The Muse's News
||The Muse's News
|* Featured Article: Quick Tip: 3 Twists to Freshen Up Your New Songs by Brad Dunse
Copyright 1998-2016 - Jodi Krangle.
For more contact information, see end of issue.
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Hello again for another month! A couple of things to mention. First is that Richard Miller, our wonderful Muse's Clues writer, has written his last article for The Muse's News in this issue. He's done a FANTASTIC job and I can't thank him enough for all he's contributed. :) If you'd like to pick up his mantle and discover new and interesting online, mobile and cutting edge technologies for songwriting in order to share it with this readership, I'd love to hear from you! Please do email me so we can talk about it.
Secondly, the book review this month is also a raffle prize! So if you're interested in that, follow the instructions below in this Musings under "Do You Want To Win A Raffle Prize?" and you'll be put in the running.
I'm also still looking for columnists that can contribute three or more album/song reviews per month. If you're interested, let me know!
And last but certainly not least, here are the raffle winners for this month:
Jack Louden, from Little Torch Key, 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.
- Laini Colman from Tasmania, Australia, has won a copy of the wonderfully useful book, "100 Miles To A Record Deal" by author and publisher, Bronson Herrmuth.
- Lynne Raske, from Sioux City, IA, has won a copy of Virtual Studio Systems' Lyricist software.
Have a fantastic month, everyone!
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.)
(Many thanks to the sponsors that help support this newsletter!)
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Here is a selection of the great artists and bands highlighted
the Artist Spotlight section of The Muse's Muse.
A collection of stories from inside the soul of a Canadian singer/songwriter/pianist, delivering on the promise of heartfelt emotion, social commentary, and a shy sense of humour, lifted by melodies that stick in your head and satisfy like warm soup on a cold day…
|Songwriting Book Review by John Thomas
The Practice of Practice
- By Jonathan Harnum
To purchase the book:www.sol-ut.com
(Jon Harnum has very kindly consented to give us 2 autographed copies of this book as a raffle prize! So if you're interested, feel free to email me using the method mentioned in the Musings above, ok?)
The Practice of Practice, by Jonathan Harnum, is a book about, as you may have guessed, practicing.
And, yes, this book is specifically oriented to musical practice. As songwriters, this may be
enough motivation for you to take a closer look at this book, but what Harnum has done is actually
much deeper than that: He has used a study of practicing to master a musical instrument as a method
to show the reader the steps of how to master anything, musical and nonmusical.
Harnum, himself a professional trumpeter, used his own experience and that of a variety of other
musicians from many different genres, both Western and non-Western in musical style, to build a
framework of what practice is, what it does to the practicer, and how to make the best use of practice.
Along the way, he manages to redefine and broaden the idea of what practice is and how it can be
accomplished in a variety of situations, such as how to best practice when time is abundantly
available versus when time is severely limited. How useful is that when learning a new song that
you just wrote so that you can play it at your gig the day after tomorrow?
In his breakdown of the aspects of practice, Harnum works to address the six types of questions as
applied to practice: the what, why, who, when, where, and how, and I’m happy to report that he does
this in a very thorough (but readable) fashion. To clarify:
What: What is practice? It is much more and much more varied than just sitting down and practicing
your scales to the point of boredom. You might be surprised what actually qualifies as practice.
Why: Why do you practice? Motivation is a key to mastery of anything.
Who: Who affects your practice? Do you have to practice alone (no)? How else do those around you
affect your practice routine?
When: When is the best time to practice? How long is the best length of time to practice? How long
should you wait between practices and why?
Where: Is there an optimal location to practice? Is there an optimal way to set up your practice
space, if you have one?
How: What is the best way to go about practicing?
Along the way, Harnum covers the usefulness of listening in practice, of non-practice, of solo
practice, of group practice, of technology in practice, of intentional limitations in practice, of
variety in practice, of how to keep your practice interesting, of how to maintain motivation to
practice, of how to squeeze the most effective practice out of a limited time schedule, of the
importance of sleep to practice and the
best sleep patterns to work within, and quite a bit more.
And, of course, he addresses songwriting as practice.
As I mentioned earlier, Harnum gives the principles for how to master anything using the specific
activity of musical instrument practice. Learning how to practice to master our instrument is, in itself, very useful for us as songwriters, but, then, you can take the principles taught in this book and apply them to become an even better songwriter.
In short, this is an excellent read that I will be going back through several more times because
there is so much good information.
So, put on a pot of coffee, grab this book, and get busy with The Practice of Practice.
John Thomas is a songwriter, bass player, sometimes guitarist and singer in Macon, Georgia with an affection for his family and good coffee.
(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 http://www.musesmuse.com/contests.html &
Please check there regularly for updates!
HURRY UP AND ENTER THE VOCALMATCH CONTEST FOR FREE!
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: http://www.vocalmatch.com/ for more information.
FREE 4 PART SONGWRITING VIDEO SERIES
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.
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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: www.WOSRadio.com / Listen: www.rdo.to/wosradio
SONGWRITER CONNECTION KICKSTARTS YOUR MUSIC CAREER
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! www.songwriter-connect.com
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AWARD WINNING SONGWRITER OFFERING SONGWRITING TIPS AND CRITIQUING SERVICES
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 email@example.com to schedule a class.
HAVE YOU EVER STRUGGLED TO FIND THE RIGHT CHORD OR NOTE TO FIT SOMEWHERE IN YOUR SONG?
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
So Long, It's Been Good to Know Ya
Musically 2016 started slow and is now threatening to fizzle out altogether. The catalyst for this has been the new job, leading a team of budding programmers in the mysteries of statistical analysis, which was intended to bring financial security and time to pursue musical interests indefinitely. While financial security arrived in abundance; time has all but disappeared. The day job is so intense that in the evening the mind, exhausted, can cope with nothing more than comedy repeats on YouTube and pointless games of solitaire on the computer while it winds down towards sleep. Sleep is fitful at best as the problems from the daily grind invade the tranquility of the bedroom and each day begins with the soul more tired than the day before. Weekends are lost in the run around to catch up on daily chores that used to be done during the week but now stack into unbalanced columns threatening to topple at any minute. Admittedly it doesn’t take any time to scan the news and come to the conclusion that these sort of problems are pretty trivial within the scheme of things but they are enough, if not managed properly, to invite depression and life is far too short for that. So something needed to be done about it.
One of the benefits of the daily grind is that the commute is possible by bicycle and one of the benefits of living in Flanders in Belgium is that 95% of this commute can be done on dedicated cycle paths. In the morning the 25 kilometre trip is punctuated by bird song. In the evening the air is laden with the smells of newly turned soil as farmers prepare their fields for the coming warmth. There’s a timelessness in the journey, it takes as long as it takes and deadlines are ignored. The senses re-awaken and an appreciation of the richness of life in the simplest circumstances develops and…. there are no flaming** computers, the telephone is stashed out of earshot in the cycle bag and there is nothing to disturb the observation of life in the great outdoors.
Therein lay the seed for the ideas to make 2016 artistically productive. The contract for the daily grind runs through the end of August. It pays well enough to mean it is not necessary to garner a wage for the rest of the year. September onwards will be exclusively dedicated to creating music and writing. The need to prepare for this period of dedication to music and art led to the creation of the ’Cruising Leisurely Towards Music’ project. To keep a balanced mind between now and September and prepare for the work to come the best thing to do, outside the limits of the grind, is to forsake computers and the internet, get outdoors, get some exercise and re-capture the wonder of life. From now until the end of August it will be just me, my notebook (the kind you write in with a pencil) and my guitar.
All of which makes it rather difficult to continue to write articles about interesting sites on the internet and therefore, with your kind understanding, I wish to bid you adieu. It’s been good fun writing these articles and the research has certainly been informative. At one stage, while drafting this article, I thought about reprising the best sites but things change so quickly nowadays there didn’t seem to be much point. Instead it seemed sensible to focus more on the generic than the specific. Personally the most interesting sites I found were the ones that gave inspiration. Stories of musicians, or anyone else, that paved their own path rather than follow that of another were the best. Technical sites on music, playing instruments and recording were next and these were followed by sites that helped guide one towards making some kind of connection towards making music a profession. To be honest I found the social sites mostly disappointing. That, however, may say more about me than the quality of the social sites. After all I’m nothing more than an ageing pirate who loves the feel of the warm soil in his hands, the fragrance of spring, the rustle in the hedgerows marking the search for food and rain on his face.*** See you around…
** Another adjective could have been used here but this is a family newsletter.
*** Well, living in Belgium if you can’t enjoy rain on your face then you seriously need to think about moving.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
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
Featured Article - By Brad Dunse
QUICK TIP: 3 Twists to Freshen Up Your New Songs
Recently, I was fixing my snow blower.
It was one of those situations where a socket wrench wouldn’t work, because there wasn’t enough head room to fit a ratchet wrench.
But, a crescent wrench didn’t work, because I couldn’t get a full turn on it to get the wrench on the bolt again.
Hang with me, you really are in a songwriting tip article, not a Craftsman tool blog.
I needed a crescent wrench that would ratchet.
I’ll be danged… they do have them.
Someone, out of frustration, took two old tools, mixed them together with a couple new twists, and made a hybrid tool.
What if you are a new writer having trouble breaking into any sort of groove?
Or, are a seasoned writer having trouble breaking out of the same old groove.
Wouldn’t it be neat to put a couple fresh twists on your tunes?
3 Twists to Freshen Up Your New Songs
1. Cross Genre Your Idea.
Let’s say you write pop music. When you write it, you think pop and have that pop kind of thing happening in your bones.
What if you took your modern lyric, thought bluegrass, and then slapped your pop mojo on it?
You might come out with something like Andy Grammer’s Honey I’m Good.
Back some years Bon Jovi thought country, and slapped it with pop on a hit Who Says You Can’t Go Home.
Some years later pop group train did similar with Bruises.
If you write country, think a little blues. If you write bluegrass, think pop.
We’re looking for happy accidents, on purpose.
2. Play With the Tempo.
Remember Bonnie Raitt’s hit, I Can’t Make You Love Me? Mike Reed, one of the writers originally had it up-tempo in a bluegrass style. He and co-writer Allen Shamblin brought it down in tempo.
If left up-tempo, that song would have lost all its feeling.
Take some of your ballads and step them up to mid-tempo or even dance tempo. If you own audio editing software, you can play around with tempos pretty easily.
It’s a great way to put a twist to your tunes.
3. Use Song Sampling.
One technique we’ve talked about in the past is to take a hit lyric, and rewrite it with the same structure.
Same rhyme pattern, meter, number of lines in the sections… all that stuff.
But… what if you took a song’s groove and used it to write a new lyric?
Leave the song groove there, and write yourself a new melody against the old groove?
What you wind up with is what is known as sampling. An old musical groove with a new lyric and new melody.
You can do this with your own songs. Or, if you had permission, you could use some old familiar hits. Check out a few originals and their respective sample songs…
Hall & Oates original: Can’t Go For That, No Can Do.
Simply Red’s sample song: Sunrise.
Warren Zevon’s original: Werewolves of London.
Kid Rock’s sample song: All Summer Long. Kid Rock also slipped in some Sweet Home Alabama in this one.
The Police original: Every Breath You Take.
Puff Daddy’s sample song: I’ll Be Missing You.
See how these songs really work? Pretty neat.
Here’s some backing tracks of a few tunes you might want to try your hand on. Granted, using them for writing practice is alright, but if you latch on to a keeper sample song, you’ll need to get permission to use them in a sound recording or performance from the publisher and/or writers.
• Toto’s Africa.
• Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing.
• Billy Squire’s The Stroke.
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.
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