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The Muse's News
The Muse's News
The Muse's News
An E-zine For And About Songwriters.
Issue 18.8
November 2015

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: 3 Filters Your Lyrics Can't Live Without 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:

Hi guys. Going to keep this really short since there's a lot to get to in the newsletter and things are pretty busy around here. :) I will say that if you're interested in writing CD/music reviews for The Muse's Muse, I hope you'll get in contact with me. I'm hoping for folks that can commit (eventually - once they have enough music) to 3 reviews per month. Let me know if you're interested, ok?

For your amusement, I thought I'd give you a peek into my voice over career by letting you hear a new TV Promo demo I just had produced by a very knowledgable guy out of L.A. named Chuck Duran. You can click here for a listen. Now here's hoping I can land an agent that actually *gets* such gigs! I'm putting out feelers and giving it time. :)

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

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.)

Have a great month, everyone!

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.


Jane Eamon - Genre: FOLK & TRADITIONAL

Firmly grounded in her own skin, Jane Eamon writes about every day things - life and all its glory both good and bad.  Her new CD, Caught in Time is a reflection of leaving her home town and heading out on the road with nothing but an idea of writing music and experiencing life. 

Songwriting Book Review by Tim Zbikowski

This Is Your Brain on Music
By Daniel J. Leviton

The back cover flap of the book introduces the author by stating “Daniel J. Leviton runs the Laboratory for Musical Perception, Cognition, and Expertise at McGill University, where he holds the Bell Chair in the Psychology of Electronic Communication.  Before becoming a neuroscientist, he worked as a session musician, sound engineer and record producer.

Leviton begins this book with a bit about his personal background from becoming involved in music at an early age through his work in recording studios.  Working with no-name musicians to those extremely talented, he wondered why music came so easily to some and not to others, why some songs move us and some don’t, and how we perceive and remember music.  His questions led him back to school and eventually to the field of neuroscience.

The first sections define the basic attributes of music and how the attributes are combined and form relationships that lead to the concepts of meter, key, melody, and harmony.  It’s a great refresher course even for long-time musicians and songwriters.

Then, Leviton leads us into a journey inside the human mind, with explanations of established models and theories of how the brain processes music.  Slowly he progresses more deeply into the scientific basis of brain functions.  For example, we simply take for granted we can remember the melody and lyrics of a song we haven’t heard in years, or immediately recognize a song even if it’s played in a different key, meter, and groove.  How does our brain do this?

OK, I will admit to times my eyes glazed over from the detailed studies and researcher names combined with 14-sylable words uttered only by neuroscientists.  But I soon learned to speed read through some sections to get to some of the amazing conclusions, including some from studies of people with biological deficiencies in their brains.

My personal experience includes observing my mother-in-law progress through all stages of Alzheimer’s.  She once was able to beautifully play piano by ear.  We moved her piano into the memory care residence where she lived later in life.  When she could no longer play, remember who I was, or speak with recognizable words, she would immediately react with pleasure while humming along and dancing when I played the piano for her.  What was going on in her mind?  (Side note here.  I’m not a great piano player and a memory care residence is a relatively low-key audience.  However, one day an elderly resident pushed her wheel chair into the room, listened for a moment, and loudly proclaimed: “That’s a piece of crap!”  Five minutes later after I stopped laughing I continued to play.)

Leviton travels far into the areas of the brain most active when we listen to music, and what is happening in the process.  For example, music activates many of the same areas as those associated with human emotion.  Studies showed music activated areas associated with the production of dopamine.  Increasing dopamine levels is associated with positive moods.  Now they think they know why music improves people’s moods.
Leviton dives even deeper into theories of memory.  I did some speed reading here up to a point where he says: “When we love a piece of music, it reminds us of other music we have heard, and it activates memory traces of emotional times in our lives.”

There is an often-used claim it requires around 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert in any discipline.  (Do you have 10,000 hours of practicing songwriting yet?)  Leviton explains this is due to the manner in which our brain learns, creating the neuro pathways and connections. As an example, we can learn a new piece of music by repeating it over and over.  However, our brains also create memories in “chunks” of information.  If you’re practicing a piece of music, make a mistake and stop, you never start at the point of the mistake.  Instead you go back to at least the beginning of a phrase.

This caused me to think of the many things we can use to make a song more memorable: well-formed repeating melodic phrases, pleasing chord sequences, conversational lyrics with a good hook and interesting rhymes, rhyme schemes consistent in sections, sections that fit into an organized structure, and a story that flows throughout the song.  All of these and more stimulate memory processes in the brain.  I recently heard the brain referred to as the most complex thing in the universe.

Leviton summarizes the essence of this book better than I can.  “This is the story of how brains and music co-evolved – what music can teach us about the brain, what the brain can teach us about music, and what both can teach us about ourselves.”

I found This Is Your Brain on Music to be a fascinating read.  Perhaps you will, too.  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 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. This international event is open to songwriters, lyricists and composers around the world and sponsored by Songwriters Resource Network, a trusted educational resource for songwriters everywhere. Submission deadline is November 20, 2015.
For details, visit:


Kevin Beadles won top honors for his original song "This Might Get Loud." First-Place category winners were Jodee Lewis for "In the End" (Americana/Folk); Ryan Gelber for "Dangerous Mix Of Chemicals" (Adult Contemporary); Paul Pelc for "Magnolia Mae" (Singer-Songwriter); Lauren Brombert for "Once Bitten (Never Enough)" (Rock); Justin Froese & Nancy Montgomery for "Finally Here" (Christian/Gospel); Jason Afable & Paul Stephens for "Just Pretty" (Country); Lou DeAdder & Leo Sullivan for "Aftermath" (Instrumental); Denyse Tontz for "Mr. Hipster" (Pop); Debra Gussin & Don Grady for "Don't React" (Special Category Music); Cody Qualls for "Focus On Your Rap Game" (HipHop/R&B) and Martin Robley for "Ships" (Lyric Writing).

You can hear these winning songs on the Great American Song Hall Of Fame at:


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:


The 12th 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:


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

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

Going Mobile

This article could well be an exercise in teaching granny to suck eggs but I resolved to go forward with it in case someone else may be in similar circumstances.  My immediate problem is that I’m in desperate need of a 32 hour day.  With work, travel, renovations, writing, study, loved ones and, occasionally, rest taking up all the hours nature sends songwriting has suffered badly over the last several months.  It’s safe to say that if my songwriting were a patient in intensive care the life support system would  have been shut off ages ago.  Then, one excruciatingly early Monday morning as I blearily waited in line for a caffeine kick prior to being loaded on a train, a light shone through the mist and a voice came to me and said, ‘You need an app.’

Within minutes I’d downloaded three free samples and had this brilliant idea of writing reviews on them.  That optimism soon dissolved when it became apparent that the free versions either came with too much advertising (something I find irritating but perhaps others don’t mind) or required an upgrade in order to do anything more sophisticated than Chopsticks.  The more I thought about it the more complicated it became because different mobile devices have different operating systems, different songwriters have different needs and what’s good for one person may not suit another.  So the idea morphed into a search for the sites that provide search help, reviews or introductions so each individual can make intelligent decisions according to their requirements.

The first site I found was AppCrawlr and was suitably impressed with it’s search engine.  The facility was quite intuitive and presented reasonably intelligent options within the song writing genre to help focus on the specific needs of the searcher.

There are also plenty of sites offering reviews of various apps. Not being in possession of a 32 hour day I haven’t had time to look at these too closely but would like to present a few to give the general idea…:

… and it’s very easy to to pick up tutorials, again just a few ideas:

Happily I can say that the introduction of apps has breathed some life into the songwriting patient over the last couple of weeks.  It’ll take a while before he’s off the danger list but at least he’s headed in the right direction.


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: 3 Filters Your Lyrics Can't Live Without

This month we’ll look at three filters to screen lyrics. Actually, these can tighten any style of writing.

For time’s sake, let’s jump right in.

Filter #1: Redundancy.

Have you seen words coupled together like… one single, free gift, quick run, or meandered slowly?

Or, if you paid attention to my question, coupled together.

Can a “single” anything be anything but one?

A gift is inherently free.

Is there such a thing as a slow run?

Can two things be coupled apart?

See what I’m getting at here?

Our daily language is littered with redundant word pairs. Even though we want a conversational tone, we do want to remove needless words often embedded within it.

Filter #2: The “ly” words.

Try these on for size: really large, suddenly jerked, completely finished, coldly stared, leisurely walked, openly said, or joyfully walked.

Most of the time these “ly” words can simply be deleted without loss of meaning. A single word can often replace both the “ly” word and the word it’s modifying.

Sometimes, these words accompany a shorter phrase such as: gravelly tone of voice.

Here’s the fix.

Really large, is huge.

Suddenly jerked, is flinched.

Completely finished, is finished or completed.

Coldly stared, is glared.

Leisurely walked, is wandered, or many other similar meaning words.

Openly said, is announced.

Joyfully walked, is skipped.

Gravelly tone of voice, is rough voice.

Is it becoming vibrantly clear now? Oops, I mean, is it clearer now?

Filter #3: Words like… that, just, even, really, very…

There are few times these words can accentuate a lyric,

For instance, if we said, “that’s just the way it is,” or “that’s the way it is,” the two lines say the same thing.

However, if we emphasize the, “just,” in our lyric, it might give the impression someone asked, “is there any other way,” Or, “does it have to be this way?”

It is rare these exceptions earn their way into your song. Story lines will dictate their need, so use them sparingly, if ever.

Really nice, is awesome.

Very good, is great.

You know what? I think you’ve caught on.

Let’s see if we can spruce up this prose sample.

She softly whispered with a quick, short glance towards the door, “I frequently come to this place and I think I know the reason why the old geezer slowly strolled across the street into the dark, black night, and never ever was to be heard from again.”

She softly whispered: Can you whisper anything but softly?

With a quick, short glance towards the door: A long glance is a stare, and a slow glance is also a stare, so a glance is merely a glance.

I frequently come to this place: Could be written, “I come here often.”

And I think I know the reason why: Can be written, “I think I know why.”

The old geezer: Okay, no offense here. I’m probably considered such by some 8-year old, but can we have a geezer who isn’t old?

Slowly strolled across the street: I’m thinking, “wandered across the street.”

Into the dark, black night: I’d say, “into the night,”

And never ever was to be heard from again: All we need here is, “and never heard from again.”

So we wind up with

She whispered glancing towards the door, “I come here often and think I know why the geezer wandered across the street into the night and never heard from again.”

We’ve taken this bit from forty-seven words down to twenty-nine. A 38% improvement without losing meaning, not bad, huh?

All right, we had an easy time of filtering an exaggerated bit of prose, but honestly, this is one of my favorite processes in writing.

Sick, isn’t it?

I tell you what, We aren’t songwriters, we’re song re-writers. There is no truer statement in writing.

Learn to enjoy the process of honing your lyrics, making them as tight as you can without losing meaning, and you’ll notice huge gains in your writing skill.

Take a look at some of the projects you’ve written. Maybe you can tighten them up. You might be stuck on a lyric, and filtering out the waste allows you to take it in a new direction you hadn’t expected.

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 Great Guitarist, Part 2 - Three Reasons Why You Haven't Become A Great Musician Yet - by Tom Hess

What is keeping your from taking your guitar playing skills to the highest level? Is it terrible playing technique? No musical creativity? Little to no natural talent? Beyond your prime? Ineffective practice sessions? Fact is, it is none of these things. These are all just the symptoms of much deeper issues. 


How To Improve Your Live Guitar Skills - by Tom Hess

Are you dissatisfied with your live playing skills and tired of being nervous every time you perform? Here is a little secret: these kinds of mistakes (and your fear of playing in live situations) can be improved upon with a specialized practice routine. Additionally, if you want to really improve your live playing skills, you must practice like the pros. Here’s how:

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!)

This tool will revolutionize the way you write and organize your writing.
Be the best songwriter you can be and purchase Lyricist today!

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.

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