Essential for every songwriter, you’ll develop an understanding of the significant and pivotal impact that different genres play in the world of contemporary music. Over six self-paced modules, you’ll explore a range of musical styles and genres, investigating the cultural and historical role they’ve played and identifying songwriting techniques for each.

This is an online, step-by-step practical course that will allow you to finish a complete song in one of the genres covered. You’ll also have the opportunity to develop song ideas for each new genre as you work through the course.

What’s covered?

Module 1: Introducing the musical relationship of content and genre
Develop a more in-depth understanding of the history and origin stories of a range of musical genres. Learn how to analyse a style and then contribute to discussions about it.

Module 2: Introducing pop music
Examine the context and history of pop music and its many subgenres. You’ll delve into the history, lyrics and techniques of songwriting for this genre.

Module 3: Introducing folk and country music
Explore the extensive range of styles within the extremely popular folk and country genre, with a strong focus on the structure of songs and lyrics.

Module 4: Introducing electronica
You’ll cover the rapid rise of electronic music (electronica) and look at its history and the societal context of its expansion. Learn about sampling and 1980s synthesizer music, early hip-hop and the emergence of the rave scene and culture.  

Module 5: Introducing rock
You’ll explore the full breadth of the rock genre – one of the most widely varied of all contemporary music genres – from metal and punk to blues, glam and indie and beyond.

Module 6: Introducing soul music and R&B
Examine the dynamic history of soul music and rhythm and blues (R&B). You’ll explore the nuances of the different styles within this genre and learn a range of well-known songwriting techniques. 


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Frequently Asked Questions

Course Terms & Conditions

Key facts

  • Gain confidence in songwriting content
  • Explore five key musical genres
  • Start at any time
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Highly practical course with step-by-step learning
  • All course materials are online and include comprehensive notes and HD videos
Course Authors

This course has been co-developed by successful songwriters and well-known songwriting educators Tim Elsenburg, Jonathan Whiskerd and Sophie Daniels. Together, the trio have worked with an extensive range of acclaimed singers and songwriters, such as Barbara Streisand, Kelly Clarkson, Jamie Cullen, Will Hicks (for Lily Allen and Ed Sheeran), Joshua Blair (for Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson), Westlife, Jamie Cullen, Il Divo, Bruce Hughes (for Jason Mraz) and Paul Stanborough (Guy Chambers and Cathy Dennis). Tim, Jonathan and Sophie are also responsible for the development of ICMP’s world-first bachelor’s degree dedicated to songwriting.


This course is suitable for all songwriters who want to learn how to write songs across different musical genres. This six-module course is an ideal progression from ICMP’s short course ‘Songwriting: the creative process’.


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020 7328 0222

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