UCAS code


Start date

16th September 2024

Course length

1 Year


Whether you’re a writer–producer wanting to co-write and pitch on other artist’s projects, a skilled beatmaker with an expanding sample library, or a multi-instrumentalist backing-track whiz, the Cert HE Songwriting and Production course will provide you with a thorough introduction to the exhilarating world of music.

Through this one-year industry-aligned course, you’ll elevate your songwriting and production skills with tailored support from our expert ICMP songwriting tutors. You’ll explore the wide spectrum of contemporary songwriting from both a theoretical and practical perspective – delving into everything from concepts, chords and track to melody, topline and lyrics.

Across the Cert HE, you’ll discover how to confidently produce songs for yourself and others, learning foundational in-the-box production skills across digital audio workstations (DAWs), plus essential recording and mixing skills. Many of your lessons will take place at ICMP’s prestigious Queen’s Park campus in our high-tech industry-standard recording studios, where you’ll be introduced to a wide range of software, plugins and studio equipment.

You’ll regularly collaborate with musicians and entrepreneurs across other ICMP programmes, as well as talented peers on this course’s ‘sister’ programme – the Cert HE Songwriting and Artist Development course.

Each week, you’ll write a minimum of two songs to brief using a variety of contemporary songwriting approaches, genres and styles – from the vibrant beat making of hip-hop, grime and drill, to the exciting melodies of alternative music and pop. As you build your creative portfolio, you’ll join small group discussions and ‘A&R-style’ feedback sessions to evaluate each other’s work and learn how to critique your own.

As a writer–producer, you’ll be encouraged to foster your unique songwriting style and production talents, with the aim of building a successful career in songwriting and music production, however that may look.

During your year of study, you’ll build your skills by learning from some of London’s best songwriters, musicians and music producers, with all ICMP tutors having active careers in both music and higher education for you to draw on. They’ll inspire you to establish a distinctive music industry career path where you’ll be in control of where, when and how you advance. You’ll also have opportunities to develop your career portfolio and network connections via songwriting-and-production-specific masterclasses, workshops and visits from esteemed music industry representatives.

By the time you graduate from the CertHE Songwriting and Production course, you’ll have developed a strong understanding of music theory, a solid overview of the role songwriting plays in the music business, impressive digital music production and mixing techniques, and the beginnings of a creative portfolio of songs you can take to industry. Or, if you’d like to continue studying, you can head straight into the second year of ICMP’s BA (Hons) Songwriting and Production or BA (Hons) Songwriting and Artist Development degree to keep developing your skills as a talented writer–producer.


Completing a Cert HE Songwriting and Production in London is great value and great fun too, as the fees for ICMP courses are similar to those at many traditional universities, making studying at ICMP an excellent financial choice.

Please see our Fees pages for information about loans. You can borrow the full one-year course fee if you’re eligible for a loan.

Course Fees 

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Successful completion of the Cert HE in Songwriting and Production course leads to the award of Certificate of Higher Education by The Institute of Contemporary Music Performance.


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Key facts

  • Course created specifically for songwriter–producers and beatmakers.
  • Write unique songs across a range of genres and styles.
  • Explore your unique songwriting voice, with regular collaborative and individual songwriting and production activities.
  • Craft songs using in-the-box production/DAWs.
  • Study practical songcraft modules, with a focus on topline, melody, chords, lyrics and more.
  • Opportunity to record your music in ICMP’s industry-standard studios.
  • Understand how the modern music business operates.
  • Perform your songwriting at London’s top city venues.
  • Establish a strong songwriting network and build meaningful connections with the wider music industry.
  • Graduate career-ready for a smooth transition into songwriting and production or transfer to Year 2 of ICMP’s BA (Hons) Songwriting and Production degree.



Course details

Across ICMP’s CertHE Songwriting and Production course, you’ll be introduced to a range of exciting songwriting and production methods, skills and styles, as you build your technical and creative abilities. During the year, you’ll collaborate in small groups to grow your song portfolio by writing and producing both co-written and individual music. You’ll also participate in weekly peer and tutor feedback sessions to progress your critical awareness of songwriting practices.


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 a body of research you can present to the industry to guide your future music career.

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


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

MUSICianship fundamentals 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 to practically apply these principles to your songwriting.

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

MUSIC BUSINESS fundamentals FOR Writer-producers

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 fundamentals 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
  • Frequency and dynamic processing
  • Automation and modulations
  • The creative use of audio effects and editing
  • Sample layering

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 your one-year CertHE Songwriting and Production course, you’ll study at our university campuses in Kilburn and Queen’s Park in classrooms, lecture rooms, tech suites and our in-house music venue. As an ICMP student, you can play and record your music whenever creativity strikes, with access to our facilities outside of scheduled sessions.

You’ll be taught via various learning and teaching methods, including small group tutorials, lectures, music technology workshop tutorials and performance workshops.

For assistance and questions about finance, safeguarding, welfare, personal development and anything else, you’ll be supported by ICMP’s Student Services Department. Our Professional Development team at ‘The Hub’ will also guide you with helpful music industry career tips, and songwriting and production prospects.

Teaching and Learning

On the CertHE Songwriting and Production course your learning will be in small workshop groups for practical skills, and small mixed groups for seminars and writing classes. Some lectures are in larger groups.

You’ll study independently through self-guided materials when you’re not attending lectures, seminars or other scheduled classes. This can involve collaborating on group and individual projects, studying articles and books, collaborating on coursework assessments and reading in ICMP’s library. You’ll have access to a variety of fantastic learning facilities, including exceptional performance and practice rooms, high-tech recording suites and ICMP’s Learning Resource Centre.

Across your one-year course, you’ll be in timetabled teaching activities for typically 10 to 12 hours a week. These involve seminars, lectures, workshops and practical classes. You’ll also have personalised one-on-one tutorials scheduled across the year.


Modules on the CertHE Songwriting and Production course are assessed through a range of means, such as submission of course work, practical exams, performances, projects, essays and examinations.


To commence this course, applicants should have their A levels, Extended Diploma or a BTEC Diploma, or an International Baccalaureate equivalent to 80 UCAS points.

Potential candidates should also hold a GCSE Grade C or 4 or above in English and Maths, or an equivalent including Functional Skills, Level 2 Key Skills or Adult Numeracy/Literacy.

We welcome applications from mature candidates who may not have formal qualifications but can demonstrate their suitability for the course through experience and skills.

All potential candidates will be invited to attend an audition/interview.

This course is also available as a three-year BA (Hons) Songwriting and Production degree.

Please note: International students, who require a visa to study in the UK, are not eligible to study on this course. Instead, we encourage you to apply for our BA (Hons) Songwriting and Production course.

UCAS code 3454Uni code i25


Please apply via the ‘APPLY NOW’ link below. If you need assistance with the application process, please contact our Admissions team who will be happy to help you.

By phone: 020 8038 3210

By email: enquiries@icmp.ac.uk

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020 7328 0222

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