BA (Hons) Songwriting

Overview

At BIMM Hamburg, we have a strong focus on writing technique, analysis and personal stylistic development, and you’ll be encouraged from day one to explore your creativity as an artist in a range of disciplines, from solo and group performance to commercial songwriting and music production for film, television and online channels.

One of the major benefits of this course is that you get to choose where you complete your second year of study. Wherever you decide on BIMM Hamburg or BIMM London, you’ll be sure to gain extensive songwriting inspiration from your incredible surroundings.

The degree is both academically and musically challenging, providing the perfect balance between practical and technical skills, and theory and analysis. To succeed as a great songwriter, a detailed understanding of the music business is essential. We’ll share our knowledge of music publishing, contracts and recording technology, and will deliver our teaching in line with the latest trends and directions in the evolving music industry. You’ll be part of a creative community of gifted writers, performers and music industry professionals who you can collaborate and network with to help bring your talent to life.

Through a range of optional modules, including Writing for Commission, Music for the Moving Image, Song Production and Writing for Stage, you can tailor the degree to fit your own personal goals. You’ll get to attend unique and inspiring Masterclasses by some of the best musicians in the world which will stretch you as a songwriter. Your course will culminate in a Song Project designed to give you the opportunity to develop a live industry project of your choice, and to give you a head start into the workplace when you graduate.

So to make your way as a songwriter, connect with us, and we’ll connect you to a life in music.

Click here to find this course on UCAS.

Validated by:

2018/2019 Fees

Payment options available

UK Students: please note that this course is not eligible for Student Loans Company funding.

Year 1

All students take the following core modules in their first year of study. Module names and structure may be subject to change.

  • Music Business

    This module is designed to give musicians a comprehensive understanding of the workings of the Music Industry. Topics include music publishing, artist management, recording contracts, music law, synchronisation, music teaching, and business planning. A study skills element is included, designed to develop the academic skills needed for Higher Education study.

  • Artist Development and Entrepreneurship

    Here, musicians will develop an understanding of exactly what it takes to become a professional artist. This module dissects every aspect of live performance at local, national and international levels. Musicians will learn how to make the correct decisions that could give them or their band the edge in one of the world’s most competitive industries.

  • Songwriting Techniques

    This module is all about the development of creative ideas and turning them into finished songs. Topics include hooks, subject matter, lyric writing, song form and structure, elementary arrangement, and basic studio production techniques as used by some of the world’s most successful composers.

  • Songwriting Styles and Genres

    This module is concerned with the deconstruction and study of the elements that make up successful popular songs. This includes a look at the historical, social and biographical context that may have had a bearing on the composers, as well as a study of some of the specific influences and references that they utilised.

  • Live Performance Workshop (SW)

    This module is all about the preparation of songs to a professional standard, ensuring they work in a live setting. Parts, arrangement, tone, feel, and performance will all be broken down and analysed in detail, with aspects such as musical communication, performance ability, and how to sound great through a big PA being addressed.

  • Music Theory in Practice

    This module is a comprehensive study of the theory of music, including practical applications of theoretical concepts as applied to the composition and arrangement of material. Musical vocabulary; melody and chord construction; harmonic sequences; major, minor and modal tonalities; and rhythm and time signatures will all be studied, and students will be taught instrument-specific music notation and arrangement techniques.

Year 2

All students take the following core modules in their second year of study as well as one optional module. Module names and structure may be subject to change.

  • Research Methods

    Songwriters undertake a research project that supports their planning for the Professional Project module. This module can help musicians develop the skills to road-test their ideas and offer an objective assessment of their work. The ability to carry out research is an invaluable resource to musicians who wish to develop informed ideas, viable music projects and realistic business plans.

  • Cultural Perspectives

    This module aims to provide a comprehensive history of popular music and the music business. It encourages students to analyse the key economic, social and technological developments that shaped the growth and development of the industry, evaluate the impact of key releases from influential artists and labels, then apply this learning to their own creative practice.

  • Writing for Digital Media

    This module examines the musical and technological aspects of composing and arranging music to set commercial briefs, including digital and analogue recording formats; and DAW use, including mixing and editing. Students will also work with different media, including film, TV and radio, and examine the narrative and meaning of the use of music with image.

  • Music Publishing

    This module introduces students to the principles and practice of copyright, the business mechanics of music publishing and the roles and structure of the collection societies. The module goes on to examine diverse applications, including music and media, film, television, radio and the internet.

  • Creative Processes

    This module includes a detailed study of the creative processes underpinning effective lyric writing, and the cultural and artistic influences that inspire the compositional process. It covers generating creative ideas; an analysis of different lyric writing methodologies; using influences from other media and culture sources; poetic and literary techniques; and meaning, narrative structure, timelines and point-of-view.

  • Optional – Performance in Context

    In this module, musicians map their own performances against professional work using original and cover material, and pieces are routinely critically assessed in small group settings.

  • Optional – Studio Musicianship

    This module involves practical analysis and application of studio styles and techniques for guitar, bass, drums and vocals. In addition to lectures, workshops and practical elements, musicians will develop an overview of the basics for studio musicianship and beyond. This learning and experience should support the final practical studio recording assessment and viva.

  • Optional – Studio Recording

    This module is designed to help studio musicians understand basic engineering principles and take responsibility for the sonic direction of their recordings. This knowledge will help any musician to get a quality sound in even the most basic of studios. The module also covers studio-based arrangement skills.

  • Optional – Applied Music Theory and Critical Listening

    This module assists musicians with ear training, transcription, and music notation reading skills. Students will also have the chance to create and analyse musical passages of their own creation, apply advanced chord and scale material to their chosen instrument, and investigate the influence that other genres of music have had on contemporary pop and rock.

Year 3

All students take the following core modules in their third (and final) year of study, as well as one optional module. Module names and structure may be subject to change.

  • Professional Project

    Three years of hard work come together in the realisation of the student's final year project. Theoretical and conceptual material will be delivered on site, but the module provides the student with a unique opportunity to implement these ideas in a practical setting undertaken via self-directed study of a project idea of their choice. Past projects have included musicians taking a band on the road, combining touring with an album release and press campaign, establishing a private tuition business and music events management.

  • Professional Development

    Musicians are encouraged to consider and facilitate their own personal and business development, an essential activity for band members, songwriters and singers alike. The module will take students through the stages of identifying professional development needs, with specific topics covered including effective team working, stress management, time management and goal setting.

  • Analytical Perspectives

    Most successful entrepreneurs, musicians and industry professionals are keenly aware of the traditions in which they perform and of current developments in popular culture. Creative artists and entrepreneurs employ such knowledge to produce innovative and potentially impactful material. This module casts a critical eye over contemporary popular culture, giving students indispensable tools to approach their own projects in creative and original ways.

  • Commercial Songwriting

    This module investigates the musical and technological aspects of composing for the media and moving image, focusing on music production techniques; composing with technology, including DAW resources; and working to a precise ‘real world’ commercial brief. Students will also examine different media formats, conventions and techniques; and will learn how to undertake a critical self analysis of their own creative work.

  • Optional – Music Teaching Practice

    This module deals with the development of a sound set of teaching skills, from one-to-one tuition to small and large group classroom work. Small teaching practice business models are discussed and musicians can investigate full-time teaching as a career option either in mainstream education or as a private practitioner.

  • Optional – Ensemble Performance

    Building on the skills and knowledge acquired in previous live performance modules, students will work together to arrange and perform original compositions and turn them into effective live performances. Musicians map their work against that of professionals and make recommendations for future working practice.

  • Optional – Music Theory and Analysis

    This module will explore some of the more advanced musical techniques and features found in rock and popular music and how its musical syntax has evolved. The work in this module will include the analytical study of the various harmonic, melodic and rhythmic procedures that have been used in a variety of rock and pop genres, such as funk, progressive/art rock, metal, jazz rock/fusion and singer/songwriter. A variety of works are looked at from a practical and musicological perspective and the potential application of a range of musical techniques to original and existing compositions is discussed.

  • Optional – Online Music

    This module is designed to give students a practical knowledge of the working patterns of the online music industry, giving an understanding of the growing relationship between, and interdependence of, the music business and the internet. Topics include researching the interaction between the internet and the music industry; online investment and funding; digital rights management; social media; social networking; and digital distribution.

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Minimum requirements

Minimum of 2 A-levels at grade E or above (32 UCAS Points), OR BTEC Level 3 equivalent, and five GCSEs at a minimum grade of C/4, including English Language. Overseas students where English is not their native language must meet a minimum English language requirement of IELTS 6.0. We require a minimum of 5.5 to be achieved in each band.

After this course:

Progression

Graduates can progress directly to employment in the music industry in roles such as songwriter, singer-songwriter, solo performer and band member, or can continue their study with a Postgraduate Certificate in Learning & Teaching at BIMM Brighton or a Masters Degree.

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How to apply

Applications can be made directly to BIMM Hamburg, to request an audition and/or assessment call +44 20 3701 3966. All students will be invited to attend an audition and/or assessment. International applicants who can’t attend an audition and/or assessment will be sent guidelines and an application form.

UK applicants can alternatively apply via UCAS – this course can be found on UCAS.com here.

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Coming from abroad?

International students

We’re proud to welcome students from all around the world. Our dedicated International Team is on hand to help with applications, visas, accommodation, settling in and much more.

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Course Specification

Mode of attendance:
Full-time
Length of course:
3 years
Awarding institution:
University of Sussex (subject to validation)
Teaching institution:
BIMM Hamburg
UCAS code:
3C46
Language of study:
English
Final award and exit awards:
Certificate of Higher Education (exit award only at level 4), Diploma of Higher Education (exit award only at level 5), Bachelors Degree with Honours.
Admissions criteria:
Minimum of 2 A-levels at grade E or above (32 UCAS Points), OR BTEC Level 3 equivalent, and five GCSEs at a minimum grade of C/4, including English Language. Overseas students where English is not their native language must meet a minimum English language requirement of IELTS 6.0. We require a minimum of 5.5 to be achieved in each band.

Teaching this course

BIMM Tutors

From headlining the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury with Moby and playing drums in the soundtrack to the Hollywood movie ‘Nine’, to performing for The Queen and being a vocal coach on the Russian version of The X Factor, our BIMM Hamburg tutors have done it all. Imagine what you could achieve with direct access to their knowledge, guidance, experience and enviable industry connections!

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Making it in music:

Success Stories

Our students prove that talent and hard work are an impressive mix, with many forging a career in the music industry as performers and music industry professionals.

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