BA (Hons) Songwriting

Overview

At BIMM London, 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.

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 Performance in Context, Music Business Studies, Music Teaching Practice and Online Music, 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 Professional 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

Student Loan Finance Available

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

    The music industry is changing at lightning pace, but our expert tutors can give you up-to-the-minute insight into how the business really works – and how you stake your claim in it as a songwriter. Get ready to build a complete skill-set, as you master topics including music publishing, artist management, recording contracts, music law, synchronisation, music teaching, and business planning – while learning the study skills that will help you get the most from your time at BIMM.

  • Artist Development and Entrepreneurship

    Passion is just the start. This module is where you’ll gather the skills and knowledge that turn amateurs into professional artists. You’ll learn how to make the right call in every situation – from international touring to long-term career decisions – and to apply the blue-sky thinking that will give you the edge in a competitive industry.

  • Songwriting Techniques

    One of the biggest challenges facing professional songwriters is turning a flash of inspiration into a fully formed and commercially viable song. This module guides you through the processes used by the world’s go-to composers, taking in hooks, subject matter, lyric-writing, song form and structure, elementary arrangement and basic studio production techniques.

  • Songwriting Styles and Genres

    Great songwriting doesn’t happen by accident. On this module, you’ll deconstruct some of history’s most successful songs, analyse what makes them so impactful, and study the socio-political context and influences that shaped their composers. Expect to emerge a sharper all-round songwriter, starting to find your own voice.

  • Live Performance Workshop (SW)

    In the modern industry, nothing opens doors like a great live performance. Working closely with BIMM’s expert tutors, you’ll learn to analyse and perfect all the elements – from arrangements to hooks – that make a song come alive onstage, and master the performance and communication skills you need to dazzle audiences and A&Rs.

  • Music Theory in Practice

    For open-minded songwriters who want to compose more adventurous material, a mastery of theory goes a long way. This fast-paced and dynamic module teaches you all the skills and how to apply them, covering musical vocabulary, melody and chord construction, harmonic sequences, arrangement techniques, instrument-specific notation, rhythm/time signatures, and major, minor and modal tonalities.

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

    As a professional songwriter, you’ll need stellar research skills for a thousand different scenarios, from finding artists who require your services to gauging international markets. This module reveals the best methods of gathering accurate data in the digital age, without wasting time or resources. It’s a great practical skill for your career ahead – and invaluable preparation for the Year 3 Professional Project.

  • Cultural Perspectives

    To know where music is headed, you need to understand where it’s been. This dynamic module leads you through the unfolding history of popular music and the industry, showing how art and business have been shaped by society, economics and technology. You’ll not only gain a watertight knowledge of the pivotal events, releases, labels and artists – but a clear vision of how you’ll write the next chapter.

  • Writing for Digital Media

    The digital age has blown the songwriting market wide open, and this module shows how you can benefit. Whether your ambition is to write for TV, film, radio or the web, you’ll learn how to compose and arrange music to demanding commercial briefs, using digital/analogue recording formats and the deeper functionality of DAW.

  • Music Publishing

    If you write songs, and want to earn money from them, you need to know how music publishing works. This module is your complete guide to the theory and reality, covering copyright, business mechanics, collection societies and the many platforms – including radio, film, TV and the web – where modern songwriters can profit.

  • Creative Processes

    Don’t sit waiting for inspiration to strike. This module reveals how you can spark the creative process and consistently generate great music and lyrics. You’ll learn how creative ideas take shape, analyse a range of lyric-writing methods, take influence from other media, employ narrative structure and point-of-view – and emerge a more rounded, confident songwriter.

  • Optional – Performance in Context

    To make your mark in the modern songwriting scene, you’ll need to hold yourself to the same standards as the greats. In this module, you’ll use both original songs and covers to map your performance against the professionals, while analysing how your own material measures up with small-group assessment sessions.

  • Optional – Studio Musicianship

    Tracking in a professional studio will test your musicianship in a thousand different ways. With fast-paced classes, practical workshops and field work, this module gives you a flying start, drilling into the techniques and approaches that make a successful studio musician – and preparing you for your final practical studio recording assessment and viva.

  • Optional – Studio Recording

    The best studio musicians aren’t just capable players – they also understand the fundamentals of engineering and take responsibility for the sonic direction of their recordings. Mixing theory and hands-on skills, this module prepares you for every studio scenario, from getting a professional sound with basic equipment to arranging parts for your musicians when the clock is ticking.

  • Optional – Applied Music Theory and Critical Listening

    We believe in music theory with real-world benefits, and this module locks down the skills that you’ll draw on every day as a professional musician. Expect to make giant leaps as you polish your ear-training, transcription and notation-reading skills. Study the influence of different genres on modern rock and pop, then apply the theories, chords and scales to make your own material go supersonic.

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

    The Professional Project is the culmination of your three years at BIMM. Your tutors will give you all the theory and concepts you need for a flying start, but it’s down to you to dream up a project that shows off your practical skills and see it through to completion. Perhaps you’ll take your band on a headline tour. Manage an album launch. Helm a national press campaign or set up a viable music business. The Professional Project is your chance to think big.

  • Professional Development

    As a professional songwriter, you’ll be responsible for steering your own career – so it’s vital to become self-sufficient and assess the areas that could hold you back. On the Professional Development module, we’ll help you identify your own personal and business needs, and teach the skills you’ll call on throughout your career, from stress control and teamwork to goal-setting and time management.

  • Analytical Perspectives

    Music doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and to be an effective songwriter, it pays to sharpen your knowledge of popular culture and business developments. This module teaches you to look critically at the culture and industry unfolding around you, take the pulse of the modern music scene – then fuse what you’ve learnt into your own musical projects and business plans.

  • Commercial Songwriting

    Songwriting can be pure self-expression – but you’ll be a far more employable prospect if you can also work to a strict commercial brief. This module teaches you all the musical and technological demands of writing for the media and moving image, focusing on production techniques and composing with technology including DAW. You’ll also examine different media formats, conventions and techniques – and track your learning with regular self-analysis.

  • Optional – Music Teaching Practice

    Whether you plan to teach full-time or give lessons between other projects, music tutoring is a highly rewarding career – and this module gives you the knowledge to pursue it. You’ll master the teaching skills to deliver one-to-one, small or large-group tuition. But you’ll also get a practical guide to the employment options, whether that’s teaching in mainstream education or setting up your own profitable private business.

  • Optional – Ensemble Performance

    You’ll never stop sharpening your live skills during your time at BIMM. Building on the performance modules from your first and second year, you’ll now work closely with your fellow students to arrange and perform your own original material to pro standards – then self-assess the results and make recommendations for the future.

  • Optional – Music Theory and Analysis

    This module targets the students who want to drill deeper into advanced musical techniques across the spectrum of musical styles. Analysing seminal and modern releases from trailblazing artists, you’ll break down the harmonic, melodic and rhythmic approaches in genres ranging from jazz to progressive-rock – and learn how to fuse them into your own material.

  • Optional – Online Music

    As a modern musician, ignoring the web is not an option – and this specialist module gives you the practical knowledge to navigate and monetise the online world. Guided by our expert tutors, you’ll learn how the music industry interacts with the Internet – and discover the potential benefits and pitfalls of 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

All degree applications must be made via UCAS. To request an audition and/or assessment call 0844 2 646 666. All students will be invited to attend an audition and/or assessment. International applicants will be sent details of a portfolio of evidence which will need to be submitted and a phone interview will be booked.

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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
Teaching institution:
BIMM London
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 London 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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