UCAS code


Start date

16th September 2024

Course length

3 Years


The BA (Hons) Songwriting and Artist Development course has been designed especially for artists who write their own material across a multitude of modern genres – from pop, rock and indie, to hip-hop, R’n’B, grime and drill.

Whether you’re a solo artist, band frontperson, rapper, acoustic singer–songwriter or something else entirely, you’ll be guided and supported by expert ICMP tutors across three years of study to develop your songwriting craft, improve your performance skills and define your persona as a creative artist.

London artist development degree course

Across this songwriting and artist development degree, you’ll explore a different aspect of the art of contemporary songwriting each week, writing a minimum of two songs to brief and covering a range of styles, genres, themes and writing approaches. You’ll regularly collaborate with other students on this course’s ‘sister’ programme – the BA (Hons) Songwriting and Production, as well as ICMP musicians and entrepreneurs across other courses, to hone your songwriting craft and enhance your live performance skills. As you progress the course, you’ll frequently analyse your own work and that of your peers, engaging in small group discussions and ‘A&R-style’ feedback sessions.

This distinctive course aims to foster both your songwriting abilities and independence as a creative artist, empowering you to build and sustain a successful career in songwriting and performance.

London songwriting degree course

Our talented ICMP tutors all have dynamic careers in both music and higher education, so you’ll learn your craft with backing from London’s best songwriters, musicians and performance artists. They’ll organise recurring opportunities for you to learn about business and music entrepreneurship, as you build your songwriting portfolio, showreel and professional network. You’ll be encouraged to take part in songwriting and performance events and masterclasses, with visits from music business representatives, and opportunities to perform at ICMP’s renowned Songwriters’ Circle nights and showcase events.

At the end of your time with us, you’ll have developed and curated a portfolio of more than 100 songs, gaining the confidence and performance skills you need to fully bring them to life on stage. With expert musicianship abilities, demo-recording experience, knowledge of how to create marketing assets to grow your online presence, and an awareness of the culture and history of songwriting, you’ll graduate inspired, motivated and ready to unleash your talents as a writer–performer on the music industry.

Fees & Funding

Taking a music course at ICMP makes financial sense too, making studying a Songwriting degree at ICMP in London great value as well as great fun. Student Loans are available to eligible UK students, see our Fees page for further information.

Course Fees: UK Students | EU/EEA/International Students

Click to view the full terms and conditions of applying to study at ICMP.

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Successful completion of the BA (Hons) Songwriting and Artist Development course leads to the award of Bachelor of Arts degree by The Institute of Contemporary Music Performance.*

* This course is currently subject to validation, we expect this process to be completed in early spring 2024.


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Key facts

  • Created especially for writer-performers with their own artist projects
  • Study the art and craft of modern songwriting, with a focus on toplining, lyric & concept, chords and arrangement
  • Discover your creative voice as an artist, with weekly individual and collaborative writing activities.
  • Hone your performance skills in weekly playback sessions designed to build confidence and gain valuable feedback
  • Write more than 100 unique songs across different genres and styles.
  • Discover how the world of contemporary music operates, developing solid entrepreneurial business practices.
  • Showcase your songwriting and performance skills at top London venues.
  • Make connections with the wider creative industry and establish a supportive songwriter/artist network.
  • Explore music marketing techniques and create a collection of engaging self-promotion content.






In your first year, you’ll explore a range of songwriting approaches, styles and techniques, building your creative and practical skills. You’ll start expanding your song portfolio by producing, writing and performing both solo and collaborative material, before engaging in weekly peer and tutor feedback sessions to develop your critical awareness of songwriting.


In this module, you’ll examine, reflect on and test your writing process, gaining the skills and knowledge you need to be a successful songwriter. Working both individually and collaboratively, you’ll produce a collection of original songs, as you discover the cultural, historical, social and political aspects of songwriting through a number of academic and applied practices. By the end of the module, you’ll have developed a body of research and portfolio of work to be proud of – ready to present to industry to guide your future music business career.

  • How to write to brief
  • The songwriting process
  • Song collaboration and development
  • Stylistic, structural and thematic briefs


In this module, you’ll build on learnings from the earlier Creative Songwriting module to create and edit a portfolio of original songs. You’ll apply essential elements of songcraft to your work, backing it up using social, political, historic and cultural research. You’ll also realise self-reflection skills while continuing to enhance your songwriting abilities.

  • Create a portfolio of unique songs
  • Understand creative intention in songwriting
  • Research cultural and historical contexts in music


By providing you with a foundation in theory and musicianship, you’ll expand your music literacy and confidence in this module. Learning about melody, harmony and rhythm, you’ll build your aural recognition skills to push new boundaries in your performance work and compositions. You’ll also engage musically in a variety of ensemble contexts, exploring a range of different instruments. Each concept you study will be looked at contextually, theoretically and technically, so you’ll gain a thorough understanding of its nature and can easily apply these principles to your future songwriting.

  • Music theory and musicianship
  • Rhythm, melody and harmony
  • Improve your aural analysis abilities
  • Explore core instruments and their dynamics



During this module, you’ll gain a practical, in-depth understanding of the modern music business. As you develop a portfolio career as a songwriter and artist, it’s important to understand the way the wider creative industries work and get a strong grasp of concepts like copyright. You’ll investigate the three main areas of modern music – live music, recorded music and music publishing – and the processes and practices of each. You’ll also examine music’s key revenue streams through real-world projects and case studies, exploring the inter-connection between the key aspects of the music business.

  • Music business processes and practices
  • The artist and repertoire (A&R) process
  • Creative industry business models
  • Music industry sales and distribution
  • Artist management
  • Music rights and royalties


Across this module, you’ll be introduced to a digital audio workstation-based approach to developing, writing and presenting songwriting material. You’ll explore how to use DAWs as creative tools in your songwriting process, producing unique, innovative music using a blend of research, applied listening and practical instruction and application. By the end of the module, you’ll have a full grasp of how invaluable digital recording skills can be to the process of songwriting.

  • DAW-based songwriting techniques
  • How to record digitally
  • Creative DAW use in song composition


Through this module, you’ll learn what it means to be a live performer in today’s ever-changing music landscape. By playing both in a group and on your own, you’ll improve your performance skills and stagecraft, learning how to communicate your music to a crowd in both live and online ‘livestreaming’ settings. You’ll also consider the various elements that make up a fantastic live performance – from choosing an appropriate venue and building a memorable stage set, to deciding how to move and communicate on stage. 

Assessment-wise, you’ll take part in an end-of-term performance where you’ll have the opportunity to display the practical skills you’ve learned across the module. You’ll also submit a research project demonstrating your understanding of how to stage a thrilling live performance.

  • Live performance skills
  • Solo and ensemble performance techniques
  • Stagecraft for live and online audiences

In your second year, you’ll continue developing your skills as a songwriter, with more focus on real-world application. Across a range of modules, you’ll learn how to confidently write to brief, honing your skills as a talented writer–performer. You’ll also take part in regular writing sessions and song camps, studio recording in ICMP’s world-class facilities, and lessons focusing on strategic business and marketing tactics.


In this module, you’ll begin to contextualise your art according to professional songwriting practice standards and norms, as you develop new music and explore your technical understanding of songcraft across a number of creative projects and environments. You’ll also analyse your songwriting strengths and examine how to constructively reflect on your own work and that of your classmates.

  • Expand your portfolio of songs and creative work
  • Learn new technical songwriting and production skills
  • Critical assessment of songs and production values


In Embedding Songcraft, you’ll broaden the technical knowledge and experience you gained in the previous Applied Songwriting module to create a body of songwriting work that realises a set of measured results. As you write songs across a range of contexts, you’ll experiment by adding different methods, practices and approaches into your creative processes. Using a mixture of peer feedback and reflective practice, you’ll discuss how your songwriting choices affect your audience and evaluate the success of these fresh methods of songwriting.

  • Collaborative song discussion and analysis
  • How to combine different songwriting approaches
  • Advanced songcraft skills
  • How to use research to add authenticity to your music


As a modern artist, musician and performer, you’ll need to be independent, adaptive and multi-talented to succeed. Across this practical second-year module, you’ll create your own artistic performance project, discovering the many possibilities available to you as an artist in both the online and offline worlds. Through practical workshops, demonstrations, collaborative exercises and critical discussion, you’ll explore the conceptual and psychological aspects of a performance-centred life and career.

  • Complete a creative performance project of your choice
  • Tailor your subject matter to your interests and career
  • Foster independent learning, innovation and self-discovery.
  • Explore modern and historic performance techniques



In this module, you’ll examine contemporary production practice from a variety of contexts. Through a blend of research, practical instruction and application, and applied listening, you’ll craft a sonic identity for your music, rationalising your creative decisions with relevant academic and sonic references. You’ll also explore modern vocal production techniques and use digital audio workstations and a variety of sample-based processes used by rappers and beatmakers to produce a showreel of professional-sounding productions.

  • Gain working technical knowledge of DAWs
  • Recording and editing
  • Mixing and basic mastering


Your ability to market yourself and your talents plays a vital role in your success as a freelance songwriter and artist. In this module, you’ll study essential marketing theories, fundamental marketing principles and contemporary promotional approaches. You’ll explore how the ever-changing marketing business has created both challenges and opportunities for artists and creatives, and how marketing is evolving to meet the shifting demands of musicians and songwriters. At the end of this module, you’ll have produced a comprehensive marketing plan you can use to advance your services as a writer–artist across the music business.

  • Positioning, promotion and pricing
  • The product development life cycle
  • The differences between branding, marketing, advertising and PR
  • Commerce versus credibility
  • Brand partnerships
  • How to grow your audience using social media and viral marketing
  • The importance of market research and consumer behaviour analysis


This module has been designed to accompany the Marketing Strategies module, equipping you with the ability to design, create and build a portfolio of press shots, behind-the-scenes material, artist biographies and call-to-action content. You’ll learn how to employ these materials as part of your marketing strategy and use them build your brand and promote your unique artistic voice.

  • Build and promote your brand as a songwriter–artist
  • Create assets for self-promotion
  • How to take artist head shots
  • Record videos and write marketing content
  • Learn effective audience engagement strategies

In your third and final year, you’ll amplify your career momentum and professional experience, with opportunities to present a complete portfolio of songs, submit a self-directed piece of creative work, and develop a strategic marketing plan to launch yourself as a writer–artist in the music business.


In this highly artistic module, you’ll use your skills and experience from across the degree to visualise, design and produce a comprehensive professional songwriting portfolio. Using detailed research, you’ll plan and create an integrated repertoire of original music, taking creative ownership of your work to communicate a clear understanding of your songwriting and critically reflect on your skills. Directly applying your knowledge from other ICMP modules to your creative work will see you begin to forge your pathway as an emerging professional artist across today’s exciting music industry.

  • How to run a personalised songwriting project
  • How to build your creative identity
  • Artist and repertoire (A&R) practice
  • Reflections on your journey as an emerging writer–artist


This double module will see you build your academic and professional skills for the planning, execution and evaluation of a major music project. Across your classes, you’ll evolve your conceptual and practical knowledge of the codes, conventions and issues used when designing musical projects. In realising your venture, you’ll learn transferable skills in communication, analysis, negotiation and project management and planning. To make sure you’re on track with your project, you’ll initially present your proposal as a working document, with the chance to revise and evaluate it across the year. There will also be plenty of chances to show your leadership skills and independence when determining the scope and details of your work.

  • Best-practice project management methodologies
  • How to develop a project proposal
  • How to pitch effectively
  • Risk assessments
  • Presentation and communication skills
  • Opportunities to link your work with other Level 6 module projects


Across this module, you’ll pitch a business project to a potential investor in a real-world setting. Developing strong knowledge of entrepreneurial thinking and business strategies, you’ll explore what it means to be ‘enterprising’ across the contemporary music industry – from conceiving and modelling your ideas, to launching a new business venture and gaining finance. Continuing your learning across the year, the business proposal and plan you develop in this module will be expanded upon in The Enterprising Songwriter II module to follow.

  • Entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship principles and concepts
  • Unique selling propositions (USP) and value propositions (VP)
  • Songwriting marketing strategies
  • Presentation techniques
  • Profit vs non-profit pursuits


By consolidating your learning in entrepreneurship and business, this engaging module will set you up for a prosperous future as a self-employed songwriter–performer. Across the semester, you’ll launch an exciting new creative industries business venture, drawing on your marketing, project management, problem solving, legal and financial talents. With the support of ICMP’s esteemed tutors, you’ll build a range of enterprising skills and behaviours across this self-directed module, helping you tackle real-life challenges and take on opportunities that come your way in the music and wider creative industries.

  • How to write a business plan
  • How to launch a music business
  • Sole trader, partnership, limited company and not-for-profit business structures
  • Financial planning and budgeting
  • Tax and accounting
  • Legal considerations, including patents, licences, trademarks and copyright
  • Venture capital vs crowdfunding


You will be taught at our campus in Kilburn, utilising our live rooms, tech suites and in-house music studio facilities as well as classrooms and lecture rooms. You will have access to these facilities outside of class time while you are a student at ICMP to write, collaborate, rehearse and record your music. 

You will be taught through a variety of teaching and learning methods including lectures, small group tutorials, performance workshops and music technology workshops tutorials.

You will have access to the Student Services Department for support and advice concerning welfare, finance, personal development, safeguarding etc. You'll also have access to our Professional Development team ‘The Hub, who provide bespoke music industry careers advice and access to unique industry opportunities.

Teaching and Learning

On the BA (Hons) Songwriting and Artist Development programme your learning will be in small mixed groups for seminars and writing classes and small workshop groups for practical skills. Some lectures are in larger groups.

When not attending lectures, seminars or other timetabled sessions you'll be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. Typically, this will involve reading articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking research in the library, and preparing coursework assignments. Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities, including our Learning Resource Centre, our many performance and practice rooms, and well-equipped tech suites.

In your first year, you'll be in timetabled teaching activities such as lectures, seminars, practical classes and workshops for typically 10-12 hours a week, you’ll also have personalised one-to-one tutorials scheduled throughout the year. 

You'll undertake more independent study and have less scheduled teaching in years 2 and 3, but can typically expect 8-10 hours of timetabled classes per week in your second year and 6-8 hours of timetabled classes per week in your third year.


Modules are assessed through a variety of means, including practical exams and performance, submission of course work, projects, examination and essays.

The assessment breakdown of this programme is:

Year 1: 17% Written | 33% Practical | 50% Coursework
Year 2: 34% Practical | 66% Coursework
Year 3: 17% Written | 83% Coursework


Songwriting course applicants will typically have A levels, BTEC Diploma or Extended Diploma, International Baccalaureate equivalent to 80 UCAS points, or an ICMP Higher Diploma or Cert HE.

In addition, you should hold a GCSE Grade C or 4 or above in English, or suitable equivalent, such as Level 2 Key Skills, Functional Skills or Adult Literacy/Numeracy.

We also welcome applications from mature applicants who may have no formal qualifications but can demonstrate their suitability for study through appropriate skills and experience.

International students will typically hold a relevant equivalent qualification – please check your qualification with our Admissions team. In addition, you should hold a relevant English language qualification equivalent to CEFR Level B2.

All applicants will be invited to attend an audition/interview.

UCAS code W3S1Uni code i25


If you would like to apply for our BA (Hons) Songwriting and Artist Development course please apply via the "APPLY NOW" link below.

At any time during the application process if you need help or further advice just contact our Admissions team who will be happy to assist you.

By phone:
020 7328 0222

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