facebook MA Songwriting (Distance learning) – Bath Spa University

Songwriting (Distance learning)

MA

Postgraduate degree

Key facts

Award
MA Songwriting
School
College of Liberal Arts
Campus or location
Distance learning
Course length
Full time: three trimesters (one calendar year); part time: six trimesters (two calendar years).

Entry requirements

Entry requirements for our postgraduate courses vary. We are generally looking for a good honours degree or equivalent.

Some courses also require an interview or the submission of a portfolio of work.

Please contact our admissions team for more information: admissions@bathspa.ac.uk.

This online Songwriting Master's degree teaches creativity, technique, research, and context, to refine your professional song portfolio.

  • Combine formal online lectures with regular personal tutorials while studying this Songwriting degree online.
  • Prepare yourself for a range of internationalised, professional futures in music and its wider industries.
  • Benefit from a pioneering curriculum, taught by professional, published songwriters and performers.

Our distance learning Songwriting Master’s Degree is a world leader in the innovation of teaching and learning songwriting online. The course brings together songwriters from all over the world who wish to study from home. Students have attended the course from Australia, China, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Turkey, the USA and the UK.

The Distance Learning option is a blended learning design that combines formal online lectures and instructional videos with regular personal tutorials. Week to week, you study a workbook of specific tasks that are reviewed and discussed with your tutor. Peer-based teaching and learning occurs in our regular Songwriters Circle webinars, in which students from all over the world meet to share and critique their work.

The Songwriting Master's Degree is also available as a campus-based course.

“As a songwriter – a revelation, life-changing. I feel I have finally found the magic "key" that unlocks the door to that elusive "secret" knowledge have always intuitively known the great songwriters must possess.”

David Brogan, Songwriting (Distance Learning)

What you'll learn

Overview

From day one you’ll write songs, using alternative strategies designed to work alongside your current creative approaches. Through a range of creative strategies, and critical perspective on your songs’ relationship with audience and industry, you’ll develop and focus your output. This is informed by a blend of practical, theoretical and scholarly practice.

Lyric-writing, and a fluent command of imagery, metaphor and narrative is nurtured, as chords and melody take shape around language’s mood and meaning. All the while, 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 postgraduate 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.

Course structure

Songwriting Skills
This is a creative primer, during which you’ll develop a feel for sensory imagery, metaphor and a facility for narrative tension. Meanwhile, you’ll apply various creative approaches to harmonic constructions and melodic devices. Of the songs generated here, some may go on to become part of your final Major Project showcase. The aim is to allow songs and writing within all genres to flourish.

Research Methodologies and Context
Here we engage with a ‘pathfinder’ contextual study into an economic/cultural context for your future song outputs. From folk to hip-hop, indie, chart pop, R&B and other genres, each as an industrial context possesses a uniquely different set of song expectations, venues, publishers, labels, agents, producers and performers. On this module you research potential career destinations relevant to you and your songwriting.

Song Identity and Culture
Here you investigate and unravel your personal songwriting ‘DNA’. This is a research process that explores songs significant to your own writing, and investigates them in relation to contexts of performer identity, genres, movements and broader culture.

You’ll also choose one of the following modules:

  • Professional Collaboration
    You’ll negotiate collaboration with other practitioners within a professional context. For example, songwriters might collaborate in the traditional manner of successful and acclaimed songwriting teams, or may work with choreographers, filmmakers, poets, composers, arrangers or remixers.
  • Workstation Song Production
    This module investigates the contemporary songwriter’s personal studio for its power to create both impressive song demonstrations and finished production masters. Increasingly, original artists are mobile and adaptive; plugging their laptop systems into bigger studio systems, or completing masters in their bedrooms. Here we explore the technical abilities that empower the contemporary autonomous songwriter to realise their vision.

Major Project
This is where you bring all your research and preparation into focus. You’re asked to present a showcase representing the songs developed during your time on the course. Usually this is a performer’s album. For some it will be several projects in differing contexts, a common practice for the working songwriter.

Course modules

This course includes or offers the following modules. Please check the programme document (below the main image on this page) for more information.

  • Songwriting Skills
  • Song, Culture and Identity
  • Research Methodologies and Context
  • Professional Collaboration
  • Workstation Song Production
  • Major Project

How will I be assessed?

Assessments range from simple audio sketches in the early stages, to full album productions in Major Project; each 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.

How will I be taught?

The Distance Learning option is a blended learning design which combines formal online lectures with regular personal tutorials. Week to week, you'll study a workbook of specific tasks which are reviewed and discussed with your tutor. Peer-based teaching and learning occurs in our regular Songwriter’s Circle webinars in which students from all over the world meet to share and critique their work.

Opportunities

Distance learning

You can choose to study this Songwriting Master’s degree through distance learning; there is no requirement for you to come to Bath. Our distance learning route is world-leading in its innovation of teaching Songwriting online. 

Combining regular personal tutorials with a range of online teaching and learning tools, the course combines personal and social contact with asynchronous videos, lectures, masterclasses, and technique exercises.

Group webinars see songwriters from around the world meeting live to share songs and critiques. You're welcome to come along to visit us in Corsham Court, although this is not compulsory as our lectures and classes are filmed for streaming anytime, anywhere.

Careers

There’s a broad range of professional outcomes from this course and our graduates now work as:

  • Performers
  • Lecturers
  • Researchers
  • Agents
  • Signed artists
  • Signed writers
  • Teachers
  • Therapists
  • Publishers

This course also provides an excellent grounding if you’re interested in going on to PhD study.

Facilities and resources

Where the subject is taught

We have four project writing rooms, complete with iMac, audio interface, speakers, weighted digital piano, and microphones – which afford students the facilities for pre-production and writing.

In the third trimester, you’ll have access to Newton Park’s industry standard recording studios.

Resources

  • Four independent songwriting/ pre-production rooms (Corsham Court)
  • Three independent project studios for Major Project recording (Newton Park)
  • Access to Lynda.com, an online instructional video library
  • International Networked Online Library Resource.

Fees

UK and EU students full time

Course fees
2018/19 entry £7,195
2019/20 entry Published Jan 2019
2020/21 entry Published Jan 2020

UK and EU students part time

Fees shown below are for part time study over two years, although some courses may be available over longer periods.

2018/19 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 £3,600
Year 2 Published Jan 2019

2019/20 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 Published Jan 2019
Year 2 Published Jan 2020

2020/21 Entry

Course fees
Year 1 Published Jan 2020
Year 2 Published Jan 2021

International students full time

Course fees
2018/19 entry £13,900
2019/20 entry Published Jan 2019
2020/21 entry Published Jan 2020

Interested in applying?

What we look for in potential students

We’re looking for the mobile, adaptive creatives of the future. We like you to be engaged with songs and songwriting culture already, and performing artists developing their product are particularly welcome. You’ll possess flair for writing, as well as a good undergraduate degree. However, where an applicant does not have a degree, they are required to complete an Accreditation of Prior Learning Experience (APEL)* form.

*APEL allows an applicant to convert informal learning into certificated learning. This is particularly significant where a potential student’s work and life experience have afforded them knowledge, skills, and abilities comparable to those in a higher education award.

How do I apply?

Simply prepare three of your best songs on a SoundCloud playlist. Then tell us a little about yourself on our application form.

Ready to apply? click the "apply now" button in the centre of this page.

need more guidance? head to our how to apply webpages.

Interview and portfolio guidance

Whether on the radio or on an application, your songs need to speak for you. We’re a popular music course, so we tend to favour songs with the potential to reach a large audience. Make sure your songs are sung by somebody who represents them well; a great song can rarely survive an out-of-tune vocal.

Get ahead

Polish off those tunes, get singing and practising, and get ready for an intense, stimulating, and enjoyable year or two.

Admissions service: +44 (0)1225 876 180
Email: admissions@bathspa.ac.uk
Course leader: Davey Ray Moor
Email: d.moor@bathspa.ac.uk

Website feedback to web@bathspa.ac.uk