Bath Spa has pioneered the teaching of songwriting, launching the world´s first Songwriting Masters degree in 2007. Its blend of practical, theoretical and scholarly practice is taught by published, practising songwriters, working alongside academics with songwriting-specific research expertise.
Corsham Court has a significant history that goes back over 500 years. Established as a centre for the Arts in 1946, this English Country house is set in a park designed by Capability Brown. With an emphasis on postgraduate study, offering the creative space and incentive to write within a community of inspirational and imaginative artists that enjoy performance facilities, studios, pro audio equipment, libraries and a place to reflect, this classic environment allows for a stimulating experience designed to motivate and inspire, and is the perfect retreat for those wishing to bring their musical vision to fruition, while at the same time, study for a Post Graduate Degree.
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.
As an essential component of this module you will engage weekly with a series of preparatory creative writing and compositional exercises designed to supply you with the raw creative material from which to increase your lyrical, harmonic and melodic range. These exercises are technique-based and serve to extend your creative palette and songwriting choices. Tutorial and group-playback support engages real-time with critical feedback and professional advice. Online virtual classroom exercises are supported by instruction videos and examine imagery, metaphor, narrative, rhyme, meter, melody, harmonic construction, narrative perspectives, intertextuality and rhetorical principles.
History of Song
Through this module you will gain a systematic and comprehensive knowledge of strategies and form used in popular songwriting. You will also develop an advanced ability to contextualize your own songs. With reference to popular songs written between 1920 and the present day, a series of lectures examines key developments in the musical, lyrical and structural development of song. The teaching approach is analytical and particular attention is paid to strategies used by songwriters to convey ideas.
Context and Methodology
This module is intended to fulfil the requirements of a research methodology module. However, since a large part of the programme is practice-based, and the methodology for this aspect of students´ work is covered by other modules in the programme, it is intended to combine a study of research methodology with a study of context in terms of the student´s own practice – specifically of a set of paradigms that characterise the field´s current, creative and industrial boundaries. The primary teaching method for this module is a weekly lecture/seminar, with some tutorial sessions that focus on pathway specialism. The assessment item is a topic review, demonstrating an understanding of the methodologies covered by the module and an awareness of the context of the student´s own practice.
This module aims to develop skills in collaborative songwriting, enabling you to experience a variety of collaborative methods, and to explore the relationship between collaborative process and final song product. Although primarily based around a systematic understanding of the creative process of collaboration, the module also helps students to explore collaborative works in their cultural and economic context, including royalty splits, publishing implications, and issues of shared Intellectual Property between joint creators.
This double module represents the culmination of the MMus, and a chance for students to work in a research-oriented environment dependent largely on personal direction and working methods. Students use the skills acquired in their undergraduate work and the first two trimesters to produce a substantial portfolio of practical creative work. The exact nature of this work is to be negotiated with the module leader, but it must represent the quantity of work required by a double module. Seeking to establish interdependence of enquiry, the module is largely student-led, with most of the work centred upon individual practice.
MMus Songwriting is designed to enable students to develop a broad range of intellectual, practical and transferable skills. Given the practical nature of the course, it is envisaged that graduates may choose to work as a songwriter or in a related field such as music publishing. Others may use the critical skills they have acquired to work elsewhere in the music industry, perhaps for a record label or as a music journalist.
Upon graduation from the programme, it is the aim of course tutors that students will have acquired the core problem-solving, analytical and critical skills needed to adapt to the changeable and unpredictable work environment of the twenty-first century.
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