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Songwriting - Diploma in Popular Music Performance - London at BIMM

Course description

This practical and vocational course is equivalent to two ‘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 history, notation, arranging, music production and musicianship skills. You’ll be expected to sing within workshop and performance opportunities and be able to support your performance with either piano or guitar accompaniment, or music production techniques. All in all, it’s a fantastic grounding for a holistic understanding of 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 Pearson Edexcel BTEC National Diploma qualification, and it’s 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.

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

  • Within the industry, the creation of lyrical structures and top line melodies forms an important skill for any writer. Within this module the art of melody creation will be studied, with a focus on the development of top lines. The authorship of lyrical content is also studied with an emphasis on creativity.
  • Harmony

    Within this module, students will broaden their harmonic pallet to give their own music more variety and depth. The unit will enable students to create their own chord sequences through the study of classic progressions, chord types and voice leading.

  • Structure and Style

    This module supports an understanding of the bigger picture of modern songwriting and gives students the opportunity to develop their knowledge of structure, shape and style through a study of songwriters from Amy Winehouse and Lily Allen to The Beatles and Joni Mitchell.

  • Songwriting Workshop/Portfolio Design

    Students present their songs, sketches or ideas within a workshop environment, with tutors giving constructive feedback, suggesting areas for development and setting appropriate tasks. Peers will be encouraged to critique the songs of fellow students and encourage possible collaboration. Student portfolios of work across the course modules will also come under the spotlight with feedback sessions from industry experts and professional songwriters.

  • Arranging

    In this module, students learn how to arrange their music for a range of instruments through the understanding of range, timbre and articulation. Studying arranging techniques across a variety of genres will enable them to engage the most appropriate instruments and writing styles to enhance their composition portfolio.

  • Listening Skills

    Anyone working in music needs to have good listening skills. This ability is essential in order to produce, compose, mix or record. In this module students will develop their listening skills and explore the potential of hearing by learning to listen actively instead of passively. They’ll investigate what it is that they need to be listening for, and how sounds relate to each other musically and in the natural world.

  • Live Performance Workshop (LPW)

    Live Performance Workshop is the chance for students to perform their own songs and the songs that have influenced their style. They’ll develop their live sound and accompanying skill concentrating on performing, showmanship and the right mental approach. They may perform themselves on piano or guitar, invite other instrumentalists to accompany them or utilise a sequencing programme to create a backing track.

  • Software Notation

    Increasingly musicians, arrangers, producers and artists are turning to digital software-based notation packages for transcribing and arranging duties. This class will explore the use of software notation packages in the contemporary industry and provide students with a solid foundation of skills, allowing them to apply their musical creativity with industry-standard software notation tools.

  • Musicianship

    In this very popular and well-loved module, students will explore the recognition of intervals, chords, melodies and chord progressions, forming a direct link between music they hear and their songwriting. They’ll study how harmony and theory is applied in commercial music in a very practical and relevant way, with the aim of improving their own songwriting skills and further honing their craft.

  • The Music Industry

    This module will give students practical music industry knowledge that will help them plan their career. They’ll be taken through aspects of the music industry, including record and publishing deals, management, social networks, music synchronisation, legal issues, copyright, live music and business plans.

  • Music in Context

    Learn the history of classic artists placed in their social, historical and political context. Artists studied include Elvis Presley, Nina Simone, Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Bob Marley, Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield, David Bowie, Sex Pistols, Led Zeppelin, Public Enemy, Nirvana and Radiohead. An understanding of this essential stylistic knowledge will help students to develop authenticity in songwriting and performance.

  • Music Technology

    This module introduces students to industry-standard music software packages, allowing them to build up effective backing tracks, programme drum loops and manipulate sounds.

  • Extended Studies

Entry requirements

Five GCSEs at a minimum grade of C/4, including English Language and Maths.

Overseas students where English is not their native language must meet a minimum English language requirement of IELTS 6.0. We require a minimum of 5.5 to be achieved in each band.


To book in for an assessment, call our Admissions team on 08442 646 666

Financial information

UK & EU STUDENTS £6,950 per year

NON EU STUDENTS £12,450 per year

Further information

Pearson BTEC National Diploma Level 3 qualification in the National Qualifications Framework.

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
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  • More information
    • BIMM London is part of the BIMM Group – Europe’s largest and leading contemporary music college. We offer a full range Further Education music courses, in a number of different disciplines, such as Music Performance, Songwriting and Music Production.

      Our students love BIMM London because it operates right at the centre of the global music scene, giving them direct access to the most happening music venues, the coolest record labels, the most groundbreaking festivals, and the most iconic music brands in the world.

      The BIMM London campus is in Effie Road, Fulham, South West London, housed in a five-storey building with state-of-the-art facilities, including recording studios, mac labs, post-production suites, rehearsal studios, lecture rooms, mixing rooms, performance spaces and teaching rooms. Our high-tech equipment and software is provided by the world’s leading musical instrument manufacturers who actively support and endorse us.

      Our BIMM London tutors are all very active in the London music scene, and between them have headlined festivals, contributed to Hollywood movie soundtracks, been coaches on TV talent shows, and performed in front of global dignitaries. Put simply, they’re really well connected and eager to pass their knowledge, experience and guidance onto you.