Accessibility links

Songwriting - Artist Development Diploma - Manchester at BIMM

Course description

This two-year vocational course is equivalent to three A-levels, and is all about developing your songwriting technique, improving your performance skills and musical style, getting yourself noticed by connecting with the music industry, and steadily building your confidence towards that of a professional musician.

You’ll gain a fundamental understanding of the way the music industry works, plus will study music theory, music history, and musicianship skills, such as sight reading and ear training. All in all, it’s a fantastic grounding to understand modern music and the industry that surrounds it.

You’ll have the opportunity to learn in a creative environment where you’ll develop strong connections with fellow aspiring musicians, and will be guided by your tutors and prominent music industry professionals to help steer you towards your future career or study goals.

Successful completion of the course will gain you a nationally recognised RSL qualification, and the diploma is a great gateway to either taking your first steps in a music industry career, or continuing on with study in the form of a music degree at BIMM.

UK and EU students aged 18 and under are eligible for free funding (subject to academic requirements), and educational loans are available for UK students over the age of 24, so joining us at BIMM doesn’t have to break the bank.

So, what are you waiting for? To make your way as a songwriter, connect with us, and we’ll connect you to a life in music.

Course content

Arrangement Analysis and Composition

In this lesson you’ll learn about the composition of different musical styles and explore the historical movements where they were brought to life. These skills will then be put into practice as you develop you own arrangement and compositional ability.

  • Studio Skills

    The studio is a second home to many songwriters and in this lesson we want for you to learn the theoretical and practical aspects to studio recording and sequencing.

  • Ear Training

    Ear training is all about sharpening the ear for in-depth song analysis. In it you’ll be taught various listening and theory skills. These skills will not only teach you new ways of appreciating and understanding music, it will also help you on your way to becoming a better, more employable, musician.

  • Music Industry Career Development

    It’s important to remember that there’s much more to being successful in music than your discipline alone. In this lesson you’ll learn all about the music industry and start to prepare yourself for a future within it.

  • Pre-Production

    Pre-Production encourages the preparation of both classic and original songs to professional standards. You’ll deconstruct songs and pay close attention to the lyrics, melody, arrangement and harmonies all in preparation for your Live Performance Workshop lesson.

  • Live Performance Workshop (LPW)

    This is where you get to put your hard work in Pre-Production to the test. You’ll perform your tracks with a house band, reviewing and refining your performances along the way. Doing this on a regular basis will help you become a confident, well prepared, professional performer and songwriter.

  • Performance Preparation

    In Performance Preparation you’ll look at all of the aspects that go towards a great performance. This goes beyond LPW and you’ll be looking at all the factors that make up successful performances, such as band forming, rehearsal techniques, promotion, marketing, tour management, stage management, budgeting and more.

  • Extended Studies


Production Techniques

This lesson builds on the recording knowledge that you developed in Year 1 and pushes the subject even further, enhancing your mixing and production skills.

  • Music in Context

    Music in Context is where you’ll learn about the interaction between music and society. In it you’ll track back through history and study some of the most influential artists and the impacts they’ve had on music, technology, politics and civil rights.

  • Music Theory and Composition

    Music Theory is an essential component of musicianship and in this lesson you’ll learn the links between theoretical knowledge and your own compositions.

  • Recording Preparation

    You’ll build on the skills you gained in Performance Preparation last year and apply these to a studio recording session. Band, song choice, instruments and recording techniques will all come into play as you learn what it’s like to record in a studio environment.

  • Pre-Production

    Pre-Production will act as the platform for your Live Performance Workshop lessons… only this year you’ll be using your own original songs and refining them in preparation for their performance.

  • Live Performance Workshop (LPW)

    Live Performance Workshop is still where you’ll get your chance to perform your tracks live and with a house band. You’ll learn to work with other musicians to help realise your musical ideas.

  • Research and Investigation

    This lesson offers students the chance to undertake an investigation into an area of interest within the music industry. Whilst doing so you’ll develop your academic study skills that will help you prepare for higher level study or research.

  • Music Industry Career Development

    In this year’s classes you’ll continue to explore the music industry and the different roles and functions within it. You’ll also begin working on your own business plan that will help you to forge a path into the music industry.

  • Extended Studies

Entry requirements

Five GCSEs at a minimum grade of C/4, including English Language and Maths and Grade 4-6 equivalency playing skills


To book an assessment, call our admissions team on 08442 646 666

Financial information

Free to UK & EU students age 18 or under (subject to academic requirements)

Further information

Level 3 RSL Extended Diploma for Music Practitioners

How to apply

You can apply for this course through UCAS Progress. Add this course to your favourites so you can start making an application.

Last updated date: 02 November 2017
Provider logo

Key information

Contact details


  • More information
    • The music scene in Manchester is legendary, and BIMM’s newest campus puts you right at the heart of it.

      It’s an ultra-modern, 12,000ft2 facility with superb teaching spaces and a stunning common room – and the city’s biggest music venues just a stone’s throw away.

      The College’s contemporary interior was designed by the same architect responsible for The Hacienda, the iconic venue that inspired Manchester’s music revolution in the 80s and 90s. It’s just around the corner from BIMM – and other famous venues like Gorilla, the Ritz, Sound Control and the Academies are right on our doorstep too.

      Naturally then, BIMM Manchester is an exciting place to be, and there’s real opportunity here for top musical talent. But there’s hard work to be done too – so our facilities are geared up to get the very best out of you every day.

      All eight of our teaching spaces are equipped with full PA systems and industry-quality backline equipment, including vintage and modern instruments for all specialisms. We also have a state-of-the-art Mac suite with all the latest software for our Music Production students.

      There’s no recording studio on site here. Instead, we go one better. Through connections with Blueprint Studios, we’re able to offer free rehearsal spaces nearby – at a complex used by local heroes, Elbow.