Songwriting remains one of the UK’s biggest exports, with UK music stronger than ever. Popular song is the heart of the industry; global demand for new songs is high. Focusing your portfolio through research prepares you to contribute to this field.
The MA is for students with a thorough grounding in their own specialism who wish to extend and develop their songwriting knowledge and skills at advanced academic level, in a creative environment.
Therefore, the course is aimed at both unpublished songwriters wishing to develop their craft to professional level, and published songwriters wishing to achieve academic accreditation while exploring their creativity and formalising their prior experience.
COURSE STRUCTURE AND CONTENT
From day one you’ll write songs, using alternative strategies designed to work alongside your current creative approaches. Applying practice-based learning at our world-heritage research centres, through a range of creative strategies and critical perspective on your songs’ relationship with audience and industry, you’ll develop and focus your output.
Lyric-writing, and a fluent command of imagery, metaphor and narrative is nurtured as chords and melody take shape around language’s meaning, and vice versa. You’ll investigate the power and potential of song forms, modes of address, perspectives, time-frames and characters.
Having stretched the range of creative options available to you within your own artistic palette, you’ll turn your hand to research; this is your entry to the post-graduate world. You’ll identify the industrial context relevant to your songs; your knowledge of your field will become intensified through primary research, secondary research and contact with guest speakers from industry.
Collaborating with songwriters from near and far will increase your creative and networking range; ahead of your Major Project contextual and collaborative research perform the vital tasks of shaping your song outputs.
There are a range of modules which include: Songwriting Skills: a twelve-week process during which you’ll develop a feel for sensory imagery, metaphor and a facility for narrative tension.
Song Identity and Culture: here you investigate and unravel your personal songwriting ‘DNA’. You’ll look at your own work and that of others, in the context of artistic identity and culture.
Professional Collaboration: you’ll negotiate collaboration with other students within a professional context. For example, songwriters might collaborate in the traditional manner of successful and acclaimed songwriting teams, or may work with choreographers, film makers, poets, composers, arrangers or remixers.
Research Methodologies and Context: a ‘pathfinder’ contextual study into an economic/cultural context for your future song outputs. From folk to hip-hop, indie, metal, etc., each industrial context possesses a uniquely different set of venues, publishers, labels, agents, producers and performers.
Major Project: bring all your research and preparation into focus. You are asked to present a showcase artefact representing the songs developed during your time on the course. Usually this is an album. For some it will be several projects for differing contexts, like a writer’s showcase for a publisher.
There are regular taught sessions running across each of the three trimesters. Lectures, visiting speakers, seminars, workshops, tutorials, presentations and playback sessions work on song material and research outcomes. Students play their songs to one another in a supportive yet dynamic environment facilitating networking and analysis and developing the language of creative critique. This can be in a live capacity or via playback.
Assessments range from simple audio sketches in the early stages to full album productions in the final stages; each of which is assessed for quality and market focus. On the research modules, formal, researched and referenced papers express your intellectual and analytical development, and presentation skills bring your work to life.
There is a broad range of professional outcomes from this course and our graduates now work as:
• Signed artists • Signed writers • Lecturers • Researchers • Agents • Performers • Teachers • Therapists • Publishers
The course is also an excellent grounding if you’re interested in further study; a number of our alumni have progressed onto PhD study.