How ICMP has redesigned its programmes

Find out how we periodically re-align our programmes with current music industry best practice and ensure our students receive the best learning experience.


At ICMP, we are committed to ensuring our courses offer students the best in contemporary music education. 

We do this by undertaking a review and redesign process to assess and update each programme every five years. This helps us not only re-align each programme with current music industry best practice but ensures our students receive the best learning experience to support them in the development of values, qualities, skills and knowledge that will enable them to establish and maintain independent, creative careers.  

With the latest programme redesigns now complete and the recent launch of two new music production degrees, here Jonathan Whiskerd, ICMP’s Head of Undergraduate Programmes, tells us about the revalidation process, what has changed within our courses and how our students will benefit… 

What is the process all about? 

Our programmes are at the forefront of best practice within contemporary music higher education and we offer students a challenging, detailed and vibrant learning experience to prepare them for a career in the creative industries. 

To fulfill our vision to shape the future of music, we need to prepare students for success in the music industry, not just as it stands today but as it will look in the future too. This means we have to nurture and cultivate entrepreneurial and creative skills, values and qualities, so that they can build their independent careers and drive change within the sector.

We redesign our programmes every five years. Our programmes have been running in their current form since 2016 so it was appropriate they were redesigned during this last year.


What does the process involve?  

Our process involves a review of the programme, which includes extensive stakeholder consultation. We speak to current students, alumni, industry contacts, faculty, higher education peers and more. It’s a rigorous process. 

We started the redesign process 18 months ago and it has culminated in approval from our university partner, the University of East London. We presented the changes to a panel of external academics who commended our approach. I’m really proud of the freshly-redesigned programmes we’re launching in September, as well as the two brand-new music production degrees.

Our portfolio of programmes now represents a really exciting offer to anyone looking to kick start their career in today’s - and tomorrow’s - creative industries. 


What has changed within the programmes? 

All of the courses have been thoroughly reviewed and now fully encompass the key themes of our learning, teaching and assessment strategy: partnership learning, ‘real-world’ assessment practices and a commitment to diversity and inclusion. Our courses are highly practical and vocational, as well as requiring students to develop skills in analysis, critical thinking and research.

We are committed to a model of ‘practice as research’, meaning that a student’s playing, writing or production activity is the vehicle for the development of their analytical and critical thinking skills.

We are very deliberately seeking to break down the false dichotomy between practical and theoretical study.  


How does the partnership teaching model work at ICMP?

The danger with our kind of courses is that we create a dependency in our students. A traditional ‘taught’ model might make students great at responding to what we ask them to do but, when they leave us, they are not necessarily able to continue this development independently. We aim for something different. Whilst students are with us, we support them in becoming the owners of their development rather than just following the learning we set for them.

The tutor is therefore not an instructor but rather a facilitator of each student’s individual learning journey, which develops their confidence to work independently.

This is a gradual process, so in year one, a student can of course expect to receive instruction but we are committed to our students being independent, resilient and ever-developing professional creatives when they leave us. 


Could you talk about the new music production degrees? 

Prior to this we just had the one BA in Creative Music Production. It was very broad, covering music for multimedia, live sound and engineering and more. We had 120 students in each cohort with the course continuing to grow so we recognised the need to diversify our offer and to break it down into three discrete programmes 

There will now be more focused  learning opportunities within the new BA in Audio Engineering and Production and BA in Music Production for Film, Game and TV. These courses now offer a deeper dive in these specialist areas which is really exciting for us and our students. 

Music Producer at desk

What are some of the other degrees now focusing on? 

Our BA in Creative Music Production is more focused on the artistry of production and a DIY approach. Students learn how to work in professional studios with big desks and hardware. But they are also taught how to use a bedroom set-up as we recognise that is at the heart of a lot of music industry practice now. 

BA Songwriting is a deep dive into the art and craft of songwriting. The first year is centred around traditional craft and ethos - the nuts and bolts of songwriting, the second year looks at more track-based content so sampling and hip hop, then the third year is project realisation. 

Our BMus in Popular Music Performance is centred around developing performers in the round, so you have all the qualities and skills you need to establish a portfolio career. Each has been refreshed with a view to now being the perfect platform from which our students can begin their musical journeys. 

We’re very excited by the developments we’ve made to our programmes and looking forward to seeing how students will respond to these courses in September.


Take the first steps in your music career with ICMP

We've been developing and delivering contemporary music education for over 30 years – longer than any other music school in the UK. With a proven track-record, countless music industry connections and unrivalled access to facilities, it's easy to see why hundreds of students choose ICMP each year. 

To completely immerse yourself in your music career, chat with our friendly Admissions Team via email or give them a call on 020 7328 0222.

Find your course
by Jim Ottewill
May 26, 2021
Back to Blog Home