BA (Hons) Music (Songwriting)

Study BA (Hons) Music (Songwriting) at Leeds College of Music

Focusing on any sub-genre you want – from acoustic to electronic, mainstream to leftfield – our songwriting degree will prepare you to make a lasting impact on the music industry.

  • Starts:
  • Duration: 3 Years
  • UCAS Code: 305F
  • Study Mode: Full time
  • Validated By: University of Hull

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Course Overview

Career-focus

Through our well-established Popular Music course, we have over 10 years of preparing our students for a successful career as a writer in the modern music industry. You will gain valuable experience in writing on your own and as a collaborator; crafting songs for yourself, bands, projects and other artists. In tandem with developing your proficiency on industry standard recording software, these solo and collaborative skills will prepare you for a career as a songwriter. You will also attend masterclasses from professional performers, songwriters, producers, managers and promoters, supporting your artistic development as well as sharpening your creative voice.

Industry links

Strong links with the music industry mean that we are in constant contact with major publishing companies and record labels such as Universal, Polydor, Decca, and Kobalt as well as local labels like Hide and Seek and Leaf Label to name a few. Our students receive regular advice on their portfolios from visiting Industry guests, and often live briefs to work on. Our partnerships with European conservatoires mean that you could be working on songwriting projects with students in Mannheim, Rotterdam or Copenhagen.

Creative Freedom

During the songwriting degree you’ll get weekly one-to-one tuition with experienced songwriters and regular timetabled sessions in band practice rooms where you’ll have the creative freedom to craft and perfect your own songs. With access to our Apple Mac Labs, you will learn how to bring those songs to life using industry-standard software like Logic Pro.

Music community

With over 1,200 students at the conservatoire, you’ll be able to call on the skills of our diverse community of musicians, producers and entrepreneurs to assist you in performing, producing and promoting your work.

What you will study 

The BA (Hons) Music (Songwriting) modules focus on developing you as a professional songwriter through one-to-one tuition, ensemble study and creative projects. The professional studies strand will develop your core business skills, and other optional modules will introduce additional cross-genre opportunities.

Specialist Study 1

Through one-to-one lessons with an experienced songwriting specialist, you will focus on developing your skills and your in-depth understanding of the craft of songwriting. In addition to developing these existing skills, you will also attend ‘Composition in Context’ small group sessions where you will receive further tuition in harmonic, melodic, and lyrical construction and will have the opportunity to collaborate with other songwriters.

Specialist Group Study 1

For half of the academic year, you will work in a band developing and realising your compositional ideas with other musicians. This will enable you to bring your song and arrangement ideas to life as you work with other songwriters and performers from the Popular Music pathway. For the other half of the year, you will work in a Mac Lab realising your compositional ideas on a computer, developing the skills to produce demos of your songs.

Creative Project

You will choose from the extensive project menu and have the opportunity to collaborate with students and tutors from other pathways. Previous projects have included Advanced Rhythmic Concepts, Arranging with Loops, Collaborative Composition, Debating Music and Jazz Harmony in Songwriting, to name a few.

Contextual Studies 1

You will develop composition, musicology and aural skills through the examination of repertoire, styles, concepts and discourse to better understand the effect of these on society. You will investigate the parameters through which we consume and construct music, how we communicate their use, the social, commercial and contextual issues surrounding them, and the manner in which we can employ these parameters to the craft of songwriting.

Professional Studies 1

Working in the Creative Industries

You will be introduced to the professional framework and mechanisms of the creative industries, focusing on developing your project management skills and understanding the legal and commercial issues likely to impact on your future employability. You will also develop your core digitial and media skills.

Specialist Study 2

Through continued weekly one-one lessons, you will further develop your understanding of the craft of songwriting, developing your own unique voice as a composer and lyricist. You will continue to attend ‘Composition in Context’ small group seminars where you will receive more specialist tuition in harmony, melody and lyrical craft as well as gaining more valuable experience in collaboration with peers.

Specialist Group Study 2

As in the 1st year of study, this module is split into two halves. You will continue to work in a band context where you will further develop your collaborative writing and arrangement skills in a live rehearsal environment, and you will also receive continued tuition in working on industry standard software where you will gain more experience in realising your songs as recorded demos.

Contextual Studies 2

You will further enhance your composition, musicology and aural skills. Topics include music and politics, cultural and technological influences on popular composition, compositional appropriation, collaborative approaches and comparative analysis.

You will also choose one of the below options to study:

  • Introduction to Music Technology
  • Music for the Moving Image
  • Collaborative Composition
  • Music and Ideology
  • Performance with Electronics
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Arranging and Orchestration
  • Musical Direction
Professional Studies 2

You will choose one of the below options to study:

  • Business Start-up
  • Music Education in Practice (PR)
  • Instrumental Music Tuition
  • Self-Promotion & Marketing
  • Structure & Functions of the Film Music Industry
  • Concerts & Touring
  • Artistic Management
Specialist Study 3

Through continued weekly one-to-one classes, your individual compositional voice will emerge as you focus more on what makes you a distinct and individual writer. You will also continue to attend ‘Composition in Context’ seminar sessions where you will receive additional tuition and guidance into how to present and share your work as a professional songwriter.

Final Project

Indicative projects may include:

  • A 30 minute performance, which includes a professional level of branding, styling, stagecraft and deportment befitting the sense of occasion and size of project.
  • 6000-word assignment examining your specialist area in order to ascertain a contextual framework for your practice.
Contextual Studies 3

You will study one of the below options:

  • Computer-Based Composition
  • Software Environments for Performance & Sound Creation
  • Electroacoustic Composition
  • Composition and Production for Film and TV
  • Composed Theatre
  • Extended Improvisation
  • Intercultural Music
  • Emerging Music Models
Professional Studies 3

You will study one of the below options:

  • Live Music Management
  • Community Music Project
  • Music Journalism
  • Business Leadership & Ethics
  • Film Music: Aesthetics & Narrative Function
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Laura Oakes

Alumni Profile

Laura Oakes

Course Studied: BA (Hons) Music (Popular)
Year of Graduation: 2012

After graduating Laura began recording her first single 'Don't Let It Hit Ya', which was released in September 2013 and landed in the Top 20 on the iTunes Country Chart. Her second single 'Snakes & Ladders' followed in 2014 with similar success.

 

Meet our alumni

Course Tutors

Dr Adam MartinCurriculum Coordinator: Popular Music & Songwriting

Courses taught: BA (Hons) Music (Popular), BA (Hons) Music (Songwriting), MMus Creative Musician

Read more
Danny CopeCurriculum Leader: Popular Music & Songwriting

Courses taught: BA (Hons) Music (Popular), BA (Hons) Music (Songwriting)

Read more
Peter DarlingLecturer: Popular Music, Songwriting

Courses taught: BA (Hons) Music (Popular), BA (Hons) Music (Production)

Read more
Paul StathamSenior Lecturer: Popular Music, Songwriting

Courses taught: BA (Hons) Music (Popular)

Read more

Entry requirements, fees & applying

Course facts

Course Type: Undergraduate, Single Honours
Duration: 3 years
Study Mode: Full Time
Start date: September
Validated by: University of Hull

Entry Requirements
  • 96 UCAS tariff points from Level 3 studies, normally including Music. Can include music grade exams.
  • Grade 5 Theory standard (assessed at audition)
  • Grade 6 standard in specialist study instrument/voice

Read full entry requirements.

How to apply

Apply via: UCAS
UCAS Code: W310
UCAS Institution Code: L30
Application Deadline: 15 January 2017 – we are still accepting applications
Find out more.

Audition information
UK applicants to Songwriting degrees at Leeds College of Music will need to complete an audition.
Read the audition guide.

A refund of audition fee and travel costs may be available for applicants from low income households.
Find out more.

Tuition Fees

2017/18 Tuition Fees: £9,250 (Home/EU Students), £14,500 (International Students)

Fees are per academic year and may be subject to government-approved increases in future years.
Find out more.

Scholarships & bursaries

Leeds College of Music provides a range of additional Scholarships and Bursaries.
Find out more.

Facilities

Our Mac Labs are equipped with over 100 high-specification iMacs, MIDI keyboards and audio interfaces. They can be booked at any time outside of lessons until 3am and are equipped with industry standard software such as Logic Pro, Pro Tools and Ableton.

Find out more
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Open Days

Find out what it’s like to study at Leeds College of Music by coming along to one of our Open Days.

As well as talks and tours specific to the courses you're interested in, you can also chat to members of our Student Support Team about your application, support for students with disabilities, tuition fees and more.

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