COURSE OVERVIEW

The MA Songwriting course is a practice-based, industry-led programme placing your development as a songwriter in a critical and contextual setting. Working in a peer community, with teaching support from some of the world’s most esteemed songwriting practitioners and academics, you’ll explore and refine your creative output, considering artist, commercial and intellectual goals and outcomes. 

Exploring the art and craft of contemporary songwriting, you’ll create at least one song each week, often using digital resources such as DAWs and writing music to track using a laptop. As you experiment extensively to establish your sonic identity, you’ll delve into the detailed nuances of lyric writing, and discuss melodic shape and structure, and harmonic relationships and language.  

As an ICMP Songwriting masters student, you’ll form part of a small but close-knit team, immediately becoming part of the strong, diverse and inclusive ICMP songwriting community. Your fellow ICMP students will become your musical collaborators and you’ll regularly engage in small-group ‘A&R-style’ feedback and critical discussion sessions as you constructively critique each other’s works in progress. 

You’ll network within the music industry regularly thanks to our MA-specific extra-curricular programme of guest speakers from the worlds of songwriting and academia, plus monthly performance opportunities at our celebrated London songwriting industry event – Songwriters’ Circle. ICMP is also proud to run the exclusive UK chapter of the legendary Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) – a group with direct links to one of Nashville’s most celebrated songwriting venues: the Bluebird Café – meaning you’ll have the chance to attend events organised by the London chapter. 

Across this popular one-year advanced course, you’ll complete modules which focus on creative exploration, technical songwriting exercises, musicology and creative voice. The insight you gain from this rigorous period of creativity and craft will help you successfully tackle the highlight of the MA Songwriting programme – a unique master’s project which sees the creation of a new major songwriting repertoire work (typically a debut album). 

The subject matter of your project is directed by you, and you’ll be allocated a hand-picked supervisor from either the ICMP Songwriting faculty or the wider UK songwriting community to offer regular one-to-one support and guide you on your project journey. This inspirational, highly creative and personalised module provides the structure and support you need to produce the career-defining body of work you’ve always envisioned. Not only will you embrace business skills to help you in the future – like completing grant funding applications and business plan development – but your artistic output could potentially be a substantial creative turning point in your career. 

As a Masters in Songwriting graduate, you’ll leave ICMP with the skills, knowledge, confidence and connections required to succeed in whichever direction your songwriting takes you. You’ll graduate with a creative statement of intent – knowing what type of songwriter you want to be – as well as an impressive body of creative work to showcase as you progress your lifelong career in songwriting. 

Financial Support

Student support for postgraduate music masters courses is available to students studying at ICMP.

Eligible students on designated masters courses at ICMP will be able to access the postgraduate Master's loan in the same way, and at the same value, as they could at a publicly funded provider. Individuals will be able to borrow up to £11,222. If you opt to study part-time, your loan would be split into two instalments over the two years of study. 

Full Fees Information | Full Programme Specification 

 

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Successful completion of the programme Masters in Songwriting at ICMP  Music College leads to the award of MA by the University of East London.

Redesigned for 2021
This course has recently gone through a redesign process with our validating partner UEL, making it one of the most current postgraduate Songwriting courses in the UK. Please visit https://www.icmp.ac.uk/study-at-icmp/2021-course-redesign for further detail on why we periodically redesign our courses and the benefits this has to you as an ICMP student.

 

 

 

Key facts

  • Enhance your creativity and confidence as a songwriter and academic, and realise your unique sonic identity. 
  • Focus on creative exploration, technical songwriting exercises, musicology and creative voice – from artist, commercial and intellectual viewpoints.
  • Study with support and guidance from groundbreaking songwriters and producers – all active in today’s modern music business. 
  • Gain the knowledge, understanding and business skills for a successful lifelong songwriting career. 
  • Graduate with a significant body of creative songwriting work thanks to the Research and Repertoire Project module, which spans artistic, academic and business study areas. 
  • Connect with the wider London music industry to showcase your songwriting at top events, like ICMP’s Songwriters’ Circle.
  • Build an impressive global music scene network and engage in international collaboration opportunities.
  • Study as a one-year full-time or two-year part-time programme, with dedicated learning groups for both study options. 
  • A high level of contact teaching hours, delivered in small groups in world-class facilities.
  • Apply Now

STUDENT STORIES

Corrina Taylor

Corrina discusses how the course has been a life-changing experience for her.

COURSE DETAILS

course details

Over the year, you’ll take a journey of creative exploration, musicology and creative voice – all supported with continued practical songwriting exercises. On top of honing your songcraft and sonic identity, you’ll embrace critical analysis and research skills, as well as business plan development. Everything you’ve learned will culminate in your final creative project, where you’ll be guided in your chosen field by a specialist supervisor who’ll support you to realise your professional and creative ambitions.  

CREATIVE PURPOSE AND PROCESS FOR SONGWRITING

This module encourages creativity, exploration and purpose in the context of your songwriting process. You’ll examine your work and compare it against a range of approaches, as you identify new ways to define your songwriting. As well as continually writing songs both individually and collaboratively, you’ll undertake research and discussion to explore your understanding of creative intention and the creative process. Along the way, you’ll receive personalised creative coaching from ICMP’s expert tutors at workshops, seminars and tutorials, and you’ll explore detailed aspects of the songwriting process with guest lecturers. Regular peer and tutor feedback will help you evaluate your progress – and you’ll record these collaborative sessions in a reflective journal.  

  • Creative process for songwriting 
  • How to research your story and others through song 
  • Relationship and journey of intention, process and outcome 
  • The relationship between craft and art in process 
  • Introduction to PaR 
  • Professionalism, success and imposter syndrome
  • Approaches to creativity 
  • Generation and organisation of ideas 
  • Explorative songwriting techniques
  • Giving and receiving creative feedback  

SONGCRAFT: MUSICAL AND SONIC IMAGINATION

Across this module, you’ll explore how music acts in service to your creative imagination and songwriting intention. Through the practice of creating ideas, redrafting them and deepening your critical reflection, you’ll develop your theoretical, technical and evaluative songcraft skills while addressing the concept of sonic identity in digital song creation. You’ll become confident at writing to track – particularly when using DAWs – as you take part in weekly workshops, seminar discussions, peer feedback sessions and analytical listening tasks. You’ll write at least a song a week, as you take an in-depth practical and theoretical look at the relationship between songcraft, melodic shape and harmonic language. 

  • Musical songcraft 
  • Sonic identity 
  • Digital song creation and music production  
  • Music theory 
  • DAW songwriting 
  • Peer feedback and group critiques 

ESTABLISHED AND PROGRESSIVE SONGWRITING INDUSTRIES

In this module, you’ll explore a variety of processes, practices and techniques associated with songwriting, drawing from a number of different professional contexts. This exercise will see you develop a range of skills to inform the conceptual and design elements of your own creative practice. By expanding your songwriting in a range of new settings – potentially across several projects, like a bespoke indie artist release, ethnographic or historical research, or a study of therapeutic applications of songwriting – you’ll increase your innovative practice and improve your adaptability by using a wider range of creative approaches. From a practical perspective, you’ll explore grants and research funding applications, and will take part in an impressive extra-curricular programme of guest lectures and community networking opportunities. 

  • Autoethnography 
  • Practice as research and practice-based research 
  • Socio-cultural dynamics
  • Ethical approaches to research 
  • Commercial independent music projects 
  • Music business overview 
  • Reflective journal
  • Funding and research for songwriting 

SONGCRAFT: LYRIC ARCHITECTURE

In this module, you’ll delve into the craft and discipline of lyric writing, as you develop a professional level of expertise in your thinking and practice, and detailed technical knowledge of lyrical construction. On top of song mapping, pyramiding, rhyme types and placement, you’ll explore a range of genres and write many songs to brief. In workshops, you’ll present your writing and reflect on how you’re applying the techniques and methods you’ve studied. In seminars, you’ll analyse key aspects of lyric writing and evaluate how they can be used to achieve distinctive styles and aesthetics in your work. 

  • Lyric-focusing technique 
  • Song architecture and song form 
  • Song maps 
  • Collaborative writing   
  • Rhyme 
  • Meter 
  • Figurative language 
  • Imagery and metaphor 
  • Narrative detail and development 
  • Characterisation and Jungian Archetypes
  • Ekphrasis 
  • Identity and authenticity 

RESEARCH AND REPERTOIRE PROJECT

In this module, you’ll have the unique opportunity to create an exceptional piece of songwriting repertoire, with guidance from a dedicated professional supervisor every step of your journey. Your creative body of work will typically take the form of a song cycle, artist album, collaborative songwriter project, mixed medium artistic project or similar. To begin, you’ll submit a proposal that will result in either a research question or an A&R creative statement to inform your practice as research. As you progress the project, you’ll research, write songs, collaborate and apply everything you’ve learned to date about songwriting. You’ll enhance your creative, academic and entrepreneurial skills as you project manage your creation, strategise and implement its delivery, and proudly share your masterpiece with an excited audience. We handpick supervisors from across the different areas of songwriting practice, to ensure you have the best fit for your work. 

 

  • Project proposal 
  • Collaborative and individual songwriting 
  • Practice as research 
  • Project management   
  • Creative enquiry research 
  • Unique song project investigation  
  • Reflective journal 

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, music technology workshops tutorials and one to one instrumental tuition. 

Postgraduate students will experience onsite face-to-face classes as the default position. These will be supported by online supervisions/classes on the modules where this works effectively and with no detriment to the student experience.

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.

As a student of UEL you will also enjoy access to a range of UEL facilities, including the 24/7 multimedia libraries, with over 300,000 books, journals, audio-visual resources and archives, 500 electronic books and 25,000 electronic journals and databases. 

Teaching and Learning

On the MA Songwriting programme you will be taught by lecture, seminar discussion, and practical workshops as appropriate.

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, concert venues, rehearsal facilities 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.

Throughout the duration of your course your time will be split as follows:

Teaching hours per week
Semester A • Year 1: 9hrs

Total Teaching, Learning and Assessment hours per year
Year 1: 132hrs

Total self-study hours per year
Year 1: 1668

Assessment

All modules are individually assessed through a variety of means, including: performances, recording portfolios, practical exams, paper exams, presentations, essays, reflective commentaries, workbooks and projects.

The assessment breakdown of this programme is:

100% Coursework

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

Applicants will normally have a good Honours degree (upper second or first) or equivalent, or comparable professional or research experience. We welcome applicants from non-music-related academic backgrounds who are actively writing and involved in music, please read our additional guidance here.

ICMP London school of music also welcomes applications from established practitioners who are keen to undertake study at the postgraduate level but may not possess the required qualifications. These students may be given credit for their prior study or experience.

International: English language requirement – minimum level B2 of the CEFR – for more information visit this website.

When completing the full application form for the Masters in Songwriting course, please be aware that you will be required to submit a personal statement.

Additionally, you’ll be asked to complete an audition/interview. Further documentation or evidence in support of your application may be required in certain cases.

HOW TO APPLY

 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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