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The Muse's News
The Muse's News
The Muse's News
An E-zine For And About Songwriters.
Issue 19.0
March 2016

In This Issue:
* Editor's Musings
* Music Reviews - Anastasia K.
* 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: This Little Light of My Song is Shing ... Where? 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!

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

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MasterWriter gives you Rhymes, Close Rhymes, Phrases, Synonyms, Word Families, Pop-Culture, Alliterations, the Definition and more. Also included is an audio recorder and tools that will give you everything you'll need to organize your songs. The new version 3.0 is web–based, so you can leave the house empty–handed and access MasterWriter on any computer, tablet or smart phone, wherever you are.
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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:

Nineteen years. Wow. Are you sick of me yet? ;) Here we are for another month (that's a bit of a short one). Lots going on behind the scenes, but plenty of new stuff for you all to have a look at. I hope you enjoy!

And here are the raffle winners for the month (and if you'd like to win a raffle prize of your own, just let me know using the method below!) :

  • Jeanne Gravley, from Viera, FL, 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.)

Wishing you all every success,


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


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The package includes 12 audio CDs (packed with 17 repeatable lessons, including both technique--the simple, yet powerful exercises, and style lessons for building vocal licks and trills); a workbook for illustration; and a DVD for visual reference and demonstration. It's a complete course - and it has a money-back guarantee!

Drop by for more details and start yourself on the road to improving your vocal chops today.

Music Reviews:


Anastasia K.

* Carter Sampson
* Dae Juan

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

Everybody's Heard About The Bird
- By Rick Schefchik

There are books about songwriting, and other books that make you want to write a song. This is a quirky book probably falling into the second category. “Everybody’s Heard About The Bird” is a story about 1960’s rock and roll in Minnesota.

Normally I wouldn’t recommend a book based on one area of the United States knowing the Muse’s News readership is international. However, this book is a fun read and interesting enough to keep your attention.

A majority of the stories describe the origins and experiences of local bands of Minnesota, several of which acquired national attention in the US and Canada. I know there are many of you who have experienced the tiring and often frustrating nature of on-the-road performing and will identify with stories in this book.

The title of the book refers to the song “Surfin’ Bird” by the group “The Trashmen”. The background of the origins of that song, plus its (and the group’s) rise and fall from fame are intriguing and informative.

Author Rick Schefchik weaves in references to national and international bands and experiences of those acts during performances in Minnesota. A couple quick examples might promote your curiosity in reading this book. There was the time when Elvis was performing for only a few thousand people and was upstaged by a Bermuda-shorts-wearing local rocker named Augie Garcia, much to the chagrin of one Colonel Tom Parker. Or, how about the time the Rolling Stones were trading sets with a local band at a dance hall for a whopping crowd of 325. People got up and danced to the local band and sat down during the poor Stones’ sets. One of the local band members later lamented how ironic it was his band would fade into obscurity and the Stones would later make millions.

Shefchick throws in variety with stories about Minnesota-born artists Bob Dylan and Bobby Vee when they were the much lesser known musicians Bob Zimmerman and Robert Velline. I really liked reading details of the humble beginnings of artists who hit the big time.

Occasionally, the author talks about writers of songs played by the local groups, and how and why the songs were created. Of importance to note regarding songwriting is the changing atmosphere from genres like surf music to those resulting from the invasion of British bands.

I thoroughly enjoyed “Everybody’s Heard About The Bird”. When it first came out, we had a difficult time obtaining a copy from Minnesota bookstores. Even Amazon sold out. I’m sure you won’t have trouble now if you’d like to read a different kind of book very loosely related to songwriting. Enjoy, and write on!


Tim Zbikowski was introduced to music with piano lessons in the early 1960’s.  In his teens, he played drums in a garage band and in high school band programs. Tim bought his first personal computer in 1984 and by the 1990’s connected a MIDI 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 a folk rock 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!


Eventide’s Songwriting Competition is an opportunity for songwriters, musicians, and performers to win cash and prizes, further their careers, and gain recognition in the music industry. Your songs may be entered in 12 of our categories. Judging will be done by two top nationally touring musicians. Opportunity to perform on stage in April, and a couple of different festivals held on Cape Cod, MA. Entry deadline is March 15, 2016. Rules and application at


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 March 18th, 2016. $30 for a basic entry (numerical score) or $40 for a Written Critique by our pro judges!


The Johnny Mercer Foundation Songwriters Project is a week long intensive for emerging professional songwriters in all genres held annually each June on the Evanston campus of Northwestern University. The highly competitive program attracts applicants from around the world and invites 12 songwriters or songwriting teams to spend a week in residence working with three award-winning professional master teachers. The 11th annual workshop is June 19-25, 2016 on Northwestern University's Evanston campus. Addition information and applications can be found at and are due Friday, March 4.


Welcome to the VocalMatch Contest for Singers and Songwriters of all ages. This contest is a golden chance for aspiring musicians to get recognition around the globe. The entries are limited to only 100 contestants in both the categories; singing and songwriting. Application Entry is free with the deadline of July1, 2016 !! Visit: for more information.


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

Back To The Lab

In my long and generally unremarkable life I’ve had one blind date.  We met at a pub.  My date was extremely nice but it took us about 10 minutes to realise we were worlds apart, had nothing in common, nothing to talk about and nothing was going to happen.  We battled on gamely for another couple of hours, parted amicably and never saw each other again.  The Songwriters’ Collaboration Challenge reminded me of that blind date.  It took some time to get hold of a collaborator and when we finally got together our concepts of collaboration came from different worlds:

  • My contributions:
    • Write the melody line
    • Design the song structure
    • Write the lyrics
    • Write the chord progression
    • Lay down a basic track
  • My collaborator’s contributions were to say:
    • ‘Cool’
    • ‘Great’
    • ‘Awesome’
    • ‘Have you finished it yet?’

That led to a pretty rapid deflation of enthusiasm.  Added to that the challenges from the Song Collaboration felt, in general, a little contrived.  Although, to be fair, one exercise of jotting down song ideas was particularly fruitful.  It came as quite a shock to discover there were fragments of 12 songs spinning around in my head.  But then, as it sometimes does, the world fell apart.  Nothing serious mind,  it was only work, the machinations of a couple of self-inflated dimwits, created a sequence of crises and I had to work seven days a week in order to dig my client out of a very deep hole.  All this has lead to the onset of an extremely negative attitude.  At one point it felt like the best way to negotiate the rest February would be to hop on a gravitational wave and skip straight to March.

Something had to happen to regenerate the positive vibes.  First I went to a local writers’ Meet up.  I’ve mentioned this site before but it’s worth a reminder.  The organiser was, with good reason, very unhappy with the progress of the group.  (It was February.  So far all we’d manage to do was sit around a cafe for a couple hours every other week, chat a bit and then go home to make dinner.  We started talking about things we’d like to be doing and, deep into my second Duvel, I began to spout on about doing some radio podcasts, 15 minute mysteries and things like that.  (Yes, I know this has little to do with songwriting but bear with me).   This ignited a spark of interest in the organiser and she mentioned her blog and added, probably not for the first time, that she’d like my feed back on it.  Well this time I made the effort and particularly liked her story of about a bear and a sheep striking up a friendship.  This got me excited so I sauntered off and found a site offering free sound effects and proposed that we write and perform a radio play.

Armed with this burst of positive energy I was determined to get writing and song writing back and, luckily, as my contract was due to end on the first of March I sauntered into the negotiations for an extension and advised I would only be available on an 80% basis.  (Take it or leave it – they took it)  Suddenly the last few days have been punctuated with brain storming sessions on how to get the singing, writing, songwriting, guitar, recording and videoing projects back on their feet.  There are a host of song fragments patiently waiting for attention.  There’s so much to do that the best idea seemed to be to head for the coast for a long weekend of lengthy windswept walks, probably punctuated by heavy rain, along the beach followed by a hot shower, change of clothes and lingering over dinner rich with conversation.

I’m well aware this month’s article is bereft of links but, in my defence, it’s February, it’s cold, it’s dark, it’s wet and for most of the month I’ve been thoroughly miserable.  Just wait till next month.


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: This Little Light of My Song is Shining ...Where?

Songwriters have many tools to choose from in the old writing bag to write a song. We can reach in, grab any one of them, and begin shaping what we want a listener to hear.

What’s more, how we present emotion in our song can directly influence a listener’s beliefs. All because of what we write, and how we choose to write it.

We got the power! The influence of a songwriter today is severely under estimated.

Sometimes we write songs to tell another we love them. Maybe write one to create some chuckles. But sometimes we want to write something monumental. Maybe a timeless humane message to the world.

There are several tools we can use to get the job done.

One tool is to write the verses so they flip the song on its head against a static chorus. By static chorus, I mean one that doesn’t change lyrics.

Typically, a verse’s job is to point the song’s light at the chorus, make it shine. Rinse and repeat for verse two, toss in a bridge and a third go at the chorus, and your garden variety song has bloomed.

A cool technique however, is writing a song which bounces your song’s light back and forth--from verse to chorus and back again, building a message as you go.

This is done by writing a verse which shines on a static chorus like normal. Then writing another verse which shines on the chorus, but as you listen to the chorus it simultaneously reflects the song’s light back to the verse. Sort of a lyrical house of mirrors.

We’ll purposely shine the light from verse to chorus, chorus to verse; back and forth. All the while building an emotional message delivered from both angles.

From a listener’s view, he’s heard the chorus the first time, so he knows it will be repeated. As the second verse is sung towards the chorus, he begins to realize something is unraveling right before him he didn’t quite expect.

Anticipation builds. When the chorus is sung again, his suspicion of how he heard the verse is validated. The light is pointed back on the verse, and the emotional point is driven in quite effectively.

This technique is easier explained by an example, and I’ve got a really good one for you.

One of the songwriter’s songwriter from years back, and who left us much too early, was Harry Chapin. Harry’s songs were more commercial back when deep rooted messages were more prevalent on radio. He was a master story teller of timeless messages, evidenced by songs like Taxi and Cat’s in the Cradle.

The song we’ll look at is, Flowers Are Red. A 70’s folk-pop tune written with a hint of Irish influence.

This song tells a story about a child’s first day at school. He begins to color with crayons.

The teacher gives him corrective instruction which we hear in the chorus.

The boy says, “But….”

The teacher calls him sassy and reinstructs him in the chorus.

And the boy again says, “But….”

She punishes him, and we see the first perspective change as the chorus is sung again.

The song could have ended there, with the boy mildly agreeing with his teacher, only to serve a temporary solution to classroom loneliness, but it didn’t.

Another verse and repeat of the chorus, and we get Harry’s true message to the world, how easily we can break the spirit of a child by boxing him in with status quo.

As a creative, free spirited person, putting myself as that little boy nearly broke my heart of what took place around the chorus in Harry’s song. The emotional impact on me was because of how Harry presented the message.

You can listen to Flowers Are Red on YouTube. I’m sure Harry’s family wouldn’t mind your purchasing it from iTunes either.

When you listen, try paying attention to how the verses shine on the chorus, and back again. It doesn’t happen straight off, but you’ll see it.

Next time you feel the need to share a timeless message with the world, try using the technique Harry shows us in Flowers Are Red.

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.


Five Incomplete Questions Guitar Players Often Ask And What You SHOULD Be Asking Instead - by Tom Hess

Tons of guitarists ask all the wrong questions when trying to make faster progress in their playing. These questions all are built on misconceptions and misinformed ideas that are commonly accepted as “correct” among mediocre players. If you ask yourself these same questions, you will struggle massively to make any progress at all.


A Songwriting Trick from a #1 Elvis Song That Has Nothing To Do With Lyrics, Melodies or Chords - by Anthony Ceseri

This video will show you a simple technique used in an Elvis song that will help your recording match your song's meaning.


The Five Things You Should Ask If You Want To Build A Music Career
- by Tom Hess

Many amateur musicians try to get the answers to incorrect questions. These questions are often based on myths, assumptions and ignorance about how the music business truly works. Looking for the correct answers to these types of questions is a guaranteed way to sabotage your attempts at starting and building a successful career in music.

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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Special for Muse's Muse visitors: 
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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:

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.

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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