Vowels Control Your Brain?

Just happened upon this story yesterday and thought you’d like to see … Vowels Control Your Brain.

Very interesting study … and could prove helpful to those of you who write song lyrics or who are responsible for naming new products or services.

A fantasy of mine:  to have the job of naming OPI nail polish colors. Take a moment in a nail salon some time, read the bottoms of those little bottles, or go to opi.com, search the colors, and you’ll see what I mean! Some are hilarious (and clever)!

Here’s the link:   http://www.npr.org/blogs/krulwich/2011/12/07/143265882/vowels-control-your-brain?ps=cprs


Songwriters! Don’t Hide Your Head in the Sand!

Very interesting article for songwriters on TuneCore blog… by George Howard & Jeff Price.

Not sure if every statistic here is carved in stone, but what I got out of reading this is ‘spot on’ in that most songwriters (and we talk to a lot of you out there in the USA), simply do not take the “business” part of “the music business” seriously. Yes, it’s complicated — like most other businesses.  But yes, you CAN learn enough to protect and defend yourself, if needs be. At the very least, you can get to know some honest, decent, people in this business, who have credibility, experience, skill, knowledge, and time to help YOU.

Of course, the first step I’d take, is to read John Braheny’s book, that has become a textbook in most music departments at most colleges/universities. It’s The Craft and Business of Songwriting. You can find it (3rd edition) on Amazon.com…

In the meanwhile… here’s a piece of the article from TuneCore:

TuneCore artists have sold over 400 million songs over the past two years, generating over $300 million in artist and songwriter revenue.

Based on this, the idea that you can’t create a sustainable career on your own terms, without the backing of a label (major or otherwise) is empirically ludicrous.  No, not everyone will be able to do it, but the point is it is possible without a traditional label.  Anyone that says otherwise is wrong.

So, what’s the hold up?  What’s the excuse?

While one can’t teach talent or motivation (you either got it or you don’t), these are not the things that we’ve seen as lacking from most artists over the twenty years or so of observing/working with musicians.

Rather, the glaring omission that we see from most musicians is a profound gap in knowledge with respect to how the business that they engage in operates.  In other words, they don’t understand how they make money off their songs and recordings.

There are probably a lot of reasons for this.  Some have societal implications, fallacies like “Creative types can’t be good business people,” while others are more political in nature: labels and others enforcing stereotypes that artists are unable to manage their own affairs, and, thus, require these peoples’ services.

For some period of time (roughly from the 1950s to the mid-to-late 1990s) the label system (and its related satellite elements: PROs, managers, agents, etc…) was divided between those who have knowledge and those who don’t.

It was the labels (et al.) who had this knowledge, and the artists who did not.  The artists are not blameless here; I’ve heard from far too many that they don’t want to understand how the business (their business) works, but would rather “just create.”  In taking this position, they lay themselves supine, and abdicate all of their power.  How in the world do you know if you are getting ripped off or cheated if you don’t know the rules!

[Read more: Whole article at blog.tunecore.com.]


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Where Ideas Come From


I hope, by now, you have been as enthralled as I am by TED video talks, free, online. I mentioned these several times on my blog, over the years.

TED is Technology – Entertainment – Design.

Here is a current 18-minute talk by Steven Johnson, author of Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation … You’ll love it, I promise!

Click to watch:


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How to Stop Racing Around

When I saw this in ZenHabits … it rang such a loud bell for me … as I believe it will for you too. It reminds me of that wonderful Simon & Garfunkel lyric, “Slow down, you move too fast, got to make the morning last!”

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Dave Ursillo of DaveUrsillo.com.

If there is any one indication that life is best lived slowly, it’s that among all of the busyness, racing to fulfill tasks and rushing to complete goals, there is one race that nobody wants to finish first: the race of life itself.

Our culture has a mild obsession with racing — not racing for the sake of sport or simple competition, but racing through many aspects of our lives, so as to fulfill a sense of productivity.

When conquer sprawling to-do lists we hopes that we will feel accomplished.

But “productivity” is a false-comfort.

When I remember back to my college days, I recall seeing fellow classmates who were so obsessive about fulfilling the idea that they needed to be constantly working, racing, striving and even suffering that they would spend as much time as humanly possibly within the confines of the campus library.

It’s not that they didn’t have work to do or need to accomplish assignments (they did).

But what I realized was that it was almost an obsessive-compulsion to simply reside — as if subconsciously reinforcing a feeling that they were being “productive,” and obliging a widely-shared notion by our culture that said, “if you aren’t constantly working, you are falling behind.”

Do you do the same?

Outside of a collegiate environment, as adults we still largely obsess to fulfill the idea that living in a constant state of unrelenting work is good.

The obsession is a quiet, subconscious, subtle cultural meme that we all inherently understand as members of our society.

And so we spend a significant portion of our lives tirelessly racing to an imaginary finish under the guise of “productivity” — only to realize that the finish line never comes.

Before long, we forget that life itself is about experiencing the journey — not racing to the finish.

And considering that take so many measures to prolong the length of our lives and increase the quality of them, wouldn’t it logically follow that we ought to slow down each and every day, and escape this senseless “race” mentality?

Start Slow

I’m as much a victim of the “race” mentality as anyone else. But what I have discovered is that the pace and quality of my days are largely dictated by how I start my days each morning.

When I wake up, part of me feels obsessively compelled to “dive in” to my work and to-do lists. Having recently written and published my first book, on recent mornings my “race” mentality would even take the forms of physical anxiety, shortness of breath and nervousness.

However, each morning I strive to quell those feelings by starting slow.

  • I will go for a run or immerse myself in nature.
  • I’ll do an hour of slow yoga.
  • I will practice mindful breathing while accomplishing a short t’ai chi or qigong routine.
  • I’ll read a chapter or two of a good book.

Starting slow is less about what you do, but beginning the day in accordance with a sense of inner peace, patience, and contentment.

And, don’t get me wrong: starting slow can feel like an agonizing affair on some mornings.

Our self-imposed demands to constantly work, strive and race feel like an overwhelming addiction — and all we want to do is quell those subconscious demons in our heads that tell us that slowness, quietness, and simple “being” are wrong.

However, every morning that I choose to “start slow,” something amazing happens.

I am calm, relaxed, and balanced throughout the day. Each moment feels like a gift, and not merely an “opportunity” to accomplish goals or fulfill tasks — as if sand in an hour glass that needs to be consumed by “racing.”

When I start slow, I am naturally more productive — and feel more accomplished by the day’s end.

How to Start Slow

Here’s how you can start to begin your days slowly:

  • Write a list 5 activities, hobbies, or practices.
  • Choose activities that are positive, constructive and/or healthy.
  • Try one for every weekday morning of next week.
  • Wake up earlier or go to bed sooner to best ensure you have plenty of time and energy to experience the moment.
  • Focus on patience, pace, and calmness when you “start slow” each morning.

Starting slow paces each day in accordance with a natural internal balance: a meaningful peace within that resonates with our human core, and denies the obsessive addiction to the race.

Life itself is not a race. Nobody wins by finishing first. We all strive to live as long as we possibly can.

And when we make the little effort to “start slow” each morning, we remember to dedicate ourselves to the journey of life itself — and not the race to reach its finish.

Dave’s new book, Lead Without Followers: How to Save the World By Radically Redefining the Meaning of Leadership is now available. He can also be found at his blog, DaveUrsillo.com.

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JoAnn, takes time out, on Hornby Island, British Columbia, 2006




Carla DeSantis-Black interviewed JoAnn Braheny

Here is an interview that my good buddy, Carla DeSantis-Black, did with me in 2010, and I couldn’t recall if I posted it … so here it is… because she asked me questions that no one else has, about Goosing Your Muse!


You’ll want to read more about Carla too … a ball of energy if there ever was one … and totally knowledgeable about the music business, because she’s lived it!

Carla DeSantis Black is the nation’s leading advocate for women in music. A former musician and music industry veteran, Carla rose to prominence as the founder, publisher and editor-in-chief of the ground-breaking and award-winning ROCKRGRL (1994-2005), the only national publication for female musicians.



Career Camp – July 16, 2011 – Valencia, California

John Braheny and I are going to be teaching again (different classes) at the FREE annual Career Camp…

Date:  Saturday, July 16, 2011

Time:  9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Place:  College of the Canyons, Valencia, California (just North of Los Angeles)

I will present “Career Path Patterns” — (or  How a Corporate Ladder Isn’t the Only Way “Up”) and John will discuss various   careers in the music business.

Both of us taught at Career Camp before and really enjoyed it.  It’s a day full of shmoozing with career counselors, teachers of various subjects, human resources professionals, and all kinds of folks who are looking to help you advance in your career, or change to working in another field.

It’s fun … and it’s FREEEEE!   DETAILS & REGISTER HERE:   http://careercampscv.wordpress.com/


Braheny Songwriting Seminar, Corvallis, Oregon, June 11th

A seminar with John & JoAnn Braheny

Creativity, Songcraft & Marketing

Saturday, June 11, 2011      10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

First Alternative Co-op Meeting Room
1007 SE 3rd St., Corvallis, OR 97333
(behind South Store Coop/ next to Purple Moon Espresso)

Admission: $65 for members of PSA / WCS / NSAI / PFS / Artichoke / AFM-99/ KLCC/ Taxi/ ASCAP/ BMI/ SESAC
$75 for non-members

REGISTER by June 5th to reserve your space:
– By email:  suz@suzdoyle.com 

– Pay at door with cash or check. (Lunch is not included in seminar fee.)

– Space is limited.

* If you are not a member of any of these music organizations and you wish to register at the member price, you may inquire about membership when you RSVP or at the door.

* Personal one-on-one consult/critique sessions with John are available. Schedule consultations directly by e-mailing john@johnbraheny.cm or calling 818-528-5152.


****  MORE DETAILS about JOHN & JOANN & the Seminar   ****

About John Braheny …

John Braheny is a top consultant for songwriters and writer/artists and one of 5 national nominees in the Best Music/Performer/Artist Development Executive category of NARIP’s (National Association of Record Industry Professionals) 2011 Best In The Biz. The author of The Craft and Business of Songwriting (sold over 80,000 copies and now in its 3rd edition), John also co-founded and ran the Los Angeles Songwriters Showcase — a non-profit organization that, for 25 years, provided a weekly showcase and early exposure for writers including Diane Warren, Warren Zevon, Wendy Waldman, Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham and many more. A past president of California Copyright Conference and former board member of the L.A. chapter of NARAS, he has interviewed more than 600 songwriters and industry pros, and began his career on the road for 7 years as a solo indie folk and blues performer, songwriter and recording artist and writer/producer of music for commercials. For more info: www.johnbraheny.com/about

About JoAnn Braheny …

JoAnn Braheny began her music industry career as Atlanta’s first full- time female DJ. JoAnn was soon hired in National Promotion & Marketing by GRC Records and then in their music publishing division to develop songwriters. She opened her own company, Jaffe Music Consulting, to provide career direction for both pro and new songwriters. She was the founding secretary of the Atlanta Songwriters Association, and in Los Angeles worked for Rogers & Cowan doing public relations for internationally known celebrities in music and film. Five years in Talent Development for Walt Disney Imagineering gave her a first class education in creativity management, and today she is a career counselor for songwriters and artists, guest-speaking at conferences across the country. For more info: www.goosingyourmuse.com




JoAnn Braheny — The corporate ladder, as a career path, doesn’t work for everyone… especially if you’re in the creative arts. Here, four basic career paths, including the corporate ladder, are explored, to identify what motivates and rewards you. If you’re uncomfortable with the direction you’re headed in, you’ll find this class a liberating experience. JoAnn uses practical tools to assess your individual work-style to help you find your most productive work environment and workmates. You won’t get this anywhere else!

11-1 p.m.  NO RULES — JUST TOOLS

John Braheny — John offers this popular class for writers who started writing by instinct before exploring the principles of manipulating song structure and dynamics for maximum impact. When you follow the principles rather than arbitrary “rules,” you have much greater creative latitude. If you keep getting critiques that say you need better structure or more contrast, or if you need to expand your toolbox of creative options and get more control over what you instinctively know, this class is for you.


1. Are major label deals possible?  Why would you want one — or not?  We’ll discuss the plusses and minuses and what kinds of artists benefit the most.
2. Approaching your career as an independent entrepreneur.  What should you know and how do you learn it? Best FREE learning resources
3. Using social networking resources to promote yourself.  What are the best services and resources? Is MySpace still viable? Do you need a manager?
4. As a songwriter/composer, what sources of income are available to you and how do you connect with the opportunities. Can you still get songs to major artists? How do you get your songs into film/TV?

4-5 p.m. Critiques selected at random from attendees

If you’re also interested in receiving a song critique, simply come ready to play a recording of it (on CD/cassette w/ lyric sheets attached) in the workshop, where John will critique as time allows.
Hope to see you there!



Thanks again for working Little Rock into your return itinerary on the way home from Nashville.  We are very grateful for the time you spent with us.   Your seminar was relevant, substantive and offered information at a depth that we rarely get from a workshop session like that.  Every one of the participants I have spoken to have had nothing but praise for the entire day.  The one criticism I heard was that we should have made it a two-day workshop, to allow more time to pursue topics you had to hit lightly.  We were especially appreciative of the deft manner in which the song critiques were handled.  Several of the writers whose songs you heard told me how much you had helped them.  Your listening skills were so well attuned to assimilating a song’s strengths and weaknesses that your comments were both diplomatic and yet quite specific on those strong points and on the areas that needed improvement. You are welcome back any time. I hope you can book a return engagement with us next time you are passing through. We enjoyed having you and wish you could have stayed longer.
Safe travels, and thanks again! Charlie Crow — NSAI Regional Workshop Co-ordinator, Little Rock, AR

John and JoAnn Braheny’s visit to Las Vegas was informative, insightful and a great delight. Their knowledge of the music business in general and songwriting in particular makes for a wonderful, and I feel, necessary experience for all writers.
Betty Miller — President/Las Vegas Songwriters Association

Great Seminar! I have seen many of these and this was the best. Lots of new information.
Carlos Garza, Springfield VA

A big thanks for your workshop in October. I Continued hearing great things from our membership about the lecture for weeks. People still refer to things you said, either at the workshop or in private consultation. As you saw, we had a fantastic record attendance that evening.
Elliott Jacobowitz, Exec. Director, the Boston Songwriters Workshop

“It’s not for nothing that John Braheny is called the Obi-Wan Kenobi of songwriting. As if his seminal text “The Craft & Business of Songwriting” weren’t enough (and we recommend it on our site and to anyone serious about the business of songwriting), John is a class-act and walking library of tips, tales and tremendous insight into what it takes to create and sustain a career in our volatile and exciting industry. No songwriter society or artist organization should be without a John Braheny — import him if necessary! We have tapped John over the years to be a talent judge at our music contests, and he is the soul of diplomacy and tact, while also giving concrete, pointed and highly useful feedback on what specifically can be done to improve a song. Two thumbs up for John Braheny, highly recommended!
Tess Taylor  President, National Association of Record Industry Professionals

“I first met John at one of his fabulous LASS Expo’s in LA; a dynamic gathering of music business professionals with an emphasis on songwriting and publishing. The next year we invited John and his wife JoAnne to be our featured guests at the Utah Songwriters Association seminar (a three day event). JoAnn led us in creativity workshops while John guided us through every aspect of the songwriting process. They were both stellar presenters, far exceeding our expectations. John is a master teacher, a gifted writer and as well rounded in his knowledge of Songwriting as they come. The only thing that surpasses his expertise is his delightful personality, his giving nature, and his willingness to completely give himself to the moment. He is candid, accessible, and brilliant.” — Songwriter/Recording Artist Cori Connors’ LinkedIn recommendation of John Braheny

See additional Linkedin recommendations for John Braheny.


Brahenys on the Road Again!

Writing to you today from one of our favorite cities … Vancouver, British Columbia!

John and I are still on our Northwestern Tour… starting in Los Angeles, then going to Las Vegas and Salt Lake City, to do two “songwriters salons” … Those are (our invention) 7-10pm evenings of songwriters bringing some yummy goodies to someone’s home, like a “house concert,” except we talk about songwriting, meet & greet, maybe John Braheny critiques a few songs and it’s great fun!

Then we did a full day songwriters seminar at the College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls… for the NSAI (Nashville Songwriters Assn. Intern’l) chapter there. What an attentive group!

And then, another wonderful day-long songwriters seminar in beautiful Portland, Oregon. Yes, yes, photos will be posted soon! (Some are already up on Facebook.)

We want to thank each of you who came … we love meeting you all! More soon!


Las Brisas Songwriters Retreat = Great fun!

Here are a few pics at the Retreat … in April 2011… near Murietta, California.

Here I am with host, Niki Smart (left) … enjoying the view!

(L-R) Niki Smart, Gil Hager, Rick Robertson Van Horn & wife, Debbie

John Braheny, checking email on his iPhone, rarely this relaxed!

Niki Smart, yoga instructor, in front of Las Brisas Retreat

(L to R) John Braheny, Rick Robertson Van Horn, & Gil Hager (seated)

John Braheny with lyricist, Peggy Glenn

Designing our own pizza for dinner... creative!

Next time we do a Songwriters Retreat in this lovely location, I hope YOU will come along. We so enjoyed the luxury of time to spend together, with few interruptions, to focus on our creative endeavors!


Brahenys On the Road Again!

Posted March 31, 2011.

Just a quick schedule … as some of you are asking … and this is not ALL in concrete, so bear with us as we firm up the dates.

April 15, 16, 17, 2011 — Las Brisas Songwriters Retreat (Murietta, California)

April 28, 29, 30, 2011 – ASCAP Expo – Los Angeles (Reserve a private consults/critiques with John Braheny while you’re visiting here! Email him at john@johnbraheny.com.)

May 9, 2011 (Monday evening) – Las Vegas, Nevada – Songwriters Salon (in a private home – limited seating). Details coming soon!

May 12, 2011 – (Thursday evening) – Salt Lake City, Utah – Songwriters Salon (private home – limited seating). Details coming soon!

May 14, 2011 – (Saturday – all day) – Twin Falls, Idaho – NSAI all day seminar! (Details soon.)

May 21, 2011 – (Saturday) – Portland, Oregon (details soon).

May 26, 2011 – Seattle, Washington

First 2 weeks of June, 2011 – Vancouver & Victoria, British Columbia, Canada!

Of course, we’ll fill in the details as we have them. Email john@johnbraheny.com… with comments, questions, etc.

GET YOUR SONGS READY NOW!! (Just a little prodding.)


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