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Songwriting - Artist Development Diploma - Bristol 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



            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.


    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 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.


    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 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.


    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.


    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 gives the opportunity to recap and expand on the information covered in the course. It’s also a great chance for us to bring guest speakers in to help further your education and ensure you’re prepared for a future in the music industry.




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


    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 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 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.


    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.


    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.


    Much like in Year 1, Extended Studies continues to give the opportunity to expand on content covered in the course. It’s also a great chance for us to bring guest speakers in to help further your education and ensure you’re prepared for a future in the music industry.

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: 08 October 2018
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    • Specialist studios, amazing equipment and a 65-seater performance venue make BIMM Bristol the place to turn your music dreams into a successful career.

      Talent alone will get you so far – but at BIMM Bristol, we give you the tools of the trade, the all-important industry connections and the ideal environment to put in the necessary hard work too.

      The Bristol campus revolves around the city’s King Square, where our 8,000ft2facility has stood since 2008. There’s seven teaching rooms here – all kitted out with top-spec, professional-quality music equipment – plus a library, several tutorial rooms and a common room.

      Like any college, the common room here is a hive of activity – an area to catch up with friends and socialise between sessions. But here you’ll be rubbing shoulders with the country’s top musical talent, mixing with like-minded people who share your passion for all things music.

      If your passion is for performance, you’ll get the chance to show it on stage too – under the lights, in front of a crowd. Our 40ft live performance room is equipped with a 4K PA system, guitar and bass amps by Marshall, Orange, Ampeg and Laney, drums by DW and a Kurzweil stage piano.

      But of course, before the performance comes the practice – and we’re geared towards plenty of that. Colston Hall, Bristol’s leading concert hall, offers rehearsal spaces to BIMM Bristol students free of charge.