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Some advice for new members

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Beginner's Guide to the Muse


Here are some thoughts for newcomers to the Musesmuse forums. If you haven't used an internet forum for songwriters before then this thread will hopefully give you some tips on getting the most out the Musesmuse.

Who is this for?

Anyone who is new to songwriting internet forums. If you have come here from other songwriting websites, welcome. The Muse runs in a similar way to other songwriting internet forums but we believe that this site has a unique character than you will enjoy.

The basics

You can post and review ("critique" or "crit") lyrics in the Lyrics forum; post and review recorded songs in the Songs forum; and share your creative writing in the Artists Cafe. There are many other forums catering for all tastes in music and interest. There are several contests to enter and challenges to take on.

How to post a crit

Whenever you type something, remember that all the smiles, laughs or grins that you might have while you are writing won't come over in your post. You can use emoticons (those smily faces to the left of the reply window) to try to show how you mean your words to be taken, but it's always worth explaining yourself just a little bit more. 70% of communication is done without words, so the 30% we have left needs to be clear.

As a beginner it can be daunting to post a critique of a song by someone who's been around for a while, especially if you are new to songwriting. A lot of beginners get shy and don't post many critiques. However, anyone can say which bits they liked and which bits they didn't. Try to avoid saying "liked it", or "hated it" though, always look to say something a bit more; the writer will appreciate it.

You can learn as much from critiquing songs as you can from writing them; it helps you to understand what works and what doesn't. Those lessons will help you with your own work.

What goes around, comes around ... the more lyrics or music you review, the more likely other people will review yours. Try to post as many reviews as you receive.

Songs or lyrics you dislike

Sometimes you come across a song that you really dislike. If you disagree with it's message or tone, its best to ignore it. You are not going to change the writer's mind with one critique, and you are more likely to start a fight.

If the song is just plain bad then be constructive. Say what needs to be improved and always look to sweeten your message with one or two nice things (e.g. "hey, great start here"). Few writers will take notice of a sour review, but if it sounds balanced and encouraging then your advice is more likely to be considered.

How writers take crits

Most critiques do not result in changes to lyrics or songs - don't take offence though. The writer knows the reasons why things have been done in certain ways, which you may not know. However, if your crit does end up changing the piece, give yourself a pat on the back.

How you should take crits

If you are a novice writer then you have made a good first step to improving your lyrics and music by joining Musesmuse. You've come to a place where you can get feedback on your own work, and also sharpen your skills reviewing other writers' works.

Posting your first lyric or song is always stressful; is it any good? will people laugh at me? Unless you are a natural, the answer to the first question will be "probably not" but the answer to the second is definitely "no". The folks here are also posting their work so they will treat you gently and with respect. Remember that by posting your work you can only improve.

Don't spend ages trying to improve your first piece. Better to learn the lessons and apply it to your next song. Don't be a perfectionist; if your lyric or song is built like a truck it will never reach 100mph. Best to get building a new, better one.

It's up to you how much notice you take of the reviews you get. In the end, if you want your songs to be heard by others, you'll eventually have to take notice of what people think. If you don't take notice of any of the reviews then ask yourself, why are you posting your work? As you get to know people on the Muse you will understand where people are coming from and their particular likes and dislikes.

It's always good to thank people for their reviews, whether or not you agree with them. And it "bumps" your thread back up to the top of the forum as well.

Joining the community

There are plenty of places to exchange views, have a chitchat and just make friends. Don't get fooled by all those posts against a Muser's name. They are not all lyrics or songs, a large number are just chat.

Handling offence and harrassment

As I said above, text is easy to misunderstand. If someone offends you, step back and read it again in a few hours or the next day. It's surprising how a second read can change your perception of what they really meant to say. And remember, just because someone is rude to you, does not make it okay to be rude in return. You are responsible for your own words; provocation is no excuse.

If someone is bothering you, let the moderator for the forum know. It might not be such a big deal to you, but such behaviour can upset others, and it may be part of a pattern. The moderator will know how to deal with it. Likewise, don't get involved in personal abuse, even if someone else lowers themself. Leave the low ground to the little people.

And finally, congratulations on joining the Muse. There are wonderful people here (including yourself of course ;) ) and a lot of talent. You can learn and be inspired; you can also teach others and inspire them in turn.

See you on the boards, Len

(PS I'm open to suggestions on improving this guide, so please PM me with your thoughts :) )

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:rolleyes: Thanks for your info, as newbie I still don't know how to thread in my lyrics to have them critiqued. I love

writing lyrics. But I fear I might be like one of those people on American Idol who really believe they can sing and will

scare you.



Welcome, HEWITT, (and I don't think anything can scare us around here :D )

I’ll try to help you with the procedure to post your lyric.

1. Go to “Lyrics Critiques” forum

2. Click on “New Topic” – This gives you your “box” to enter your lyric. You can type it in, or copy from your document and paste into the box. Above the box, you enter your title, and maybe the genre below that for “Description”.

3. Click on “Preview Post” at bottom to see if it looks the way you want.

4. When it’s ok, click on “Post New Topic”

That should do it. If you have trouble, there are many who will help. It’s a good idea to read the forum rules if you haven’t done that. And it is asked that you critique a couple lyrics before you post. Good luck.


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