The Muse's Muse  
Muses MailMuses Newsmuse chatsongwriting resource home
The Muse's News

Issue 5.11 - February 2003
ISSN 1480-6975

[ Back to The Muse's News Index ] [ Home ]

This issue sponsored by: - Online music courses, music industry jobs, songwriters' network and more!


I n   T h i s   I s s u e :

@-- Editor's Musings
@-- Copyright & Publishing Q&A with Nancy A. Reece from Carpe Diem
    Copyright Management
@-- Music Reviews - by Ben Ohmart, Ashley Petkovski, Stacey Board,
                    Gian Feiro & David Lockeretz
@-- Songwriting Book Review - by James Linderman
@-- Musical Notes - Songwriting Contests & Market Info.
@-- Muse's Clues - Songwriting Web sites that inspire - brought
    to you by singer/songwriter & teacher, Irene Jackson.
@-- Featured Article - Gray Matters: Aging & The Creative Brain 
                       by Craig Bickhardt
@-- Message Forums In Spotlight - Here are some of the great
    conversations going on right now.
@-- On Site Featured Article - An article already online for your
    viewing pleasure.
@-- Classifieds & Useful Services
@-- Contact information
ISSN 1480-6975.  Copyright 1998 - 2002, Jodi Krangle.  For more 
contact information, see end of issue. ================================================================= LOOKING FOR A PIECE OF THE MUSE'S MUSE? :) Visit for great Muse's Muse products like mugs, mousepads, shirts, and even wall clocks! Start your own store too - with no up front costs! See ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ S p o n s o r M e s s a g e : (Please support the sponsors that support this newsletter! Thanks!) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ TAKE ONLINE SONGWRITING CLASSES AT BERKLEEMUSIC.COM Learn how to write great lyrics. Learn composition and arranging techniques. Develop the skills you need to succeed in songwriting. Master music engraving with Finale and audio editing with Pro Tools. Berkleemusic offers you online courses led by the faculty instructors from Berklee College of Music. You can take the courses online in the comfort of your home or when you are on the road, in hotels, anywhere and anytime. Get access to Berklee professors and other music professionals like you. Learn online and network anytime and anywhere. Berkleemusic offers courses and certificates in five fields of study: Writing, Performance, Music Education, Production and Business. Online Writing courses include such topics as songwriting, composition, arranging, theory and film scoring. Courses start every 8 weeks, which means there is always something of interest about to start. Registration for February classes is still open! For more information visit: ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ E d i t o r ' s M u s i n g s : ----------------------------------------------------------------- Hello once again. It's *really* cold around here. I don't know about you, but I'm ready for winter to be over, thanks. (And those of you in warm weather climates, don't rub it in. ;) ) This issue is packed with fantastic stuff! Craig Bickhardt offers up a really wonderful article about aging and the creative brain, there are tons of new reviews, new Q&As about Copyright and Publishing with Nancy Reece, there's another great site to check out on Irene Jackson's recommendation, listings of showcases and contests currently happening all over, and lots more. So I'll just announce the raffle winners and let you get right down to it. :) The raffle winners for this month are Jim Novak from Ann Arbor, Michigan, who has won a copy of Christine Anderson's "Songwriters Blueprint" (reviewed below), Steve Holt from Toronto, Canada, who has won a copy of's "Musician's Toolkit" (for details on this package of useful indie musician-related tools, see ), and Mandy Cheetham from Toronto, Canada, who has won a copy of VSS's helpful songwriting organization product (for a review of Lyricist & information on a discount offered, see ). Hope you're enjoying a fantastic new year! All the best, --Jodi Back to Menu ================================================================= S p o n s o r M e s s a g e : (Please support the sponsors that support this newsletter! Thanks!) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ SONGWRITERS! ENTER THE 2003 USA SONGWRITING COMPETITION NOW! Win a grand prize of over US$50,000 in cash and merchandise and exposure, making this the largest prize package in any annual songwriting competition! Winning songs get radio airplay. Judges include record labels such as Warner/Reprise Records, SONY Music, Epic Records, etc. FREE EARLY BONUS: First 1,000 entries will receive a free gift. Hurry! Info: ================================================================= C o p y r i g h t & P u b l i s h i n g Q & A : With Licensing executive Nancy A. Reece ----------------------------------------------------------------- TOPIC: Performing Rights Q: I am un unpublished songwriter looking for that first bit of luck. Recently I had a demo made in Nashville by some very talented folks. I have gotten some pretty encouraging feedback from some publishers, but no bites yet. I have also been sending the song out to a few radio stations, and a couple are playing the song. My question is this: are there any possible legal complications that could arise from having a demo played on a radio station? Do the musicians who performed the work need to be compensated in any way? Do I need to notify them that the work is being performed? A: Congrats on the the airplay! I would suggest that you register the song and recording. Then things should be fine. The Performing Rights organization that you are affiliated with (ASCAP, BMI, SESAC or in Canada, SOCAN) is responsible for taking care of any royalties due the copyright holder for the performance of the work. This is their responsiblility in all public performance cases such as if the song is played on the radio or played in a concert setting etc. You are not obligated to pay any of this performance royalty to the performers. It is a right of the copyright holder, not the performer. --------- TOPIC: Agreements Q: A well known publisher hears my 5 song demo, tells me he loves it, thinks all five songs have great commercial potential, tells me he's excited and feels he can get all five songs cut etc... Then he offers me a deal. He wants 100% publishing. I counter with, I want a co-publishing deal, writer and publisher split 50/50 and split administrative costs down the line. Publisher responds with, "To break into the business, a new writer has to take what he/she can get until he has something to bring to the table". Publisher seems genuinely impressed with the songs and tells me my songs are some of the best they've gotten in awhile and asks for more. If said publisher seems so confident about placing these songs what should the "new" songwriter do? If one or all of these songs become hits .. that can be a lot of money the songwriter gives up to the publisher. Does a new songwriter need to take what he can get, knowing the material is strong and the publisher really wants it? What if the songwriter offered to give away all the publishing on "one" of the five songs and split on the rest? A: This is one of the most difficult moments in a new writer's career. The relationship with the publisher seems like it could be worth it but it is hard to trust when you haven't really worked together. I can speak first hand about being VERY excited about a GREAT song but what I was able to do just didn't do the song justice and I had to face that, as an ethical publisher. I had no problem giving the composition back to the songwriter to try elesewhere. I would suggest that you counter offer with a Reversion Right that will give the publisher 24 months to make something happen (no more than 48). If nothing happens, then you get 100% back. I would get a qualified attorney to help you present the appropriate Single Song Agreement but have attached a sample that I think is a win-win for both publisher and writer. (Word Document) (Simple Text) ***** ABOUT NANCY A. REECE: Since 1998, Nancy Reece has been providing a question and answer forum for Muse's Muse readers. Now all of the articles, forums and Q&A's are being compiled into a book. Nancy is wanting to be sure that you have the opportunity to receive a copy of the book as soon as it is ready. If you are interested in getting an E-mail notification to indicate that the book is ready for purchase, please send your request to . How to Ask a Question: If you have a question for Nancy about publishing or copyright administration, you can e-mail her at Please indicate in the subject of your e-mail that your submission is for The Muse's Muse guest forum, Real Answers to Real Questions. Thanks! Back to Menu ================================================================= M u s i c R e v i e w s : by Ben Ohmart, David Lockeretz, Stacey Board, Ashley Petkovski & Gian Fiero ----------------------------------------------------------------- PEP - debut album teaser (by Ashley Petkovski) Oh, how to say this and retain a sense of critical dignity that may or may not exist... PEP is phenomenal. Frickin' phenomenal. Armed with a guitar, a unique, almost gritty voice, and undeniably powerful songs, the twenty six year old L.A. musician's three-song teaser EP proves that to be a bold, creative musician, you don't need to, as they, the big metaphorical gods of cliché say, push the envelope in order to stand out. All it takes is a good song… or three. PEP's standout quality is her ability to write a song. Creating since the age of 8, PEP takes on her subject matter – love, relationships, other insanely complicated matters of the heart – with poise and sincerity. She's not afraid to be honest, and more importantly, she's not afraid to be strong. Even with just an acoustic guitar bleating away in the background, PEP is an assertive voice in a sass-less world of female newcomers who would rather whine their way through twenty tracks than seek out the good from the bad, and take their lives into their own hands. On "Safe" she sings: "Her reflection/ it's empty but still her friend/ and it screams 'you know it can still all be worth it/ just look ahead.'" That one line alone reflects both the confidence and honesty that she is so skillful at portraying. As I listened to PEP's sampler, I couldn't help but think of Team Dresch, who have, to me, always been able to balance vulnerability and heartache with collective ass-kicking prowess. As PEP's sampler went from confusion, hope and love ("Safe") to devotion and heartbreak ("Believe") to packing up and moving on, but not before letting 'em have it ("I Don't Need"), I realized that she too is able to balance normal emotions without entering woe-is-me territory. Her words, although not complicated nor veiled by literary loftiness, are compelling and genuine, capable of striking a powerful understanding with nearly everyone who takes the time to listen. Musically, the three songs all contain elements of folk, pop, and rock, reflecting PEP's variety of influences. Her voice is, while not refined, impressively strong and melds well with the skillfully performed, bare-bones instrumentation. The dynamic of each song shifts fluently, each stylistic change unexpected and welcome. Particularly on "Safe," there are some standout harmonies/backup vocals. The production is rock-solid, each layer clear and distinct, providing just enough polish to keep the melodies clean and everything proficiently precise. While someone who views her through superficial eyes could easily label PEP another girl-with-a-guitar, she proves that she is, in fact, much more. A poignant and talented songwriter and singer, PEP proves that what sets certain musicians apart from the rest is the ability to create incredible music. With only three songs, PEP has confirmed her abilities, and with an entire album, "Coming Together," set for release in the spring of this year, one can predict - or at least hope for - great things to come. She's amazing, and there really isn't anything more that you need to say. Contact: ------------------ OTHER NEW MUSIC REVIEWS SINCE LAST MONTH INCLUDE: Dalinda (by Ben Ohmart) Desert Blues 2 (by Ben Ohmart) Don Lanphere (by Ben Ohmart) Remedy Motel (by David Lockeretz) Frank Emerson (by David Lockeretz) Aimee Van Dyne (by David Lockeretz) Voodoo Pilot (by David Lockeretz) Jenn Lindsay (by David Lockeretz) Russ McRee (by Stacey Board) Chris Stuart (by Stacey Board) Casey Holford (by Stacey Board) Steve Holt (by Stacey Board) Cyd Ward (by Stacey Board) Lyle King (by Stacey Board) Patti Witten (by Stacey Board) Ben Krahne (by David Lockeretz) Dan Rowe (by Ben Ohmart) Nuts In Your Mouth (by Gian Fiero) Sirens' Song (by Ashley Petkovski) Patrizia (by Ashley Petkovski) Tom Chaffee & The Saturnalia (by David Lockeretz) Diana (by David Lockeretz) Heros Severum (by David Lockeretz) --------------- ****** For bios on each of the reviewers, see . If you're considering sending in your own CD for review, you can also view that page to find out which reviewer reviews your genre. Thanks! Back to Menu ================================================================= S o n g w r i t i n g B o o k R e v i e w : by James Linderman The Songwriters Blueprint - by Christine Anderson ----------------------------------------------------------------- Blueprints are used to build a vast array of stuff. They provide detail, insight, overview, and of course, purpose and intention and bring it all into display. This is usually for the eventual execution of the assembling of the parts to make something become complete. It is also what bridges the gap between the vision of a thing and it's coming into being. So...why not a blueprint specifically designed to help bring the vision of a song into being? Songwriters are notorious for (among other things) racing into the songwriting process without much planning or plotting and we all know that practically every endeavour is proven to be more successful when we front load some of the labour, so... Let's have a look at The Songwriters Blueprint by Christine Anderson and see if it's the blueprint for songwriting success. To start with this blueprint is an actual blueprint (yes, with actual blue printing!) 18" x 24" and wonderfully laid out and proportioned. On the cover page we have an intro and some instructions, which are refreshingly brief and a bio of the author, refreshingly qualified. There is an outline of what's inside and some tips on title development, which is one of the primary keys to the successful creation of the song you will write with this tool. On the next 7 pages there are boxes to fill in with the raw materials your song will be constructed from, with your title as the foundation. As you go from brainstorming to plotting the storyline, from listing synonyms and antonyms to building character sketches, you will see the song slowly and methodically come into being. The Songwriters Blueprint, like most blueprints, is logical, systematic and comprehensive, all the things that your brain is usually not when trying to write a song from scratch. This means that instead of spending mountains of time "dreaming" up the right words, idioms, phrases, hooks, morals of the story or twists of fate, you will very likely be able to look them up on the pages of the blueprint and really devote all of your creative energy to the bigger picture, the song itself. On a construction site, when the carpenter runs out of 2x4's and has to take a trip to the lumber store in the middle of the job, the sound that his hammer makes for the next few hours, is silence. Silence is also the sound that our songs make when we run out of creative materials and so it's great when something like this comes along to encourage us to stock up at the inception of our job when we know we want to do some serious work, uninterrupted by a sudden shortfall of lyrics. In the last 2 pages, the blueprint asks us to slowly draw the song content into a standard kind of song form. With all the previously gathered information poured into these pages, I can see how it's entirely possible that a song could virtually write itself. This is certainly well worth checking out. I used The Songwriters Blueprint in a workshop in January and everyone thought that it was very cool. I am definitely going to write a song with it myself next time I have some time to write... like as soon as I'm done writing this review... You can order The Songwriters Blueprint at ****** ABOUT THE REVIEWER: James Linderman lives and works at theharmonyhouse, a music lesson, songwriting and music pre-production facility in Newmarket, Ontario, Canada. He is the Songwriters Association of Canada regional coordinator for Newmarket and leads a music workshop program for Life 100.3 Christian radio. James writes songwriting articles for The Muse's News web magazine, Canadian Musician Magazine and Professional Musician Magazine. Contact James at: Back to Menu ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ S p o n s o r M e s s a g e : (Please support the sponsors that support this newsletter! Thanks!) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ LYRICIST! VERSION 2.2 HAS ARRIVED-INCLUDES ON-LINE COPYRIGHT LINK Virtual Studio Systems, Inc. is proud to announce Lyricist V2.2 - The Songwriter's Best Friend: the first-of-its-kind word processor designed for musicians, songwriters, and poets. The software includes a rhyming dictionary, thesaurus, album categorization, chord charting, chord generator, song arrangement, On-Line Copyright Link, and much much more - all in a user-friendly package. Check out the review at Muse's Muse visitors can take home the product for $5.00 off the regular selling price just for purchasing through the form provided off of the review! For more information, visit the review url above or call us at 888.732.1176 inside the U.S.A. and Canada or 603.726-4499 outside the U.S.A. ================================================================= M u s i c a l N o t e s : Songwriting Contests & Market Info. In the interest of conserving space, I will only be including 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! ----------------------------------------------------------------- MUSIC TO LIFE CONTEST The Second Music to Life contest, sponsored by the Public Domain Foundation*, seeks original compositions of social or political relevance. Winners perform songs at Kerrville Folk Festival in May 2003, win travel stipends to the Festival and donations to the charity of their choice. Songs reviewed by such notables as: Tom Chapin, Tom Paxton, Christine Lavin, Judy Collins, Noel Paul Stookey, Peter Yarrow, Mary Travers, Holly Near. Join in by visiting Public Domain Foundation's website at: DEADLINE: Entries must be postmarked no later than February 3, 2003 * The Public Domain Foundation (PDF) was started by Noel Paul Stookey (of "Peter, Paul and Mary") with royalties from his famous "Wedding Song". Since its inception in 1971, PDF has given away almost $2 mil. to various family and children's charities worldwide. Recently, the Foundation has sought to encourage musicians to give back through their music; hence the Foundation's sponsorship of this special contest. ----------------------------------------------------------------- JO DEE MESSINA NEEDS COUNTRY SONGS FOR HER NEXT ALBUM! Tonos hosts many songwriting contests and Industry Opportunities specifically for songwriters every month. The newest contests include: - Jo Dee Messina needs aggressive country songs - Tonos Hitmaker Byron Gallimore who produced Faith Hill's album Breathe as well as four Tim McGraw albums, is currently looking for country songs. He is in the studio with Jo Dee Messina and is looking for songs to complete her album. So, if you have an uptempo country song with a fiery edge, submit now! - Baha Men Seeking Songs for their New Album - Baha Men best known for "Who Let the Dogs Out" is looking for material for their next album. Their catchy Caribbean vibe mixed with modern-pop feel has them currently #1 on Billboard's World Music chart. Their Bahamian island sound has mass appeal. - Nationally Syndicated Indie Radio Show Seeks Music - Garage Sessions is a syndicated radio program designed to provide unsigned bands with nationwide radio exposure and music fans with the best new music. Set to launch in 2003, Garage Sessions has come to Tonos seeking bands. The weekly programs, which will be syndicated to college and commercial radio stations, will focus on rock and alternative genres, but they will consider Triple A and pop with an edge. TONOS MAKES HISTORIC AGREEMENT WITH 5 MAJOR MUSIC PUBLISHERS In order to help all the various talent in the global Tonos Community, we are thrilled to announce that we have made historic agreements with 5 major music publishing companies (Warner/Chappell Music, EMI Music, DreamWorks Publishing, Chrysalis Music and Famous Music). These top publishing firms have "guaranteed" that they will EACH sign two tonosPRO songwriters and/or singer-songwriters to publishing deals over the next 12 months. To be considered for all these deals, we'll be looking for the artists and songwriters who have at least 3 very strong songs posted in their Tonos Profiles. Sign up today to be considered! See for more details. ----------------------------------------------------------------- BERKLEEMUSIC.COM WEBSITE LAUNCHED After nearly two years in development, Berklee College of Music has launched its web site. This ambitious new offering provides songwriters opportunities to take online music writing courses and explore new music career directions. Users can create a personal or band web page containing bios, MP3s, images, reviews, news, and links that are useful resources to potential employers, collaborators, and students. For more information visit: ----------------------------------------------------------------- THE 4th EDITION OF THE INDIE BIBLE IS NOW AVAILABLE! The Indie Bible shows you where to get your music reviewed, your songs played, and your CDs sold. Now in its fourth edition, The Indie Bible has 310 pages of valuable contacts and music-related articles. The 4th Edition of the Indie Bible contains: 3500 publications from around the world that will REVIEW your CD! 2900 radio stations from around the world will PLAY your songs! 350 vendors and services that will help you to SELL your music! 400 helpful resources and sites where you can PROMOTE your band! 500 sites where you can UPLOAD your band's MP3 files! 39 articles that will help your career to MOVE forward rapidly! Authors include Tim Sweeney, Daylle Deanna Schwartz, Jeri Goldstein, Brian Austin Whitney, Derek Sivers, Diane Rapaport, Janet Fisher, Jodi Krangle, Lord Litter and many more! For details and to order online visit: You can also find the Indie Bible in these stores: BORDERS, BARNES & NOBLE, SAM ASH, VIRGIN RECORDS, TOWERS and MARS MUSIC (In Canada at CHAPTERS and STEVE'S MUSIC) ----------------------------------------------------------------- CATAWBA COLLEGE SONGWRITING SCHOLARSHIP COMPETITION Catawba College (Salisbury, North Carolina) announces a songwriting competition for prospective music students. The winner of the competetion will receive a renewable $2,500 scholarship ($10,000 if renewed over four years) for study at Catawba college during the 2003-2004 school year. Both incoming freshman and transfer students may apply for the award, regardless of musical background. The Music Department of Catawba College offers an education in both the art and business of music designed specifically with performing songwriters in mind. The deadline for the songwriting scholarship competition is March 1, 2003. Prospective students interested in applying should contact Dr. David Lee Fish (1-800-CATAWBA or ----------------------------------------------------------------- GREAT ARTICLES TO CHECK OUT COURTESY OF GALARIS INDEPENDENT MUSIC: * Should You Start Your Own Publishing Company? * The real truth behind pay to play! * Do You Really Need Your Own Barcode? * Doesn't it drive you nuts when your mixes sound completely different at home? *Outgrowing Your Music & Band Sign up for the Galaris Independent Musicians Newsletter. Simply send a blank email to and Twice monthly you will receive FREE, direct to your email box, articles containing: Promotion tips, Career advice, Recording tips, Practicing tips, Legal advice, Musician's health, Radio promotion, Songwriters tips and much more. Learn more about the Galaris Musicians Directory - 2003 Edition here: ----------------------------------------------------------------- POP IN THE PARK 2003! Attention Original Bands: Want your music to be heard by a 2,500 capacity amphitheater? Now is your chance to get your live performance known to the masses! Submissions are being taken by the Pop in the Park Festival presented by the Bensalem Performing Arts Center. This festival is geared toward melodic rock bands that incorporate "Beatlesque" type modern rock music. Go to and fill out a submission form? Good Luck! ----------------------------------------------------------------- BLUEBIRD CAFE MONTHLY SHOWCASES HOSTED BY USA SONGWRITING COMPETITION USA Songwriting Competition will host monthly "Nashville Unplugged" showcases at the legendary Bluebird Cafe in Nahsville every third Wednesdays of the month. The first series of showcases will start on Feb 19, 2003 feature past winners of the USA Songwriting Competition. Time: 6:30-8.30pm - Wednesday - February 19, 2003 Location: Bluebird Cafe, 4104 Hillsboro Pike, Nashville, TN 37215-2700, Tel: (615) 383-1461 (alcohol & food are served, reservations are accepted). Admission: FREE If you a singer-songwriter interested in performing in any of these showcases? If so, please e-mail with your website address. Back to Menu ================================================================= M u s e ' s C l u e s : by Irene Jackson ©1998-2003 Moonstone Productions All Rights Reserved. Used By Permission ----------------------------------------------------------------- Craig Bickhardt is a songwriter based in Nashville who has written songs for the likes of Kathy Mattea, Martina McBride and The Judds, along with others. His pilgrimage to "fat city" began in 1983. Like many songwriters, he's also an artist, and he's got the typical website ( with mp3 clips, a bio, upcoming shows and the rest. But his website includes one thing that's just a little different, and a real insight into what it's like living and working in Nashville, trying to get yourself heard. It's in the form of a diary. Not all of the diary is there, of course, Craig has edited it to include only excerpts from actual experiences to do with his writing and the industry...but it also includes his personal ups and downs about his writing as he struggles to write the next "great" song. Some of the entries are rather short, but others give you a real insider's perspective into working with co-writers and how it all comes together. It begins with his first trip to Nashville in 1983, and continues on to the present. Read it backwards, from the bottom of the page up, to follow it from past to present. He promises to continue to add bits and pieces, but the last entry is from October, 2002, so the entries are not predictable. He also admits it isn't written to be "read", so don't expect anything slick :-) The diary ( is not too long and self-indulgent. Just enough to get you in the shoes of somebody who's been there and done that. An interesting and insightful read! ****** Irene Jackson is a performing songwriter from Victoria, BC in Canada. Aside from writing, recording and performing, she also maintains a website for songwriters that includes tips, articles and more links of interest. Her eagerly anticipated CD "Catnip" is finally here, and her earlier recordings have had attention everywhere from Japan to South America. Songwriting Tips: Homepage: Songs on MP3: Back to Menu ================================================================= F e a t u r e d A r t i c l e : GRAY MATTERS: AGING AND THE CREATIVE BRAIN - by Craig Bickhardt ©Craig Bickhardt, 2003 All Rights Reserved. Printed with Permission ----------------------------------------------------------------- Not long ago a music publishing company songplugger in Nashville advised one of her young staff-writers that a collaborating partnership with me would be unproductive because I was "past my prime". I was in my early 40s at the time. While I knew her assertion was absurd, I decided to find out what the medical research revealed about the effects of aging on creativity. The evidence presented in this article challenges long-held beliefs that peak creative performance naturally coincides with youth. Brilliant young talents will always be the lifeblood of the music industry, but I believe that an unfounded bias against maturity is counter-productive. ----------------------------------------------------------------- "Most notions about aging and the brain are based on folklore rather than fact," says Dr. Zaven Khachaturian, a director of research at the U.S. National Institute on Aging. The folklore may be coloring our perception of the truth concerning aging and creativity. For example, many of us still believe the old myth that we lose thousands of brain cells every day that can't be replenished. Harvard neurobiologist Gerald Fischbach has laid this myth to rest. His cell counting research has shown that while the brain's neuronal cells can shrink or grow dormant with age, most are retained throughout life. Scientists readily admit that the brain loses about 10 percent of its weight due to cell death and atrophy but the average brain also contains more neurons than it can use in a normal life span. If there is, as it appears, a large excess reserve in brain function, then even a 10 percent decrease in brain weight may be negligible. Research has also shown that an old brain is every bit as capable as a young brain when it comes to making new connections between the nerve cells. The connections, called dendrites, are microscopic fibers that enable the neurons to communicate with one another. This in turn makes the process of creative thought possible. Normal mental activity causes the neurons to sprout many new dendrites. These dendrites fall away again with mental stagnancy but there is no scientific basis for believing that age is a direct factor in how well the brain cells perform their functions. While brain cells may not be entirely interchangeable, in certain areas where neurons have degenerated the remaining cells appear to be filling in the gaps and taking up responsibilities so that nothing is appreciably lost. Some damage may occur but new pathways are constantly being networked inside the healthy brain throughout its life. In this way older brains are capable of remarkable rewiring in order to compensate for losses. Additional studies show that mental activities related to occupation may not decline until the age of 75 or later. Repeated activity enables the mind to bridge more direct routes and to create the most efficient strategies for dealing with creative problems. As a result there appears to be no physiological reason for a decline in creative skills such as the poetic use of language, the techniques of painting, or the balancing of harmonic structure in music. Nor is there any reason to suspect a diminishment of the ability to bring any of these skills to bear on some new inspiration provided by the rich stockpile of memory and gathered experience stored within the older brain. It is clear that age alone presents no barriers to creativity, but co-existent diseases such as Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia as well as stroke may have an impact on brain function and can mar artistic ability. Harvard psychologist David Perkins has studied the traits of creative people. He has found that one of these traits is the desire to simplify what is perceived as chaos so as to find unifying value in life. Artists themselves since time immemorial have understood this unifying drive. As Thomas Wolfe explained in his essay THE STORY OF A NOVEL (Charles Scribner's Sons, New York 1936), "It was a process that began in a whirling vortex and a creative chaos and that proceeded slowly at the expense of infinite confusion, toil, and error toward clarification and the articulation of an ordered and formal structure." Henry David Thoreau put it this way; "It is the faculty of the poet to see present things as if also past and future; as if distant or universally significant." But is creative clarity only a boon of youth? Definitely not, say the researchers. At the Max Planck Institute in Berlin, Paul Baltes has made a study of "wisdom". His test criteria contain such qualities as insight, sound judgment, a sense of proper perspective, and the ability to weigh opposing values and come up with solutions to problems, all useful tools in the endeavor of creative organizational thinking. His findings indicate that older people consistently out-perform younger people on the wisdom scale. Baltes adds, "In all areas of functioning in which age means more access to information, older people may be better off than young ones." It would appear that wisdom and experience, two hallmarks of the mid-life to late-life period, might contribute much to the mind's ability to find order in chaos thus fashioning new models of creative expression. The speed with which our brains process information may decline with age but our knowledge and our skill in using a lifetime of acquired information does not. The older brain's sophistication stems from its complex adaptive ability. It constantly recreates itself gaining new insights and wisdom as it goes. Some researchers believe that it is the young mind that is actually at a disadvantage in that it tries to compensate for a lack of crucial information by sheer speed. Creativity in the human mind is a complex symphony performed by many "players". Within the brain's multi-layered anatomy there remain countless unsolved mysteries. Marion Diamond, neuroanatomist at the University of California at Berkley, has done some research on the role of the brain's glial cells. One function of these cells is to support and nourish the neighboring neurons. But there appear to be a greater number of glia in the more creative brains among us. It is uncertain whether these special cells increase as a result of the creative use of the mind throughout a lifetime or whether they are simply present in greater quantities in certain gifted minds at birth, but either way, it is clear that they remain nearly unaffected by age. They are able to divide and renew their numbers (something that the age susceptible neurons can't do) and Diamond has discovered them in great density in her recent study of a portion of Albert Einstein's highly creative brain, meaning that they were thriving when he died in his late seventies. She concurs that the brain's "wonderful plasticity remains throughout life." If the scientific research isn't enough, we need only look at the evidence that our great body of world art provides for us. Among our artistic geniuses we find numerous great works created in middle and advanced years. Bach, Verdi, Strauss, DiVinci, Beethoven, Coleridge, Yeats, Wagner, Cervantes, Galileo, Kant, Einstein, Haydn, Brahms, O'Keefe, not to mention Grandma Moses, who took up painting when she was 78 and continued past her 100th birthday, all gave us some of their most important contributions late in their lives. .... =================================================================== THIS ARTICLE CONTINUES AT: Please click above to read on! =================================================================== ****** Craig Bickhardt's songs have been recorded by over 100 artists including Ray Charles, B. B. King, Trisha Yearwood, The Judds, and Allison Krauss. He is the recipient of 9 ASCAP Awards for his hits, which include four number one records: "In Between Dances", "It Must Be Love", "Turn It Loose" and "I Know Where I'm Going". His songs were also featured in the Academy Award winning film "Tender Mercies". As a member of SKB Craig helped put the trio on the country charts with his songs "Givers and Takers" and "This Old House". His latest CD is titled "Easy Fires". It's available on his website at to Menu ================================================================= M e s s a g e F o r u m s I n S p o t l i g h t : Here are some of the popular discussions going on right now on The Muse's Muse Message Boards: Feel free to join in! Creating a profile is easy. ------------------------------------------------------------------- * How many have to die?;f=24;t=000024 * vocals and clocks (and falsetto);f=27;t=000012 * What's your take on downloading songs from the internet?;f=25;t=000035 * What constitutes plagiarism?;f=23;t=000172 * Recording acoustic guitar?;f=8;t=000061 * What Do You Really Want?;f=26;t=000029Back to Menu ================================================================= " O N S I T E " F E A T U R E D A R T I C L E : Making It Matter - by Paula Carpenter Hey....I'm back! As we welcome 2003...I'm finding myself wanting to MAKE A DIFFERENCE! I guess I'm feeling like: why write, if I can't help change my world, change THE world, change SOMEBODY'S WORLD...for the better. Read on, and let me know how you feel about this! Everyone: writing is a gift--use yours well. I am reminded of an old 'exercise' phrase: Use it or Lose it. Now--to the point at hand...
================================================================= C l a s s i f i e d s & U s e f u l S e r v i c e s : ----------------------------------------------------------------- HEY SONGWRITERS! POP QUIZ. GIVE ME THREE RHYMES FOR "HEARTBREAK"... Locate every song's lead sheet you ever wrote, their genre, and album. What's the fingering for a G#sus4 chord at the ninth fret? Now copyright a song from where you're sitting without removing your hands from your mouse or keyboard. Your time is up! You know what you need? LYRICIST! It's the songwriter's best friend. Includes Rhyming Dictionary, Album Categorization, Chord Charting, On-Line Copyright, and more. Check out the review at . For more information, visit the review url above or call Virtual Studio Systems at 888.732.1176 inside the U.S.A. and Canada or 603.726.4499 everywhere else. ----------------------------------------------------------------- MUSIC BOOKS PLUS The Songwriter's One Stop Resource for Books, Instructional Videos, CD-ROMs and DVDs. We feature over 5,000+ titles at - areas covered include: International Music Directories, Music Business, Song & Lyric Writing, Music Publishing, Rhyming Dictionaries, Theory & Arranging , Instrument & Vocal Technique, Recording, Internet ... and so much more. Free electronic newsletter, monthly & customer specials, new titles added weekly. Come check us out! ----------------------------------------------------------------- NEED TO BOOK GIGS & ADVANCE YOUR CAREER? ORDER THIS UNIQUE CD-ROM! It is packed with essential tools to save you time and money, and give you a competitive advantage in the music business. Compiled by Suzanne Glass, author, speaker, and founder of, the ToolKit comes with nearly 50 articles, printable copyright forms, templates for common music items like flyers, music fonts, musician papers, software, and much more for only $19.95. ----------------------------------------------------------------- 2003 UNISONG INTERNATIONAL SONG CONTEST OPEN FOR ENTRIES! Unisong is THE opportunity for songwriters and writer/artists around the world to have their songs heard and their careers enhanced. Over $50,000 in Cash and Prizes! Grand Prize will win a trip to NY, London, Nashville or Los Angeles to write with a professional songwriter! Enter by Cassette, CD or MP3! Entry deadline is April 30, 2003. Enter by January 31, 2003 to take advantage of our earlybird rates! Visit for more details. ----------------------------------------------------------------- THE GALARIS MUSICIANS DIRECTORY - 2003 EDITION If you are serious about pushing your music career to the next level, getting your music into the right hands, promoting yourself to others and creating a buzz, YOU NEED THE GMD! Visit us to check out the demo, and see what industry professionals say about the GMD. ----------------------------------------------------------------- MUSIC BUSINESS SOFTWARE FROM PATTEN SOUND Record Company in a Box is complete independent record company management software. Tour Manager allows the tracking of all concert and tour specifics. Music Business Contracts contains 100 of the most necessary music industry contracts available. Studio Business Forms is a collection of 43 recording studio business forms. For more details, point your browser to: ----------------------------------------------------------------- GO GLOBAL WITH CDSTREET.COM is your secure source for credit card music ordering in your own website. As a member of the CDstreet network, you will have access to the most cost-effective, secure transaction processing for global music merchandise distribution. Plus, low setup fee and no sales equals no cost! Check it out - ================================================================= ADVERTISING RATES: For Classifieds: US$50 Max. 8 lines, where a line = 65 characters including spaces and punctuation. All contracts must be prepaid. Write to: For Newsletter Sponsorship rates and other advertising opportunities, please see . Back to Menu
================================================================= C o n t a c t I n f o & C r e d i t s : ----------------------------------------------------------------- Jodi Krangle ............................................. EDITOR Kathryn Obenshain ...........................GRACIOUS PROOFREADER ----------------------------------------------------------------- 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 at: 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, unsubscribe, etc. - To submit articles,reviews,ideas,etc. SNAILMAIL: Please contact me first at ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Back issues of the newsletter can be read at the National
Library of Canada ecollection: ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Back to Menu

[ Back to The Muse's News Index ] [ Home ]

Help For Newcomers
Help for Newcomers
Helpful Resources
Helpful Resources
Berklee Music Resources
The Muse's News
Entertainment Cyberscope
Newer Articles
Past Columnists
Past Columnists - After March 2007
Market Information
Songwriting Contests
Chat Logs
Songwriting Books
Regular Columnists
Services Offered
About the  Muse's Muse
About Muse's Muse
Subscribe to The Muse's News, free monthly newsletter for songwriters
with exclusive articles, copyright & publishing advice, music, website & book reviews, contest & market information, a chance to win prizes & more!

Join today!

Created & Maintained
by Jodi Krangle


© 1995 - 2016, The Muse's Muse Songwriting Resource. All rights reserved.

Read The Muse's Muse Privacy Statement