BA (Hons) Songwriting

Overview

At BIMM Berlin, we have a strong focus on writing technique, analysis and personal stylistic development, and you’ll be encouraged from day one to explore your creativity as an artist in a range of disciplines, from solo and group performance to commercial songwriting and music production for film, television and online channels.

One of the major benefits of this course is that you get to choose where you complete your second year of study. Wherever you decide on BIMM Berlin or BIMM London, you’ll be sure to gain extensive songwriting inspiration from your incredible surroundings.

The degree is both academically and musically challenging, providing the perfect balance between practical and technical skills, and theory and analysis. To succeed as a great songwriter, a detailed understanding of the music business is essential. We’ll share our knowledge of music publishing, contracts and recording technology, and will deliver our teaching in line with the latest trends and directions in the evolving music industry. You’ll be part of a creative community of gifted writers, performers and music industry professionals who you can collaborate and network with to help bring your talent to life.

Through a range of optional modules, including Writing for Commission, Music for the Moving Image, Song Production and Writing for Stage, you can tailor the degree to fit your own personal goals. You’ll get to attend unique and inspiring Masterclasses by some of the best musicians in the world which will stretch you as a songwriter. Your course will culminate in a Song Project designed to give you the opportunity to develop a live industry project of your choice, and to give you a head start into the workplace when you graduate.

So to make your way as a songwriter, connect with us, and we’ll connect you to a life in music.

Validated by:

EU Students €7,450 per year

Non EU Students €12,950 per year

Payment options available

Year 1 (FHEQ Level 4)

In Year 1, students address the essential songwriting skills that will underpin not only the rest of their studies but also their future career. This includes investigating and analysing a wide range of music and developing an understanding of music theory, music technology and the music business. Students take six modules (120 credits). All modules are mandatory and run throughout the academic year (30 weeks). Module names and structure may be subject to change.

  • Songwriting 1

    As an essential skill for any artist, music producer or creative musician, songwriting empowers the individual to develop important musical and lucrative skill-sets. Students will study and develop the fundamental skills of writing original songs covering aspects such as harmonic progression, melodic contour, lyric creation, rhythmic lyric structure and song form. Through studying tools and techniques they’ll learn to write melodies, will explore how melodic rhythm influences rhyme, and the dynamic relationships between melody and harmony. With an emphasis on originality and creativity students will study alongside peers from the BA (Hons) Music Production course.

  • Song Stylistics

    Most successful writers working within the industry not only have developed their own unique personal approach to writing, but they also have a solid understanding of working in a variety of styles. This module gives students the opportunity to explore specific songwriting techniques when working in a wide range of genres, allowing them to more fully understand the details of songwriting, providing a heightened ability when working within their own favourite style.

  • Recording Skills

    Behind every great audio product there lies a great recording. The skills needed to capture a great recording are essential to any artist, music producer, songwriter or creative musician. This module explores the fundamental principles of multi-track recording technique, covering aspects such as audio quality and microphone technique. The module is a mix of theory and practical work. Students will engage in a collaborative project working alongside peers from the BA (Hons) Music Production and BMus (Hons) Popular Music Performance courses.

  • Music Technology for Songwriters 1

    This module explores the use of music technology with a focus on the Digital Audio Workstation. Mixing, digital audio manipulation and processing will be explored with an emphasis on creativity and originality. This subject represents an important element of every writer’s skills – the ability to self-produce their own material.

  • Musicianship

    Musicianship supports the development of skills in key areas: music theory, ear training, production analysis and song analysis. In theory and ear training classes, students will consider key theoretical concepts and their application in popular music, including interval and chord identification and harmony, rhythm and pulse, basic transcription and chord/scale relationships. They’ll also study concepts of production style in order to develop their own personality, while song analysis allows the development of songwriting skills via the critique of commercial material. Students will study alongside peers from the BA (Hons) Music Production.

  • Popular Music Studies

    This module considers the history of popular music and the work of key artists in the context of the social, political and cultural developments of the 20th and 21st centuries. Students will also exercise the research techniques necessary to write academic papers and will study alongside peers from the BA (Hons) Music Production, BA (Hons) Creative Musicianship, BA (Hons) Music Business and BMus (Hons) Popular Music Performance courses.

Year 2 (FHEQ Level 5)

STUDY IN BERLIN OR LONDON – YOUR CHOICE!
Year 2 requires students to apply their skills to increasingly ‘real-world’ scenarios while studying the complex legal framework of the music business. Students also have the chance to select optional modules that allow them to focus their learning journey on showcase performance, writing to brief and/or composing for moving image. Students take six modules (120 credits). There are five mandatory modules and students select one of three optional modules. All modules run throughout the academic year (30 weeks). Module names and structure may be subject to change.

  • Songwriting 2

    Song composition and development will be explored to a greater depth in this module that continues from previously studied material. It will focus on advanced aspects, such as creative approach, tonal phrases, resolution, structure tones and embellishments, melodic placements, harmonic and melodic interplay and structure variety. Students will study alongside peers from the BA (Hons) in Music Production course.

  • Music Technology for Songwriters 2

    Building upon previously explored concepts, Music Technology for Songwriters 2 further expands music production skills via the study of advanced mixing concepts, audio processing and mastering.

  • Arranging

    Musical creativity is an important skill for many applications within the professional music industry. Arranging and orchestration skills allow students to apply musical concepts to any composition, and are essential ingredients for success. Covering these aspects, this module enables students to obtain musical skills that are essential when working creatively. They’ll study alongside peers from the BA (Hons) Music Production course.

  • Music Publishing and the Legal Framework

    Publishing represents a core element of both a business entrepreneur and a songwriting professional’s work. This module examines the administration and publication of musical material alongside study of legal aspects in the music industry. Concepts studied include copyright, contracts, licensing, royalties, formats, song books, intellectual property and emerging business trends. Students will study alongside peers from the BA (Hons) Music Business course.

  • The Music Industry

    The module gives students the opportunity to study the fundamental aspects of the music industry. The aim is for them to have an understanding of the historical and contemporary structure of the music industry, including learning the roles of key stakeholders and providers within it and how those roles are constantly adapting to market pressures brought about by advances in new technology. Treating the industry as a set of related smaller organisations and structures, this module studies aspects such as the facilitating of licensing, marketing, promotion, distribution, selling and production of music-related product. Students will learn to apply study skills and basic research and academic writing techniques. They’ll study alongside peers from the BA (Hons) Music Production, BA (Hons) Creative Musicianship, BA (Hons) Music Business and BMus (Hons) Popular Music Performance courses.

  • Optional – Music for the Moving Image 1

    Working with image content is a satisfying and rewarding area. With an expansion of musical material embedded into more than just TV and film (i.e. radio and online adverts, corporate trade fairs, etc.) both ‘synchronisation’ and commission-based portfolios are becoming more and more commonplace. This module has a creative focus, concentrating on compositional skills to produce ‘musical beds’ for a variety of image-based products (i.e. film, TV, etc.). Students will study alongside peers from the BA (Hons) Music Production course.

  • Optional – Writing for Commission

    The important role that the likes of Tin Pan Alley, the Brill building and Motown composers such as Holland-Dozier-Holland have played in the modern music industry should not be underestimated. This module explores the concepts of writing original material for a specific performing artist; working within the confines of a defined, focused brief. These skills allow students to explore alternative career opportunities.

  • Optional – Showcase

    This module gives students the opportunity to explore and engage in aspects associated with a showcase performance of original material. As a commonplace activity in the industry, the showcase represents an opportunity for a performing songwriter to deliver self-authored material to an audience often featuring industry professionals. Students will develop a portfolio of songs with an emphasis on performing them with a small pop music based ensemble, or via solo accompaniment. With an emphasis on creativity and originality, this module gives them the chance to develop their own distinctive voice and musical personality within both songwriting and performance. They’ll study alongside students from the BA (Hons) Creative Musicianship course.

Year 3 (FHEQ Level 6)

Year 3 affords students the opportunity to participate in the self-directed final Song Project while choosing from a range of optional modules including Situational Composition, Music Pedagogy and/or Music Technology that will best support them to make the transition from student to professional songwriter. Students take five modules (120 credits). There are two mandatory modules and students select three out of six optional ones. All modules run throughout the academic year (30 weeks). Module names and structure may be subject to change.

  • Song Project

    This module gives students the opportunity to engage in the creation of a high-level, independently driven portfolio of work. They’ll select a suitable subject and under supervision from an industry specialist deliver a project that encapsulates both practical and research-based content.

  • Personal and Business Development

    This module gives students the opportunity to explore and develop the personal, interpersonal and team skills that count towards success. The module will introduce what are often called the “soft” skills – or the “emotionally intelligent” skills – that are increasingly vital for personal and business success and are particularly important for freelancers. They’ll study alongside students from the BA (Hons) Music Production, BA (Hons) Creative Musicianship and BMus (Hons) Popular Music Performance courses.

  • Optional – Songwriting 3

    Developing from previous study, this optional module allows students to continue to exercise their creativity and musicality. They’ll have the opportunity to study songwriting techniques and concepts to an advanced level with an emphasis on building a portfolio of high quality, original material. The module will focus on issues such as melodic motion, melodic development over and across harmony, advanced modulation techniques, colouring, phonetic relationships, rhyme styles and structure and plot progression. They’ll study alongside students from the BA (Hons) in Music Production.

  • Optional – Song Production

    Within the music industry, creative individuals often engage in third party commission to support the development and improvement of other writer’s material. Commonly known as ‘song doctoring’ or ‘fixing’, taking material that features promise but is by no means fully developed to a state of fulfilment is an artform and a skill. This module gives students the chance to explore topics such as creatively fixing and improving song form and lyrics, harmony and melody improvement, and collaboration. It gives them the skills needed to engage in the creative musicality of producing songs.

  • Optional – Writing for Stage

    Representing an important and expressive area of composition, this module provides students with the opportunity to study creating musical works for stage productions. Analysis of existing work provides a backdrop for them to explore lyrical and musical themes with reference to the stage.

  • Optional – Music for the Moving Image 2

    Building upon previously studied concepts, this module allows students to explore composition techniques to an advanced level, whilst working with moving image content. Operating within a mix of visual themes, students will learn the compositional and production concepts associated with working within corporate video, advertising and commercials, television film and drama, brand idents and television themes, documentaries and animated features. Analysis of commercial work will provide reflection upon the students’ own work. They’ll study alongside peers from the BA (Hons) Songwriting course.

  • Optional – Music Technology for Songwriters 3

    This module further explores aspects of music production with a focus on individuality, independence and flair. It covers the use of software synthesis and sampling techniques, advanced programming and mixing and sound design for musical projects. Students will continue to explore relevant industry platforms utilised within the industry.

  • Optional – Music Pedagogy in Practice

    This module helps participants develop the skills for engaging in community music projects, alongside setting up a successful teaching practice. Private, group and classroom teaching is integral to many professional musicians’ business plans, and two or three days teaching a week can provide the financial security needed to pursue other long-term career goals. Students will learn how to plan and deliver lessons; assess students and give them feedback; and evaluate their own teaching in order to improve it. Community-based music projects provide an opportunity for a music industry professional to engage in work that supports people to enjoy and learn from making music. Students will study alongside peers from the BA (Hons) Songwriting, BA (Hons) Creative Musicianship and BMus (Hons) Popular Music Performance courses.

MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS:

EU Students

To be considered for a place, students must have passed the Abitur with an overall grade of 4.0. A score of 10 / gut in the Hauptfach / Leistungskurs / Kurs mit erhöhtem Anforderungsniveau will meet necessary English Language requirements. Completion of the IB with a minimum score of 24 overall is required. Applicants studying A1/A2 in English will meet our English Language requirements.

UK Students

Minimum of 2 A-levels at grade C or above (160 UCAS points) or BTEC level 3 equivalent, and five GCSE qualifications at grade C and upwards, including English Language.

Please contact the Admissions Team if you’ve studied other qualifications. If you haven’t studied an approved English Language qualification, we require that you take an IELTS exam achieving a minimum score of 6.0 with no less than 5.5 achieved in each band.

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How to apply

Applications can be made directly to BIMM Berlin, to request an audition and/or assessment call +44 20 3701 3966. All students will be invited to attend an audition and/or assessment. International applicants who can’t attend an audition and/or assessment will be sent guidelines and an application form.

UK applicants can alternatively apply via UCAS – this course can be found on UCAS.com here.

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International students

We’re proud to welcome students from all around the world. Our dedicated International Team is on hand to help with applications, visas, accommodation, settling in and much more.

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Course Specification

Mode of attendance:
Full-time
Length of course:
3 years
Awarding institution:
University of West London
Teaching institution:
BIMM Berlin
UCAS Code:
3C46
Language of study:
English
Final award and exit awards:
Certificate of Higher Education – 120 credits, Diploma of Higher Education – 240 credits, Ordinary degree – 300 credits, Honours degree – 360 credits.
Admissions criteria:
EU STUDENTS: To be considered for a place, students must have passed the Abitur with an overall grade of 4.0. A score of 10 / gut in the Hauptfach / Leistungskurs / Kurs mit erhöhtem Anforderungsniveau will meet necessary English Language requirements. Completion of the IB with a minimum score of 24 overall is required. Applicants studying A1/A2 in English will meet our English Language requirements. Please contact the Admissions Team if you’ve studied other qualifications. If you haven’t studied an approved English Language qualification, we require that you take an IELTS exam achieving a minimum score of 6.0 with no less than 5.5 achieved in each band. UK STUDENTS: Minimum entry requirements are five GCSEs at grade C or above (including English Language), plus two A-levels at grade C or above (160 UCAS points) or a BTEC level 3 equivalent.

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