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The Muse's News
The Muse's News
The Muse's News
An E-zine For And About Songwriters.
Issue 18.10
January 2016

In This Issue:
* Editor's Musings
* Music Reviews - More coming soon!
* 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: What You May Not Know About Song Hooks 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 1998-2016 - 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!

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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:

I hope those of you who celebrated a holiday at this time of the year had a wonderful one! Any grand plans for the new year? If not, it's time to get started on that. Goals are easier to attain when you have 'em. ;)

My goal is to get started on the new design of The Muse's Muse - and it's happening! It'll be several months from now before it's completed, but I'm glad to say that encouraging work is being started. I'll keep you all posted!

In other news, there's a new reviewer on the website! This makes me very happy. :) It especially makes me happy because you folks will already know Anastasia from having read her book reviews previously here in The Muse's News. She's a wonderful writer and a wonderful person to work with. Anastasia K is now listed as a reviewer at (how to submit music to her is on the main Music Reviews page) - and I hope you'll consider sending her some stuff to have a listen to.

If you'd like to become a reviewer yourself and can commit to three new reviews a month, feel free to contact me!

And now, on to this month's raffle winners!

  • Anji Sings, from Snellville, GA, has won a copy of Virtual Studio Systems' Lyricist software.
  • Mike Hamer, from Greenville, NC, 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.

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 2016!

All the best,


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


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Music Reviews:


More coming next month!

Are you interested in being a reviewer for The Muse's Muse? Feel free to write to me and let me know. I'm looking for folks who can commit to 3 reviews per month. 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.


Jamie Green - Genre: SINGER/SONGWRITER

With the lyrical honesty of Alanis Morissette, the soulful vocals and intricate harmonies of Jonatha Brooke and Paula Cole, and a production style that is at once contemporary and classic, Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter, Jamie Green, forges her own brand of alternative pop that leaves your heart moved and your body moving. She is two-for-two, winning L.A. Music Awards for her debut and sophomore albums, and is currently working on her third which, production-wise, is heavily influenced by Dido and Seal.

Songwriting Book Review by Tim Zbikowski

The World in Six Songs
By Daniel J. Levitin

I introduced author Daniel J. Levitin a couple months ago with my review of his best-selling book “This Is Your Brain on Music”. Repeating briefly, Leviton is a former professional performing musician and record producer. He switched careers to neuroscience and now runs the Laboratory for Musical Perception, Cognition, and Expertise at McGill University.

Leviton continued linking the human brain and music by writing “The World in Six Songs – How the Musical Brain Created Human Nature”. Here, he sets forth interesting and provocative theories about how music contributed to human evolution. These aren’t mainstream or widely accepted theories, but worthy of consideration.

If you are looking for a book to teach you songwriting fundamentals or techniques, this isn’t it. However, if you are intrigued by concepts of why music seems to be such an integral part of our lives and thoughts, this is a great book to read.

When I saw the book title, I wondered which six songs Leviton would select. I read very quickly in the first chapter he was not talking about individual songs, rather he refers to six types or categories into which all songs fit. Those types are friendship, joy, comfort, knowledge, religion, and love.

Following the introductory first chapter, there are six more chapters in the book, (surprise) one for each type of song. Friendship songs go back to the beginning of humans acting together in groups. They include rhythmic drum beats which enabled ancient tribes to work together in unison for coordinated war efforts.

In the “Joy” chapter, Leviton writes emotions of happiness cause us to break out in song and dance. In this chapter, like all others, he cites examples of songs and often interview with the writers of the songs. Here he is discussing the song “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic” with writer and singer Sting.

Leviton takes his six songs theme a bit further in the “Comfort” chapter when he offers a list of the top six songs that inspired him in 1975. He also mentions how songs offer comfort to working class people, and relates top six songs of three of his coworkers in the pancake restaurant where he was employed. Somehow, Leviton manages to weave this together with why we listen to comfort songs to make us feel better and the hormones released in the brain.

I could go on and give you examples from each chapter, but I believe you get the idea. What I like about this book isn’t that it taught me anything about songwriting, but it made me consciousof why I was writing a particular type of song. Now I will also be more likely to define the type of song and try to be more focused and avoid mixing different types into one song. Most of all, I like that Leviton makes me think more deeply about my songs. Quite possibly you may have the same reaction. If you take my recommendation and read “The World in Six Songs”, feel free to let me know your thoughts. To all Muse’s News contributors and readers, a very happy holiday season to you 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 an annual song competition to give recognition to some of the best emerging songwriters in the world, help develop their talent, and provide useful tools for developing the success of the artist. Pop, Rock, Folk, Americana/Country, Instrumental, and Christian/Gospel genres are open! Accepting the first 150 entries in each genre. Deadline Feb 19th, 2016. $30 for a basic entry (numerical score) or $40 for a Written Critique by our pro judges!


Welcome to The Global Songwriting Contest, an annual international competition for musicians of all ages. Unlike other songwriting competitions, GSC is limited to only 1,000 entries, allowing you better odds of winning than any other contest. With an entry fee of only $25.00 per song, it is also the most affordable of its kind. GSC is open to amateur and professional songwriters of all ages around the globe. Realizing that the music business is very difficult to break into, our prizes are cash awards. The First prize is $10,000.00.

Our song contest will be ongoing; as soon as one ends we start another. Because entries are limited per contest, we expect to have several rounds of competitions per year, therefore awarding thousands of dollars to winners. Entries will be judged on originality, composition, melody, and lyrics (when applicable). Your songs may be entered in 12 of our categories.

Please visit us at:


If you want to know the exact songwriting components used in songs people actually want to download and own, this free 4 Part Songwriting Video Series will teach you just that. The videos even come with cheat sheets for you to use as an easy reference next time you’re writing a song. Start watching the FREE songwriting videos (and download your cheat sheets) by clicking 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:


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

©2014-2016 Richard Miller. All Rights Reserved.
Used By Permission

Richard is taking a break for this issue ...

But he'll be back with us in the New Year. Thanks for your patience! :)


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: What You May Not Know About Song Hooks

One of the most important parts of a song is the hook, right?

Ask a music pro, they’ll say your song needs a hook.

But, that statement is only partly true.

Just one hook?

Maybe back in the day, but today? Not so much.

And then, what type of hook?

Where should it be in the song?

There’s more to a hook than meets the ear.

Most people think a hook is the part you remember most, but even that isn’t 100% true.

If I were to say, Pretty Woman by Roy Orbison or Van Halen. You hear the unmistakable opening guitar riff.

But, is that the only hook?

We’ve got the opening riff, the signature drum beat, a drop out in the middle, and even Orbison doing a vocal growl.

Take the bass line foundation of Michael Jackson’s Thriller. The overall groove in the Bee Gee’s Nights on Broadway. The opening riff in Guns and Roses Sweet Child of Mine. The sax solo in Jerry Rafferty’s Baker Street. The vocal candy produced with an auto-tuned vocal on Cher’s Believe. Peter Frampton’s talk-box in Do You Feel Like We Do. The lyrical hook in Train’s 50 Ways To Say Goodbye chorus. Or, how about the story line from a boatload of country tunes like The Gambler or What Was I Thinking?

In fact, I bet if you listen to all of the above songs, you’ll find something interesting happening.

Hooks come in different forms, lengths, and subtleties even within a single song. And there isn’t just one.

They’re pieces of ear candy or bits of anticipation set out like bread crumbs to keep you on the song’s trail from intro to outro.

Can you listen to Sweet Child of Mine and not be hooked in by the opening guitar riff and still lean in to hear Axcel Rose’s bluesy vocal ending?

Let’s have a quick look at Train’s 50 Ways To Say Goodbye. There are other songs with more glaring hooks, but this one is probably more the norm and causes one to lean in a bit. It also uses multiple types of hooks.

Listen to it here then we’ll go on.

Hook 1: Intro Musical groove.

The Mexican horn and guitar style that kicks this tune off is different, it is very catchy.

Hook 2: Verse Vocal and beat.

We’re then drawn in by The band’s signature downbeat groove over the continuing Mexican riffs. The boisterous raw sounding vocal gives an impression of a one-two punch on its way.

Hook 3: Pre-chorus Vocal and drop out.

We’re taken to a very quick a capella of, “That’s cool but if my friends ask me where you are I’m gonna say. “An excellent hook to set up the chorus both musically and lyrically.

Hook 4: Chorus Music and lyric.

The lyrics in the choruses are definitely the height of the lyrical hook in this song. They build in enough excuses why the girl isn’t there, that we don’t tire of them and want to hear them more.

The drastic switch from Mexican to a heavy pop rock groove really hooks you in even more. Another sub-hook is how the lyrics are stressed against the heavy downbeat. It’s as if they dance and play around the beat to add to the playfulness of the songs message.

Hook 5: Bridge Vocals.

While the bridge’s hook is fainter with the vocals breaking into a more soaring melody to set up another go at the chorus, just like a rest in a melodic line, or a shadow within a sunlit picture, not having it would seem something is amiss.

Over all, this song does a fair job of building in a string of hooks.

Notice as well, the lyrical hooks have a longer shelf life than a musical one. Even within the types of hooks are those designed to hook you quick and others to keep you hooked after the 1000th time you’ve heard it.

Here’s the trick. When writing, try to find a hook for your intro, one for your verse, one for your pre-chorus, one for your chorus, one for your bridge, and even one for your outro.

While it might not be possible to get them all, it’s a good goal.

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 Become A Highly Successful Guitar Teacher - by Tom Hess

Statistics revealed that the vast majority of guitar teachers almost never earn huge amount of money with their teaching businesses. For most of these guitar teachers, the idea alone of making $80,000 in a single year is an unrealistic dream.


3 Quick Techniques for Memorable Lyrics That Attract Listeners
- by Anthony Ceseri

This video will show you 3 ideas you can use right away for writing memorable lyrics.


How King Diamond's Vocal Technique Will Help You Play Killer Guitar Solos - Part 1 - by Tom Hess

Want to play killer guitar solos? Listen to your favorite singers! You heard right... Fact is, the majority of guitarists never even thought about studying singers to improve their guitar solos... they only take the conventional routes of increasing speed, researching new licks or attempting to learn different scale positions. If you understand how to integrate the vocal style of great singers with your own guitar playing style, you will be able to play amazing solos that sound highly emotional and expressive.


An Easy Technique You Learned in Grade School for Writing Memorable Lyrics - by Anthony Ceseri

In this video we take a look at a simple technique you're probably already aware of. It'll help you make your lyrics much more memorable. 


Want To Play Cool Arpeggio Guitar Licks? Do This: - by Tom Hess

Tired of playing boring arpeggio licks and want to make them more creative? Here’s how: focus a lot more on applying the arpeggio patterns you already know as creatively as possible instead of looking for tons of new patterns or exercises. This is not difficult to do and you can easily turn the patterns you know into badass guitar licks using the following 4 approaches... 


An Easy Technique You Learned in Grade School for Writing Memorable Lyrics - by Anthony Ceseri

Are you writing bad songs? In this video, we'll look at why you should (as crazy as that sounds)... 

Classifieds & Useful Services


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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!)

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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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The Muse's News is part of The Muse's Muse, a web resource for songwriters.

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