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Songwriting Articles After March 2007

A Retrospective | Artist Development | Artist Interview | Bass Guitar Tips | Business | Creativity | fan appreciation | Fundraising | Guitar | History | Lifestyle | Musician Tribute | On Other Sites | Practicing | Publishing | Recording | Software Review | Song Pitching | Songwriting | The Major Scale Formula | Vocal Tips | Other |
Articles by Former Columnists |
Former Columnists after March 2007

Artist Development:

  • 5 Steps to Becoming a Number 1 Artist - by Randy Young - Becoming #1 at something doesn't happen overnight. You'll need to persevere and get through the rough patches. Over time, things will build up and the momentum will become infectious.  Try these steps yourself, and see how things turn out. I'm sure that in no time you'll see your life as an Artist has improved.

  • Learn How To Sell Your Music And Beat The Torrents - by James Moore - Most independent musicians complain about the dominance of free torrent websites. No matter what they try to sell and how they try to sell it, people just aren't buying anymore. I hate to be the bearer of perceived "bad news", but the temporary solution is to stop selling. Read on for more.

  • Newsletters & Mailing Lists For The Novice Musician - by James Moore - A necessity for your indie band's website is to have a visible mailing list or newsletter sign up. If all the people visiting your website simply come and go, what good is it to you? Here's some information on how to do that and what should be in that newsletter.

  • How To Improve Your Guitar Playing With And Without A Metronome - by Tom Hess - Do you think that using a metronome is important for improving your guitar playing? On this issue, guitar players tend to fall into two camps: some use the metronome all the time and others don't use it at all.  The truth is that neither approach is correct. This article will show you how you should use the metronome in your guitar practicing in order to make faster progress as a musician.

  • The Secret To Finding Good Gigs - by Bronson Herrmuth - This one is for all of you musicians, artists, performing songwriters out there, trying hard to find a good gig. I wrote this just for You.

  • An Artist's Worth - by Beth Lawrence - Learning to stand proudly while declaring to the world that you are a professional musician isn't always the easiest thing to do. In fact, it may take some practice when confronted by nay-sayers and 'Nine to Fivers', but knowing your artist's worth is priceless!

  • The Importance of Being Real - by Beth Lawrence - As a performer, as a storyteller, it is our mission to reveal our authentic self when we take the stage. This is probably why many performers suffer from stage fright - they are truly terrified to open themselves to an audience who they feel may judge them negatively. The only way to get over this fear is to drop the facade and realize that we are all the same. You must know that we are all of the same tribe. And a tribe protects its own! Being real means that you understand the commonality that you share with everyone in your audience. You share a common humanity. We have all cried, laughed, loved, been rejected. If you are hiding behind a mask, only pretending to be real, not only your audience, but your own true self will be left unmoved.

  • The Seven Rule Method For Finding The Right Band Members - by Tom Hess - Read this article to learn how to find serious and dedicated band members.

  • How To Get Your Songs On The Radio - by Bronson Herrmuth - If you want to know how to get Your songs on the radio, just read this!

  • Why Independent Artists Need To Understand Perception - by James Moore - Perception is critical to any independent artist, because artists typically get a 30 second window to impress any festival organizer, promoter, industry person, or new fan. If there is no perceived momentum there, they lose opportunity after opportunity.

  • Your First Song: From Idea to Production - by Rajiv Agarwal - A guide for budding producers and artists, detailing the process of creating a song from scratch and understanding various steps involved in producing your first song.

  • The Secret To Becoming A Successful Professional Musician - by Tom Hess - Have you always wanted to become a professional musician and wondered what it takes to reach the top of the music industry? Are you frustrated working at your current job because it has nothing to do with music? I can relate because I was once in the exact same spot you are in!

  • 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:

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Bass Guitar Tips:

  • Learning The 7 Modes - by Scott Morris - In my last article I explained the major scale formula which I taught to you in the key of C for the reason that in the key of C, all the notes played are "natural notes" which means there are no sharps (#) or flats (b) which makes one less thing to have to worry about memorizing when first learning about scales, modes and their formulas. In this lesson article, I'd like to introduce you to the 7 modes of C major scale.

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  • Comfort Zone: Enter at Your Own Risk - by Mary Dawson - Most songwriters live in fear of the dreaded disease known as Writer's Block. But there is an even more dangerous condition that can attack the creative soul. It's called the Comfort Zone. Mary Dawson identifies the symptoms and offers some remedies.

  • Blue Collar Rockin'#2 - by Mick Polich - Mick explores when we do our 'best work' as musicians. Can it happen more than once? Find out!

  • The Theory of Appreciative Comparison *Part 1* - by Kole (Kyle Hicks) - A theory borrowed from the world of Psychology but adapted to Music. (Introduction to the Theory and it's purpose)

  • Growls, Grunts and Moans - by Tim Ogle - Don't be afraid to be "uncool" while songwriting.

  • The Importance of Musical Exploration - by Kole (Kyle Hicks) - In this article, I explain the importance of studying and learning from music styles different from your own.

  • Chord Connections - by Kole (Kyle Hicks) - This article will focus on the movement of chords within a progression and the possible ways to phrase your melodies based off of this movement.

  • Becoming A Fearless Lyric Writer - by Andrea Stolpe - Tips and strategies for taking your lyric writing to new levels.

  • Songwriting Courses Online at - by Andrea Stolpe - More information about Andrea's Songwriting Techniques classes online at

  • Horizontal and Vertical Thinking (Vertical Thinking Part 1) - by Kole (Kyle Hicks) - There are two main ways of thinking when it comes to Composition and Songwriting.  This article will explain the second and most familiar school of thought, Vertical Thinking.

  • Quality Versus Quantity - by Mary Dawson - A reality check for those who love the songwriting process but have not identified their writing goals nor mastered the Language of Songwriting that produces Hits.

  • 3 ways to get out of a Songwriting Rut - by Kole (Kyle Hicks) - This article lists 3 different things I did to get through the songwriting "ruts" I encountered while composing music for my debut album "Exile."

  • Music Life: 01 - Creative and Everyday Can Co-Exist - by Brian Donovan - Want to devote your life to your music, but the selling of your soul has your personal life in shambles?  Here's how to make your creative life and your everyday life peacefully, and productively, co-exist.

  • Interview with Reggie Young - Part 2 - by Bronson Herrmuth - Part 2 of my studio interview with Reggie Young.

  • Music Life: 02 - How NOT to Practice - by Brian Donovan - This month, we'll set goals to make our practicing SO efficient, that we'll hardly have to practice at all . . .

  • Music Life: 03 - Practicing With NO Instrument - by Brian Donovan - If you're a human being, you won't ALWAYS be near your instrument to practice.  Here's how to bridge that gap...

  • Pick A Direction - by Carley Baer - One of the best pieces of advice I ever received was, "one step at a time." I repeat it to myself when I'm at the bottom of a massive hill, looking up at where I want to be. One step at a time. Don't think about the hill. Think about this next step. This next step is all there is. You'll get there eventually. However, these days I feel less like I'm at the bottom of a hill and more like I'm in the middle of a valley, with hills coming up on all sides. Which hill should I climb? Which one gets me closer to where I want to go? One step at a time is all well and good, but it's not really going to help if I don't pick a direction first.

  • Music Life: 04 - Music By Myself? Or Live As A Group? - by Brian Donovan - Relationship issues?  Blame your music.  Here's the way that I solved the life vs. music dilemma.

  • Getting into the Flow - by Kole (Kyle Hicks) - In this article I discuss a few ways on how to open yourself to the muse and in doing so, eliminate mental and creative blocks while composing.

  • Interview with Beeb Birtles - by Jan Fabyankovic - A Q&A interview with Beeb Birtles who is a founding member of the Australian group, Little River Band, now on his own and still making the music he loves.

  • Songwriters! - What'cha Doin' In Your Rhythm Fit? - by Khaliq Glover - This article is about foundation. All Songwriters, Musicians, and Producers should thoroughly study these great masters I'm about to mention, to remind themselves about how great songs and craftmanship can change the world. Study them well.

  • Alan O'Day ("Angie Baby" writer) said his new CD "made his day." - by Jan Fabyankovic - An interview with the hit singer-songwriter of "Undercover Angel" and "Angie Baby", who has released his first new album in 28 years.

  • Music Life: 06 - MUSICAL PRODUCTIVITY! - Part 1 - Organize Musical Ideas - by Brian Donovan - We started talking about the wealth of ideas you carry in your head: how to collect them, how to organize them all and how to make them into something you can be proud of.  This installment, we cover the organization of those small ideas that turn into BIG profits.  Both emotionally and monetarily.

  • Whatever You Do, Don't Look Down - by Carley Baer - Writer's block suuuuuuucks.

  • The Minor 2nd - by Kole (Kyle Hicks) - The often misunderstood and under appreciated interval.  In this article, I will be showing you how you can practically use this "dissonant" interval in your own music.

  • The Eurovision Song Contest - Lost to the songwriter for good? - by Trevor Krueger - The Eurovision Song Contest - Whether you love it or loathe it, has always been a major opening for song writers. But, now even that's changing here in the U.K.

  • Adding Color to Your Music - by Kole (Kyle Hicks) - In this article, I discuss one of the techniques to add "color" to your music.  Specifically, we will be replacing "1" with "9" and not only understand it's function, but it's role in other genres of music.

  • Music Life: 08 - MUSICAL PRODUCTIVITY! - Part 3 - Arrange Scratch-Vers. Into DEMOS - by Brian Donovan - ...the next step in making your musical productivity a reality...

  • Bring an Umbrella - by Carley Baer - She's back from her travels, and she has stories to tell. :)

  • Music Life: 12 - Omni Focus And My Lyrics - by Brian Donovan - I'm always on the lookout for a new system that makes my creativity easier to manage.  Recently I stumbled onto Omni Focus by The Omni Group...and it has changed my creative life forever!  Hopefully, it will change YOUR creative life as well...

  • 5 Composition Tips for the Young Composer - by Kole (Kyle Hicks) - I’ve written down these 5 tips for the young composer. It doesn’t matter what style, what level, or how far you truly want to take it… from hobbyist to professional, these 5 tips will greatly improve your composition ability.

  • How To Make A Great Guitar Solo - by Tom Hess - This article will show you how to instantly improve your guitar solos.  You will learn new creative ideas that will greatly advance your lead guitar playing.

  • Designing an Artist Life Plan - by Randy Young - Most artists I meet remind me of this scene in Alice in Wonderland. They have no clear idea of who they are or where they are going. They bounce around from idea to idea, wasting time, money, and energy without any real or measurable progress. So the question is, how can you succeed as an artist?

  • Improve Your Lead Guitar Playing: Lesson And Video - by Tom Hess - Learn how to become a better lead guitar player and improve your lead guitar solos. 

  • How To Develop Creativity In Your Guitar Playing - Part 1 - by Tom Hess - Read this article to learn how to become a more expressive and creative guitar player and musician. 

  • How To Improve Your Lead Guitar Playing - by Tom Hess - Find out how great guitar players come up with their awesome guitar solos.  This article will help you to learn the secrets to improving your lead guitar playing.

  • Empowering Youth Thru Music - by Mick Polich - The hope of our music nation lies with young people,to paraphrase a quote - in this article, Mick emotes on a recent jazz improv session he had with an area high school jazz band.Fun and informative,Mick explains how he learns as much from the kids, as they hopefully will learn from him......

  • The Lost Art Of Soldering,Part 1 - by Mick Polich - How many guitar students get to solder and build their own fuzz box project? Not too many,as it seems,but Mick explores this rapidly vanishing lost art.....

  • How To Quickly Become A Highly Creative Guitarist - by Tom Hess - Do you believe that becoming a creative musician is a matter of being born naturally talented? That is what I used to think. When I was a young guitarist, negative beliefs like this nearly destroyed my dream of becoming a great musician.

  • Roland V-Synth GT - A Singer's Delight - A review of the Roland V-Synth GT by Dan Maynard - a great keyboard for vocalists.

  • Songwriting Articles - Power to the Poet: Rhymes - by Bud Tower - We all think we know what rhymes are and what rhymes. But, the devil is in the details and the more we really know about what rhymes and why, the better and more efficiently we as writers can express ourselves.

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Musician Tribute:


  • 3 Uncommon Practicing Ideas - by Kole (Kyle Hicks) - Do you ever get bored with practicing the same exercises over and over again without getting significant results? In this article, Kole tries to solve the issues of boredom and practicing "inefficiency" with 3 Uncommon Practicing Ideas

  • 4 Ways You May Be Hurting Your Own Guitar Playing Progress - by Mike Philippov - In this article I will explain about the top 4 mistakes that guitar players make in their general approaches to practicing. If you see yourself in any of these 4 points, then you have discovered the things that hold you back from making more progress in your guitar practice.

  • How To Learn Challenging Guitar Chord Changes - by Mike Philippov - Do you struggle with making certain chord changes on guitar? Most guitarists do. In this article I will show you a simple process for learning to play chords reliably and consistently.

  • What To Do When Your Guitar Playing Hits A Wall - How To Overcome Guitar Practice Challenges - by Mike Philippov - In this article I will show you 5 steps to take when you encounter a problem in your guitar playing that you do not know how to overcome. The fact is that solving any problem on guitar is entirely possible and is within your control to achieve. Read this article to find out how.

  • Here Is Exactly How To Practice Guitar Scales - by Mike Philippov - Read this article to learn the best way of practicing scales for guitar. Mastering playing scales all over the guitar neck will help you to be free when expressing yourself with your music.

  • How To Remember The Notes On Guitar Once And For All And Become A More Creative Guitarist - by Mike Philippov - To learn how to improve your musical creativity you need to practice guitar in a way that makes this possible. Read this article to learn what things you need to practice to become a more creative musician.

  • How To Make Faster Progress From Practicing Guitar Exercises - by Mike Philippov - The secret to getting the most results from each minute of practice time is in knowing how to use any guitar exercise to improve multiple areas of your guitar playing. Read this article to learn how to  be more efficient and effective with practicing guitar exercises.

  • How To Know If You Have Mastered Vibrato On Guitar - by Mike Philippov - Take this test to learn how good your vibrato technique is on guitar and to learn how to measure progress with this area of your playing.

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  • The Synthedit Revolution - by JJ Biener - Jef McClintock's Synthedit has brought the ability to produce VST instrument and effect plugins to the masses.

  • Embrace Imperfection - by Andrew H - Do musical artists appreciate why they are going for this 'perfect sound'?

  • Do You Need A Producer? - by Jerry Flattum - Couple of months back, I decided to use Bob Katz for mastering.  After a few email exchanges and wrestling with his amazing book, Mastering Audio, I told Bob I wanted to achieve the same high quality recording with my studio as that which I've been hearing on a slew of top commercial CDs (Celine Dion, as one example).   Bob Katz recommended using a producer.  Just exactly what does a producer do?  Do I need one?  Mick Polich, another Muse's Muse Columnist, has some answers.

  • "Screwin' Around" - Practical advice from Composer, Engineer, Producer Stephen Sea - by Jerry Flattum - In tackling the the concept of the role a producer plays in recording, Stephen Sea offers some practical advice and lays out a blueprint for "screwin' around," a technique most songwriters are already familiar with when writing tunes. 

  • Obedia - 24-hour Tech Support for Musicians - by Jerry Flattum - A new service, Obedia, answers a long awaited need:  24-hour tech support for musicians.  Steve Garth, Fred Maher and Jayce Murphy are your new best friends.  Need help right away with a hardware/software issue?  Click Obedia.

  • Recording Your Own Songwriter Demos - by Bronson Herrmuth - If you are a songwriter and you record and produce your own song demos, this one's for you.

  • Music Life: 11 - Creating The Perfect Songwriting Studio - by Brian Donovan - I've developed the most professional, yet minimalistic list of gear for an amazing (and amazingly simple) songwriting/demo recording studio.  And I share my thoughts on how you can implement it to make your songwriting an effortless and gratifying part of your day that doesn't interfere with the rest of your life.  Here is that list, now...

  • The demise of the UK Recording Studio - by Trevor Krueger - Technology continues to threaten the foundations of "quality" recording to the point that many top London Studios are already gone or facing closure.

  • Mastering - by Cyrus Rhodes - Don't bonk during post production.

  • Never Let Them See You Sweat - by Khaliq Glover - Pressure in a recording session is very high and you can easily lose control of the situation if you are not careful and cognizant. Here is a bit of wisdom that was passed on to me that has served me well over the years.

  • 3 Tips For Music Production - by Khaliq Glover - How to get the most out of your music recording, songwriting, and mixing. Short tips for the music producer who feels stuck creatively.

  • Your Producer - by Bronson Herrmuth - A chapter taken from my book, "100 Miles To A Record Deal", for any of you musesmusers out there who might be seeking a producer for your music.

  • What to Look For in a Studio Vocalist - by Bill Pere - If you are a songwriter looking to hire a studio vocalist to record your song, that is one of the most important decisions you will make in the entire process. It is surprising how many aspiring songwriters don't know what to be looking for when they choose a vocalist. It is much more than a voice and a price tag.

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Song Pitching:

Vocal Tips:

  • Effective Lead Vocals, Part 1 - by Jeannie Deva - What makes one singer's voice "really do it to you" while another's leaves you feeling ho-hum? Is it just that some have it and some don't - Some indescribable and mysterious achievement of luck and lineage?

  • Singing or Straining? - by Jeannie Deva - You can hear it in the sound of your voice and feel it in your throat when it happens. The muscles tense and your vocal tone sounds pinched and shrill. You’re straining and if your voice doesn’t crack, you can consider yourself lucky. If this happens to you, you're not alone. Vocal strain is very common and some singers don't realize they are doing it, because there are degrees of it from mild to severe. There is no need to suffer the consequences when you can learn the remedy in this vocal tip by International Vocal Expert, Jeannie Deva.

  • Effective Lead Vocals, Part 2 - by Jeannie Deva - The second in a three-part series, Celebrity Vocal Coach Jeannie Deva focuses on several other components to help you "sell" your song with conviction and artistry.

  • Effective Lead Vocals, Part 3 – Achieving An Effective Performance - by Jeannie Deva - Celebrity Vocal Coach Jeannie Deva reveals some of the elements that contribute to an effective performance - for both the performer and the audience.

  • Eliminating Nasality, by Celebrity Vocal Coach Jeannie Deva - by Jeannie Deva - Are you concerned about having a nasal voice? Jeannie Deva, one of the top vocal coaches in the world, has some remedies for you in this article. If you are simply interested in exploring and further developing your voice, you'll find this exercise particularly helpful with fast results.

  • Three Quick Tips to Sing Better Fast - by Jeannie Deva - Jeannie offers a few tricks of the trade that can make singing easier, no matter what your style. She discusses three important tips that can assist singers, and fully explains how you can utilize these tips for maximum effect and improvement.

  • The Alchemy of Singing - by Beth Lawrence - "When we attempt to convey emotion through song or speech, we are using the art of Alchemy to transmute air into a medium that others can hear, translate and feel." Yes, basically it comes right down to plain old physics applied to performance art! The bottom line here is that in order for your audience to feel anything as a listener, you must be feeling something as you're singing your song!

  • Pitch Problems???? - Breathe! - by Beth Lawrence - If you are supporting your tone with a relaxed but engaged belly breath - a breath that seems to fill your whole body, this will create a firm 'platform' on which your tone rests.  When a singer is under pitch, it is almost always simply because they aren't engaging enough vital breath energy that then becomes firm breath support for the voice.

  • Proper Care and Feeding of The Gig Voice! - by Beth Lawrence - You use your voice constantly, for your whole life; and if you're a singer or speaker, you need to insure that your voice will stay healthy for life! Proper care and feeding of your voice is necessary to maintain a strong, rich voice that is vibrant, clear and has a tight, not wobbly vibrato.

  • Songwriting Articles - Support is for Jock Straps and Bras – Not Singing! - Sally Morgan explains why "support" when it come to singing, is a myth.

  • Songwriting Articles - Building a Successful Sound by Brett Manning - Tips on achieving commercial success as a singer, by Brett Manning.

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Artist Interview:

  • Rock Revival pt 3 - Davina Robinson - by James Moore - In my 3rd installment of "Rock Revival" I was treated to a very detailed and in depth conversation with the powerhouse voiced and very driven Davina Robinson, who's new album is appropriately titled "Black Rock Warrior Queen". Davina can relate to the independent artist's struggles and concerns, and I'm confident this interview will provide a wealth of encouragement to any musicians out there looking to share their music with the world.

  • Jan Rietman Interview - by Bronson Herrmuth - He's a world class pianist, artist, producer, and songwriter, from Belgium. Meet my new friend, Jan Rietman.

  • Rock Revival pt 1 - Death Valley High Talks Independent Rock - by James Moore - I decided to interview some hard working independent rock bands about their thoughts on music marketing. It's my contribution to a "rock revival". This first interview is with lead singer and guitarist of the very impressive alternative/punk/metal act Death Valley High, Reyka Osburn.

  • Rock Revival pt 2 - Danger Van Gorder From Countless Thousands - by James Moore - In the 2nd installment of "Rock Revival" I spoke with the very talented and hard working Danger Van Gorder, lead man of the stellar alternative/punk band Countless Thousands. Van Gorder is a perfect subject to discuss music marketing with. He is passionate about his craft, first and foremost. He also works very hard promoting his music, and he uses a variety of tactics to do so. While may bands waste precious time on social networks, Countless Thousands perfect their song-writing craft and aim for real press. I believe that hard work and a positive attitude both generate results, and he certainly has both.

  • My interview with hit songwriter Dallas Frazier - by Bronson Herrmuth - Dallas Frazier has had a huge career and he's still going strong! A one on one interview with a hit songwriter you can read and/or listen to.

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  • How to Make a Great CD - Demo - by Jaci Rae - A great CD / CD demo can mean the difference between getting the job and not working. Here are a few tips on how to make an excellent CD that will impress them.

  • Untangling the Maze of Music Conferences - by Bill Pere - Each year we hear of dozens of music events of many types, all across the country.  There are endless pitches for Conferences, Festivals, Expos and gatherings of all types.  How do you know which ones are worth your time and expense to attend?  How can you tell if attending a particular event will help you move closer to your goals?  This article will provide some insight.

  • How Radiohead Got it Right, and Your Band Can Too - by Draven Grey - Stop struggling with your marketing.  A brief look at how you can use Radiohead’s successful marketing tactics for your own band.

  • Networking that works - by Tim Ogle - The first five of what may become the "Ten Commandment's" of networking.

  • HOW DID THAT SONG GET RECORDED?!?!?!?! - by Andrea Stolpe - Sometimes it's difficult to imagine how certain songs make it onto records and the radio.  As musicians and artists, we can spend quite a bit of time comparing our work with that of what's popular.  In many cases, craft has less to do with success than we think.  Choosing a viewpoint that enables us to stay inspired while working the business end is a must for anyone wanting to sustain a career in the industry.

  • Money and Music: How to Make Both - by Jaci Rae - Indie / DIY musician and bands are beginning to have an advantage over major label artists. Why? Because they are forced to learn and have marketing savvy. Indie artists and bands who wish to start the process of making, distributing, and getting radio airplay for themselves, without the help of a major label contract, are starting their own record label.

  • The Most Valuable Music Conference I've Ever Attended - by Andrea Stolpe - About Tim Sweeney's "Music Strategies" conference - and how to get the real-world information you need to further your career.

  • Taking The Next Step: Moving your songs from the livingroom to the world - by Andrea Stolpe - Marketing your songs can take many approaches.  How do you get your songs out there once you're ready to play them for the world?  Here are some creative suggestions.

  • "Respect" - by Bronson Herrmuth - My definition of the word Respect.

  • Songwriting Commercially - by Bronson Herrmuth - I wrote this article in 2003 just a month or so after my book came out. Knowing most of you are songwriters, I thought you might enjoy this read and good luck with your songwriting!

  • Consistency Is The Key - by Bronson Herrmuth - I'm adding this article for all of you "musers" who are performing songwriters and recording artists. Hope you enjoy!

  • Cross-Marketing (Linking): Selling your music - by Jerry Flattum - New ways to sell your music online is exploding.  CD Baby is only one of them.  Of course you need your own website, but how does anyone know where it is--how to find it?  One way is to cross-link, particularly with other sites that feature your music. 

  • The X Factor (the Day the Fish Died) - by Bronson Herrmuth - A true story of a songwriter/artist pitch session with an A&R label exec on Music Row in Nashville, TN.

  • Work For Free? - by Carley Baer - Sure, music is ridiculously lucrative if you're a mega-star, but what about us lowly independents?  Do we have to keep slaving away for free until someone discovers us and pays us the money we're worth?

  • The A&R Representative - by Cyrus Rhodes - This article takes an in-depth look at the A&R Representative, and what role they play in the Music Industry.

  • POS is Never Wrong - by Cyrus Rhodes - At the end of the day, it's still all about money. 

  • Mixing - by Cyrus Rhodes - These components generally make for an industry standard mix.

  • Barcodes - by Cyrus Rhodes - Think Barcodes aren't important? Guess again!

  • Press Packs - by Cyrus Rhodes - What your press pack says about you?

  • Get Legal Representation - by Cyrus Rhodes - The Importance of Legal Representation.

  • Don't be a yes Artist - by Cyrus Rhodes - Legitimate artists never beg!

  • CD Release Timing - by Cyrus Rhodes - Summer time is go time!

  • Two Weeks In Nashville - by Cyrus Rhodes - Two weeks in Nashville I will never forget.

  • How to Choose a Good Mixer - by Cyrus Rhodes - How to chose a Mixer right for your style of music.

  • Commercials are a Big Waste of my Time – Guess Again! - by Cyrus Rhodes - This article looks at how lucrative commercial exposure can be for any artist. 

  • GIGS & BEYOND -The Importance of Live Exposure - by Cyrus Rhodes - So where's the real money made in today's Music Business - Just ask the Police!

  • Building An Army Of Fans Every Time You Perform - by Draven Grey - How can you capture your audience and consistently grow your fan-base? This article uncovers an often over-looked truth that will help to set your band apart.

  • GIG'S & BEYOND - Attacking the Local Club Circuit - by Cyrus Rhodes - This article examines how new artists should approach the Local Live Circuit.

  • How much the pro's didn't make on tour last year. - by Cyrus Rhodes - Don't expect to make a mountain of money on your own concert tour.

  • GIGS & BEYOND - Treat every show like it’s your last! - by Cyrus Rhodes - The following is a true story about how a hot Seattle band blew one of the biggest opportunities they had in under 15 minutes, and didn’t even know it.

  • Keep Your Eyes on the Ultimate Prize - by Cyrus Rhodes - Success has a funny of leading to even more success.

  • Take the 5M's Pop Quiz - by Cyrus Rhodes - Typically if you possess the 5 M's as a band or artist you definitely have what it takes to become a signed professional. Read on to find out what those M's are.

  • The Basics of Legal Contracts - by Cyrus Rhodes - In the Music Business a "handshake" or verbal agreement is quite acceptable, not to mention it can even be used in the court of law. However when things don’t go according to plan, I’ve seen the golden handshake turn into bad situations in a hurry, especially when the things that don't go as planned involve money.

  • Establishing a realistic set of Expectations - by Cyrus Rhodes - O.K. how about for now we put aside the Limousine, the Hot tub parties & Playboy Mansion Invitations, and set a much more realistic goal for yourself. Let’s start by making a career for yourself an Independent Artists first like we previously discussed.

  • SXSW Music Festivals - by Cyrus Rhodes - Music Festivals and Conferences are a great place for artists to come together, share their ideas, their music, their performances, and have fun doing it. Not only will you have fun, but you will have an opportunity to showcase your music, while meeting other artists and other prominent people within your local music scene.

  • Contacting the A&R Represenatives - by Cyrus Rhodes - Chances are if your music is good, there is a A&R looking for it right now. So why not put your music directly on their desk?

  • Finding the right kind of Recording Studio - by Cyrus Rhodes - Over the last few months you have written and rehearsed about 45 minutes of good quality music. It's enough material to now make a CD or demo, but you only have about a grand in your bank account . Here are just some of the things a good recording studio should provide.

  • Beware of Mixers that say they can Master - by Cyrus Rhodes - Despite what someone tells you - this is a very bad move!

  • GIG AND BEYOND - Contacting club owners - by Cyrus Rhodes - Here's what you need to know in order to interest club owners in hiring you for a gig.

  • Be a Responsible Performer - by Cyrus Rhodes - Many newcomers are unaware of their responsibilities towards the venue, bookers, people in the crowd, and even opening acts. Having an incident occur during the show could have disastrous consequences as you are trying to build a reputation regionally as a professional.

  • Something Every Roadie Should Read - by Cyrus Rhodes - Sure being a roadie is the toughest job in the Music Business, but keep you head up, you just might be a Rock Star one day.

  • If you suck at running live sound - please quit! - by Cyrus Rhodes - Some Indies bands cannot afford either to buy either a quality sound system, or hire a professional. I get that. Also true - some smaller club owners don't even know what good sound gear is. That's fine as well. What I can't understand is this: if you are a club that offers a decent to premium “live sound” setup, HIRE AN ENGINEER THAT KNOWS HOW TO USE IT!

  • Assembling an Effective Street Team - by Cyrus Rhodes - Many bands have learned the power of “word of Mouth” via an effective Street Team. Street Teams' are a powerful promotional tool that has been adopted industry wide ...

  • The Pursuit Of A Record Deal - by Tom Hess - Do you want to turn your passion for music and songwriting into a career? Would you like to know exactly what record companies, producers, and management companies are looking for when seeking out new artists? This article will tell you.

  • OK - Maybe it's time we hired our own Sound Guy - by Cyrus Rhodes - If you don’t bring your own sound guy you run the risk of handing your sound over to someone you don’t know. Having said that I have seen many so called sound guys that didn't have  a clue. All in all it can make for a long night.

  • PAY TO PLAY - The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly - by Cyrus Rhodes - Is this something to consider or something to avoid?  Read on to understand that pros and cons.

  • OK maybe it's time we hired a Band Manager - by Cyrus Rhodes - Any band or artist that's either paid their dues, or spent time on the Front Lines knows how much work is involved in becoming a paid professional.  The more serious you are about it, the more you need an effective band manager.

  • GIGS & BEYOND - Pre-Booking Advice - by Cyrus Rhodes - Here are just a few hints and reminders for anyone aiming to get their own gigs by telephone or “cold calling.” For most newer bands don't forget you have to start somewhere - so this article mostly applies to you.

  • Top 10 Mistakes People Make When Trying To Become Professional Musicians - by Tom Hess - Learn about the top 10 mistakes musicians make when trying to build a music career. 

  • GIGS & BEYOND - You got the gig now what? - by Cyrus Rhodes - Here are some simple tips to help you avoid those awful 'oh no' moments, especially if your band members are bad timekeepers, lousy with directions or have short term memories!

  • GIGS & BEYOND - Be A Responsible Performer - by Cyrus Rhodes - Don't want to get blacklisted by club owners, bookers and other agents?  Remember and pay attention to your responsibilities towards the venue, the people in the crowd and even the opening acts.  Here's how.

  • GIGS & BEYOND - Tough Night? Piece of Cake - by Cyrus Rhodes - Ask anyone who has been touring for an extensive period of time, or played in a live circuit regularly - having a tough crowd, off night, belligerent hecklers, whatever is just a reality of the music business. Here are some things that will minimize the impact they will have on you as a performer.

  • How To Make The Right Contacts In The Music Industry - by Tom Hess - In this article you will learn the best ways of attracting the attention of the most powerful music industry contacts that can help you to further your professional music career as a songwriter or performer. 

  • GIGS & BEYOND - Booking Letters - by Cyrus Rhodes - An example of booking letters for you to check out.

  • (GIGS & BEYOND) Legitimate Reasons for Reduced or Non-Payment from a venue or Booker - by Cyrus Rhodes - Here are some legitimate reasons you or your band might get a non-payment from a venue after your show.

  • (GIGS & BEYOND) The night I gave my CD away - by Cyrus Rhodes - I took a big risk in giving my CD away at a gig, not knowing what would happen next.  Things changed.  Here's how.

  • The day I gave my CD to a Coffee Shop - by Cyrus Rhodes - Your CD in a coffee shop?  This is a powerful marketing tool.  Here's how I did it.

  • (GIGS & BEYOND) How to make the most of your Merch - by Cyrus Rhodes - If you're like many artists, your distribution strategy begins and ends at the merch table. But for too many acts, the at-the-show marketing effort involves nothing more than a shout-out from the stage...

  • (GIGS & BEYOND) OK Maybe it's time we hired our own Road Crew - by Cyrus Rhodes - Don't underestimate the value of a good road crew!

  • What makes for an Effective Band Manager - by Cyrus Rhodes - Most agree - being a Band Manager is probably one toughest jobs in the Music Business. In all my years in the business these attributes generally equate to an effective Band Manager.

  • (GIGS & BEYOND) Maybe it's time you joined a Booking Agency - by Cyrus Rhodes - Here's why it would be a good idea to have a booking agency on your side...

  • (GIGS & BEYOND) The Indie Bible can help - by Cyrus Rhodes - Looking for ways to get you and your band out there along with valuable marketing tools?  This is a great resource to check out.

  • Professional Rights Organizations (PRO) Affiliation - by Cyrus Rhodes - A PRO is one of several organizations that are highly beneficial to producers, songwriters and musicians and if you’re a studio owner or operator, you should definitely have some background on them and what they can do for you.

  • Behind-the-Scenes Online Marketing for Independent Musicians - A How To Guide - by James Moore - Today's independent musician's must be vigilant with their promotions in order to build a respectable press section. The way to achieve this, contrary to popular belief among indie bands, is not by sending out 10,000 messages entitled "Check out my band!" on Myspace. It involves getting personal, respectful, and attentive to the music media. In this article, I'll detail what I like to call "Behind-the-scenes" marketing.

  • Search Engine Optimization for Indie Bands - by James Moore - People typically arrive at websites in three ways: through the use of search engines, clicking links from other websites, or simply by typing in the website address. Even though search engines alone will not complete your promotional arsenal, they will be important. Many indie bands do not understand the importance of search engine optimization. In simple terms, SEO gives many more people the opportunity to find out about your band.

  • How To Market Your Music Without Hiring A Publicist - by James Moore - Using DIY tactics, behind-the-scenes marketing strategies and a personal touch, you can now market your music to mass audiences without shelling out any money to publicists or promotion companies.

  • Indie Bands - Take Your Songs Off Myspace! - by James Moore - If you ask people what has turned them off indie bands and finding music online, you may just hear the answer "Myspace bands". Not only is there an overabundance of poorly presented artists on the site - many of them also make a habit of spamming their friends lists to the point where most people have shut down or abandoned their accounts and moved over to Facebook. This article hones in on one simple aspect of independent music that has been overlooked in the modern age of option paralysis and too much choice. Think about it next time you're about to send 500 emails saying "Check us out!" If your music isn't quite there yet, take your songs off Myspace!

  • How to use Lady GaGa's controversy techniques to your advantage - by James Moore - Indie bands - What can we learn from the marketing techniques employed by the world's biggest pop star (except Justin Bieber), Lady GaGa? If at this point you're saying "She's a sellout" or "I hate pop music" you've quite possibly closed the doors available to you and sorely missed out.

  • How to Lead People to Your Music in a Digital Age - by Bill Pere - Getting music online is the easy part. Once it's there, how do you get people to find it? With the maturity of digital delivery and a proliferation of websites that allow easy uploading and legal downloading of music, the old models of making and marketing CDs are gone. The shift from an album-based economy to a track-based economy spawns many new considerations for the Indie artist when the time comes to go into the studio and record. This article gives you some tips.

  • How To Make Your Music Career Highly Profitable And Stable - by Tom Hess - You don’t need to be a big time rock star to make good money in the music business. However, in order to become financially free in your music career, you will need to take a very different approach than the one that is taken by most musicians. You will need to approach your music career as both a “musical artist” AND as an entrepreneur.

  • How To Take Your Music Career To The Next Level With A Mentor - by Tom Hess - If you would like to start a career in music and quickly reach success as a professional musician, it is crucial to find a mentor who has already achieved great things in the music business. Learn how to find your own mentor by reading this article.

  • Musicians - The Real Cost of Cheap Graphic Design - by Draven Grey - We’re all on a tight budget.  Have you considered these things before paying for graphic design for your cd?

  • How To Make It In Music By Eliminating Your “Risk” - by Tom Hess - A discussion about what it takes to achieve success as a pro musician.

  • How To Promote Your Music Career And Build Your Music Fan Base - by Tom Hess - Are you trying to find the best way to promote your music and gain a huge following of fans? Read this...

  • How The Most Successful Musicians Are Making It In The Music Business - by Tom Hess - Are you committed to becoming a professional musician and making it in the music business? Learn how by reading this article...

  • The Five Keys To Building A Successful Music Career - by Tom Hess - Wish you knew why some musicians become massively successful (and how you can too)? Hint: It’s not by simply copying the actions of others in the industry – it’s by developing a success-oriented mindset as the foundation of your actions. Once you have the right ‘mindset’, everything else will fall into place in your music career and you will achieve success...

  • The Music Career Questions That Lead To Failure - by Tom Hess - Every day I receive messages in my inbox from musicians asking me how they can build their music careers. Maybe 1% of these questions are ‘good’ questions... all the others are built from totally misguided assumptions and myths about how the music industry works. Although some of these questions may ‘seem’ like good questions, they actually achieve highly destructive effects on a musician’s mindset that lead him/her far away from their musical goals...

  • The Most Important Factors For Building A Music Career - by Tom Hess - No one succeeds in the music business who doesn't already utilize the five key elements used by massively successful pro musicians. Until you learn about these key elements and start creating a foundation based on them, your music career will quickly head off-course... never to recover again.

  • How To Quickly Become A Professional Musician - by Tom Hess - Learn what you need to do to become a professional musician. Read this article and start building a successful music career.

  • 4 Reasons Why You Haven’t Done Anything Big In Your Music Career - by Tom Hess - Tell me this: What’s the most significant reason why so many musicians don’t succeed with a career in music? ...FEAR.

  • How To Easily Get A Lot More Music Gigs - by Tom Hess - Are you unsure about what you must do to get more gigs? You could be causing problems for yourself by thinking that “venues aren’t looking for bands in this moment,” or “there’s too much competition for my band to stand a chance”. Fact is, these statements are based in excuses. Here are the actual facts when it comes to getting more gigs...

  • 4 HUGE Mistakes Guitar Teachers Make In Their Guitar Lesson Ads - by Tom Hess - Having problems getting brand new guitar students with the guitar lesson ads you created? Know that you are not alone.

  • How To Become A Pro Musician & Build A Successful Music Career - by Tom Hess - Did you ever wonder to yourself how great musicians achieve success in the music industry? Of course, not all of them do the exact same things when building their career but each one of them has applied the very same key principles needed to become successful in the music industry.

  • How To Become A Highly Successful Guitar Teacher - by Tom Hess - Statistics revealed that the vast majority of guitar teachers almost never earn huge amount of money with their teaching businesses. For most of these guitar teachers, the idea alone of making $80,000 in a single year is an unrealistic dream.

  • The Best Methods For Getting Your Guitar Students To Practice More - by Tom Hess - What is the one skill that all your guitar students need to understand in order to grow into top tier musicians fast? It’s not technical playing ability... it’s not music theory skills... Think it’s ear training? What about developing super-fast speed?

  • 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.

  • Songwriting Articles - The Three Voices of the Music Industry - David M. Taylor II talks about the three "voices" you'll need to deal with in your musical career and understand if you want to get where you'd like to be.

  • Songwriting Articles - SXSW Music Festival (2010) - An article about Jon Stewart's attendance at this massive music festival - SXSW 2010. Some observations and advice for the aspiring songwriter and musician.

  • Songwriting Articles - What it's Really Like, Being a Songwriter in the Music Industry - Get some straight facts about what it's really like to work in the music industry as a songwriter - from industry insider, David M Taylor II.

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fan appreciation:

  • BACKSTAGE WITH THE BAND-AIDS: EMERALD - by Cheryl Mullen - Soon after I published “THE GOOD GROUPIE’S TEN COMMANDMENTS” in 2008, I started getting emails from groupies seeking my advice on how to handle certain situations with their bands. This was absolutely the most serious one I received.

  • THE GOOD GROUPIE'S TEN COMMANDMENTS - by Cheryl Mullen - The long-overdue follow-up to GROUPIES--THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE NAUSEATING. Want to make sure you're the kind of groupie who leaves a good impression with your favorite artist and not a bad one? Here are some rules to live by!

  • Your Fans Are Your Life-Blood, But… - by Draven Grey - Why settle for the left-overs of the band that played before you?  What key element are you missing that would help you attract massive amounts of fans, sell more merchandise, and boost your music career like nothing else?

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  • Fretboard Travels - by Alex Jasperse - A concise tried and tested travel guide to warm up exercises on the guitar.

  • Crazy Little Word Called “Shred” - by Alex Jasperse - How the need for speed has somehow become how we define a good guitarist.

  • Why Not Globalize the Guitar? - by Alex Jasperse - Ever thought about making music with someone from a different end of the globe? Why not? If you have some basic recording gear, and a willingness to learn, maybe it's time to explore the range of options you have...

  • What the Effects? - by Alex Jasperse - A quick look at the pros and cons of three types of guitar effects units that exist.

  • Playing with Uncommon Arpeggios - by Alex Jasperse - The next step in stretching your fingers a little bit more.

  • How To Turn 7 String Guitar Into A Powerful Tool For Musical Creativity - by Tom Hess - This article will show you how to play 7 string guitar more creatively.

  • Blue Collar's Sneaky Little Tips For Ghee-tar And Bass, Vol. #1 - by Mick Polich - Looking for a few quick tips to head down another avenue with your guitar and bass playing? In this first installment, Mick pawns off what pithy knowledge he's learned over 30 years in regards to guitar and bass playing tips.....

  • Bass Guitar Tips #1 - by Scott Morris - Scott's first article is an easy introduction to learning how to play the bass.  You'll be jamming along with other guitarists in no time!

  • Bass Guitar Tips #2 * The Major Scale - by Scott Morris - A bass guitar scales primer lesson - the Major scale.

  • How To Improve Your Guitar Technique - Part 1 - by Tom Hess - This article will help you to improve your guitar playing so that you can become a much more expressive musician and songwriter.

  • How To Clean Up Your Lead Guitar Technique - Find The Solution To Fixing Sloppy Lead Guitar Playing - by Tom Hess - In this article, you will learn how to play lead guitar cleanly by muting unwanted guitar string noise.  These are very important secrets of highly advanced electric lead guitar playing. 

  • How To Play Guitar Fast - Avoiding Critical Mistakes In Learning To Increase Your Guitar Speed - by Tom Hess - Learn several highly effective ways of improving your guitar speed and becoming a better guitar player. 

  • Why Guitar Teachers Find It Difficult To Get Guitar Students - by Tom Hess - Learn why most guitar teachers struggle to get guitar students and find out the most effective ways of filling up your guitar teaching schedule. 

  • Where To Find Highly Effective Guitar Practice Exercises - by Tom Hess - Follow this guitar practice advice to find the most effective guitar exercises for improving your guitar playing.

  • How To Record Your Guitar Playing - by Tom Hess - In this article you will learn how to record guitar parts in the studio.

  • How To Make Your Own Rock And Metal Guitar Riffs - by Tom Hess - Mastering the ability to play creative rhythm guitar riffs does not happen overnight. However, there are many things you can work on right now to make good progress in this area of your guitar playing. Read this article to learn how to make guitar riffs and improve your rhythm guitar skills.

  • How To Gain The Power To Create Intense Musical Emotion - by Tom Hess - Have you ever wondered how your favorite musicians make such great music? The answer is this: They fully understand how musical emotion works, and how to use this to create intense emotions in YOU while you listen to them. Understanding musical expression is key to becoming a great guitar player and musician. When you control emotion in music, you will gain the power to greatly affect the listener’s experience...

  • Top Ten Reasons Why You Aren't Making Good Money Teaching Guitar - by Tom Hess - Most guitar teachers don’t believe it is possible to build a guitar teaching business that makes an annual income of $100k or more. The truth is that it is actually very realistic to want to make 6 figures or more per year in your guitar teaching business. Read more about how to make a good living as a guitar teacher in this article.

  • How To Create Rock Guitar Solo Improvisations - by Tom Hess - Learn how to write rock guitar solos and improvisations by reading this article.

  • The Secret To Achieving Great Success As A Guitar Teacher - by Tom Hess - Have you ever noticed how some guitar teachers seem to “have it easy” when it comes to getting great results for their students? You too can achieve great things as a guitar teacher once you understand exactly what makes these teachers so successful...

  • How To Gain A Lot Of Motivation For Guitar Practice - by Tom Hess - Have you been experiencing a lack of motivation in your guitar practice? Are you unsure about what and how to practice? Get effective guitar practice tips and become a more motivated guitarist by reading this article.

  • Top Seven Guitar Practice Techniques For Becoming A Better Guitarist - by Mike Philippov - Want to make your guitar playing better RIGHT NOW? Read this article for 7 guitar practice ideas that will exactly that.

  • How To Succeed At Teaching Guitar By Showing Your Students How To Practice - by Tom Hess - Have you ever had a hard time getting your guitar students to make significant progress from one lesson to the next? Although there are tons of reasons why most guitarists who take lessons never become great musicians, in the end a lot of your success as a guitar teacher will depend on your ability to effectively teach your students to practice.

  • A Powerful And Unique Approach To Writing Guitar Solo Phrases - by Tom Hess - Many guitar players think that having great technical playing skills is crucial to writing incredible guitar solos. In reality, there exist tons of great guitarists who play truly inspiring guitar phrases without playing in a very ‘technical’ manner… and you can do this to when you follow the steps in this article.

  • 5 Creative Tactics That Will Transform Your 7 String Guitar Playing - by Tom Hess - Do you feel like your 7 string guitar playing is not as creative as you would like it to be? Chances are, you have not fully explored the instrument’s creative possibilities and limited your approach to simply trying to make your 6 string ideas work with the low B string...

  • Use Your Favorite Singer's Voice To Write Guitar Solos - by Tom Hess - Would you like to have the ability to write guitar solos which are highly melodic, expressive, and passionate? If you are like the majority, then you have a hard time making your lead guitar playing sound exactly how you want it to. A great way to solve this problem is to start listening more closely to your favorite singers.Here's how...

  • Taking Lessons For Guitar? Here’s 7 Unfortunate Truths About Your Guitar Teacher - by Tom Hess - REALITY: Most guitar instructors have never taken the time to develop their teaching skills. Unfortunately, this means you must become their student ‘experiment’ as they learn through trial and error. Before you take another lesson, here are the seven things that your guitar teacher has never told you (that you need to know!)...

  • Why You Should Forget About Most Common Guitar Teacher Advice - by Tom Hess - Are you tired of earning only a small amount of income from guitar teaching? Wish you had a schedule full of motivated students? Unsure about what you need to do to grow your guitar instruction business? Truth is, most guitar teachers never become successful, nor do they earn a lot of money. However, ALL teachers have the potential to do so...

  • How To Play Awesome Guitar Licks And Empower Your Lead Guitar Playing Pt. 1 - by Tom Hess - Wish you could play killer guitar licks every time you pick up your guitar? The truth is many guitar players think that great guitar licks are made by playing specific notes or scales. However, this usually not the case. As you will find out in this article (and video), the key to playing killer guitar phrases is focusing on ‘how’ you play… not necessarily which notes you use.

  • How To Play Awesome Guitar Licks And Empower Your Lead Guitar Playing Pt. 2 - by Tom Hess - Do you struggle to play great lead guitar licks? Chances are you’re making the same mistake as most guitarists: You add extra notes to your licks in order to cover up your lack of guitar phrasing skill. To make your lead guitar playing sound great, you must understand how to play every single note in your licks with as much expression as possible. Read this article and learn how.

  • Here Is What You Need To Know To Teach Guitar Lessons - by Tom Hess - Want to become a guitar teacher? Learn how while avoiding the most common mistakes made by new teachers.

  • The Five Main Keys To Becoming A Truly Great Guitar Player - by Tom Hess - I have identified the five keys required for becoming a truly great guitar player. In this article I will address all five and explain how you can achieve greatness for yourself. The five main keys are...

  • 2 Reasons Why You Have A Hard Time Expressing Maximum Emotion In Your Guitar Playing - by Tom Hess - Do you want to have the musical skills that allow you to control the emotions your listeners will feel when they hear you play guitar? The single greatest skill you can develop as an artist is the ability to consistently create music that allows you to express yourself in this way. Read more in this article...

  • Five Methods For Getting Into The Music Business That Lead To Failure - by Tom Hess - Ready to break into the music industry but unsure about what you need to do? Before you will become a highly successful professional musician, you need to get rid of several false beliefs that will cause you to fail in your music career. With this in mind, you might be surprised to learn the following fact about how the music business really works...

  • How To Play Creative Sweep Picking Arpeggios - by Tom Hess - Want to play amazing sweep picking arpeggios that demand the attention of everyone who hears you play? It’s actually much easier to do than you think. The key is focusing on building incredible amounts of musical tension by combining sweep picking technique with creative guitar phrasing ideas.

  • How To Create Awesome Shred Guitar Ideas Without Playing Faster - by Tom Hess - Do you love playing shred guitar licks but struggle to come up with cool ideas on your own? Chances are, you believe the myth that good shred guitar playing is only about playing fast. This approach is the same approach that keeps thousands of other lead guitarists from playing powerful and expressive guitar licks. Truth is, you must master the ability to play with both speed and creativity in order to make your licks stand out.

  • The Top 7 Guitar Teaching Questions You Shouldn’t Be Asking - by Tom Hess - Are you ready to become a more successful guitar teacher but struggle to solve many problems that seem to be holding you back? Truth is, this happens to all guitar teachers. In order to move forward and develop a flouring guitar teaching business you must continually ask the ‘right’ questions that will promote growth and prosperity. Unfortunately, if you ask the ‘wrong’ questions (as most guitar instructors do) you will condemn yourself to mediocre success at best.

  • How Making ‘Fast Progress’ Might Keep You From Becoming A Great Guitarist - by Tom Hess - Do you assume that becoming a superb guitarist requires that you make progress as fast as possible? In reality, this assumption can actually prevent you from reaching your musical goals in a short period of time.

  • Quickly Become An Excellent Guitarist By Studying John Petrucci’s Playing - by Tom Hess - Here are the top five commonly passed over areas of Petrucci’s style that will help you become a better guitar player...

  • The Secret To Playing Badass Blues Guitar Licks - by Tom Hess - Before you can create truly intense and passionate blues guitar licks you must master the ability to mute ALL unused strings while you are playing. If you are unable to do this, your licks will sound sloppy and you will struggle to play music that sounds as expressive and inspiring as you want it to.

  • 6 Ways To Attract Tons Of New Guitar Students - by Tom Hess - You’ll never build a highly successful guitar teaching business without being able to attract tons of new guitar students on a continual basis. If you’re like most guitar teachers, you have tried the approach of ‘advertising more’ with minimal results. Truth is, there is much more you must do before you will be able to consistently attract more students.

  • How To Quickly Correct Your Guitar Playing Problems - by Tom Hess - Tired of not making progress in your guitar playing? Most likely, your lack of progress is the result of years of bad playing habits. Until you correct your bad habits, you will be destined to experience the feeling of helplessness you get after realizing that you need to ‘begin from square one’ every time you try to learn something new.

  • The Secret To Playing Badass Blues Guitar Licks Part 2 - by Tom Hess - Learn how to utilize the muting technique you learned in the previous part of this series along with several creative blues guitar techniques that will make your blues phrases sound much more expressive.

  • The Missing Elements Needed For Your Guitar Teaching Success - by Tom Hess - Do you wonder why you can’t seem to achieve success in your guitar teaching business? In order to succeed in this business, you will need to do much more than the average guitar teacher. Consider the Olympics: in the Olympics, most athletes have similar physical attributes, yet only a few of them (who seem to possess ‘something extra’) are able to win medals while everyone else goes home empty-handed.

  • Transform Your Blues Guitar Licks With Killer Double Stop Technique - by Tom Hess - Learn how to create killer blues guitar double stop licks.

  • Why You Aren’t Beating The Guitar Teaching Competition In Your City - by Tom Hess - Sad but true: almost 100% of guitar instructors choose ‘mediocrity’ as their standard of achievement. These teachers fail to make a big effort to move beyond merely having enough students to ‘get by’ and have no real commitment to getting great results for their students. In addition, of the guitar instructors who have great ambition, only a select few are able to reach their greatest potential because they have no clue of what can really be achieved.

  • How To Play Badass Lead Guitar Licks, Part One: Creative Vibrato Application - by Tom Hess - I often hear complaints from guitarists about how their lead guitar playing doesn't sound as creative/good as they want. Reality is, there exist tons of reasons why this might happen, but there are answers to help you solve all of those problems as well.

  • The Four Worst Fears Of Guitar Players - by Tom Hess - What is the real reason why you haven’t already become a great guitarist and musician? No, it’s not your inability to play perfect guitar solos, a shortage of natural talent or anything like that. It’s your ‘fear’ of negative outcomes. By focusing your mindset on what you ‘don’t want to happen’ you put yourself in a situation where you are more prone to NOT taking action to achieve your goals. Before you can become a better guitarist, you MUST figure out why these fears exist in you and what you can do to prevent them from controlling your musical future.

  • How To Play Badass Lead Guitar Licks, Part Two: Creative Bend Application - by Tom Hess - Boring guitar solos are usually NOT the result of a lack of musical talent or technical skill. Instead, you will struggle to play killer guitar solos when you use the same process for improving your solos every time. For example, here are the two most common ways guitar players try to make their solos sound better...

  • The Best Way To Practice Guitar And Eliminate Mistakes - by Tom Hess - The greatest guitar players and the worst guitar players are all the same in that they share one common goal: they want to ‘play it correctly’. When you use effective guitar practice techniques, you eventually gain confidence and look forward to learning new skills. This is great except for one thing... After you begin seeing progress (and want to move your skills to a very high level – such as performing live), you will often feel a lot of anxiety around making mistakes that will cause many problems for you.

  • The Only Way To Succeed As A Guitar Teacher - by Tom Hess - Any guitar teacher who achieves great success fully understands how they share a lot in common with anyone who has ever climbed to the top of Mt. Everest. Not sure what I mean?

  • Why General Guitar Speed Building Advice Fails & What You Should Do Instead - by Tom Hess - Most guitarists in the world are unable to play flawlessly at extremely high speeds because they approach guitar practice in one of two ways...

  • Why You Can’t Attract Guitar Students During The Summer - by Tom Hess - Chances are, you already understand that the summer is the slowest season for being contacted by potential guitar students. This makes earning a good living teaching guitar very challenging for most teachers. However, unlike most guitar teachers, YOU will be filling up your teaching schedule during the summertime. To do it, you just need to understand the right approaches to take...

  • How To Play Awesome Lead Guitar Solos Pt. 3 - The Secret To Playing Emotional Solos - by Tom Hess - Learn the secrets of playing guitar solos with intense emotion by reading this article.

  • How To Play Great Guitar Solos Part 4: Creating Strong Emotions Over Chords - by Tom Hess - It’s great to be able to use only one pitch to make your playing feel more emotional... but to make your guitar solos overflow with emotion, you need to squeeze as much feeling as possible out of every note in every guitar lick...

  • How To Get Good At Playing Anything On Guitar - 3 Step Process For Effective Guitar Practice - by Tom Hess - Have you ever been practicing something on guitar (a solo, specific technique, song, etc.) for many months without seeing any results? Despite your hard work, you just can’t seem to get any better... Then you eventually become disappointed and begin wondering if you’ll ever play guitar like you want to.

  • Why You Make Slow Progress On Guitar (And How To Speed It Up) - by Tom Hess - Your guitar playing progress will be very slow until you get a clear picture of what must be corrected to reach your musical goals. Until you learn this, you will always be disappointed whenever you try to improve during your practice time.

  • How To Play Guitar Lightning Fast Using The Most Effective Picking Technique - by Tom Hess - To easily play with greater speed, you’ll need to use the most effective picking technique possible. This doesn’t require learning many new exercises for guitar... you only need to change one thing in your current guitar playing approach. Follow this basic idea from now on to make your picking technique highly efficient, giving you the ability to play faster on guitar with ease...

  • How To Create Awesome Sweep Picking Licks While Improving Your Guitar Technique - by Tom Hess - If you are having problems playing your sweep picking arpeggios fast and clean then you are not alone. Many guitarists have the same problem. I suffered from the same problem,

  • How To Make It Easy To Play Guitar Fast - by Tom Hess - To make your fast guitar playing feel easy, follow this innovative guitar practice strategy that will help you break through any guitar speed plateau.

  • 5 Ways To Grow Your Guitar Teaching Business - by Tom Hess - Why are some guitar teachers able to easily grow highly successful guitar teaching businesses, while the majority struggle to make ends meet?. If you want to become a member of the special group of successful guitar teachers, you’d better learn what these teachers know the 5 ways about growing your teaching business.

  • The Best Method For Playing Tremolo Picking Guitar Technique With Unbelievable Speed - by Tom Hess - Do you strongly desire to play with lightning fast tremolo picking guitar technique? It’s actually a lot easier than you might expect. In reality, tons of guitarists have a hard time playing fast tremolo picking lines because they are under the impression that merely moving their hands faster will lead them actually play faster. However, this conventional wisdom is entirely false and I’ll tell you why...

  • How To Know Whether You Can Become A Great Guitar Player Pt. 1: Do You Want It Bad Enough? - by Tom Hess - The biggest obstacle standing in the way of your guitar playing greatness is NOT learning complicated techniques, becoming a faster player, memorizing scale patterns or anything else musical.

  • How Mastering Sweep Picking Can Help You Become A Better Guitar Player And Overcome Your Guitar Play - by Tom Hess - Sweep picking is hard for most guitar players to master…but it doesn’t have to be that way for you. I’m about to show you exactly how easy improving your sweep picking can be and (better yet) how doing so can help ALL of your guitar playing improve.

  • How To Practice Guitar More Effectively To Regain Your Skills After Not Playing For A Long Time - by Tom Hess - Have you been playing guitar recently after taking a long break away from playing? It doesn’t matter if you were away from guitar for several weeks, a month or more – you were surely in for an unpleasant surprise after noticing a drop in your playing skills (when compared to how you used to play).

  • 7 Reasons The CAGED System Literally ‘Cages’ Your Guitar Playing - by Tom Hess - Don’t waste another second of your time learning the guitar scales by using the CAGED system.

  • Steve Vai's Guitar Playing Can Make YOU A Better Guitar Player…Here's How - Part 1 - by Tom Hess - Steve Vai is undoubtedly one of the world's best guitarists. So how can you use this fact to make YOU a better guitar player? Hint: the answer is NOT "learning Steve Vai solos" or "looking up Steve Vai tabs". This is because these things will never allow you to the learn from the REASONS that Vai is great. If you can understand these reasons, you can use them to become a better guitar player yourself.

  • Why Teaching Your Guitar Students To Be Creative Is Extremely Important - by Tom Hess - What is the best way to get tons of new guitar students, make your current students more enthusiastic about learning and make your competition jealous of your success? Answer: being able to turn average students into great musicians. To do this, you MUST teach them to be creative... in fact, this is also a major factor when it comes to making good money as a guitar teacher.

  • How To Play Awesome & Exotic Guitar Licks - by Tom Hess - Tired of playing the same guitar licks over and over using the pentatonic and blues scales? To become a more creative lead guitarist, you must learn how to play with tons of expression – this can sound especially cool when used together with exotic guitar licks.

  • 5 Additional Reasons Why 99% Of Guitar Teachers Will Never Make Six Figures Per Year & How YOU Can - by Tom Hess - You can very easily earn six figures per year teaching guitar once you understand how. The first step is to forget about the economy, how big your city is, how many other teachers are out there, or anything else like that. Instead, you must learn from the mistakes of others and apply what you learn into your guitar teaching business.

  • How To Become A Better Guitar Player By Learning From Steve Vai - Part 2 - by Tom Hess - Begin to analyze guitar players like Steve Vai and soon you will learn lots of thing…IF you know what to look for. Like any other great guitar player, Steve Vai’s musical greatness was NOT the results of his perfect guitar playing technique alone, but due to his ability to express himself with music.

  • How To Quickly & Easily Play Difficult Guitar Licks And Solos - by Tom Hess - Even though you can practice advanced licks on their own and it CAN improve your skills for performing those licks - it won’t help you understand how to smoothly combine them together within an actual guitar solo. It is this problem that causes most guitarists struggle with playing complex guitar licks and it’s why their improvising often sounds more like a “collection of strung together licks” rather than a real “guitar solo”.

  • 10 Things Every Fast Guitarist Knows - by Tom Hess - All of these elements of building great guitar speed have been followed and mastered by many of the world’s fastest guitar players. If you want to build insane guitar speed, follow these 10 rules consistently and you too will be an incredibly fast guitarist.

  • How To End The Cycle Of “Guitar Teaching Insanity” & Make A Great Income Teaching Guitar - by Tom Hess - INSANITY was defined by Einstein as: “committing the same errors over and over again while expecting to obtain new results.” Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of guitar teachers commit this mental error while trying to make a lot of money teaching guitar lessons… and this is the main reason why they simply will NOT be able to become highly successful.

  • Learn How To Play Guitar Super Fast & Clean Using Perfect Two-Hand Synchronization - Part 1 - by Tom Hess - Do you ever struggle to play guitar both fast and clean once you reach your top speed? Tons of guitar players have this same issue and attempt to resolve it by “moving their hands faster”. However, this will not help you play guitar fast and accurate. To do this, you must solve the fundamental cause of your problem. This takes more than simply practicing various speed exercises.

  • How To Dramatically Improve Your Guitar Playing And Reach Your Musical Goals Fast - by Tom Hess - Are you absolutely positive, beyond any doubt, that the guitar exercises you practice are actually making you a better guitarist? If you aren’t 100% certain you are using the most effective guitar exercises in your practice routine, then you need to take these 5 essential steps to get you back on track towards reaching your musical goals.

  • 3 Reasons Why You Struggle To Play Guitar Both Fast And Clean - by Tom Hess - In Part 1 of this article, you learned that mastering your 2 hand synchronization is absolutely crucial to your ability to play guitar both fast and clean. The next logical step is learning why many guitar players struggle to perfectly synchronize their picking and fretting hands.

    Here are the 3 biggest reasons why most guitar players don’t improve their 2 hand synchronization and how you can overcome these problems in your own guitar playing.

  • How To Make 6-Figures Per Year Teaching Guitar & Turn So-So Guitar Students Into Great Players - by Tom Hess - Guitar teaching reality: you can achieve incredible success and earn great money teaching guitar whether you are a total beginner or have been teaching for many years. The world’s most profitable guitar teachers are not smarter than you and don’t have a lot more talent or potential than you... Fact is, they have all had to overcome the same (or greater) challenges than you in their guitar teaching journey.

  • The Four Keys To Making An Effective Guitar Practice Schedule - by Tom Hess - How do you feel when practicing guitar for extended practice sessions and making few or no progress at all? Do you know why you are struggling to get better at guitar regardless all the time you are practicing?

  • How To Play Excellent Lead Guitar Licks & Solos By Developing Better Musical Creativity - by Tom Hess - Do you know many guitar licks, scales and arpeggios but still can’t play very creatively? If so, you are not alone – many guitarists are in the same boat. However, you shouldn’t make the same mistake as them. Don’t waste your time trying to learn as many new licks/scales/etc. as possible... this will NOT make you a more creative player.

  • Why You Are Not Making Progress In Your Guitar Playing & How To Start Improving - by Tom Hess - Does this scenario sounds familiar?: learning to play guitar at a higher levels, required you to practice various guitar skills and techniques for months or even years. Yet after invested all this hours into practicing, you still lose your bearings when playing in front of others, improvising, or recording music.

  • How You Can Play Kick-Ass Pinch Harmonics On Guitar - by Tom Hess - Being able to play pinch harmonics will make your guitar playing sounds totally badass. With this single technique, you can add true passion, quickly and easily to your guitar playing. However, if done improperly, it can be a very frustrating technique to deal with.

  • Why You Struggle To Express Emotions On Guitar - by Tom Hess - Ever felt like expressing true passion and emotion with guitar is an ability you must have been born with or you’ve better forget about it?

  • The Biggest Reason Great Guitarists Are Great And Mediocre Guitarists Are Not - by Tom Hess - Have you ever asked yourself what the single biggest thing that separates the best guitarists in the world from every other mediocre guitar player is? I’ll give you a hint: it has nothing to do with how much time you spend practicing.

  • How To Make Your Legato Guitar Technique Clean & Articulate - by Tom Hess - Is your legato technique in need of some serious improvement, but you’re not sure how to go about it? Fortunately, you don’t need to search for any special exercises to do this - you must simply use the best practicing methods for developing the technique, just like all the great players do. By doing this, the quality of your legato playing will quickly skyrocket.  

  • The Most Effective Way To Make Progress On Guitar - by Tom Hess - Regardless your current guitar playing skill level, there is one thing you can do to get huge results from your guitar practice. Here it is: Monitor and track every element of your guitar playing.

  • 9 Damaging Things That Prevent You From Making Progress On Guitar - by Tom Hess - Are you tired and frustrated of not getting the results you want in your guitar playing, even though you’re practicing for long hours during the week? If you can relate with this, chances are you might be doing what many guitarists do.

  • How To Leave Your Day Job & Teach Guitar For A Living In The Least Risky Manner Possible - by Tom Hess - Wish you didn’t have to work 40 hours every week at a job you hate? If you’re a guitar player, this kind of job will both keep you from playing guitar, and stop you from pursuing a music career. However, you can change this if you really want to. Fact is, teaching guitar for a living is by far the greatest way to do something you love while also making good money.

  • 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 Play Awesome Metal Rhythm Guitar - by Tom Hess - Do you wish you knew how to play killer rhythm guitar technique? To do this, you need to stop trying to find “cool” new riffs. Instead, you need to understand how to make every single guitar riff you play sound awesome, anytime you feel like it. You need to focus on HOW you play the notes the notes themselves.

  • How King Diamond’s Vocal Technique Will Help You Play Killer Guitar Solos Part 1 - by Tom Hess - Want to play killer guitar solos? Listen to your favorite singers! You heard right... Fact is, the majority of guitarists never even thought about studying singers to improve their guitar solos... they only take the conventional routes of increasing speed, researching new licks or attempting to learn different scale positions. If you understand how to integrate the vocal style of great singers with your own guitar playing style, you will be able to play amazing solos that sound highly emotional and expressive.

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

  • How To Make More Progress In Your Guitar Playing By Using More Effective Practice Exercises - by Tom Hess - One of the biggest reasons why you struggle to improve your guitar playing is that you never learned which of your guitar practice exercises are helping your improve your playing and which ones are not. Take these 5 steps and get back on track towards reaching your musical goals...

  • Four Errors Guitarists Make While Getting Ready For Live Performance & How To Avoid Them Before You - by Tom Hess - Does playing live on stage make you feel anxious? Almost everyone feels this exact way! But it doesn't have to be this way. Whenever you begin to understand how to best prepare for live guitar performing situations, you will enjoy playing live much more.

  • 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.

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  • The Importance of Childhood Experiences - by Trevor Krueger - Kids these days aren't experiencing the same things kids in earlier generations experienced.  How will this affect what they decide to write songs about as they grow older?

  • Blue Collar Rockin' #3-LISTENING!!! - by Mick Polich - Hey,you - are you listening? Mick looks at the topic of listening as a musician and offers some hopefully helpful hints on how to improve your 'listening' habits for all your musical endeavors!

  • Daily Activities of a Career Songwriter - by Andrea Stolpe - It’s true that no two songwriters' careers are alike.  Most of us start with no contacts, little experience, and a lot of inspiration.  Gradually we expand our network of contacts that will play key roles in opening doors to that publishing deal, artist deal, recording facility, producer, co-writer, event booker, agent, manager, or that one fan that becomes an unexpected loudspeaker to the world.

  • A Return to Reason? - by Trevor Krueger - Are the ISP's finally getting serious about free downloads from the net and their responsibility to do what they can to protect the future of music as we know it?

  • CYNICAL GIRL ISO CODE MONKEY - by Cheryl Mullen - Everybody has their "dealbreakers" when seeking out a potential mate. Mine just happen to be musical.

  • BLACK SUNDAY SET LIST - by Cheryl Mullen - February 14--or as I like to call it, Black Sunday--is fast approaching. Here's a set list for those of us who aren't feeling the warm, fuzzy, sugar-induced high this time of year.

  • The Day I Stopped Being a Songwriter (For 16 Hours Straight) - by Jennifer Haase - The very big decision and very small word that collided to make a full-day fool out of me.

  • Failure Is Important - by Mick Polich - We all failure - rarely do we like to discuss it,because, frankly, it's embarrassing. Mick discusses how failure can help us,and how we can learn from it...

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On Other Sites:

  • Songwriting Articles - James Lee Stanley's Blog - This talented performer, singer, songwriter and producer gives you the benefit of his 50 years experience by writing articles in his personal web space. There are all sorts of different topics you'll find interesting.  Well worth checking out!

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  • The Real World - Part 2 - by Guy Betar - This article continues the review of some real life problems of co-authorship, licenses and copyright in relation to compositions.

  • Royalties and the Law - by Brian Corber - The informal resolution processes of the three domestic PRO's - A brief analysis.

  • ASCAP Seeks To Destroy The Music Download Business By A Move In A New York Federal District Court - by Brian Corber - There is a major fight brewing between different segments of the music business: ASCAP and the RIAA and the record companies: ASCAP has filed a motion seeking an order from a New York Federal Court to declare all downloads of music as public performances, giving ASCAP, BMI and SESAC a piece of the action in private download transactions, such as from iTunes or Rhapsody ( The matter has been set for a trail to begin May 21, 2007.

  • Briefly: Dispelling Some Myths About Copyrights In Music - by Brian Corber - Describing how one really protects a copyright and what PROs do with a slice of the copyright assigned to them for administration.  With some extra confusion about "mechanicals" and how they do it internationally.

  • The myth about "the poor man's copyright" and other myths - by Brian Corber - Many songwriters believe they can establish and protect the copyrights in their songs by using "the poor man's copyright."  That is, mailing the song to yourself in a sealed envelope.  That is a really false urban legend and ought to be dispelled. There's also the myth about registering your song with a performance rights organization.  This article discusses and destroys those myths.

  • On The Subject Of Cowriting - by Bronson Herrmuth - My thoughts and musings on the subject of cowriting for all of you songwriters here at

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Software Review:

  • Hope of Audacity - by JJ Biener - Can a free, open source audio editor like Audacity really provide the kind of functionality necessary to find its way into the toolkit of someone doing serious audio work?

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  • Witnessing Michael Jackson Create “We Are The World” by USA For Africa - by Khaliq Glover - Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie, Quincy Jones, and a host of superstars create the biggest musical moment in history. These are some observations and memories that changed how I view the creation process.

  • I Kissed a Girl and I Liked It - A Lot!!! - by Khaliq Glover - How to become a better songwriter by studying the masters of the past such as Cole Porter, Kern, Gershwin, and more. This modern hit song by Katy Perry uses some of the same techniques of songs written 60-80 years ago.

  • New Year's Resolutions for Songwriters - by Mary Dawson - It's almost time to make our New Year's resolutions for 2009. Are you ready for the New Year? Will your resolutions collapse by February? Or will you actually make some progress this year? Mary's article will help you make a New Year's plan that works.

  • The Swing of Things - by Paula Carpenter - Things have definitely changed over the years.  Paula returns after a hiatus to continue her discussions about songwriting in the digital age.

  • Songwriting - It's a Piece of Cake! - by Paula Carpenter - What? You thought songwriting was hard?? And here Paula is telling us it's a 'PIECE OF CAKE' ?? Don't let this title fool you! Songwriting is ANYTHING but easy, and Paula's latest article will give you a very BASIC 'recipe' on how to cook up a song that your listeners will enjoy, savor, and remember!

  • Imitation: The Sincerest Form of Flattery! (subtitle: COPY ONLY THE BEST!) - by Paula Carpenter - We've all heard that tongue-in-cheek remark, 'I only copy the best!' and indeed, that very idea can be used as a wonderful songwriting 'TEMPLATE' strategy, a strategy that is sure to enhance your own songwriting skills.  Read on!

  • Songwriting - Part 1 - by Tom Hess - Learn how and why it is important to have more than one method for writing music. If your main approach to songwriting involves improvising on the guitar, you are severely limiting your creativity. This article outlines several additional songwriting strategies that will make you a more expressive composer.

  • Songwriting - Part 2 - by Tom Hess - In Part 2 of this article series you will learn more innovative ways of using melody and chords to enhance your songwriting. 

  • Rhythm Injuries -- Call in the Red Cross - by Paul Babelay - As a producer/percussionist I have noticed specific problem areas that always seem to come up in songwriting.  "If I've heard these once I've heard them a hundred times".... Take a look at some of the most common problems and their solutions in the area of rhythm.

  • Songwriting - Part 3 - by Tom Hess - In this part of the Songwriting article series, you will learn more advanced ways of applying rhythm to the process of songwriting.

  • Music Rhythm is the Foundation - by Paul Babelay - Understanding the importance of rhythm in songwriting is one key to great songwriting. Let's look closely at the role of rhythm as the foundation to any song, no matter the genre.

  • Songwriting - Part 4 - by Tom Hess - In this article, I will show you how to use the often overlooked element of dynamics in your songwriting that will make you a more expressive musician. 

  • Musicianaries: Songwriters with a Message and a Mission - by Mary Dawson - Throughout history great songs and songwriters have sparked the conscience of their nations. But to effectively write songs about sensitive social issues requires great skill and sensitivity. In this article, Mary Dawson gives some thought-provoking suggestions for writers who feel moved to craft songs to touch the issues of our day.

  • Songwriting Techniques -- WMD'S: Weapons of Musical Destruction - by Paul Babelay - Most songwriting tips let us know all the things we should be doing for success. But there are some things that we also should not be doing if we want success. This is written "tongue-in-cheek", all in fun. It will help you identify some of the major song killers.  Enjoy!

  • Free Songwriting Tips that Point You to Simplicity - by Paul Babelay - You have probably heard before "keep it simple." But how do we do that? It's easier said than done sometimes. Let us point you to some keys of simplicity that will help you keep the main thing the main thing.

  • Songwriting - Part 5 - by Tom Hess - In this article you will learn about using principles of orchestration to your advantage when writing music. 

  • Too Much Happening - Too Little Time! - by Trevor Krueger - Sometimes, even though you have the very best intentions to fulfill all your obligations, you just don't seem to get the time. But, if you can look back amidst the chaos and discover that you have still managed to do some real good - you can sort of forgive yourself.  This is what I've been up to recently...

  • Craft, Creativity, Customization - by Kole (Kyle Hicks) - In this article, Kole discusses 3 essential keys to successfully write your music.

  • Interpreting Interpretation - by Bill Pere - What does it really mean to leave a song "open to interpretation"?  When is it desirable and when is it not?  Many artists misunderstand what is meant by leaving a song "open to interpretation".  Your job as a songwriter is not to have every listener come away with their own truth, but to have them come away with a personalized version of your truth.  This article helps you clearly understand what is involved in the complex interaction between you and a listener through a song.

  • The Four Faders of Songwriting Success - by Bill Pere - A well written song may never gain mass appeal, and a song with mass appeal might not be a well written song.   The factors affecting a song's popularity and the degree of craft it exhibits are separate, like different channels on a mixing board.  This article shows how these factors interact, like faders on a mixing board, to yield an overall blend of craft, effectiveness, and appeal.

  • Twists on Lists - by Bill Pere - This article looks at the differences between list songs and story songs, and how you can make each format most effective. There are specific do's and dont's to be aware of when using either of these two primary song formats.

  • "Writing is the Answer. It always is." (Quoting me, gratefully.) - by Jennifer Haase - When a songwriter isn't writing, does she lose her superhero powers for good?

  • Sonic Activity: Making Your Songs Radio-Active - by Bill Pere - A song with a great story or message but "flat" sounding lyrics is like champagne without any fizz.  Sonic Activity is the aspect of a lyric that creates "ping-points" which are the little tingling phonetic bubbles that tickle your ear.   This article will help you master that important part of song crafting.

  • With A Little Help From My Friends - by Jan Fabyankovic - One of my 2011 New Year's resolutions is to find a way to improve my songwriting skills by getting “Tips from the Tops.” I wanted to share my music research with the Muses Muse viewers hoping it will be also aid you to compose the best music and write professional, catchy lyrics. As a member of TAXI, my first interview is with Michael Laskow, founder and CEO of TAXI, the world's leading independent A&R company. For those unfamiliar with TAXI, this organization connects unsigned artists, bands and songwriters with major record labels, publishers and film/TV companies. Since it takes a brilliant song to conquer the major music maze, TAXI has numerous ways to educate folks on the techniques necessary to write a hit song.

  • COURTING APPEAL: Getting Fan #1001, or The Secret of Ullage - by Bill Pere - The little-known concept of "Ullage" can be a powerful tool for overcoming one of the biggest obstacles in expanding a fan base -- Complacency.  Once you've gotten 100,or 1000 fans, how do you get fan #101 or 1001?   In the Four Fader paradigm discussed in a previous article,  Faders # 3 and 4 deal with the parameter of appeal.  A "hit" is essentially a song with mass appeal.  That does not necessarily mean it’s a well-crafted song, or an effective song (Faders #1 and 2).  If you take away all the hit-making reasons that are not part of the song itself (artist popularity, advertising budget, industry connections,  great production, etc),  then you start to find a greater relationship between well written, effective songs, and mass appeal.  This article shows you how to use the concept of ullage to keep the Four Faders optimized for your success.

  • Yclept Writing and Swinging Bats: Build Up Those Songwriting Muscles - by Bill Pere - One of the greatest tools you can use to help build up your songwriting skills is yclept writing – funny name, but very powerful.   You see examples of yclept writing in many books of poetry, literature or wordplay, especially from author Dave Morice.  Learn about this great way to flex your songwriting muscles, and in the process, maybe create something unique and memorable.

  • Interview with Hit Songwriter, Danny Wells - by Bronson Herrmuth - In this interview, Danny Wells shares his many years of songwriting experience and success with all of us and I recommend you read/listen closely to what he has to say. This one is a must and I'm proud to share it with you!

  • May I Have Your Attention Please? -- Branding Your Songs - by Bill Pere - In today's very crowded music marketplace, you are competing at any given time with tens of thousands of artists and hundreds of thousands of songs – and you're competing for two specific things:  Awareness, and Attention.   Awareness is getting a listener to notice that you (or your song) exist, and Attention is sparking enough interest in that listener so that they willingly hold you in their awareness (and ideally, make others aware of you as well). Awareness is usually achieved through promotion and marketing --  but once you've achieved Awareness, what does it take to turn it into Attention?

  • Taking the Labor Out of Collaboration From Creation to Realization - by Bill Pere - Look at the credits for a song and you most likely see more than one name. Having multiple writers, artists, producers, and engineers is not unusual in navigating the path from creation to realization..The music business, like any entertainment industry, is a business based on people interacting to shape and market the products of a creative process. Some collaborative partnerships are very fruitful and rewarding, and some are emotionally draining with no tangible result. This article lays out all the factors involved in seeking out effective collaborators, and what roles need top be filled in creating songs and giving them a life.

  • Building Bridges - by Dan Rivers - Learn some new ways to regain the listener's attention in the section called the Bridge.  What is it?  Where  is it placed in a song?  and How to write it. Find some catchy Chord changes!

  • Your Song Demo - by Bronson Herrmuth - The title of this new article speaks for itself and it's also an open invitation to send me your demos, to all songwriters in The Muse's Muse family. Sure hope you like!

  • Role Call: You Are Bartholemew Cubbins - by Bill Pere - In the traditional music business model, you, the songwriter or artist would be under contract to a large record company and publisher, who would then call all the shots.  In today’s world of Independent artists, YOU are the one who puts others under contract to you.  The key is to know: (a) what types of roles/tasks need to be done, (b) which ones you can do yourself, (c) which ones you need to engage others for, (d) how to find the right person(s) to do the tasks you want to contract out.

  • Chord Pallet - by Dan Rivers - What if I told you that you can easily determine what chords are available in every key. It’s not as hard as you think. There is a pattern to it.

  • 10 Steps to a Great Song - by Dan Rivers - If you have a great idea all you need to do is follow 10 steps as you write the song . If you don’t have a great idea no amount of craft will give you anything more than a mediocre song!

  • Your Demo Singer - by Bronson Herrmuth - Singing your own song demo is fine, as long as you're a really good demo singer.

  • Playing the Field - by Bill Pere - Ever notice how many songs address the same subject, but some have focus and impact, while others seem diffuse and wandering? The answer may lie in the use (or non-use) of the important element of Semantic Field. This article will show you what you need to consider when trying to bring focus and impact to your lyrics.

  • Secondary Dominant Chords - by Dan Rivers - (Surprise Chords-Money Chords) - Chords that contain notes out of the key signature. These chords will get your songs noticed. Before reading this, I suggest you review my article on Chord Pallets.

  • Plaster, Mortar, and Cement - by Bill Pere - A key element for making lyrics communicate effectively is the use of concrete references. Why are they important?  They make your lyric focused, clear and real, instead of vague and subject to misinterpretation.  And most importantly, seven out of every ten people in a general population prefer to give and receive information using concrete references.  So it's important to make sure you know what is and is not a concrete reference.

  • What Did We Know and When Did We Know It? - by Bill Pere - "What did he know and when did he know it?" This key question from the Watergate era brought down a President. It can also bring down – or elevate – a song. The presentation of a song by a writer to a listener is a social interaction – a conversation of sorts. Like any communication, if the songwriter cares about his/her message, the goal of the interaction is to forge a connection between singer and listener, so that both are on the same wavelength with common understanding. This article gives you some do's and dont's.

  • Adding Sparkle to Your Song: Why Does He Have to Live in Detroit? - by Bill Pere - You work hard to make your lyrics clear, and rich with images.  They convey a message or story that is universal and heard in many other songs.  Yet somehow, they still don’t measure up to other songs that are considered great.  What's missing?  Great lyrics not only are clear and relevant, they also tickle the ear, the way bubbles in champagne tickle the palate.  In this article by Grammy-Nominee Bill Pere, you'll learn the secrets of Sonic Activity.  This article also includes a Level 3 Analysis of a classic hit song.

  • Creation to Congratulation: The Road to a Grammy - by Bill Pere - How does an Indie artist get from an idea to having a song on a Grammy-winning Album?  Here is the whole story of how Bill Pere and Les Julian created a song which, 17 years later, was part of the "Best Children's Album" at the 54th Grammy Awards.

  • Why Songwriters Should Be Fearless Singers! - by Beth Lawrence - Who better to share your music with the World, than you? If fear of singing, or fearing that you don't sing well enough is holding you back, fear no more! You don't have to be perfect - just be a great storyteller. This article will give you some great insight on the road to uncovering your unique brand, and sharing it with the world, fearlessly!

  • Writing a Bridge Should Not Take a Toll - by Bill Pere - What is the role of a bridge in a song? When does a song need or not need a bridge? What makes a bridge musically and lyrically effective?   This article will help answer these frequently asked questions.

  • Using Ambiguous Lyrics, as Done by Kings of Leon - by Anthony Ceseri - Great lyrics can be sneaky. They can have you thinking one thing, when the whole time they’ve been two-faced and have been implying something else. Writing ambiguous lyrics in this way can be a great way to make what you're saying interesting to your listeners. In this article, we'll take a look at how Kings of Leon effectively used this technique.

  • Using Emotion in Singing, as Done by Foo Fighters - by Anthony Ceseri - During a vocal performance it’s so important fuse emotion with the lyrics. Injecting emotion into the lyrics of a song is possibly THE most important job a singer has. The vocal delivery and the words in the song, can’t be separated if you want an effective vocal performance. In this article, we'll take a look at how Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters does a great job of applying this concept.

  • Making a Cliche Phrase New Again, as Done by Regina Spektor - by Anthony Ceseri - The idea of "heartbreak" on songwriting has been used a lot. It's a cool metaphor, but it’s basically lost its coolness due to overuse. In this article, I want to show you how heartbreak can be made fresh again by how the phrase is handled musically.

  • Using Rhyme as an Accelerator, as Done by Neil Young - by Anthony Ceseri - Rhyme can be an incredibly powerful tool for tying the meaning of your words to your music. One way to do this is to use rhyme as an accelerator.We'll look at how Neil Young has made use of this concept in the song "Heart of Gold."

  • Using Contrast Between Verse and Chorus, as Done by R.E.M. - by Anthony Ceseri - Using contrast between your verses and choruses as a way to get them to sound different from one another, is a great way to keep your songs interesting. In this article, we'll see how R.E.M. did that, while having the meaning of their lyrics tie into that contrast to really ramp up their song’s ideas.

  • Songwriters Are Imagineers! - by Beth Lawrence - Imagineering combined with reality is a great way to write songs that give you a protected space, so that no one really knows if it's truth or fiction.  It will remain a mystery whether or not whatever you're singing about really happened to you,  and will keep the audience guessing as to whether you are baring your soul, or just being a brilliant Imagineer!

  • Making Your Listeners Want to Hear Your Song Again, as Done by Queen - by Anthony Ceseri - One thing we all songwriters want is for people to want to hear our music. And not just hear our music, but we want them to be listening to it over and over again. The best way to have that happen is to have a really catchy hook. But there are other little things you can do, to maximize the impact your song has on your fans. We'll look at one of them, in this article.

  • Speeding Up A Melody, As Done By Gwen Stefani - by Anthony Ceseri - Occasionally, it's appropriate for your melody and lyrics to sound sped up within your song. Maybe you want more contrast in your song, or maybe your lyrics deal with the idea of speed, or quickness and you want to incorporate prosody into your work, so your music will match what your lyrics are saying. Whichever the case, what we'll talk about here will be an easy way to have your melody sound faster, without having to alter your tempo.

  • The Geometry of Songwriting: Four Dimensions and the Importance of Time - by Bill Pere - A great song has 4 dimensions in both the music and the lyrics.  Most songs do it in the music, but rarely in the  lyric.  Why is this, and what is missing?   This article tells you what you need to know and shows you what you need to do to maximize the impact and potential of your songs across a 4-dimensional spectrum.

  • Building a Solid Song, as Done by Jason Mraz - by Anthony Ceseri - There are certain things that can contribute to making a great song. In this article, I want to look at a few of those things, while examining the song “I Won’t Give Up,” by Jason Mraz.

  • Being A Wordsmith - by Beth Lawrence - We communicate through music.  It touches our hearts.  So when we are creating words and music we must write and speak to the heart.  A Wordsmith must be clear while also being eloquent.  That's where art meets feeling.

  • Your Music Career is a Pentathlon: The Five Currencies of Success - by Bill Pere - In the music business there are five primary currencies.  "Currency" here does not mean money.  It is anything that you can trade in specific amounts to obtain certain things or objectives.  Having worked with more than 10,000 artists over more than three decades, it is clear that one of the main things impeding the forward progress of a career is not knowing what the five currencies are, when to use them, or even how much of each you have.    Many aspiring artists simply don't know what or where their five "bank accounts" are,  what their balance is, or when and how to draw on them.  This article will make it clear.

  • Making Cliché Metaphors New Again, As Done By the Script - by Anthony Ceseri - Some metaphors are so good, they end up being overused by everyone. As a result, they lose their meaning. In this article, we'll look at how to put a new twist on an overused classic.

  • Nothing Fishy About Scales - by Bill Pere - In working with artists around the world, I get many questions about how to make the musical aspect of a song both interesting and accessible.   I was recently asked this question from a songwriter in London:  "How does knowing about scales help you in songwriting, and if you write in a specific scale, are you limited to using just the notes in that scale?"   His question is similar to many others I get on the same topic.   Considering how much time we are made to practice scales when learning an instrument or in vocal exercises, and how much we do not enjoy it, what's all the fuss about scales?  This article sorts out what you do or not need to know.

  • Interview With Robin Frederick - by Jan Fabyankovic - Robin talks about the difference between radio hit songs and film & TV songs, how a music supervisor decides whether or not to use a song, what the best way is for songwriters to get their songs used in film and TV, and many more relevant and interesting topics in this informative interview.

  • Effectively Tying Lyrics to Music as Done By Carole King - by Anthony Ceseri - I always love a great example of a strong use of prosody in a song. When the words and the music work together towards the same idea, you can create some really magical musical moments. In this article, we'll look at a great example of this with a Carole King song.

  • Little Boxes and the Flow of Information in a Song - by Bill Pere - Keeping a listener engaged in a song requires a flow of information that unfolds at a fast rate with a logical flow, just as in a conversation or spoken presentation. This article presents some techniques you can use to help you organize and evaluate the flow of information in your songs, to help you craft them for maximum impact.

  • Rhyming Is More Than Just Per-Verse - by Bill Pere - Tight song construction is like building a house--you need to provide reinforcement in each of the three dimensions -- height, width , and depth,  to achieve something solid and long lasting.   In a song,  we usually think of rhymes as being points at the ends of lines that help us remember and anticipate lyrics.  But it's much more than that....

  • Designing With Rhyme as Done by Sting and John Mayer - by Anthony Ceseri - There are many different ways to use rhyme as a strategy to enhance what your lyrics mean. In this article, I want to show you how you can use rhyme to group similar ideas within your lyrics.

  • Using An Effective Opening Line, as Done by the Counting Crows - by Anthony Ceseri - A great lyrical introduction is an excellent way to get your listeners interested in your story right off that bat. Let's look at a great example of a strong opening line in this article.

  • Are You a Singer-Songwriter or a Songer-Singwriter? - by Bill Pere - There are many roles required to take a song from conception to being a finished product that is out there in the world (see Songcrafters' Coloring Book, Chapter 3, "Role Call")  But while performing many roles, there is ultimately ONE primary role that is your strength, your passion, and your true self-identity.   Knowing what this is, what you are and what you are not, is the foundation for a career free from disappointment that comes from unmet expectations.

  • Contrasting Your Sections, as Done by Judy Garland - by Anthony Ceseri - One of my favorite concepts in songwriting is writing contrasting sections. In other words, what you can do to make your verse sound different from your chorus and your bridge. Writing contrasting sections is too often ignored by aspiring songwriters, but it’s so crucial to writing a song that people want to hear.

  • The Most Common Song Structures and Why It's Important to Know How They Work - by Anthony Ceseri - Think of the most common types of song structures as universally agreed upon roadmaps for your songs. They tell us where the song is going. In this article, we'll talk about how to use song structure effectively.

  • Blurred Lines Are Not So Burry - by Bill Pere - You've no doubt heard  that a jury decided that "Blurred Lines" by Alan Thicke and Pharrell Williams was an infringement on the song "Got to Give It Up" by Marvin Gaye, and awarded  7.3 million dollars in damages.   There's a lot more to know about this ruling.  And it affects you.

  • A Clever OneRepublic Melody Writing Example - by Anthony Ceseri - This video outlines a kind of weird, but very practical way to write melodies, as used by OneRepublic.

  • How to Write a Memorable Melody: When in Doubt, Make No Sense - by Anthony Ceseri - Your music has to be marketable if your goal is to get it heard by the masses.  There are a lot of standard tools you can use to help increase the marketability of your music, but here I want to talk about a pretty simple one you can get started with right away.

  • An Easy Technique You Learned in Grade School for Writing Memorable Lyrics - by Anthony Ceseri - In this video we take a look at a simple technique you're probably already aware of. It'll help you make your lyrics much more memorable. 

  • 3 Quick Techniques for Memorable Lyrics That Attract Listeners - by Anthony Ceseri - This video will show you 3 ideas you can use right away for writing memorable lyrics.

  • Are You Writing Bad Songs? - by Anthony Ceseri - Are you writing bad songs? In this video, we'll look at why you should (as crazy as that sounds)...

  • 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 Fastest Way to Create Engaging Melodies - by Anthony Ceseri - Melodies can be considered the most important aspect of your song since they're what attract listeners from the start. So in this video, we'll look at the fastest way for you to create engaging melodies.

  • 3 Things to Know for Writing Captivating Melodies - by Anthony Ceseri - Since melodies are so important to a great song, in this video we'll look at three things to know for writing melodies that will captivate your audiences.

  • Why Using a Rhyming Dictionary Will Make You a Better Lyricist - by Anthony Ceseri - A lot of songwriters consider the use of a rhyming dictionary to make them less creative, but in this video we'll look at how it can greatly benefit your lyrics.

  • A Simple Method for Writing Words to Music - by Anthony Ceseri - Writing your lyrics to a rhythm is important if you don't want your songs sounding wordy. In this video we'll look at how to write rhythmic lyrics effectively.

  • Songwriting Articles - How To Think Of Ideas For Writing Songs By Eliminating 4 Songwriting Mistakes - Before you can become an excellent songwriter, you must have the ability to consistently put together great ideas for writing a song. That said, if you are like most songwriters, you sometimes have a hard time thinking of songwriting ideas and it takes you a long time before you are able to put a song together (if you ever do). Fortunately, there are four (quickly solvable) mistakes that you can fix that will drastically increase your musical creativity and help you come up with songwriting ideas much faster. Here are some of Ryan Buckner's ideas.

  • Songwriting Articles - How To Make Your Songwriting Sound Better And More Professional - Do you want to be able to write songs that take the exact ideas you have in your head and bring them to life in your music? Would you like to understand how professional songwriters keep their listeners interested in a song for the entire piece of music? Chances are, you struggle with these things in your songwriting from time to time (or perhaps frequently). Ryan Buckner gives you tips on how to sound more professional in your songwriting.

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