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BA (Hons) Professional Music (Songwriting)

(3 years, on-site)

The degree course for today’s independent, self-motivated artists.

If you’re looking for a BA (Hons) degree that gives you the confidence and freedom to experiment, challenge and explore the possibilities of your music, the BA (Hons) Professional Music (Songwriting) is the degree course for you.

It’s been designed to give you the confidence and motivation you need to reach your full potential, cut through the noise and get your music heard. It provides tools and techniques for you to take your compositions to a professional level. And like all degree courses at WaterBear, it gives you the perfect blend of artistic freedom alongside practical strategies to forge a solid career in music.

As an artist, it’s all about finding your voice and unlocking your creative potential. It’s also about developing the confidence to say what you want to the world and understanding how to build an audience. You’ll be able to access a wide range of content, resources and tuition to suit your individual needs. All online content from our full range of courses is accessible to everyone, so you can tailor your own learning journey.

At WaterBear, we believe in smaller class sizes and the value of personal 1-1 mentoring. We also believe you should have the freedom to explore what’s possible and continually push creative boundaries. All students on our 3-yr degree courses learn in small groups on pro-standard gear in environments designed to fuel creative output.

Students at WaterBear also get free, bookable access to professional rehearsal and recording studios, so you won’t need to worry about where to practice and record yourself or your band.

The BA (Hons) Professional Music (Songwriting) is awarded by one of the UK’s leading specialist universities for the creative industries, Falmouth University.

3-year full-time on-campus starting September 2024.

Integrated Foundation Year option: There is also the option to study this course over 4 years, which includes an integrated foundation year.  Further information can be found here.

Course duration: 
3 years, full time
Course location: 
Delivered on campus in Brighton and Sheffield
Suitable for: 
Singer-songwriters, composers, multi-instrumentalists, producers
Course tuition fees: 
£9250 per year
UCAS: 
Course code Brighton W375, Course code Sheffield W381, Institution code F33
Tuition fee loan available: 
Yes
Maintenance loan available: 
Yes
Bursaries available: 
All students can apply for innovation cash bursaries
Course entry requirements: 104 UCAS points (guide only) or via accreditation of prior learning
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Key Information

· Course duration: 3 years, full time
· Course location: Delivered on campus in Brighton and Sheffield
· Suitable for: Singer-songwriters, composers, multi-instrumentalists, producers
· Course tuition fees: £9250 per year
· Tuition fee loan available: Yes
· Maintenance loan available: Yes
· Bursaries available: All students can apply for innovation cash bursaries
· UCAS course application page Brighton
· UCAS course application page Sheffield
· Course entry requirements: 104 UCAS points (guide only) or via accreditation of prior learning

Ready to apply? Click here

Course Overview

The degree is built on three fundamental elements – your music, your career and your projects. It deals with what really matters in music and the industry. It will expand your options and push you to deliver high-quality compositions and great live music performance. Every week, you’ll hone songcraft, compositional skills and stagecraft, and expand your repertoire. You’ll be able to perform your music live on stage in a real music venue. And you’ll learn all you need to know about the realities of being a professional artist in today’s music industry. There are also regular networking events, masterclasses, collaboration and work opportunities so you can build your all-important contacts list.

 

Who's it for?

This course has been specifically designed for:

· Singer-songwriters
· Composers
· Multi-instrumentalists
· Producers

Every artist at WaterBear has their own story to tell and their own path to follow. We provide a supportive, safe environment for you to experiment and create. You'll also develop a tailored career plan to support your personal goals and ambitions.

 

How you will learn

You’ll spend around 8-10 hours each week on site in timetabled teaching and learning activities. You'll also get access to all your module content prior to your class lectures via WaterBear's dedicated Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).

On-site teaching and learning activities can include:

· Lectures, seminars, tutorials and workshops
· One-to-one mentoring
· Assignments, assessments and feedback sessions
· Masterclasses
· Live performances and gigs
· Peer collaboration via 'Jam Cloud' (VLE)
· Free rehearsal and recording time in professional studios
· Networking and industry conference events

 

Career pathways

This course is designed to develop careers in:

· Music composition and performance
· Audio/visual production
· Studio recording
· Music production and engineering
· Live sound engineering
· Digital content creation
· Tour, artist and events management
· Artist, label and publishing services
· Technical support
· Music education

 

Further study

After graduating, you'll have a number of routes to further study available, including the MA Music Performance, Production and BusinessMA Music Business and MA Songwriting degree courses at WaterBear and other postgraduate specialist programmes.

Modules and Assessment

Course modules

 

Level 4

Module title: Your Songwriting

Creating innovative music is the lifeblood of this course. This module is about creating and performing music that represents you as an individual. Music that tells your story and shows the world who you are. This is me today, and this is where I am going.

Weekly timetabled classes include Songwriting, Pre-Production, Live Performance and Production Tools. This module is assessed via the submission of a demo recording that showcases your best work, with supporting narrative to reflect on the process and result.

 

Module title: Navigating the Music Industry

This module deals with the music industry, past and present. Exciting case studies of artists that have made an important contribution to music. How did they do it? And how can you employ these insights into your own music projects, right now?

Weekly timetabled classes include Project Management and Navigating the Music Industry. Assessment is a case study of contrasting business models within the music industry.

 

Module title: Creative Composition

Building on the Your Songwriting module, this is all about expanding your skills and abilities. Pushing the boundaries of songwriting and compositional technique, producing experimental work, or writing a hit pop song. The direction you take your music is controlled by you.

Weekly timetabled classes include Creative Songwriting, Creative Pre-Production, Creative Live Performance and Production Skills. This module is assessed via the submission of demo

recordings that showcase your best contrasting work, with supporting narrative to reflect on the process and result.

 

Module title: Your Strategy

Creating your individual career plan, with careful design and thorough testing. You will develop knowledge of current music industry practice to create career plans that are a). realistic and b). achievable.

Weekly timetabled classes include Project Management and Your Strategy. Assessment is via a report to identify a viable, personalised career model.

 

Level 5

Module title: Your Sound

Time to Stop, reflect and consider: Who exactly are you? Competent artists can play, sing and write well, but a real artist stands for so much more. Lots more in terms of music creation, production and performance in this module.

Weekly timetabled classes include The Art of Arrangement, Creative Pre-Production, Production Techniques and Creative Live Performance. This module is assessed via the submission of studio and live recordings, with supporting case study analysis to illustrate your key influences.

 

Module title: Your Events

Now's the time for the rehearsal and practice to stop and for you to show the world what you're made of. Working to put on shows and events. From live streams and solo shows to a fully-fledged national tour. It's all fair game.

Weekly timetabled classes include Project Management and Your Events. Assessment is via a live event that you will curate. The scale and scope of the event is up to you.

 

Module title: Innovation in Songwriting

This module will push you to expand your music and creativity into new and ground-breaking environments. Different methods of recording, innovative compositional techniques, new ways of creating. You'll use this as inspiration to create a wide range of original and creative cover material.

Weekly timetabled classes include Pre-Production and Performance & Realisation. There will also be optional advanced songwriting classes for those wanting to push their composition ability to the next level.

This module is assessed via the submission of studio or live recordings that showcase your innovation, with accompanying programme notes, innovation pitch and press release.

 

Module title: Innovation in the Music Industry

In this business-focussed module, you’ll bring all your creative faculties to the table to create innovative new business models for the future music industry.

Weekly timetabled classes include Innovation in Project Management and Innovation in Music Business. Assessment is via a business plan submission designed to illustrate an innovative and viable new business idea.

 

Level 6

Module title: Your Professional Development

Having thought about what to do for that final project, you'll now need to prepare for it. This is where that work will be done, and the process documented. You'll be getting plenty of mentoring and guidance too, so don't worry.

There will be Digital Presence classes alongside special focus practical development workshops to help you further your project. There is one weekly timetabled class common to all pathways associated with this module – Project Portfolio Management. There will also be optional Songwriting & Production classes and advanced technical development classes for those wanting to push their instrumental or vocal technique to the next level.

Assessment in this module is via the submission of Preparation Portfolio, including proposals, timeline and rationale.

 

Module title: Specialist Report

In creating this specialist report as a dissertation, you'll be honing your academic chops as you undertake formal research. You'll also be preparing the ground for your ambitious final project in the Professional Project module.

There is one weekly timetabled class common to all pathways associated with this module entitled Project Portfolio Specialism. The Specialist Report assessment will take the form of a research project paper focussed on a specific area relevant to today’s music scene.

 

Module title: Professional Project Portfolio

Your final major project is the springboard into your creative future. You are encouraged to be practical and realistic, but also ambitious and to challenge yourself. There is no limit to where you can take this or what you can do. Anything is possible.

Weekly class time to support this module will take the form of regular group tutorials, to monitor progress against deadline. There will also be optional advanced technical development classes that continue for those wanting further time developing their instrumental or vocal technique. Assessment in this module is via the submission of a Portfolio of work and project outcomes, contextual presentation of work and next steps career strategy.

 

*Programme structures and modules can change as part of our curriculum enhancement and review processes. Any changes affecting students’ expected programme delivery are communicated in advance. If a certain module is important to you, please discuss it with the Programme Manager.

How to Apply

Initial applications for the BA (Hons) Professional Music (Songwriting) 3-yr on-site course can be made via the Apply Now button below.

Apply Now

You can also apply directly via UCAS using the links below.

UCAS Course codes are as follows:

Brighton

Course code: W375
Institution code: F33
Campus name: WaterBear, Brighton
Campus code: W
UCAS course application page

Sheffield

Course code: W381
Institution code: F33
Campus name: WaterBear, Sheffield
Campus code: L
UCAS course application page

We consider all applications on their own merit and potential. We'll invite you to a 1-1 applicant session, either in person or by video conference. This is where you'll have the opportunity to find out all about WaterBear and talk about your music, achievements and career goals.

Falmouth University Terms & Conditions

International Students

This course is also available to international students if they are based in the UK with settled status (no restrictions on how long you can stay).

Language requirements

If English isn’t your first language, you’ll need to achieve equivalent to the IELTS Academic 6.0 overall score, with at least 5.5 in Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening. We accept a range of equivalent approved tests too. Visit the English Language Requirements page of the Falmouth University website for more information.

Resources

In order to get the most out of the BA (Hons) Professional Music (Songwriting) course, it is essential that you have regular access to the correct resources. Having your own equipment will provide maximum flexibility to support both your college and personal project work.

Essential basics:

· Your instrument (instrumentalists)
· Expendables (strings, sticks, picks, leads, etc.)
· Note-taking materials (pens, notepad, manuscript paper, etc.) (Purchase cost around £20)
· Computer (desktop, laptop, tablet, etc.) (Purchase cost around £250-£400)
· DAW software (Purchase cost around £50-£100)
· USB memory stick (Purchase cost around £10)
· Reliable Internet connection

We recommend:

· Computer (laptop / desktop) capable of running DAW, audio interface, plug-ins and A/V processing software (recommended 8-16GB RAM, 7,200 RPM Hard Drive, 8MB buffer, 1TB hard drive (Purchase cost around £600-£800)
· Reliable, high speed Internet connection
· Professional DAW software (ProTools, Logic, Cubase, Ableton, etc.) (Purchase cost around £200-£450)
· External hard drive (Purchase cost around £25-£50)
· Dynamic microphone(s) (e.g. Shure SM57 / SM58) (Purchase cost around £80-£100)
· Audio interface (e.g. Focusrite Scarlett 2i2) (Purchase cost around £100-£200)
· Headphones (e.g. Sennheiser HD 200, Beyerdynamic DT770) (Purchase cost around £75-£150)

Applying for Courses

Applying for a course at WaterBear is simple, whether it’s a BA (Hons) or master’s. Click the link below to find out all about the application process or, if you’re ready now, just hit the Apply Now button and we’ll be right in touch. 

Open Days

Our Open Days are relaxed and informal and provide you with the opportunity to find out everything you need to know about WaterBear. You’ll be able to ask questions, chat with staff and students and experience the unique college environment for yourself. Click the link below to find out more and book your place.

Ask us a Question

If you have a question about this course or any other aspect of life at WaterBear, just drop us a line. We’ll be happy to hear from you.

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BA (Hons) Professional Music (Songwriting) Highlights

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- ‘Water bear’ is the common name for a Tardigrade.
- Tardigrades are micro creatures, found everywhere on earth.
- They are the most resilient creatures known.
- They can survive and adapt to their surroundings, even in outer space.
- Their resilience and ability to adapt and survive inspires us in everything we do. We love them.

WaterBear Education Ltd, Hanover House,
118 Queens Road, Brighton BN1 3XG, UK  Map

Email: [email protected]
Tel: +44 (0) 1273 726230

WaterBear Sheffield, Unit 4, Gatecrasher,
49 Eyre Lane, Sheffield S1 4RB, UK

Email: [email protected]
Tel: +44 (0) 1143 992720

WaterBear Education Ltd, Hanover House,
118 Queens Road, Brighton BN1 3XG, UK  Map

Email: [email protected]
Tel: +44 (0) 1273 726230

WaterBear Sheffield, Unit 4, Gatecrasher,
49 Eyre Lane, Sheffield S1 4RB, UK

Email: [email protected]
Tel: +44 (0) 1143 992720

Why We're WaterBear...

- ‘Water bear’ is the common name for a Tardigrade.
- Tardigrades are micro creatures, found everywhere on earth.
- They are the most resilient creatures known.
- They can survive and adapt to their surroundings, even in outer space.
- Their resilience and ability to adapt and survive inspires us in everything we do. We love them.

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