BA (Hons) Songwriting & Music Business

Joint Honours

Overview

The BA (Hons) Songwriting and Music Business will see you nurture your talents as a songwriter while making the most of our unparalleled music industry connections. You’ll graduate with an in-depth knowledge of your art as well as with invaluable experiences of the industry that supports it.

You’ll focus on songwriting techniques, styles and genres, working with bands, music publishing and marketing. These topics ensure that once you graduate, you’ll be a musician with detailed knowledge of how the music business works.

By combining your creative and artistic practices with your interest in business, you’ll be able to progress into a wide range of careers. These careers include becoming a self-managed artist or songwriter, composer for film or TV, entering into music publishing and copyright collection, live performance of original material or professional qualifications in areas such as entertainment law or music and business education.

As you progress through the course, you can specialise in topics that interest you most. This is possible through our optional modules, such as creative performance, session skills, songwriting, technology, composing for film and TV, arranging, recording, teaching and research. By having these optional modules in place, you’ll be able to tailor your course to meet the career outcome that’s meant for you.

Day to day collaboration with fellow songwriters, performers, producers and event management students will help you gain real-world experiences. You’ll also gain further real-world experience via our unrivalled work experience opportunities.

These work opportunities give you the chance to develop hands-on industry knowledge through placements and internships with a variety of music-focused employers. You’ll also be supported in entrepreneurial ventures of your own design.

Throughout your degree, you’ll be taught by experienced and inspiring lecturers who are still active in the industry today. They’ll be there – along with our Student Services and Careers Team – to help you define and reach your personal and professional goals.

So, what are you waiting for? Combine your passion for songwriting and music business today for a fulfilling music industry career in the future.

Validated by:

Fees information

Student Loan Finance Available

Modules

Year 1

All students take the following core modules in their first year of study. Module names and structure may be subject to change.

  • The Creative Industries and You 1: Finding Your Path

    The first Creative Industries & You module sets you on the right path towards pursuing your dream career in the creative industries. Whether you are focused on a particular career goal or considering multiple career options, you will broaden your knowledge of the opportunities available to you as a creative professional in your specific field. In course groups, you will research career routes and examine the career journeys of inspirational creative professionals to determine key skills for success. In mixed classes, you’ll participate in activities to help you navigate life in higher education and the creative community, expanding your social networks. You will reflect on your progress, explore what motivates you, identify personal strengths and potential roadblocks, and support each other to develop realistic action plans to help you along your chosen path. Supported by your Personal Adviser, you will create a Personal and Professional Development Portfolio, which you will adapt and develop throughout your studies at BIMM. This first iteration has been designed in bitesize chunks to help you develop independent learning skills, receive ongoing feedback and experience a range of different assessment methods. This module also gives you the freedom to extend your learning by providing access to the Industry Skills Booster online courses, developed exclusively with industry employers, which you can select in accordance with career goals and identified areas for development.

  • Context & Culture of the Creative Industries

    Following on from your exploration of the creative community and career opportunities available to you in Creative Industries & You 1, this module will help you to develop a deeper intellectual understanding of the creative arts and industry structures. You will be challenged to investigate some key contemporary cultural issues relating to your professional field, developing a contextual understanding through research, questioning and debate. This awareness will help you to make informed creative and business decisions in the future and articulate them sensitively, acknowledging the different perspectives and experiences of others. You will explore pivotal cultural moments that have shaped the creative industries, exploring the factors that make something ‘popular’, and how key cultural issues affect both art and business. Reading, research and critical thinking skills will be developed to help you examine developments in the industry and the creative arts, communicating your arguments in a variety of formats. You will have an opportunity to meet with your Personal Adviser in a 1:1 tutorial to help you identify your strengths and areas for development, updating your PPDP and selecting relevant online Academic Skills Booster courses to support on your path to academic success.

  • Songwriting Techniques

    The techniques module enables you to explore songwriting through a carefully constructed programme of practical creative tasks. The course is delivered by a teaching team of established, published contemporary songwriters. Career planning, research and freelance skills are embedded into the curriculum, and you will also benefit from opportunities to collaborate with production and performance students. Further study will be the building blocks of songwriting: chord theory, melody, harmony, lyrics and rhythm. The module involves aural perception, giving you the opportunity to develop your musical ear and recognise intervals and chord sequences by listening. The module will take a traditional view of songwriting as well as contemporary, by exploring how approaches have changed over time. There will be writing partnerships, giving you the ability to collaborate effectively. Chord theory, structure and writing intuitively will be the focus of the module, as well as an introduction to lyrical and poetic devices.

  • Songwriting Skills for Ensemble

    In this module, you will be taken through the process of arranging and rehearsing your compositions to a standard suitable for public performance. After initial composition workshops where you’ll receive feedback and guidance on writing, there’ll be further activities in live arrangement skills whether that be for a duo, trio or multiple musician line-ups. Much of what you study in the Songwriting Techniques module will help inform what you do in this module, such as dynamics, harmony, rhythm/groove, structure and the use of backing tracks. You will also engage in co-writing, co-arranging and creative collaboration as part of your ongoing development. Regarding live performance skills, you will work towards achieving and maintaining appropriate rehearsal methods and instrumental and vocal performance skills. Additionally, the development of musical director skills will promote listening and performing simultaneously, as well as communicating effectively with other musicians and leading an ensemble in rehearsal.

  • Styles & Genres

    Styles and Genres are concerned with the deconstruction of musical and non-musical elements that create successful popular songs. This module will analyse the historical, social and biographical contexts that may have had a bearing on specific musical genres and notable songwriters, as well as examining external influences on these styles. The module will require you to employ critical listening and aural perception to analyse music and lyrics objectively in order to understand how songs may work on us subjectively. This module will also look to broaden your songwriting vocabulary via the creation of an original work/song, in addition to providing a platform for self-reflection on the skills and aptitudes necessary for lifelong learning in this field.

  • The Music Business

    The rapidly evolving music business is a multi-faceted, technologically driven industry. Effective music industry practitioners must understand how the numerous businesses, organisations and professionals operate, how they work alongside each other and interconnect. Furthermore, due to the rate of change, it is essential to make informed predictions about the future of the industry and evolve operations accordingly. This module is designed to offer you a holistic perspective of the industry, from where you can clearly identify conventions, standard working practices and growth areas.

  • Music Publishing

    Music publishing is essential in the modern music business, an ever-increasing amount of visual content is being created and shared, much of which requires the synchronisation of music, this along with the development of new distribution channels has opened a wealth of new opportunities for songwriters and publishers. This module will focus on the fundamentals of this topic cover areas such as: the definition of a song, the publisher’s role, the collection societies, the types of music publisher, and music publishing contracts. In this module, you will explore the relationship between these core concepts and current music industry developments. You will be encouraged to apply your knowledge through simulations and in a real-world situation, this experience will be invaluable for a career in artist management, A&R, label management and music publishing.

  • Marketing & PR

    What do you think creates that magic that propels you to buy a product? The reason you even know about a brand and have become entwined in its story? It’s a tool behind every business and every brand and without it, they wouldn’t exist. It’s the wonder that is Marketing. Whether discussing a brand, musician, product or event, it is without a doubt that marketing and PR will have been involved in their journey. Whether you have seen an advert on Instagram, streamed a song on Spotify, bought a product online or attended an event, it is because it has been marketed to you. Marketing is a sales tool, but it is also something that needs to be creative, unique, exciting and visible. Everything and everyone is marketable, it’s just understanding how and ultimately, how to do this well. In this module, you will look into brand identity, messaging and communication, study marketing theory and PR practice and develop concepts, strategies and pitches. You will examine brand case studies, looking at examples of marketing campaigns with a focus on the positives and negatives. The module will allow you to manage the marketing for your own music/event brand, looking into how marketing and PR are used in the contemporary music and events industry, and create ‘a big idea’ and marketing plan around this. The invaluable tools you will learn will be adaptable to whichever path you take for your chosen future career.

Year 2

All students take the following core modules in their second year of study, plus two optional modules. Module names and structure may be subject to change.

  • The Creative Industries and You 2: Creative Collaboration

    The creative arts have the power to bring people together, unite communities, support mental wellbeing, raise awareness of social issues and above all, bring joy to many people around the world. In Creative Industries & You 2, you will discover how you can turn your passion and talent into a collaborative project with a positive impact on society. Employing research and networking skills, you will develop a greater understanding of a charity, cause or campaign. In teams of students from all courses, you‘ll select a cause and identify a way to support its key objectives, either by raising awareness, raising funds or contributing as volunteers. You will be introduced to your college's partner charities but you are also able to find your own, or work independently of an existing organisation. Through this collaborative project, you’ll develop essential interpersonal and communication skills, experimenting with various digital tools for enterprise. You’ll reflect on your own values, applying theories of human psychology to explore how to get the best out of yourself and each other. Building on your industry research skills, you will assess your target audience and define clear SMART targets for your project that will enable you to execute an element of the strategy and evaluate its success. In teams, you will spend time working on your project both in class and in your own time, developing effective collaborative working methods. You’ll record your project activity in your Personal and Professional Development Plan, reflecting on how you have developed and changed over the course of your first year and a half at BIMM. Working with your Personal Adviser you will identify objectives, opportunities and actions that will help you stay on the path to success for the second half of your journey towards becoming a Creative Industries Professional.

  • Creativity, Identity & Agency

    This module continues the exploratory work you began in Context & Culture of the Creative Industries. You will directly apply ideas to your own discipline and development, selecting an area of investigation relevant to your own practice, and communicating your argument via your medium of choice. The concepts you encounter will actively critique claims to authenticity and originality; themes you will encounter frequently throughout your career as a Creative Professional. You will debate artistic production, the motivations for it, and the problems of creative autonomy. You will investigate relevant contemporary cultural issues and theories relating to society, race, gender, technology, and the environment to develop your contextual understanding of how these relate to your own creative practice, professional values, and sense of personal agency. You will be encouraged to meet with your Personal Adviser in a 1:1 tutorial to help you reflect on the strengths and areas for development identified in your PPDP in the first year, tracking your academic progress and setting new actions that will support you to achieve your best work. The research methods and study habits you develop throughout this module will prepare you for next year’s Final Project, in which you will self-direct a significant piece of academic, creative and/or professional practice.

  • Music Creation with Technology

    This module will allow you to further develop the tools required to put creative energy into practice, inspiring you to engage in compositional techniques and technological processes to improve your skills as a songwriter and enhance your creative and professional practice. You will utilise Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs) for writing purposes, including the recording, editing, mixing and production of new material using industry-standard software and equipment.

  • Songwriting & Arrangement

    In Songwriting & Arrangement, you will study established musical arrangement aesthetics, approaches and techniques in order to inform and inspire your own artistic exploration in the creation of original musical arrangements. Classes will be a combination of the stylistic and technical analysis of existing artistic and aesthetic approaches, and a process of experimentation through creative arrangement workshopping. You will reflect on your artistic exploration of arrangement approaches, culminating in an overarching reflection on your writing and composition throughout your BMus study at the college, as well as practical work undertaken during your Songwriting & Arrangement module learning journey.

  • Business & Enterprise

    The UK music industry has seen growth and expansion in recorded music, publishing and live events, highlighting an industry ripe for entrepreneurial development. Recent enterprising examples have seen entrepreneurs collect waste left at festivals and transform it into usable products sold for charitable organisations benefitting society and the environment and creating an economy where there wasn’t one previously. This module is designed to get you thinking about the music industry as a whole, both nationally and globally, to consider what gaps might exist for a new business or what services could be created for new customer bases. Throughout the module, you will consider what tools you need to create the next industry product or service, as well as how to relate this to self-employment and wider creative industries.

  • Financing Creativity

    This module introduces the key concepts for financing creative projects and outlines the fundraising process. The module will cover a range of approaches that include grant funding, crowdsourcing, sponsorship, start-up loans, private income and support in-kind. You will develop practical planning and delivery skills including writing a fundraising strategy, pitching for money, filling out a grant application form, creating a sponsorship pack, managing budgets and risk, and evaluating impact.

  • Optional Writing in Context and to Commission

    Whether you are an artist, commercial producer or media composer, writing to a brief is an essential skill for the modern music creative. From publisher’s ‘looking lists’, sync, media and game soundtracks, to commissions direct from artists, this module helps develop your practical and theoretical understanding of aesthetics, context and creativities across a range of musical styles and genres. In addition to honing core compositional, listening and production skills, the module will encourage you to reflect on the creative process, and develop project management skills to help you meet the submission deadlines.

  • Optional Composition in Genres

    Exploring genres outside of popular music gives us a wider view of what music is and how it works in different contexts. Including jazz, classical, noise, experimental, non-Western, improvisation and any other genre or approach you want to explore, this class gives you the opportunity to expand the way you think about and write music. We’ll use music theory and analysis of production techniques to qualify what a genre’s defining elements are. However, this is only half the picture, as the cultural context in which the music was created has as much to do with the music’s identity as the technical “nuts and bolts”. Be it, Shostakovich, writing his 7th Symphony while under siege in Stalingrad, Fela Kuti’s political commentary, or improvisers’ explorations of freedom, we’ll also explore the context that inspired the music before writing our own pieces that are influenced by all of these elements.

  • Optional Lyricism & Aesthetics

    Lyricism and Aesthetics is concerned with the methodologies used by songwriters to generate original, imaginative lyrics. It aims to provide a detailed study of the creative and technical processes underpinning effective lyric writing and to consider the cultural and artistic influences that inspire the compositional process, as well as the impact this has on the construction of a creative identity. You will explore the prosodic relationship between lyrics and melody, harmony, arrangement, rhythm and structure within original songs, as well as within the work of established writers, which will also help you develop your own distinct idiolect (or artistic ‘voice’). You will be introduced to key lyric writing techniques and apply and develop these into original work. Additionally, you will incorporate narrative tools and strategies from poetry, literature and other relevant media and culture. You will consider cultural identity, gender identity and/or a personal viewpoint, and explore how these elements might be expressed through narrative. The module will also consider the impact of interpretative performance, instrumental arrangement, and studio production on narrative delivery. The development of critical analysis, self-evaluation and high-level lyric writing skills will be a key part of weekly content, and subsequently, you will be expected to develop a wide range of imaginative, original material, both individually and collaboratively.

  • Optional Complementary Instrument Skills for Songwriters

    For the contemporary musician in today’s music industry, versatility is a key quality. This module will enable you to develop additional instrumental skills to supplement your current discipline. Negotiated with your tutor, the complimentary instrumental skills will be linked to your current discipline enabling you to enhance your effectiveness as a musician and widen the opportunities for employment. For vocalists, the skills of the ‘top line’ writer will be developed, while for guitarists and keyboardists new approaches to music harmony and part-writing will be explored through instrumental technique. Through the creation of original work, you will be able to apply and reflect on how instrumental technique can aid personal musical expression.

  • Optional Songwriting Portfolio

    Songwriting Portfolio is concerned with expanding your writing versatility in an industry that requires commercial songwriters to have the ability to work in a wide range of contexts. You will create original, imaginative material for both collaborative and individual writing briefs that span between a variety of commercial perspectives that might include publishing briefs for specific artists, advertising, game music, individual artistic and creative development, musical aesthetic and setting, writing to sync, and melodic top-lining. Throughout the semester you will collate and develop a robust portfolio of work that can be utilised in a real-world context to further your professional career as a songwriter. This module will help you develop a strong set of people and project management skills that will enable you to consistently work to set deadlines, whilst maintaining a clear sense of artistic originality and creativity. The broadening of your writing comfort zone and the interpretation of creative briefs will be a key part of weekly activities. The application and use of DAW software and technical skills will be used alongside more acoustic or organic writing approaches.

  • Optional Sound Design & Writing for Media

    The module will examine approaches to composing for a variety of film mediums including adverts, documentary and feature films. We will also examine workflow in relation to collecting original sound design assets to create realistic environments while accommodating elements of Foley in the resulting soundscape. You will explore technical processes such as recording, mixing, layering and blending sound design and Foley with musical compositions, and this will be combined with musical theory concepts to broaden your compositional capability. Development of technical processes will include synchronisation, time and meter mapping, electronic processing techniques and music production skills.

  • Optional Record Label Management

    Record Labels have been at the forefront of defining popular music since the first half of the 20th Century. Their role in identifying, developing and marketing talent has helped to create scenes, youth movements and shaped modern culture. They are the risk-takers, visionaries and investors that make the industry an exciting and vibrant place to be. However, they have also faced significant disruption to their business models over this time, with each new technology creating opportunities and threats to revenue streams. This module examines the workings of Records Labels and the Record Industry and how they can continue to prosper in the modern world. From independent labels to global corporations, there are insights into how labels work and the challenges they are having to overcome. This module is designed for students looking to either work in the recorded music sector, or start their own label, but also provides essential knowledge for those interested in artist management and other related roles.

  • Optional The Business and Culture of Hip Hop

    An Insight into the growth and development of Hip Hop, over the course of the module we will break down the genres and its contributions to the industry. Additionally, we will also analyse the relationship between the government and the genres and how this has influenced pop culture, sampling, listenership and representation and how social media has become a driving force in developing the various income streams associated within the genre. This is essential for the modern music student as the genre lines become increasingly blurred. Hip Hop culture is now Pop culture and this module will offer an insight into how to achieve success within the modern music industry.

  • Optional Studio Sound & Recording Technology

    This practical module will develop the competencies required for anyone working in the world of recording and releasing music of all genres. These include an understanding of sound engineering, familiarity with current recording technology software and hardware, and knowledge of how various mastering techniques are applied to different formats in the distribution of recorded music. You will gain skills useful to the variety of contexts in which most contemporary popular music is recorded; from bedroom laptops, home project studios and mainstream recording studios, plus knowledge of mastering for various formats that can help turn a sketch or improvised demo into a professional release.

  • Optional Rights Management and Secondary Exploitation

    This module will review the evolution and current state of intellectual property rights within music, specifically focusing on secondary exploitation and the importance of neighbouring rights. As the music business evolves, a broad grasp of intellectual property rights and how they can be monetized is essential. The module will investigate these rights and their relationship to secondary exploitation from both the music publishing and master recording rights owners perspective, as well as looking at the discipline from the music users point of view. Secondary exploitation (sync, brand partnerships, etc.), revenue, and investment continue to grow across multiple areas of the music business. This module will look at the process involved in sync licensing, the core and transferable skills required to succeed in this area, as well as the associated contractual and legal obligations. Using the core terms and information from the Music Publishing module, you will explore these specialist areas in greater detail investigating the future of right management as well as the practicalities of managing rights to track and collect the income they generate.

  • Optional The Business and Culture of Electronic Music

    You will gain a thorough insight into the growth and development of dance music, rave culture and electronica in its many guises. Over the course of the module, study will break down the cornerstone genres and sub-genres within electronica and their overall contribution to the production techniques associated with contemporary popular music. Additionally, you will analyse the historic & current relationship between the music and socio-economic environment in the U.S. & UK. This will be underpinned by factors that have influenced the movement from inception and the subsequent rise of rave culture during the second summer of love and beyond. The historic & present-day DIY business culture of dance music will serve to be a focal point of study, aligned with advances in technology & how developments have influenced the sound of dance music and what the general public categorise as EDM today. Listenership, representation and how social media has become a driving force in developing the various income streams will also underpin the nucleus of study.

  • Optional Touring and Live Events

    This module focuses on how to plan a tour or series of events at a grassroots level. You will gain valuable knowledge in dealing with contracts, managing staff and equipment, booking venues, and understanding technical production and show design. The module will give you the skills required to effectively manage budgets and finances as well as your teams well being whilst on the road. You will learn to produce live events in a number of creative disciplines including music, comedy, film, E-sports and the performing arts. You will also gain insight into the specific needs of these disciplines including audio, lighting, transport, set, special effects, venue choice and ticketing. You will look at liaising with promoters and agents effectively and the processes involved in pre-planning, execution, and post evaluation of events from the perspective of a number of different parties, including the performer, event manager, and the audience. The module will focus on taking a creative discipline into the live event sphere and give you the tools needed to effectively produce events and tours in a diverse range of different ways.

  • Optional Working in the Creative Industries

    This module will enhance your employability as you integrate your academic learning and vocational skills with a placement or creative enterprise project, engaging with industry for a minimum of 30 hours. During your work-based learning, you will be developing a deeper understanding of the realities of professional practice and the personal attributes and skills required to successfully realise your career goals. Working in a professional environment will afford you the opportunity to gain practical skills, consolidate and expand professional networks, build confidence and develop a sound knowledge of the employment opportunities in the creative industries. Working in the Creative Industries will guide you through the process of developing your CV and covering letter, working through applications, preparing for interviews, developing business ideas and promoting your personal brand. Using BIMM Connect and the advice of tutors and careers teams at BIMM, you will explore, research and secure a work-based learning placement or creative project within the creative industries Module delivery will be in weekly sessions and will include career case studies, presentations from employers, advice and guidance for creative enterprise projects and information on the range of BIMM industry projects to work with; magazines, TV shows, record labels, blogs, festivals etc - all offered to further develop your professional skills. Once a placement or project has been chosen, you will need to negotiate and complete a learning agreement, where you, the employer (where relevant) and your module leader agree in writing the key goals and measures for success for the work-based learning. Please note that you will be expected to keep a journal of your own learning during your WBL and you will need to show that you have researched and planned for the learning that occurred on your placement or creative enterprise project. The Learning Agreement is evidence of this. Work-Based Learning handbooks are available on Moodle for both students and employers, these contain your learning agreements and important information relating to health and safety, insurance and BIMM contacts for use during a placement. There are two elements to the assessment of this module intended to observe and critically reflect on your experience; a learning diary and a project evaluation which both form your Work-Based Learning Report. You need to complete a minimum of 30 hours WBL to satisfy the requirements of your Working in the Creative Industries module. The 30 hours can be worked as one block (e.g. a two or three-week placement) or as flexi-time (e.g. one day a week for several months). During this time, you may be visited onsite by a member of the Careers & Industry team, where appropriate.

  • Optional Practical Learning and Teaching in the Creative Arts 1

    Teaching and learning skills are essential elements for practitioners in the creative arts, both in terms of supporting lifelong development through self-teaching and self-assessment, and in terms of generating income and deriving satisfaction from teaching others. The foundations of effective teaching are the abilities to empathise, conceive, plan, communicate, adapt, assess, and provide feedback in an inspiring, motivational and safe environment that stimulates learning. Combining theory and practice throughout, this module is focussed on teaching, self-teaching and learning of learner-relevant content in one to one contexts, such as individual tutorials, instrumental lessons or individual practice sessions.

  • Optional Youth, Music and Social Change

    Popular culture and rebellious youth have been intertwined in the public consciousness since Marlon Brando’s tearaway biker gang-leader, Johnny, in the 1953 movie The Wild One, replied to the question “What are you rebelling against?”, with a coolly dismissive, “What’ve you got?” Subsequently harnessing that impudent spirit to music has frequently sent tsunamis of moral panic coursing through Western society and beyond. From rock’n’roll- worshipping Teddy boys to protesting folk singers and free-loving, psychedelia-exploring hippies, sexually ambiguous glam-rockers and seditious punk-rockers, empowered hip-hoppers and grime activists, these ‘folk devils’ have made seismic waves in culture, often leaving a remodelled society in their wake. How and why did this happen? Is it happening still? This module asks you to address these issues of social transformation, subculture, youth ‘tribalism’ and transgressive communities, and consider the ways in which popular culture in general – and music in particular – can deliver social and political change. It also encourages you to consider how these transformations are absorbed, re-appropriated and marketed by the culture industries, and asks the implicit question, is popular music still capable of causing moral panic today?

  • Optional Composition and Arranging Techniques

    This module is an extension of the Digital Music module from year one and is designed to develop and further your use of the skills learnt. Your ability to develop the tonal, rhythmic, textural and structural, elements through analysis, transcription and practice is key to your ability to develop your own voice and individual way of expressing yourself musically. You will study tracks using different analytical techniques, from a variety of musical styles, to discover what and how different artists use and develop different musical elements.

  • Optional Creative Band Performance

    This module presents you with the opportunity to develop your songwriting, arranging and performing skills as you embark on a creative journey, where you will be writing, rehearsing and performing an original set for your assessment. Your songwriting and arranging skills will be addressed in the prep lessons and expanded upon in the weekly workshops as part of an ensemble performance. During the weekly prep lessons, you will examine songwriting and arranging techniques, such as subject writing, core values, toplining, melody, harmony, form, structure, conceptual development, collaborative writing and basic orchestration. Arrangements, instrumental/vocal proficiency, rehearsal skills and communication will all be covered during the weekly workshops. The second assessment will take place after the first, whereby you will sit a viva voce, evaluating the processes involved in crafting, rehearsing and performing your set.

  • Optional Global Music Styles

    This varied practical module will give you the opportunity to explore the musical features, origins, the social and cultural impact of lesser-known styles and genres from around the globe. You will simultaneously undertake ethnomusicology research to dig deep into the background of a musical style from selected geographical locations whilst developing practical skills and stylistic awareness. This personal practice and self-reflection in becoming more musically literate in your chosen style will culminate in you devising, rehearsing and, finally, performing a short ensemble live set of music from your selected region and pop/rock music influenced by your research findings.

  • Optional Vocal Capture & Production

    Vocals are arguably the most important part of any song, across all music genres. A superb vocal production can raise a mediocre composition to stardom, but a poorly produced vocal performance will see little benefit from even the best instrumental backing track. This module will focus on all aspects of studio vocal production: from the technical approach to coaching the best performance, to vocal arrangement, to post-production and mixing. You will be guided through contemporary music genres and taught effective approaches to achieve professional-sounding vocals and communicate effectively with the talent.

Year 3

All students take the following core modules in their third (and final) year of study, plus three optional modules. Module names and structure may be subject to change.

  • Final Project

    In this module, you will undertake a significant project of your own choosing. It’s your chance to explore your passion within the industry and creative arts: experiment, take risks, strengthen your skills and create a product/cohesive portfolio of work that you are proud to showcase at the end of your degree. This module will support you in consolidating the broad learning and development from the course so far, building a bridge into the industry, the workplace and future opportunities. You will be supported to self-direct your own learning through a series of lectures, seminars and 1:1 tutorials with expert supervisors.

  • Creative Industries & You 3: Professional Portfolio

    This module is the final step in your journey and will support you as you look to enter your chosen field as a creative professional. Drawing on evidence from throughout your time here. you will critically self-evaluate your personal learning journey and industry engagements to date. You will explore concepts and theories of personal and professional development to support, challenge and test your assumptions, to determine your readiness for work in the creative industries. You will have the opportunity to discuss this with your peers and learn from your collective experiences in both small degree path groups and large mixed discipline sessions. With this position in mind, you will then be challenged to create and consolidate creative assets to give you the edge over the competition in your chosen field. Specialist workshops will be offered throughout the module, informed and delivered by our wide-reaching connections and specialist tutors in the creative industries. This culminates in the creation of a portfolio which tells the story of your personal and professional journey so far, communicating your unique professional identity and future career plans in the creative industries.

  • Showcase & Showreel

    This module requires you to present a final body of practical work in an appropriate ‘industry-ready’ format. You will provide elements appropriate to the needs of current and future industry expectations for up and coming songwriters, composers and artists. You will reflect on your current work rigorously measuring it against industry examples. The work presented should evidence equal weight to aesthetics, original music and appropriate material for furtherment in your chosen career path. Success on the module will enable you to tailor your branding to address the type of songwriter, composer and/or artist career path to which you aspire.

  • Audience Experience & Motivation

    Acknowledging audience needs and expectations are central to considering what motivates consumers to engage with a product or service. The Service Industry is no longer enough, people now want an ‘experience’, something to remember. The Experience Economy focuses on audience experience, on creating bespoke events, greater innovation in business and always ensures that value is created for an audience. This module will deconstruct audience experience through the analysis of consumer trends, audience psychology, economic impacts and industry developments. You will explore how to create exciting and innovative businesses to understand how entrepreneurs engage with specific audiences to fulfil experiential requirements.

  • Optional Creative Performance with Mixed Media

    This module is designed to equip you with the skills required to develop an initial musical idea or creative concept through to a final live performance. If you’re interested in developing your skills in electronic music composition, you will be able to explore electronic instruments in the creation of an engaging performance using tools such as Ableton Live. Or if you’re interested in a more traditional band performance, you will discover how to integrate music technologies into your set to enhance arrangements and to explore new sonic possibilities. You will also be encouraged to explore the creation of a visual component (animation, film and lighting) as part of your project – and you can choose to involve fellow performers – however, the material presented in the performance or installation must be entirely created and curated by you – and that includes audio and visuals.

  • Optional Scoring for Drama

    Scoring for film, television, gaming and other visual media isn’t just about writing good music: it’s about writing the right music for the scene and the dramatic arc. You will be using your technical skills (DAW’s, theory, recording techniques etc.) to serve the vision of a film, to tell the story of the film, and to support the aesthetic and emotional aims of the production. A major aspect of film is its collaborative nature, which will be reflected in your ability to react to and incorporate feedback given on your work in progress.

  • Optional Progressive Creative Technology

    This module is about learning technologies that allow songwriters and performers to diversify within their practices. Through examining, developing and using established and new software, you will implement contemporary methods that enable you to develop your own voice as a performer and a producer. At the end of this module, you will be confident enough to create technically exciting projects that fulfil your creative intentions outside the realms of conventional music performance, enabling you to express your desires within the music production arena.

  • Optional Creative Ensemble

    We all fell in love with music because of how it made us feel – we select the music we listen to because of how we feel or how we want to feel. Art is (in essence) about conveying an emotion – whether it’s a message, story or statement. Developing the ability to use a variety of songwriting techniques to convey that message, is the goal for any musician. You’ll be collaborating with other artists to create a unique and original performance that develops and focuses on the skills you have, to convey the message you have.

  • Optional Globalisation

    Popular music is the cultural ‘lingua franca’ of the world. Over the last decade, international music markets have undergone rapid growth as emerging domestic, virtual and transnational business models have challenged the traditional music industry paradigms. From K-Pop to international EDM festival ‘mega-brands’, disintermediated digital businesses, new labour models and distribution technologies and the rise of regional and shared global culture, continue to fuel innovation, entrepreneurism and opportunity for music professionals around the world. This module prepares you for a career in the dynamic global music sector by looking at emerging global markets, entrepreneurial innovation and brand extension as the industry responds to rapid social, cultural, technological and political change. Exploring some of the key debates arising from the globalisation of music culture and events, you will explore the ways in which these issues and tensions are creating opportunity and growth in regional and global music markets alike.

  • Optional Digital Arts & Branding

    As companies all over the world diversify the range of media platforms they promote themselves on, branding and visual identity have never been more important. Students with digital skills in design can elevate themselves above other applicants in a highly competitive industry. This module will arm you with key transferrable skills in digital arts software, through the creation and development of a brand. You will evaluate core branding techniques and design styles, including typography, semiotics, layout, structure and colour. Lessons will be grounded in industry-standard design software, such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. You will also learn how to work to a client’s brief, with a focus on the visual representation of brand identity and values.

  • Optional Creative Economics

    The study of economics allows us to understand why companies, markets and indeed entire industries can thrive or fail. From the motivation of individual consumers to government policy there are a whole range of factors that explain how and why the music industry works the way it does. This module introduces a number of economic theories that give insight into not only how the music industry has prospered, but also the root causes of many of its issues. Such theories help you to comprehend why even ardent music fans are often inclined to pay more for a cup of coffee than for the songs that have defined their lives, but also how the music industry is finding new ways to turn value into revenue.

  • Optional Consultancy and Market Research

    In this module, you will be able to explore in-depth a company of your own choosing. You will take on the role of a consultant, engaging in research to address an authentic issue faced by a real-world music company. You may investigate an issue at the company’s request, or you may conduct the research on your own initiative. This is a great opportunity to engage with a company in a field within which you want to work. Alternatively, it is an opportunity to develop your research skills in preparation for post-graduation study. By the end of the module, you will have a report which you can hand to a potential employer or postgraduate institution.

  • Optional Business Ethics & Music Law

    Ethical procedures impact every aspect of business operations, identifying and establishing ethical codes is central to successful business management. This module will explore a range of ethical and legal considerations to ensure that you and your business is ethically sound and operating within legal parameters.

  • Optional Music and Event Futures

    This module looks at areas of the Music and Event Management Industries that are currently being disrupted. It examines how and why these changes are taking place, the winners and losers in such scenarios, and what these changes might lead to in the future. As a class, you will be able to negotiate with your tutor which of the subjects from the list below you wish to concentrate on across the semester so as to best align with your interests and likely career pathways.

  • Optional Psychology of Music

    The field of Music Psychology is one of wide interest and rapid development. The questions of what music is, what it means and how we are affected by and interact with music are endlessly fascinating and relevant to a range of professions within the music industry. Studying this module will give you unique insights into a significant number of the relevant fields of music psychology, which include but are not limited to musicology and the psychology of emotion, learning and therapeutic. As well as exploring these fields in-depth, you will be supported to focus on an area of music psychology that is most relevant to you as a professional working in the music industry.

  • Optional Culture and Society

    This module offers the opportunity for detailed application of the ideas and theories introduced in “Practice, Context and Culture” then developed in “Creativity, Identity and Authenticity”. It will explore key thinkers in-depth, allowing one to become the focus of your work as you analyse an important aspect of music, film, events or the performing arts. This module is ideal for anyone who wants to pursue an in-depth understanding of the ideas that shape popular culture and will provide useful tools to enhance your own creative practice. It is for anyone who would like to develop their analytical skills by evaluating complex and interesting ideas in a supportive environment.

  • Optional Film Studies

    Film is not merely entertainment but important in reflecting, contextualising, and interpreting the mood of the time at any point in history. Film can also be a high-level creative expression. At its best, it communicates ideas while entertaining in an economically significant multi-billion pound global industry. This module will equip you with the knowledge to critically reflect on its impact.

  • Optional Gender and Sexuality

    Patriarchal systems have shaped the society we live in today, dictating how we live, who we should be with and how we should act. Many movements and artists have tried to break down barriers and encourage a more open, diverse society. From the Suffragettes to Stonewall, David Bowie to Beyonce, Freddie Mercury to Christine and the Queens, standard conventions of what gender and/or sexuality means is constantly being challenged. Throughout this module, you will be exploring theoretical discourses to analyse how gendered society exists within these systems, in order to challenge your own perspectives. The lack of representation is not limited to artists and you will consider what can be done to encourage change within the creative industries. You will examine why gender and sexuality continue to be used to undermine and exploit those in industry and reflect on whether these constructs can be used to empower or whether subverted norms of gender and sexuality can break down barriers and boundaries to encourage fairer, more equal representation.

  • Optional Diversity in the Creative Industries

    How many new female artists can expect not to have their physical appearance dictated by their label and management? How many new black British artists can expect to get heard without collaborating with a mainstream white artist? Can disabled fans of performing arts gain access to work that speaks to their concerns, let alone find themselves in positions of responsibility where they could change what is performed in our venues and theatrical spaces? In an age in which minority and female artists are questioning the old habits of the white-male dominated music-business, can the music industry say there is genuine equality of opportunity for all? This module will enable you to explore the key issues, historical factors and current debates shaping our thinking about diversity in the creative industries. Negotiating key areas and methods of investigation with your tutor, you will reflect, in podcast format, on your own place within an increasingly diverse creative landscape.

  • Optional Practical Learning and Teaching in the Creative Arts 2

    Building upon your learning in Practical Learning and Teaching in the Creative Arts 1, this module combines theory and practice throughout as the focus moves to the context of learning and teaching in groups. This includes classrooms, youth and community groups and creative workshops, and the opportunities and challenges that are associated with learning and teaching in these environments. The module will further develop your teaching practice as you explore your subject specialisms and far beyond, stretching your knowledge to meet the demands of real-life teaching, either for work after your degree or as preparation for further study including PGCEs.

  • Optional Technical Event Production

    In this module you will be given an exciting overview of the technical production side of live events, covering lighting, audio, pyrotechnics, staging, backline, video and rigging in both indoor and outdoor venues. You will learn transferable skills around touring, festivals and theatres/arenas, and gain in-depth knowledge of production management and stage management, as well as specific disciplines. The module will focus on practical application in a range of environments (including practice rooms with real equipment), as well as covering health and safety, working with artists and clients, and industry best practices. This technical production module will aim to give you the tools needed to work both backstage and on stage as part of a tour, in a venue, and at outdoor events and festivals.

  • Optional Audio Post Production

    In this module, you will focus on audio post-production techniques for Film, Television and Video. You will be learning the tools and techniques utilised by industry professionals to create a sympathetic sound design for moving imagery as well as creating a clean and engaging production suitable for broadcast or online consumption. The module will build upon your existing foley, location recording, vocal capture and creative sound skills as well as introducing new techniques that are specific to combining audio with moving imagery. A good working understanding of audio theory, recording and editing is essential for engaging well with this module.

  • Optional Electroacoustic Composition

    Contemporary electronic music ranging from Techno to Modern Classical utilises many of the cutting-edge processes developed by pioneering electroacoustic composers. This module will introduce you to electroacoustic practices, advanced software tools and compositional strategies that will develop your creative abilities in electronic music production. You will engage in technical and aesthetic analysis of exploratory electroacoustic sound works, which will equip you with the necessary skills to make informed interpretations and appraisals. You will develop both practical and theoretical prowess, enabling you to create bold and challenging contemporary electroacoustic sound works.

The option modules advertised as available for BIMM Institute courses are subject to variation dependant on minimum student numbers and the availability of specialist resources at each college (Please refer to our terms and conditions for further detail).

Want to apply?

Minimum requirements

Successful completion of a BIMM admissions assessment.

Minimum of 2 A-levels at Grade C or above (64 UCAS points), OR BTEC Level 3 equivalent, and normally three GCSEs at a minimum grade C/4, including English Language.

IELTS 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 to be achieved in each band.

After this course:

Progression

Graduates can progress directly to employment in the recording industry, the live music industry, the film and TV industry, the audio post production industry and education industry.

Course Specification

Mode of attendance:
Full-time
Length of course:
This course is taught as a three-year course at levels four, five and six.
Awarding institution:
BIMM Institute
Teaching institution:
BIMM London
UCAS code:
3C47
Final award and exit awards:
Year Three FHEQ Level 6: 360 credits: BA (Hons) Songwriting and Music Business
Admissions Criteria:
Minimum of 2 A-levels at Grade C or above (64 UCAS points), OR BTEC Level 3 equivalent, and normally three GCSEs at a minimum grade C/4, including English Language.