A Reference Guide For Beginning Songwriters
Compiled by Jodi Krangle
Just getting started and confused by what's offered here? Here's a quick reference guide to get you to the places on this site that will help you the most.
Articles | Columnists | Survey Answers | Resources | Tools
These articles will be useful to you as you learn the craft of songwriting.
- Oysters & Other Muses - Harriet Schock provides advice on how to get that grain of sand (inspiration) that may eventually turn into a pearl (a song).
- Arranging the Psychic Sonic Furniture - James Linderman gives hints on how to arrange chords within your song to make use of emotion - tension and resolution.
- Make Your Songs Stand Out - Lyrical & Musical Contrast - by Danny Arena & Sara Light - two fantastic songwriters who would know.
- Building the Perfect Beast: Form Follows Function - Brought to you by Author/Teacher/Songwriter, Pat Pattison, this enlightening article explains why it's a good idea to have your rhyming and rhythm scheme follow your song's subject - and gives you tips on how to do it too!
- The Golden Rules of Songwriting - by David E. Schindler - A very useful list of things to do to keep you productive as a songwriter.
- How Anyone Can Write Better Lyrics - by David E. Schindler - An insightful look into how some great lyrics are written and what you can do to improve your own skills.
- Verse Development - by Pat Pattison. How to hone your songwriting skills, verse by verse.
Other articles can be found in the Songwriting Articles and Newer Articles sections.
There are a lot of them and I highly recommend that you check them out!
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There are many incredibly knowledgeable regular contributors here on The Muse's Muse - but these are the ones that will help you most as a beginner. Reading through these columns will answer questions you might have about form, function, creativity, theory and copyrights. If you don't find the answer to your particular question, feel free to ask the columnists!
- Songwriting Music Theory 101
"Ack!" you may cry. "I remember music theory back in school. I fell asleep during the class and dreamed that I was still in class, so I woke up from sheer boredom!" Believe it or not, a fundamental knowledge of music theory -can- enhance any songwriter's abilities, and the learning process doesn't have to involve self-torture. Debbie Ridpath Ohi will gently introduce the basics with humor and direct application to the songwriting process.
- Still Learning After All These Years
Jeff Oxenford offers pearls of wisdom as he learns about songwriting - 20 years in and counting.
- Quest For The Craft
This column is an attempt to document experiences and lessons in pursuit of becoming a singer/songwriter after moving to Nashville. Tim Ogle will share his ongoing experiences in juggling the role as husband, father, full time employee and honing his skills as a songwriter. A journal of triumph and tragedy in that mystical town.
- The Emerging Artist
Leon and Sheryl Olguin, the owners of S.O.L.O. Productions, a music production and digital media company founded in 1990, share their ideas about how to take your songwriting and music to that "next level". Whether you're a beginner wanting to learn more about the craft, or a seasoned player who wants to come "out of the closet" with your songs, their advice will prove to be both helpful and inspirational.
- Mary's Musings: Advice for the Independent Songwriter
Mary Dawson, creator and announcer of the "I Write The Songs" songwriting radio show, offers up her articles and advice on subjects near and dear to the independent's heart. Regular articles will pop up here but you are - of course - welcome to ask her questions of your own.
- Soul Writing: Everyday Self-Care for Songwriters
Linda Dessau, a music therapist and life coach, combines her passion for music with her passion for wellness in this column devoted to self-care for songwriters. Come and learn how self-discovery, self-growth and self-care will lead to authentic self-expression in your songwriting and performances.
There are also a bunch of fantastic articles listed in the Previous Columnists section - the place where I put all the columns by folks that are no longer writing for the site (and there have been a lot over the years!). Many of them would be very useful to you as a beginning songwriter and deal with a whole host of different topics from where to find your inspiration to how to get along in the music business and what to watch out for.
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Over the years, many questions have been asked of this songwriting community. The answers to those questions are very insightful and should give you a glimpse into various aspects of songwriting that you might be curious about.
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Here are some locations around The Muse's Muse that might be particularly helpful to you.
- Help For Newcomers - Tips on how to get the most out of this website.
- Muse's Muse Music Resources - A huge number of links in any number of musical categories. If you don't find precisely what you're looking for here on The Muse's Muse, you're bound to find it in this database.
- Muse's Muse Message Boards - A place for you to talk with fellow songwriters about topics that are of interest to you. Why not drop by and join in the conversation?
- The Muse's News - The website's monthly e-zine and newsletter had its first issue released in March 1998. 11,000+ subscribers later (and growing!) the newsletter is one of the most popular features of The Muse's Muse. Why not check it out for yourself?
- Songwriting Organizations - A huge listing of various songwriting organizations around the world. If you're looking for a way to hook up with songwriters in your neck of the woods, this is the place to check.
- Interviews - Ever wondered what went on in a songwriter's head (besides your own, that is). This is just the place to find out how others write their songs, what techniques they use, how they managed their success, etc.
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These links will provide you with the tools to keep yourself organized, find that perfect rhyme or word, get you some webspace if you don't have any yet, allow you to find some great reading resources to supplement your knowledge on the craft, and lots more.
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- Real Answers To Real Questions: a songwriter-publisher forum - Since 1998, Nancy Reece has been providing a question and answer forum for Muse's Muse readers. All of the articles, forums and Q&A's have been compiled into a DigitalWebBook that is currently exclusively offered through MusesMuse.com. If you're confused about copyright, this is definitely a book to read.
- SongU.com Online Songwriting Courses - At SongU.com, you can take over 30 instructor-led and self-paced songwriting courses 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for one affordable yearly tuition. Learn from a faculty of successful award-winning industry professionals and active hit songwriters. In addition to personal feedback from the instructors, online guidance counselors and coaches will provide you with a customized learning path tailored specifically to your goals. Special for Muse's Muse visitors: Take a free songwriting course to familiarize yourself with SongU - before you buy a membership! Click here to learn more!
- Lyricist V3 Songwriting Software (Newly updated!) - Organization for songwriters - receive a $5.00 discount just for purchasing it here (normally $49.95)! Read a review to learn more.
- Learn how to use your voice to its fullest.Protect it in the long term and improve its quality and power. For a taste of some of the information included in this program, here's an interesting article about how your voice works, kindly contributed by its author.
- MasterWriter Songwriting Software - "This remarkable piece of software turns your Mac or PC into a valuable songwriting partner" -- Richard Leiter, Keyboard Magazine - Find out more about this program (and receive a $70 discount for purchasing it here!) - by visiting this page. You can even try it for 30 days before deciding if you want to keep it!
- Guitar Scales & Theory For Songwriters: You Can Play Guitar - If you're serious about learning how to play guitar and you want some options about the styles you learn, this Billboard top rated DVD course by Scott Morris is definitely for you. Learn how to play in the style of rock legends like Steve Vai, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eddie Van Halen. Or find out how to play the way blues greats like Eric Clapton, B.B. King and Robert Johnson do. This is a course well worth checking out.
- Online Thesaurus & Rhyming Dictionary
- Suggested Reading - A list of songwriting books that are a worthy addition to any songwriter's library and including the books that I review in the newsletter. These books are a great source of inspiration and instruction and definitely recommended.
- The Muse's Muse Musician's Junction - Find and be found by like-minded musicians and songwriters in this easily searchable international database. Check out the Muse's Muse Musician's Junction, brought to you by The Muse's Muse and TAXI.
- Find Music-related Software @ SharewareMusicMachine