Locations

London

UCAS code

W3W9

Start date

16th September 2024

Course length

3 Years

COURSE OVERVIEW

If you’re looking to launch a career as a professional writer–producer, the BA (Hons) Songwriting and Production degree will teach you everything you need to know to succeed.

Whether you're a beatmaker with an ever-growing sample library, a multi-instrumentalist backing-track wizard at home in the studio, or a writer–producer looking to co-write and pitch on other artist’s projects, you’ll take your writing and production skills to the next level, with personalised guidance from our expert ICMP songwriting tutors along the way.

writer-producer degree course London

During your three years on this industry-aligned course, you’ll cover the entire spectrum of contemporary songwriting from both a practical and theoretical perspective – from melody and topline, and lyrics and concepts, to chords and track. You’ll learn to confidently produce songs for yourself and others, gaining in-the-box production skills across a range of digital audio workstations (DAWs), as well as advanced mixing and recording skills. Many of your classes will be taught in ICMP’s high-tech industry-standard recording studios at our Queen’s Park campus, where you’ll become proficient at using the studio equipment, software and plugins.

During your time with us, you’ll collaborate with talented students on this programme’s ‘sister’ course – the BA (Hons) Songwriting and Artist Development degree – as well as musicians and entrepreneurs across other ICMP disciplines. Each week, you’ll write at least two songs to brief across a wide spectrum of contemporary songwriting genres, styles and approaches – from the melodies of pop and alternative, to the beatmaking of hip-hop, grime and drill. As you progress your creative output, you’ll engage in ‘A&R-style’ feedback sessions and intimate group discussions to critique each other’s work and learn to evaluate your own.

As a writer–producer, you’ll be encouraged to cultivate your own distinctive songwriting style and creative production abilities, with a view to developing and maintaining a successful career in songwriting and producing, whatever that may look like.

Learn songwriting and music production

At ICMP, our talented tutors all have active careers in both higher education and music, so you’ll develop your craft learning from London’s best songwriters, music producers and musicians. They’ll encourage you to establish a unique music industry career path where you control exactly where, when and how you progress. You’ll also be presented with many exciting opportunities to learn about music entrepreneurship and build your network and career portfolio, such as songwriting-and-production-specific masterclasses and events, visits from industry representatives, and opportunities to perform at ICMP’s Songwriters’ Circle nights.

By the time you graduate ‘career ready’, you’ll have developed a strong understanding of the culture and history of songwriting; expertise in enterprise, business and marketing; and, perhaps most importantly, a creative portfolio of more than 100 songs.

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.

ICMP Music School Logo

Successful completion of the BA (Hons) Songwriting and Production 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 songwriter–producers and beatmakers.
  • Discover your creative songwriting voice, with weekly individual and collaborative songwriting and production activities.
  • Study a practice-based curriculum of the art and craft of modern songwriting, with a strong focus on melody, topline, lyrics, chords and more.
  • Write more than 100 unique songs across a variety of genres and styles.
  • Create songs using in-the-box production/DAWs.
  • Record in ICMP’s industry-standard music studios.
  • Understand how the modern music world operates and develop strong entrepreneurial business practices.
  • Showcase your songwriting at top city venues across London.
  • Build connections with the wider music industry and establish an exceptional songwriting network.

UCAS CODES

COURSE DETAILS

YEAR 1 (LEVEL 4)

YEAR 2 (LEVEL 5)

YEAR 3 (LEVEL 6)

In year one, you’ll discover a range of songwriting and production approaches, skills and styles, developing your creative and technical abilities. Working in small groups, you’ll expand your song portfolio by writing and producing both individual and co-written material. You’ll also engage in weekly tutor and peer feedback sessions to build your critical awareness of the songwriting process.

CREATIVE SONGWRITING: EXPLORING SONGCRAFT

In this module, you’ll observe, reflect on and challenge your writing process, gaining the knowledge and skills you need to be a successful songwriter. Working both alone and collaboratively, you’ll create a portfolio of original songs, as you explore the historical, cultural, political and social aspects of songwriting through a variety of analytical and hands-on practices. By the end of the module, you’ll have a portfolio of work and body of research you can present to industry and use to guide your future music industry career.

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

CREATIVE SONGWRITING II: ESTABLISHING SONGCRAFT

In this module, you’ll build on your comprehension from the previous Creative Songwriting module and develop, edit and complete a portfolio of original songs. You’ll apply foundational songcraft elements to your work, using research from a range of social, cultural, political and historical backgrounds to back it up. You’ll also learn the ability to self-reflect so you can continue to enhance your songwriting skills.

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

THEORY and Musicianship FOR WRITER–PRODUCERS

This module provides a foundation in music theory to help grow your music literacy and confidence. As you progress, you’ll develop your aural recognition to understand new compositions and performance works. You’ll be introduced to a range of core instruments and uncover a variety of ensemble contexts. Each area you study will be viewed theoretically, contextually and technically, so you’ll have a holistic understanding in order to apply these principles to your songwriting in a practical manner.

  • Musicianship fundamentals and theory
  • Melody, harmony and rhythm
  • Explore core instruments and their dynamics
  • Improve your aural and analysis skills

MUSIC BUSINESS FOR SONGWRITERS

Across this module, you’ll gain an in-depth and practical understanding of the music industry. As you develop your portfolio career as a songwriter, musician and producer, it's crucial to understand the wider creative industries and the importance of concepts such as copyright. You’ll explore the three main areas of modern music – recorded music, live music and music publishing – and the methods and practices of each. You’ll also study music’s main revenue streams through real-world case studies and projects, exploring the inter-relationship between the different areas of the music industry.

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

PRODUCTION FOR WRITER-PRODUCERS

In this module, you’ll study music programming and production techniques, such as synthesis and sampling, using industry-standard digital audio workstations (DAWs), while developing your critical listening skills. As you explore how computer technology is used to create contemporary music, you’ll investigate the wide range of methodologies and techniques used by different artists and producers. As you begin to produce ‘in the box’, you’ll enhance your creative music production skills by experimenting with the many solutions and choices available to you.

  • MIDI programming and sound sources
  • Understanding virtual instruments (synths and samplers) 
  • Envelopes and modulations
  • Subtractive and FM synthesis
  • Sample layering
  • Frequency and dynamic processing 
  • Automation and modulations
  • The creative use of audio effects and editing

MIXING FUNDAMENTALS FOR WRITER-PRODUCERS

Building on the skills and knowledge learned in the Digital Music Production module, you’ll return to the studio to investigate digital audio workstation (DAW) in-the-box (ITB) mixing techniques in more detail. By the end of this module, you’ll be adept at using a range of professional music production hardware, and able to take your ideas from their initial demo stage, progressing to a professional sounding, fully presentable mix.

  • How to use DAW mixing channel layouts
  • How to use EQ and compression
  • Gates and other insert effects
  • Timed, delay and reverb effects
  • Effects and mix busses
  • Mix automation
  • The relationship between bass and drums

During year two, you’ll continue building your talents as a songwriter and producer, with a stronger focus on the practical application of your skills. You’ll expand on your ability to write to brief and further evolve your creative identity as a writer–producer. You’ll also have the chance to participate in regular writing sessions and song camps, record using ICMP’s world-class studio facilities, and learn tactics to promote and market your work.

APPLIED SONGWRITING: EXTENDING SONGCRAFT

This module will help you to start contextualising your art according to professional songwriting practice norms and standards, as you create new music and develop your technical comprehension of songcraft across different creative environments and projects. You’ll also reflect on your songwriting strengths and learn how to constructively critique your own work and that of your fellow students.

  • Technical songwriting and producing
  • Expand your portfolio of songs and creative work
  • Learn how to critically assess songs and production values
     

APPLIED SONGWRITING II: EMBEDDING SONGCRAFT

In this module, you’ll extend the technical experience and understanding you gained in the previous Applied Songwriting module to create a body of creative work that achieves a set of measured outcomes. As you craft songs tailored to a variety of contexts, you’ll incorporate different practices, methods and approaches into your creative process. Using a mix of reflective practice and peer feedback, you’ll learn how your songwriting choices impact your audience and assess the success of your new songwriting practices.

  • Advanced songcraft skills
  • How to use research to create authentic songs
  • How to blend different songwriting approaches
  • Collaborative song analysis and discussion
     

MARKETING STRATEGIES FOR SONGWRITERS

Your ability to promote yourself and your services plays an important role in your success as a freelance songwriter and producer. In this module, you’ll learn essential marketing principles, foundational marketing theories and modern marketing approaches. You’ll explore how the ever-evolving marketing industry has created both opportunities and challenges for creatives, and how marketing is changing to meet the fluctuating demands of musicians. By the time this module ends, you’ll have created a fully assessed marketing plan you can use to promote your services as a writer–producer or artist to the music industry.

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

APPLIED PRODUCTION FOR WRITER-PRODUCERS

In this module, you’ll further develop the skills required to work with industry-standard DAWs such as Ableton Live, expanding your knowledge from the first-year Digital Music Production module. You’ll learn how to use software as an instrument, as you explore a range of advanced methodologies and techniques used by established producers. You’ll finish the module equipped with the skills to mix and deliver original, digitally produced tracks using contemporary digital music production techniques and showstopping effects.

  • Advanced sampling and synthesis techniques
  • Rewire systems
  • MIDI and audio connection with external gear
  • Advanced audio editing and pitch correction
  • Bus processing
  • Aggregate devices
     

APPLLIED MIXING FOR WRITER-PRODUCERS

Prepare to further develop your mixing and studio skills across this highly technical module. You’ll take a deep dive into the mixing process from an artistic and creative context. Comparing commercial mixes will be a huge focus of this module, as you explore practical methods to help you realise your own unique final creative product.

  • The mixing environment
  • How to mix arrangements
  • Multi-track recording sessions
  • How to improve your listening skills
  • Reverb and delay techniques
  • Subgroup and mix bus processing 
  • Serial and parallel compression
  • EQ techniques,
  • Space, depth and width in mixing
  • The importance of objectivity in mixing

STUDIO RECORDING FOR WRITER-PRODUCERS

This module will mostly take place in ICMP’s high-tech recording studios, where you’ll further build your production and recording abilities while discovering the fundamentals of audio recording theory. In the studio, you’ll explore advanced music production techniques for mixing and recording music, such as the audio mastering chain, file delivery, the recording of core instruments like drums, keyboards and vocals, and advanced mic techniques. You’ll also investigate the producer’s role in musical decision making, including the efforts they need to take to form a certain desired sound. Once you complete this module, you’ll have experience across a range of engineering and recording processes, such as sound production and editing, and confidence using industry-standard studio recording equipment.

  • Stereo, multi-microphone and drum recording
  • Alternative recording techniques
  • Signal-to-noise ratio in recording 
  • Recording techniques throughout history
  • Preamps
  • Microphone polar patterns and boundary microphones
  • Gain structure 
  • Critical listening and how to analyse recordings

In your final year, you’ll supercharge your professional experience and career momentum, with opportunities to submit a full portfolio of songs, complete a self-directed professional piece of work, and create a strategic marketing plan to launch your career in the music industry as a writer–producer.

ADVANCED SONGWRITING: CREATIVE PORTFOLIO AND REPERTOIRE

Using your excellent ability to create songs, you’ll conceive, plan, develop and manage an impressive songwriting portfolio across this highly creative module. Undertaking detailed research, you’ll design and create a unified repertoire of original music, taking creative ownership of your project to critically reflect and communicate a clear understanding of your songcraft. You’ll also contextualise your knowledge from other ICMP modules and apply it to your creative work, enabling you to successfully forge your path as an up-and-coming music industry writer–producer.

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

PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE

This double module will help you build your professional and academic skills, predominantly for the preparation, implementation and evaluation of a major musical project. Across your lessons, you’ll develop practical and conceptual knowledge of the issues, codes and conventions used when creating musical projects. In conceiving your project, you’ll learn transferable skills in negotiation, communication, analysis, and project management and planning. To ensure you’re on the right path with your project, you’ll initially pitch a proposal as a working document, and then evaluate and revise it across the year. There will be plenty of opportunities to display your autonomy and self-leadership skills in determining the features and scope of your work.

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

THE ENTERPRISING PRODUCER

In this module, you’ll pitch a business proposal in a real-life setting to a potential investor, gaining a solid working knowledge of entrepreneurial thinking and business strategies. You’ll discover what it means to be ‘enterprising’ across the modern creative industries, from idea creation and modelling, to fundraising and business venture set-up. The business proposal you develop in this module will be built upon in the subsequent Enterprising Writer–Producer II module.

  • Songwriting presentation techniques and marketing strategies
  • How to develop a unique selling proposition (USP) and value proposition (VP)
  • The importance of market research
  • Profit vs not-for-profit pursuits
  • Entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship principles
  • The promotional mix in music

THE ENTERPRISING PRODUCER II

Progressing your learnings in entrepreneurship and business from the previous module, this module further sets you up for a successful career as a self-employed writer–producer. With guidance from ICMP’s esteemed tutors, this self-directed module will see you build a range of enterprising skills and behaviours, allowing you to tackle real-life challenges and take on opportunities as soon as they appear. Using your talents in creative thinking, project management, marketing and problem solving, you’ll launch a new music industry business venture.

  • How to write a business plan
  • Project management methodologies
  • Financial planning and budgeting
  • Crowdfunding vs venture capital
  • Tax and accounting
  • Sole trader, partnership, not-for-profit and limited company business structures
  • Legal considerations, such as licences, patents, copyright and trademarks

TEACHING, LEARNING AND ASSESSMENT

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 use these facilities outside of class time while you are a student at ICMP in order to 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 Production 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.

Assessment

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

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

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 W3W9Uni code i25

HOW TO APPLY

 If you would like to apply for our BA (Hons) Songwriting and Production 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

By email:
enquiries@icmp.ac.uk

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