Muses’ Clues Apr/09

M u s e ‘ s C l u e s : by Irene Jackson

From The April 2009 issue of Muse News at Muse’s Muse

Years ago I heard about a songwriting challenge called “50 Songs
in 90 Days”, which was basically a summer-long (for those of you
in the northern hemisphere!) challenge to complete 50 songs
within a limited amount of time, brilliant or not, just to do it.
A lot of songwriters enjoy the challenge of a deadline, and if
you’re one of those, then you might enjoy this challenge. It
started out as a Yahoo group but it grew and was eventually
sponsored by another group called FAWM, or February Album Writing
, which you can find here:

February is over, of course, but check their website out anyway,
because even though you’ve missed the challenge this year, you
may find some inspiration in some of the forums and submissions
on the site. They have also spurred some online and live
regional events in a number of places, mostly in the US, where
songwriters gather to showcase and hobnob. As well, there are
some online events including podcasts and chats, mostly held in
February but certainly worth checking out as well.

One of the best parts, of course, is their Jukebox where you can
peruse some of the songs that have been uploaded to the site by
songwriters participating in the challenge. This year they had a
total of 7375 songs uploaded by 754 active members. You can also
look through the songs page and listen to the latest submissions.
Some of the songs are listenable but others are “locked” for
various reasons.

The website is kept alive by donations, and even though the
challenge is over for this year, songwriters are still able to
join up and for those who are participating, there is a little
meter beside each name to show their progress. There is also a
forum where songwriters discuss their progress among other

To those of you who are constantly looking for inspiration,
Google “songwriting challenge” and you’ll find other songwriters
who have participated in the 50/90 challenge, or who have created
challenges for themselves and are blogging about it.

Inspiration is always out there if you look hard enough!

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Muse’s Clues from Feb.09

I will be posting my monthly article regularly from the Muse’s Muse here after its publication in the newsletter. The Muse’s Muse is a huge songwriting community created by Jodi Krangle, and I have written for the newsletter since the early days. If you’ve never visited Jodi’s site, you’ve been missing out!

The article is meant to point out websites that might inspire you as a songwriter, whether from a creative or technical standpoint, or just to give you an idea of who else is out there.

Here is the article from the Feb.09 issue:

M u s e ‘ s C l u e s : by Irene Jackson
This past Christmas season, my husband and I attended an event
which has become an annual tradition for many Canadians. Stuart
McLean is a broadcaster with the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting
Corporation) and every Sunday we tune into his “Vinyl Café” on
CBC Radio. He often tours the country with the show, and during
the month of December he has a live Christmas show that he brings
to many cities across the country. His show is also broadcast on
NPR in the US and can be heard online through a podcast:

The Vinyl Café is a collection of “stories, essays and music
(both live and recorded)” and Stuart McLean is a wonderful
storyteller. Not only does he read his own writings on air, but
he encourages listeners to submit their own stories and he will
usually read one or two of them each week as part of the show. A
song usually follows the story, and often the song relates to the
story topic. The show is folksy in nature and always fun to
listen to and Stuart McLean is a distinctive voice who never
fails to entertain.

Whatever style you write in, however you think of your
songwriting, you are always telling a story. The story might
only be about a moment in time or painting an emotional
landscape, but the best songs have a great beginning, middle and
end, just like a great story. Storytelling itself has become
almost a lost art in our technically-obsessed world, but it is
something every songwriter should think about when penning
lyrics, and the Vinyl Café is a great re-introduction to the
world of telling stories.

You can get the latest podcast from the website by either
subscribing or downloading straight on to your computer. Listen
to just one of these shows and I guarantee you’ll be inspired!