ICMP’s MA in Songwriting is London’s first and only songwriting-specific postgraduate Masters programme. Highly creative and personalised, it’s designed to enable students to examine, explore and focus on both their practical songwriting and songwriting education.
The 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 and support from current industry songwriting practitioners and academics, you’ll explore and refine your creative output and goals, considering artist, commercial and intellectual outcomes.
Students complete a series of modules which focus on creative exploration, technical songwriting exercises, musicology and creative voice, before undertaking a final Masters project, choosing either the creation of a new Major Repertoire work (typically a debut album) or a Dissertation in the area of songwriting.
Classes explore the art and craft of contemporary songwriting, with students writing at least one song every week. You’ll collaborate with other ICMP students and will engage in small group ‘A&R-style’ feedback and critical discussion with your professional songwriting tutors and talented peers, regularly critiquing each other’s works-in-progress across the course of the year.
The highlight of this MA programme is the final module. You can choose between Major Repertoire or Dissertation projects, which allow students to progress specific songwriting interests in a distinctly personalised manner. The Major Repertoire Project allows you to develop a large-scale piece of repertoire work, which is typically a debut album. You’ll be allocated an expert, individual supervisor/ A&R to help guide your project with regular one-to-one support. This mentor will be hand-picked to suit your project from either within the ICMP Songwriting faculty or outside in the wider UK songwriting industry.
Songwriting students form a small but close-knit team, and you’ll immediately become part of the strong, diverse and inclusive community around the whole ICMP Songwriting department. As a special exclusive benefit, every ICMP MA Songwriting student receives a free yearly membership to the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers & Authors (BASCA) which includes regular industry news and advice, attendance at songwriting networking events throughout the year, legal advice, insurance and more.
As an MA Songwriting student, you’ll regularly network within the music industry thanks to monthly performance opportunities at our London songwriting industry event – Songwriters’ Circle – and events hosting MA-specific guest speakers from the worlds of songwriting and academia. You’ll also get the chance to attend occasions organised by the London chapter of the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI), which is run out of ICMP – a group with exclusive links to one of Nashville’s most celebrated songwriting venues: the Bluebird Cafe.
MA students also undertake a large proportion of their classes on location at London’s Tileyard Studios – ICMP’s exclusive industry partner and home to the UK’s largest professional music community – with special use of the writing rooms at the complex and invitations to all their collaborative and networking events. The course’s international focus also allows for exciting exchange opportunities with songwriting partners based in Nashville and California.
As an MA student, you’ll have direct access to our amazing facilities with industry-standard hardware, software and instruments, including a 24-track recording studio, multiple Mac labs and dedicated performance spaces which can all be booked free-of-charge, outside of class hours, seven days a week. Postgraduate students also have access to studio and writing spaces at Tileyard Studios. You’ll 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.
As a graduate of the MA in Songwriting course, you’ll leave ICMP with the skills, knowledge, confidence and connections required to succeed in whichever direction your songwriting path takes you, whether that’s within the worlds of the music business, the songwriting industry, education, academia or beyond.
Successful completion of the programme leads to the award of Master of Songwriting by the University of East London.
Students take all of the following 30 Credit modules:
• Creative Process
• Songwriting Musicology
• Musical Language in Songwriting
• The Writer’s Voice
Students choose one of the following 60 Credit modules:
• Major Repertoire Project
This course will prepare you for a career in the music industry, in jobs such as performing songwriter, writer/producer, standalone songwriter, songwriting tutor, music business executive, writer or academic, or you can progress on to further postgraduate study in songwriting.
Our MA provides a broad range of personalised learning experiences underpinned by professionally relevant research, knowledge exchange and enterprise that is strongly aligned to:
Upon successful completion of the MA, amongst other valuable skills and experience, you will have:
There will be an opportunity for you to engage in live community music projects – a growing employment sector within the music industries – and other live events. Our existing music MA courses already have a significant track record in accessing live, high profile projects for students and graduates, some examples of which are below:
There are four options on our MA course:
The four options on our MA course are:
MA Music (Songwriting) is for students interested in the practice of songwriting and composition, with a focus on practice-based / inquiry-based research, collaboration and the cultural contexts within which songwriters work. You will work towards the release of an album or equivalent professionally focused output.
MA Music (Sound Production) is for students with an interest in the technical aspects of music production. Working in our professional-quality studios, you will develop skills and competencies intended for work in environments including:
MA Music (Industries) is for students with an interest in the businesses, processes and developments that underpin work within the music industries as well as the creative and cultural industries more broadly.
MA Music is our bespoke degree and for those that have a broad interest in the creative, technical and industrial elements of music. You will be able to design your own flexible and personalised curriculum, drawing from modules across the three specialised fields of:
Teaching & Assessment
Our MA Music course is delivered across a range of methods. Some of these methods include:
You will reflect on your learning using a combination of tutor and peer feedback.
All great songs start with a great story, and this course will build on your storytelling and songwriting techniques and performance skills. It will also help you develop the strong networks needed to drive your career forward in the modern music industry.
You will study traditional creative songwriting alongside modern music production practice. You will analyse case studies across all genres to find your inspiration and create your own musical voice.
Working with experienced industry professionals, you will explore the technical and creative aspects of writing, recording and arranging, including storytelling techniques, the crafting of effective melodies and where best to place the hooks in a song, in order to develop a wide range of musical scores. You will also have the opportunity to collaborate with peers across our suite of music courses to compose and produce songs in our industry-standard studios.
This course will give you the confidence to develop your musical portfolio to enhance your career as an established artist.
As a student of the School of Film, Music & Peforming Arts, you will join our vibrant community of producers, giving you access to expertise from top industry professionals. The team includes Ken Scott, who has worked with The Beatles and David Bowie, and Phil Harding, Chief Engineer for Pete Waterman Limited.
You will also have the opportunity to be inspired by studio owners, songwriters, professional musicians, arrangers and composers, such as our recent visiting artists in residence Tom Williams, Utah Saint and Chris TT.
A wealth of volunteering opportunities will be available to you, including the chance to work with University partners Festival Republic, in roles such as sound assistant, production manager and stage crew at Leeds and Latitude festivals, all of which will expand your networks and give you additional hands-on experience.
You will have the chance to participate in The Unconference, part of Live at Leeds and Leeds International Film Festival, which hosts a day of panels, workshops, presentations and networking for those working in, or aspiring to work in the music industry. The event has previously attracted speakers such as Tom Robinson, Simon Rix (Kaiser Chiefs) and James McMahon (Kerrang! Editor).
On campus you will have access to a suite of professional music studios, including recording rooms, audio booths, instruments, portable audio recorders and fully equipped computer workstations.
The professional networks you will build throughout your course will open up a range of routes into the music industry. You will be an entrepreneurial musician, with the confidence and skills to produce your own material or write songs for others to perform. You could also pursue a career in festivals, music events or the arts, or you could write scores for film, TV and games.
Be part of a lively popular-music research community that embraces everything from metal music to film scores and work alongside performers, composers and studio producers.
You will join peers with backgrounds in cultural studies, sociology, music and the creative arts to explore today's local live music scene and its connection to the wider industry. From researching gigs and events to composing scores for film and television, you will discover how a variety of communities fuse together to create this vibrant and expanding scene.
Whether developing your songwriting and music editing techniques in our studios or organising events and liaising with artists at Leeds Festival, you will gain the hands-on experience employers are looking for while gathering evidence to carry through into your major research project.
With its combination of research and practice, your course will provide the perfect springboard to discover the interconnectivity of popular music and culture and engage with the vibrant and varied music scene in Leeds.
As well as having access to modern, professional music studios, you will benefit from being taught by a highly-skilled and experienced teaching team, including Professor Karl Spracklen who is Secretary of the International Society for Metal Music Studies and the Editor of Metal Music Studies.
You will also have the chance to network with industry professionals during our guest lecture series. Previous speakers have included Leeds Festival boss Melvin Benn and chart-toppers Rudimental. We also have fantastic links with local and national music, arts and festival organisations, which help ensure you get the most from your course.
Artist in Residence Programme
The Artist in Residence programme gives our students an opportunity to work with professional artists and gives them a taste of what is it like to work on a professional music project. So far we have welcomed artists Chris T-T, Ian Prowse, I Monster, Tom Williams and Utah Saints.
With more festivals and independent production companies than ever before, understanding the links between popular music, culture and the rapidly changing music industry is increasingly important, whether you are a researcher or practitioner. You could use the course to further your research interests by studying for a PhD or take up employment opportunities in sound engineering, performance, teaching, songwriting, production, music for film and television, music journalism, marketing and PR or events organisation.
The Popular Music Performance course is designed to address the practical, academic and professional needs of contemporary musicians, and welcomes students from all genres.
Our postgraduate music performance courses offer substantial one-to-one instrumental tuition, with recitalists of international renown. They comprise fascinating and engaging modules that support and extend your practical musicianship and academic skills.
London College of Music's (LCM) regular Composition Workshops and Masterclasses offer great opportunities to learn new skills and network with students from other postgraduate courses. You can also benefit from being part of the vibrant LCM community with regular performance opportunities at LCM Sessions gigs, hosted by Popular Music students, and are encouraged to join in with musical activities throughout the LCM. The college runs several large ensembles including Pop and Gospel Choir, LCM Sinfonia, LCM Big Band, LCM Choir, and LCM Glee Choir, which students are able to participate in.
This course provides specialist training for drummers, vocalists, guitarists, bassists and keyboard players that reflects the needs of today’s music industry.
The course is taught by postgraduate tutors from the London College of Music, all of whom are active professional musicians of the highest standard.
It combines technical and stylistic performance tuition through one-to-one lessons, as well as group sessions with other students from across the postgraduate community, to ensure an enhanced learning experience and the opportunity to network with like-minded artists.
The course runs throughout each calendar year.
Plus one option from:
You will have the opportunity to develop your technical and creative performance skills through a programme of one-to-one tuition supported by group-based lectures, seminars and workshops.
There is also an exciting masterclass programme which provides students with the opportunity to engage with leading practitioners from across all areas of the music industry - performance, production and songwriting.
Graduates will likely pursue a career as a professional performing musician.
The degree might lead to further academic study, including DMus or MPhil/ PhD.
Click the following link for information on how to apply to this course.
Information about scholarships and bursaries can be found here.
This MMus builds on our international reputation in the popular music field, as seen in the success of our BMus graduates.
The programme offers you the opportunity to reflect critically upon your own creative practice – whether that consists of performance, songwriting, arranging, production, or collaboration – and to integrate theoretical perspectives from contemporary popular music studies.
You’ll also be able to extend your own practice through options in sonic and studio art, advanced music technology, exploration in audiovisual media, and ethnomusicology.
The MMus in Popular Music is intended for music creators who integrate these elements in the compositional, recording and performance work.
You’ll acquire graduate-level training in creative practice and subject-specific skills that could set you up for a career as a composer-performer or studio practitioner/producer, as well as other employment within the popular music sector.
This programme is distinguished by:
You choose two modules from a list that currently includes:
Employability and cultural entrepreneurship is in our DNA
Graduates may progress to be composer-performers, studio practitioners/producers and music industry employees within the popular music sector. Older students who have returned to advance their knowledge and practice base will be better positioned in the job market.
We are also able to offer a series of employability/placement/internship style opportunities to include:
Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths.