registration here through The Muse's News, especially since registrations are limited. I hope some of you will benefit from that.

And now, on to the raffle winners!

  • Sabine Heusler, from Mountain View CA, has won a copy of Virtual Studio Systems' Lyricist software.
  • Denise Dimin, from Los Angeles, CA, 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.
  • XOCH from North Las Vegas, NV, has won a copy of the wonderfully useful book, "100 Miles To A Record Deal" by author and publisher, Bronson Herrmuth.

DO YOU WANT TO WIN A RAFFLE PRIZE? You don't get if you don't ask!
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 wish you every success for the coming month and beyond!

All the best,


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


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Music Reviews:


Cyrus Rhodes

* Liz de Lise
* Paul Kloschinsky

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.


shoe. - Genre: POP

shoe.’s 4th self-released album “The Speed of Life” is an emotionally musically piano-driven, MotownSuper Pop/IndieRock exploration of sounds, instruments and happy accidents. Lyrically it’s about being humbled by the magnitude and speed of Life. Want the album for yourself visit, for tracks and entire “The Speed of Life” album.

Songwriting Book Review By: Tim Zbikowski

Songwriting Without Boundaries
by Pat Pattison

If you’ve ever watched competitions in the Olympic Games, perhaps you were impressed with performances of the top athletes.  Most of these athletes share this in common:  years of intensive training sessions under the direction of a capable coach.  If you will pardon my sports metaphor, it is also possible for you to improve your songwriting in the same manner.

“Songwriting without Boundaries”, authored by Berklee College of Music professor Pat Pattison, provides structured training sessions for songwriting from a coach with outstanding credentials.  I’ve attended seminars given by Pat, taken his online lyric writing course and read other books he wrote.  Pat is definitely in the elite songwriting coaching level.

In this book, he provides a training plan and writing sessions designed to elevate you to a higher level of songwriting.  Pat organizes the training into four sections of 14-day writing “Challenges” including Object Writing, Metaphor, Object Writing with Metaphor, and Writing in Rhythm and Rhyme.  Each day he leads you through writing exercises on a specific topic.  The sessions are easily manageable timed writing segments one each of 5 minutes, 10 minutes, and 90 seconds.  You can easily do this, no excuses of not enough time!

In the first challenge of Object Writing, you will become more familiar with four of your best friends, What, Who, When, Where.

In the Metaphor challenge, you learn metaphors are a “collision of ideas” with definitions and examples of three basic types of metaphors.  Timed writing exercises teach you how to create each type.

As you probably guessed, the third challenge, Object Writing with Metaphor, brings together the skills you learned in the first two sections.  The writing exercises train you to link object qualities with ideas in a variety of directions.  I think you may be pleasantly surprised with your ability to create interesting and meaningful metaphors.

Now it’s time to put your training to practical use in the final challenge of Writing in Rhythm and Rhyme.  This organizes all those great concepts you created into a structured lyrical form.  Your training exercises teach you how to place stressed and unstressed syllables in proper positions.  You learn to pace yourself in lines with tetrameter, couplets, common meter, pentameter, and combinations.  In the process, you’ll be using varieties of rhyme schemes and song structures.

Once you’ve completed the training provided in “Songwriting without Boundaries”, you will have the skills and confidence for a higher level of performance in your next songwriting competition.  Good luck 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.  In his teens, he played drums in a garage band and in school band programs. 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, is a member of ASCAP, and enjoys writing and composing in multiple genres.  He plays percussion in an Americana group called Squirrels in the Attic.

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 Indie International Songwriting Contest is a 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. More than $77,000 in prizes awarded. Deadline is March 1st, 2015. Pop, Rock, Folk, Americana/Country, Instrumental, and Jazz/Blues genres open. Only accepting the first 150 entries! $30 for Basic Numerical Critique or for $10 more a Written Critique. Learn more at


The Johnny Mercer Foundation Songwriters Project is a FREE week-long songwriting intensive for emerging songwriters between the ages of 18 and 30 in all genres of the American popular song including country, musical theatre, rock, Latin and contemporary pop. It takes place June 21-27, 2015 on Northwestern University’s Evanston Campus. Participants work with award-winning master teachers Craig Carnelia, Andrew Lippa and Lari White. The week ends in a celebration concert with the participants and master teachers performing songs written throughout the week.

Visit for more information and to apply by March 2, 2015!


The 2015 Wildflower! Performing Songwriter Contest, featuring four $500 cash awards, hotel accommodations for finalists, and a chance to perform on the Courtyard Stage, is now accepting entries. Genres include Acoustic, Americana, Bluegrass, Blues, Celtic, Country, and Folk. This event is open to performing songwriters age 18 and older who must perform at the Wildflower! Festival in Richardson, Texas on May 16, 2015 if chosen as a finalist. Submission deadline is March 1, 2015 and only 300 entries are accepted. For details, visit: or

UK SONGWRITING CONTEST - Future Music launches new Songwriting Competition!

UK Songwriting Contest: New for 2015, Future Music is launching a UK songwriting contest to find the best songwriters in the UK. The UK songwriting contest will provide the opportunity for both aspiring and established songwriters to get their music heard and potentially get signed. There is also the opportunity to perform in a Grand Final showcase in London in front of A&R who work for the three major record labels.
So, if you think you’ve got what it takes and want your songwriting heard by music industry professionals, enter the songwriting contest here:


Two teenage songwriting sister team Justine Dorsey and Kerris Dorsey from Los Angeles win Overall Grand Prize at the 19th Annual USA Songwriting Competition. Kerris Dorsey breaks the previous record of the Youngest Overall Grand Prize winner at just 16 years old. The previous record was held by Sarah Lonsert, also from Los Angeles, 17 years old at that time in 2010.The song has just been signed to Walt Disney Music and appeared in the box office hit movie "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" starring Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner. In it’s landmark 20th year, the 20th Annual USA Songwriting Competition is currently accepting entries from now till May 29, 2015. For more information, visit:


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:


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

©2014-2015 Richard Miller. All Rights Reserved.
Used By Permission


The last couple of months have been centred around meeting people, developing networks, making friends and building contacts.  Contacts are great and maybe, depending on your methodology, essential to creating and/or realising your songs but, as with all good things, they come with conditions and one of the biggest is you’ve got to talk to them.  Having learned music by ear it soon became readily apparent I didn’t have the vocabulary to express myself well to fellow musicians.  Fortunately, however, through a connection on the composition course a colleague sent me off to Toby Rush’s Music Theory for Musicians and Other People.  Toby has created and is continuing to develop a series of PDF files that explains the basics of music theory so they can be understood by just about anybody.  He mixes humour and education so even if you know all there is to know its still worth paying a visit for a few smiles.  His treatise on Motivic Development is very entertaining.

Sometimes when looking for something it is very easy to overlook the bleeding obvious.  The same colleague recommended Reddit.  Now, if internet sites were cities then Reddit would probably be equivalent to Shanghai and yet I’d never heard of it.  You can subscribe to any number of subjects, sub-reddits, to customise your homepage.  Those which appear most closely related to songwriting include:

  • WeAreTheMusicMakers
  • MusicTheory – which also has a handy Beginners Resource Reference area
  • Songwriters
  • SongwritersCircle
  • Transcribe

I tried a few others but there wasn’t much action.  Anyway, you can wander through here to see what might catch your eye or ignite your creativity.  There are constructive comments to just about any question you could imagine but be careful.  If you get too involved you won’t have any time left to write songs.

As promised here is an update on the first of the Coursera courses.  The composition course is coming to a close and I’m finishing up my final project.  It is fairly certain the work will not be stylistic and probably has more than its fair share of parallel fifths and octaves but it has been nothing but fun, highly entertaining and very educational.  The project is called The Doo Wop Do Wander and starts with the basic I VI IV V chord progression that underpinned so many hits in the 50s & early 60s (and all other times to be frank).  The harmonic progression was elaborated through the insertion of inversions, diatonic and chromatic substitutions, the occasional secondary dominant, sequential progressions, progressions within progressions, and anything else that came to mind as the tune developed through iteration.  The base line was smoothed out through additional use of inversions, the voicing corrected and rhythmic ideas added.  Once that was finished a melody line was laid over the top.  It is very unlikely to win any songwriting contest but it is far and away the most fluid piece of music I ever wrote and that was the primary goal.

It is hard work.  A mountain of information comes in over a very short period, 6 weeks, but, if you’ve got the time, it would definitely be well spent taking this course.  If you’re interested in receiving a certificate there is a fee but if you aren’t its free.


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: Do You Experience a Breakdown Once Your Song Gets Cruising?

Let's start off this month with a little midnight ride. It might not be midnight where you are, but just pretend you are about to take a ride into the inky darkness, all right?

You've taken a seat, gotten all comfy, and the beginning starts off slow with the wheels building up a little steam as they say. Soon the clickety-click-clickety-boom starts picking up as things are moving along.

Next thing you know, you're so into it momentum has your head bobbing and hair flying...

You not only hear the steady pounding Rhythm, but you can feel it in your body...

There's a sense of climbing, a bit of tension building...

Your heartbeat pounds with anticipation as you wonder what's coming up...

And then it happens...

The bottom drops out, for a second there is a deafening silence, and then people start screaming, and it adds a whole new level to the... song.

What? Did you think I was going to say roller coaster or something?

Are you kidding? Anyone can jump on a roller coaster and go for a spin. Once you are strapped in, where can you go but where ever the pre-built track takes you.

But to build a song which takes listeners on a musical ride you've designed? Now we're talking some fun here!

So what do I mean about going for a ride in our song anyway? A lot of times we talk about lyrics, rhyme, meter, syllable stress, length of lines, parts of songs... all that stuff which falls under the lyric craft.

But there is another craft, an underlying life of a song which serves as foundation to any lyric. It's the emotion of the music itself. In fact, if you listen intensely to a melody or a groove deep enough, it can draw a tear to your eye or a smile to your face, without even a single word being sung or spoken. It's sort of a learned phenomenon, but that's a little deep for right now. 

Music really is quite emotionally powerful.

So as songwriters, don't you think we should capitalize on it? Of course we should, and there is one cool way to do that. It's not used in every song. If it were, then it wouldn't have the effect it does. 

Kind of like if you had candy every day, it wouldn't be a treat. And this piece of ear candy works so well, it ignores the genre label.

It's called the breakdown.

It is so effective in bringing extra feeling to a song; you will find it in children's songs, folk songs, worship music, classic rock, blues, pop, country, and it probably doesn't stop there.

What is a breakdown anyway?

A breakdown is a section of a song, verse or chorus, or bridge (though most often a chorus) which:

• Drops all music and leaves only vocals

• Drops to one instrument and vocals

• Drops volume and dynamics of various or all instruments, showcasing vocals

A classic breakdown would be all instruments dropping and a steady drum beat keeping time. It could span one chorus section, maybe two chorus sections, it could span perhaps only one little vocal phrase to build up what comes after. It's all designed to build tension and release, and then often times returning to a heightened sense of musical emotion.

You'll see various samples of these in the little medley I cooked up for you.

Why have a breakdown in the first place?

• Sometimes songs just need a break from monotony

• Sometimes songs beg for a heightened intensity or intimacy

• Sometimes songs have an audience on their feet ready to join in and share the experience by singing along with or instead of the artist.

Again, you'll see samples of these in this 5-minute medley. It has more effect if one listens to the entire song, but I've tried to give a hint of its effect in various genres and time lines. Take a few minutes and Listen To The Breakdown Medley Here

As you listen to songs on the radio, on the net, or in the stores; pay attention if they have a breakdown in them. Better yet, write a new one yourself, or take one of your older songs and build a breakdown within it. Usually the more upbeat and lively the song, the easier to achieve the musical emotional roller coaster effect in it. 

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.


7 Reasons The CAGED System Literally 'Cages' Your Guitar Playing
- by Tom Hess

Don’t waste another second of your time learning the guitar scales by using the CAGED system.


How To Play Awesome & Exotic Guitar Licks - by Tom Hess

Tired of playing the same guitar licks over and over using the pentatonic and blues scales? To become a more creative lead guitarist, you must learn how to play with tons of expression – this can sound especially cool when used together with exotic guitar licks.

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:

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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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