The 3 Year Commercial Songwriting Degree with Real-World Practical Industry Connections.
The Commercial Songwriting programme provides its students with the knowledge, skills and experience necessary to discover and channel their inner-songwriter, covering a combination of lyric creation, score production, music industry studies, song arrangement, writing for original artists, co-writing, writing to brief for Film, TV and Sync, recorded music production, audio design for video games, music publishing and rights management.
ACM London Degrees are validated and awarded by Falmouth University, the UK’s ‘highest ranked arts university’ (Guardian University Guide 2017).
Commercial Songwriting Modules
In the first year of the programme, students will study the following modules:
The UK Music Business provides a comprehensive overview of the UK music industry and its relationship with other major European markets. It explores the interaction between record companies, publishers, managers, agents, writers, artists and merchandising, with particular focus on how they operate in the digital age. Key to this module is sponsorship and product placement, and how artists and managers incorporate these revenue streams into a coherent business strategy. Lectures will include cases studies on the commercial affairs of important artists in the UK and Europe. The outcome of the module will be a demonstrable understanding of the UK/European music industry, and the practical application of this theory within the context of your own work.
In the International Music Business module you will study the rapid online developments in the music industry and their implications for record companies and artists. This module builds on your earlier study of the domestic music industry and will cover the increasing diversity of income streams that has evolved as a result of interactions between new media and formats. Lectures will incorporate case studies of important artists, showing how they use digital formats to their advantage and the ways in which they organise their international commercial affairs. Upon completion of the module, you will be able to demonstrate your understanding of the online developments in the worldwide music industry, and apply this knowledge within the context of your practice. You will be required to develop a strategic approach to the required tasks and take responsibility for your own time management. The module comprises directed and selfdirected study; lectures will be supported by tutorials and group sessions.
In Lyric Creation you will examine conventional lyric writing methodology and structure; the outcome of this research will be the production of raw material for songs, which will be developed and built on throughout the course. The module will explore multiple techniques for creating lyrical content, equipping you with necessary skills for writing large quantities of material within limited timeframes, and for maintaining and controlling quality throughout the editing process. In addition to generating original ideas, you will be required to compile a critical analysis of the development process, and explain how your lyrics will function in the context of a finished song. You will be expected to manage your time effectively and develop a strategic approach to completing the required tasks. The Lyric Creation module comprises directed and selfled study; scheduled lectures will be supplemented by tutorials and group sessions.
The focus of Songcraft is the understanding of the mechanics of the art of songwriting. As part of the module you will create original pop songs through the utilisation of a wide variety of methods, drawing on a range of stimuli and influences. The module will examine and discuss how today’s great hit writers work, from classic pop writers to modern experimental composers. You will study songs at various points in their development, from minimal top line compositions featuring a simple melody and lyrics to full arrangements. On completion of the module you will demonstrate your ability to create complete songs in a range of styles. You will undertake critical reflection on the songwriting process and explain your chosen methods and your rationale for using them. Songcraft is a mixture of directed and selfdirected study, with tutorials and group work taking place alongside lectures. You will be expected to take a strategic approach to time management and ensure you complete tasks as required.
Lyrical Development and Song Topics will build on the work done in Lyric Creation. In this module you will further develop the specialist skills, techniques and methodologies involved in lyric writing. The course content will provide an essential cornerstone in the continued evolution of your voice as an artist, and will enable you to generate more refined lyrics and titles to include in your growing portfolio. You will explore advanced methods for generating lyrical content, and develop the ability to write large quantities of material in a short time, and to control the quality throughout the editing process. In this module you will be expected to generate original lyric ideas, as well as undertake a critical analysis of both the development process and the resulting songs, which will be submitted as part of your portfolio.
Through Producing Scores and Charts you will develop the necessary skills and understanding to create industry standard charts and lead sheets, which can be used to convey your ideas and compositions in professional situations. The module will explore a range of methods for producing charts, and will examine reallife examples from live TV shows, studio sessions and live tours to consolidate your learning. Rather than the specialist skill of musical notation, the focus will be on the effective and clear communication of ideas. On completion of the module, you will have the ability to create professionallevel charts and lead sheets, and will demonstrate your understanding through your explanation of the process and description of the rationale. As part of Producing Charts and Sheets you will be expected to take a strategic approach to the module and manage your time effectively in order to complete the required tasks. The module comprises directed and self-led study; lectures are supplemented by tutorials and group work.
In the second year of the programme, students will study the following modules:
Through Recorded Music Production you will have the opportunity to gain a comprehensive understanding of record production. The module will focus on how a song (or collection of songs) evolves from a demo or rehearsal room arrangement to a master recording. Key areas of study include song selection and quality control, preproduction and arrangement, choosing a producer, goal setting, mixing, mastering and the psychology of recording. Your lessons will also explore the strategy of bypassing the demo stage and producing a fully finished master following the initial writing stage. You will examine the production of various recordings and assess how it has affected the record’s commercial success. Successful completion of the module will enable you to demonstrate your knowledge of record production and how to apply this in your chosen career path. As the module is part directed and part selfdirected, you will be expected to develop a strategic approach and effective time management to ensure you complete tasks as required. Tutorials and group work will supplement scheduled lectures.
In Song Arrangement you will deconstruct and analyse classic song arrangements to gain an understanding of the essential components and vocabulary, including hooks, chord sequences, melodies and riffs. Your study will cover classic works from the fifties and sixties as well as contemporary examples, and you will apply this learned theory by transforming a rough song format into a full arrangement. The outcome of the module will be the demonstrable ability to analyse arrangement techniques and explain the rationale behind them. Additionally, you will be able to communicate the arrangement process in a clear, comprehensive manner that is appropriate for professional situations. The module is made up of directed and selfled study, with scheduled lectures supplemented by tutorials and group sessions. You will be expected to develop a strategic and timeefficient approach to ensure you complete tasks as required.
The focus of the Co-Writing Processes and Project module is collaboration with fellow writers with the specific goal of creating original material for your own portfolio and for other bands and artists. The module will explain a number of collaborative processes, which you will put into practice by producing a wide variety of cowritten material. You will have the opportunity to receive feedback from tutors and peers by uploading your work to the ‘My Studio’ area of the website. Upon complete of the module, you will be able to create complete songs through collaborative working. In addition, you will be required to reflect critically on the process, explain your chosen methods and rationale and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your approach.
Writing For Original Artists examines the specialism of writing songs for original artists within the pop market. In a professional scenario, this could include contests from TV talent shows, girl groups, boy bands and contemporary solo artists. You will engage with the pop music genre by developing your awareness of current trends, analysing and deconstructing relevant song examples, and examining how today’s great hit writers work. The expected outcome of the module is the demonstrable ability to create complete songs that conform to the parameters of a given brief. Additionally, you will be required to reflect critically on the process, explain your chosen methods and discuss your rationale for using them.
Contemporary media offers a wide range of sync opportunities to composers and songwriters, and Writing to a Brief: Commission, Film, TV and Sync examines the role of composers and songwriters within these media. A key part of this module will be the analysis and deconstruction of songs and composition used in film, TV and advertisements. Further study will explore the functionality and effectiveness of online listings and agencies such as Sonic Bids and Broadjam, as well as networking and techniques for building your profile as a composer. Upon completion of the module you will demonstrate your ability to create a complete song or composition to meet the parameters of a predefined brief, for example, for film, television or advertising. Additionally, you will be required to reflect critically on the process, explain the methods you have used and discuss your rationale for using them.
Through Audio Design for Video Games you will be exposed to the myriad of opportunities that the gaming industry offers to a songwriter or composer. You will learn to adopt a suitable and relevant writing style, and examine the various audio types that a gaming soundtrack requires, from basic sound effects to fully orchestral compositions. Further study will examine the role of online listings, agencies and networking in this competitive and exciting industry. The end goal of this module is to enable you to demonstrate your ability to create a complete song or composition to a specific brief within the context of the gaming industry. This will include critical reflection on your processes, methods and rationale.
In the third year of the programme, students will study the following modules:
IP Rights and Publishing takes a detailed look at the publishing industry, one of the major income streams available to songwriters, and will provide you with an understanding of the role of copyright within this industry. In this module you will study the content and terms of different types of publishing contracts and the importance of copyright law in protecting your song rights. Additionally, you will explore scenarios such as songwriting splits, and how to agree on their terms to the mutual satisfaction of all parties. Successful completion of this module will allow you to demonstrate your understanding of the publishing industry and related copyright law by applying this knowledge within the context of your own practice.
In Songwriting Diary and Critical Reflection you will create and continually develop a portfolio of raw material for songwriting under the supervision of your tutor. You will be required to document your progress, keeps records of your raw materials and critically assess your learning and development. You will upload your material to the ‘My Studio’ area of the website in order to receive informal and formal feedback from tutors and peers as you build and develop your workbook. This module will demonstrate your ability to create raw materials for songwriting, leading to the completion of songs in various styles. You will be required to reflect critically on your work, explain your methods and discuss the rationale for your choices. The module comprises directed and selfled study; you will be expected to develop a strategic approach to the required tasks and manage your time effectively. Lectures will be supported by tutorials and group sessions.
The Portfolio and Exit Project module is your opportunity to create a diverse portfolio of high quality complete songs while also researching and reporting on the full spectrum of career opportunities within your specialist area. With regard to your portfolio you will you will be required to document your progress, keep records of raw songwriting materials and critically assess your continued learning and development. Through your portfolio, you will demonstrate your ability to create industrystandard songs that embody your own style as well as the concepts studied over the duration of the course. In addition, you will undertake critical reflection on your creative output as well as discussion on your methods and rationale. In regards to your career research you will be expected to identify and discuss available career pathways and explain how your craft can be applied within the context of professional opportunities and, if desired, lead to the monetisation of your skills through entrepreneurial practice and artistic excellence. Additionally, your portfolio will comprise additional elements for the facilitation of your career, including: Personal website (supporting your professional work) Various forms of social media (as above) You should utilise a researchbased approach to identify career and/or artist opportunities within your specialist field and clearly demonstrate this ...
Our Students | Georgia Roworth
Commercial Songwriting & Artist Development
BA(Hons) Degree, 2015-17
» Writing songs for the big names in the pop and country markets.
» To write a number one hit.
» To create songs that will be enjoyed, related-to, and remembered for years to come.
“The tutors at ACM are some of the most amazing musicians, writers and industry figures you could meet. They continue to inspire me every day at ACM and have already taught me so much. I can’t wait to continue improving my skills and making new contacts within the industry during the rest of my time at ACM.”
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BA (Hons) Commercial Songwriting
Full Time Study – 3 Years
Course code: WW38
Institution code: A48
All candidates will be required to attend an audition / interview.
2 YEAR DEGREE
Minimum age 18
All candidates should hold two A-Levels or an equivalent full Level 3 qualification.
We normally require Grade C GCSE (or an equivalent qualification) in English. Candidates should be capable of using the English language fluently, and able to structure arguments and present evidence to a standard appropriate to study at Level ‘4’. Where the application materials appear insufficient to form a clear judgement on the candidate’s fluency, additional documentary evidence (e.g. recent essays) may be required. Applicants for whom English is a second language are required to have achieved IELTS level 6.0 or equivalent qualification.
We welcome applications from those who might have completed alternative qualifications and/or have prior experience. All applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
* New UCAS 2017 tariff system.
£9,000 per year. Student loans are available.