BA (Hons) Music (Songwriting)

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Study BA (Hons) Music (Songwriting) at Leeds Conservatoire

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

 

  • Starts:
  • Duration: 3 Years
  • UCAS Code: W310 - Apply through UCAS - Institution Code: L30
  • Study Mode: Full time
  • Validated By: University of Hull

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Course Overview

Career-focus

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

Industry links

Strong links with the music industry mean that we are in constant contact with major publishing companies and record labels such as Universal, Polydor, Decca, and Kobalt as well as local labels like Hide and Seek and Leaf Label to name a few. Our students receive regular advice on their portfolios from visiting Industry guests, and often live briefs to work on. Recent guests have included Saul Fitton, Warner Chappell publishing; Fiona Bevan, Singer/Songwriter; John Beck, Songwriter/Producer; Dani Sawyer, Universal Music Publishing; Jez Ashurst, Songwriter/Producer; Mark Wood, Songwriter/Manager.

Our partnerships with European conservatoires mean that you could be working on songwriting projects with students in Mannheim, Rotterdam or Copenhagen.

Creative Freedom

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

Music community

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

Career destinations

Graduates from Leeds Conservatoire have gone on to a wide variety of careers including Recording Artists, Award-winning Folk Artists, Session Musicians, Producers, and Record Label Songwriters. Find out more in our Alumni section.

“You have so much time to spend on developing your musical approach that it progresses very quickly. I’ve found myself experimenting with genres and sounds that I don’t think I would have got round to for a long time had I not come here.”
– Henry Bateman, graduate songwriter

What you will study 

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

Specialist Study 1

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

Specialist Group Study 1

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

Creative Project

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

Contextual Studies 1

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

Professional Studies 1

Working in the Creative Industries

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

Specialist Study 2

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

Specialist Group Study 2

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

Contextual Studies 2

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

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

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

You will choose one of the below options to study:

  • Business Start-up
  • Working with Music in the Community
  • Instrumental Music Tuition
  • Self-Promotion & Music Marketing
  • Structure & Functions of the Film Music Industry
  • Concerts & Touring
  • Artistic Management
Specialist Study 3

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

Final Project

This module is designed to offer students flexibility in their final year by providing opportunity to delve deeper into a specialism specific to their course and interests.

Contextual Studies 3

You will study one of the below options: 

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

You will study one of the below options:

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

These module specifications are for applicants choosing to start their course in the 2020/21 academic year. In compliance with University of Hull regulations, the conservatoire retains the right to make minor amendments and improvements to course, programme and module content year on year. This may result in minor changes to these specifications by September 2020.

Laura Oakes

Alumni Profile

Laura Oakes

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

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

 

Meet our alumni

Course Tutors

Danny Cope
Danny CopeProgramme Leader: Songwriting

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

Read more
Adam Martin
Dr Adam MartinCurriculum Manager: Popular & Songwriting

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

Read more
Peter Darling
Peter DarlingSenior Lecturer: Popular Music, Songwriting

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

Read more
Ric Neale
Ric NealeLecturer: Popular Music, Songwriting

Courses taught: BA (Hons) Music (Songwriting)

Read more
Paul Statham
Paul StathamSenior Lecturer: Songwriting

Courses taught: BA (Hons) Music (Songwriting)

Read more

Entry requirements, fees & applying

Course Facts

Course Type: Undergraduate, Single Honours
Duration: 3 years
Study Mode: Full Time
Start date: September 2021
Validated by: University of Hull

Course Key Information Document 2020/21

Entry Requirements

Academic entry requirements:

96 UCAS tariff points from level 3 studies or equivalent, which normally include A Level Music or a BTEC Extended Diploma in a Music-related subject.

A minimum of three GCSEs including English Language at Grade C / Grade 4 or above or equivalent international qualification, eg IELTS 6.0 (5.5 in each component).

Other entry requirements:

a. Performance standard (assessed at audition)

Composers/songwriters are expected to demonstrate at audition a playing/singing standard of Grade 6 (commensurate with ABRSM, London College of Music, Trinity College, Rock School (as appropriate for the pathway)).

b. Musical theory standard (assessed at audition)

Applicants’ understanding of applied music theory will be assessed at audition where they will be asked questions about the theoretical elements of the pieces they have played to ensure that they are suitable for the course.

Read full entry requirements

Audition Information

UK applicants to certain courses at Leeds Conservatoire will need to audition, interview or submit a portfolio of work. 

Due to current social distancing guidelines, we are asking all applicants to submit audition materials online this year, rather than attend in-person events.

Find more information and course-specific audition guides for UK applicants and International Applicants.

How To Apply

Apply via: UCAS
UCAS Code: W310
UCAS Institution Code: L30
Application Deadline:The UCAS equal consideration (‘on time’) deadline is 15 January 2021. We may still accept applications for all of our courses after this date, although this may change at short notice as places fill up.

Read our step-by-step application guide

 

Fees & Funding
International Applicants

If you are an international applicant, visit our dedicated International section of the website for information on:

  • How To Apply
  • Auditions
  • International Entry Requirements
  • Fees & Funding
“The community of music here is huge. There are so many opportunities with other musicians. Having the Production course alongside Pop, Jazz and Classical gives you so many options for collaboration.”
– Tom Harvey, graduate songwriter
Facilities

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

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Online Open Days

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

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

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BA (Hons) with Foundation Year

If you know that conservatoire study is for you, but you don’t think that you’ll meet the academic or musical entry requirements, our four-year courses are an excellent opportunity to start studying your degree while you focus on your musical development.

An extra year of access to our creative and collaborative environment, excellent facilities, expert staff and rich performance opportunities will build your confidence as a conservatoire musician.

Find out more

Missed Lucy's fabulous Instagram takeover yesterday? You can hear more about Music Business from a student perspect… https://t.co/uAyD7InFaA
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