Songwriting remains one of the UK’s biggest exports, with UK music stronger than ever. Popular song is the heart of the industry; global demand for new songs is high. Focusing your portfolio through research prepares you to contribute to this field.
The MA is for students with a thorough grounding in their own specialism who wish to extend and develop their songwriting knowledge and skills at advanced academic level, in a creative environment.
Therefore, the course is aimed at:
unpublished songwriters wishing to develop their craft to professional level;
published songwriters wishing to achieve academic accreditation while exploring their creativity and formalising their prior experience.
We maintain strong links with industry professionals, guest artists and guest lecturers.
From day one you’ll write songs, using alternative strategies designed to work alongside your current creative approaches.
Applying practice-based learning at our world-heritage research centres, 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 – teaching and learning unique to Bath Spa University.
Lyric-writing, and a fluent command of imagery, metaphor and narrative is nurtured as chords and melody take shape around language’s meaning, and vice versa.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 post-graduate 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.
We offer places on the basis of the student´s experience, potential and commitment as a songwriter. Normally, but not invariably, applicants have a first degree (or equivalent music industry experience) plus a substantial body of recorded work, equal to that which would be obtained as part of a related undergraduate course. Applicants should submit their application together with 3 songs on a weblink accompanied with lyrics. Applications are invited from candidates with a range of academic disciplines and from a variety of national backgrounds. Where an applicant does not have a degree, he or she is required to complete an APEL (Accreditation of Prior Learning Experience) form.
A twelve-week process during which you’ll develop a feel for sensory imagery, metaphor and a facility for narrative tension. Meanwhile you 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 writings of all genres to flourish.
Song, identity and culture
Here you investigate and unravel your personal songwriting ‘DNA’. You’ll look at your own work and that of others, in the context of artistic identity and culture. Lectures focus on style and genre, lyrical perspectives, character and identity, whilst you study a range of your own favourite songs and artists.You may wish to approach your study of song through a focus on genre, social or artistic movement, perhaps through a thematic perspective you may choose to develop. You then use our extensive library resources to research techniques and principles which distinguish these songs.
You’ll negotiate collaboration with other students within a professional context. For example, songwriters might collaborate in the traditional manner of successful and acclaimed songwriting teams, or may work with choreographers, film makers, poets, composers, arrangers or remixers. All we require is that you negotiate the human and professional decisions required of the experience. You’ll work within a professionally focused environment in a manner appropriate to your interests. The module acknowledges that contemporary arts practice is an evolving concept that functions across an international community, aided by technology and powered by innovative collaborative practice.
Research methodologies and context
A ‘pathfinder’ contextual study into an economic/cultural context for your future song outputs. From folk to hip-hop, indie, metal, etc., each industrial context possesses a uniquely different set of venues, publishers, labels, agents, producers and performers. Each of these contexts are defined by a set of modes and approaches which ultimately reflect audience and market. You assemble a methodology with which to report on a socio-economic cultural context appropriate for your particular form of song. This training is a firm foundation for further study as a postgraduate researcher, should that be your goal.
Bring all your research and preparation into focus. You are asked to present a showcase artefact representing the songs developed during your time on the course. Usually this is an album. For some it will be several projects for differing contexts, like a writer’s showcase for a publisher. Some students choose to perform live and record the performance, though most students engage with contemporary production processes. Your final showcase is yours to define; this is your calling card and the beginning of a new journey.
There is a broad range of professional outcomes from this course and our graduates now work as:
The course is also an excellent grounding if you’re interested in further study; a number of our alumni have progressed onto PhD study.