What you'll study
This course is accredited by Rose Bruford College and delivered at Notting Hill Academy of Music.
Are you serious about making a living as a songwriter? Get the skills to become a professional Songwriter, Composer, Arranger and Producer.
Study the art of writing and producing your own music whilst situated at the heart of the music industry and with the opportunity to experience professional contexts directly.
Beginning with an introduction to cultural contexts, you will then develop your own craft through studying the styles and structures, key musical components and compositional techniques and using industry standard production software to make your songs industry-ready.
You are taught by working industry-specialists and you’ll gain experience at labels, in studios and with music execs/artists, giving you a broad understanding of the industry and how to work within it.
Why choose this course
Taught by Music Industry Experts
You will be taught by academics and specialist practitioners. All your lecturers are working industry professionals and will teach the specialist subject relevant to their own career.
Get connected and get into the music industry
Central to the ethos of this programme, is the drive to get you ready for industry by giving you access to the music business from the start.
Immersive music industry experience
The course includes introductions and dynamic experiences and assessments reflect the real world of the industry and develop the skills you’ll need to succeed in the professional world.
All classes are taught from the historic Notting Hill Arts Club in London and at Sony Music UK in London to allow students to study and live in the industry.
Produce your portfolio of industry ready songs
You will learn and develop your music creation and songwriting skills using industry-standard software to create your own music that is to industry production standards.
Notting Hill Academy of Music partners and works with key players in the music industry including: Columbia, BMG, First Access Entertainment, Atlantic, Sound Collective and many others. Students will have to opportunity to attend real-life meetings at Sony Music UK during their studies through the academy's links to industry.
Course content is regularly reviewed, to make it relevant and current. Course modules are therefore subject to change.
This module encourages you to reflect on your own songwriting and its development by giving you a professional grounding in the key elements of songwriting. Working independently, with others and also with a brief, as you might with a label, you will explore the way in which you can be inspired and influenced by techniques and musical elements from a range of different genres.
In this module you’ll develop your digital production (DAW) skills, but also your project planning, collaboration, influence, communication and leadership skills.
An indicative lecture programme relating to the module might include:
- Songwriter/artist and Songwriting/producer
- Song structure and arrangement
- Melody, riff and hook
- Harmonic structure, bassline and cohesion
- The DAW and production techniques for songwriters: creating, editing and layering tracks
- The DAW and production techniques for EDM/beat-based songwriting
- Song structures and arranging 1
- Song structures and arranging 2
- Mix techniques: Creative EQ/Dynamics and FX
- Creating and exporting the final mix
- Remixing techniques (extended and creative edits, versioning, introducing samples)
- Manipulating parts and stems and collaborating with others
Navigating the Music Industry
From sheet music to streaming this module will give you the knowledge and understanding of the modern music industry by helping you understand its past and also the evolution of its current structure.
This will help contextualise your learning and also understand your place within the industry as a creator, artist, songwriter and entrepreneur.
An indicative lecture programme for this module will include:
- The early music industry: the roots of A&R, and the history of songwriting
- The Digital Revolution: Napster, iTunes, Spotify and the rise of the DAW and DIY artist
- Music publishing – The majors and Disrupters
- The Record Label – the Majors & Indies, label services and DIY
- The Live industry
- Discovery & Development – getting signed and career opportunities
- The Role of the Manager & Agent
- Going social: Direct to Fan & Fan to Fan. Sustaining your own career
- Marketing and Promotion
- The future of the industry: trends, data and analysis
Building your portfolio
Studied alongside Songwriting, this module will develop your songwriting portfolio and experience more widely. In this module, you’ll be concentrating on deliberately building your repertoire of songwriting skills independently as well as collaboratively.
You will learn to adjust your creative vision to support that of those you are working with, and showcase your skills in making the work of another songwriter or artist industry-ready and commercially viable.
An indicative lecture program might include:
- Starting a project: inspiration and planning
- Song structure and arrangement
- Topline and melody building
- Writing to a track
- Writing to a brief
- Lyrics and rhyme
- Harmony and chord progressions 1
- Harmony and chord progressions 2
- Analysing genres 1
- Analysing genres 2
- Songwriting for bands/ensembles 1
- Songwriting for bands/ensembles 2
Producing the Song
Releasing a final creative work needs the effort and vision of the producer. An understanding of song structure and the way in which the musical and technical elements of the track combine will elevate your track.
This module will introduce you to a range of techniques that bring together the musical with technical audio techniques, ensuring your creative vision is realised in the studio.
An indicative lecture programme relating to the module could include:
- The role of the artist/songwriter/producer
- Refining song structure and arrangement
- Defining styles: Making Disco/Techno/House/Trance
- Defining styles: Making Hip Hop/Rap
- Defining styles: Making UK Urban Beats
- Defining styles: Making commercial R&B, Pop
- Writing for the screen (film, TV, advertising)
- The overall sound – matching technique to genre
- Your music’s journey, from studio to release
- Pitching to the professionals, positioning yourself and your career
- Commercial contexts and diversifying your skills
Through this unit, you will explore different career opportunities, apply for music industry The role of the songwriter/artist is part songwriter, part engineer, part influencer, part artist and part business entrepreneur.
This module will help you understand the different revenue streams available to you and the ways in which you can not only create and release music yourself, but also how to work with larger music industry businesses (artists, managers, labels, publishers and collection societies) to maximise your influence within the industry and develop your career.
An indicative lecture programme relating to the module will comprise:
- Thinking like a business: maximising your potential and the role of the songwriter/collaborator/artist
- Music business landscape 1: The label, A&R, producer/artist, collaboration
- Music business landscape 2: copyright and collections societies
- Music business landscape 3: Publishing and points
- Collaboration: legal, IP and protecting your investment
- Success stories: key producer/artists
- The business plan: monetising your music
- The business model: start-up structure and keeping it lean
- Media, marketing and promotion
- Business finance for non-finance experts
- Pitching to others
- Key responsibilities as a business owner: reporting, key dates, tax and finance
Creative and Cultural Perspectives
The history of Popular Music is rich and multicultural. Popular music is increasingly bound in the technology that creates it, with songwriters and artists able to use technology to create, distribute, promote and sell their own music and brand.
This module focusses on those aspects of creative and critical theory that are intertwined with the industry and songwriting such as subculture, style and genre and the history of music technology. It will also explore trends and taste from a consumer perspective and look at the global industry.
An indicative lecture programme relating to the module will comprise:
- A brief history of Pop from Tin Pan Alley to AI
- Cultures and subcultures
- Styles, genres and their evolution
- Commercialism and Commerce
- Studying the consumer, audiences, the history of trends and defining taste
- Creative digital perspectives
- The digital creator: machine and producer as artist
- Integrating critical perspectives creatively
- Sounds from history: the origins of what we hear now
- Equity and diversity in music
- The global music industry, different territories, genres and perspectives.
Teaching and Assessment Methods
This course comprises 6 Assessments totalling 120 credits.
You will complete around 320 hours of indicative scheduled learning and teaching activities and 880 hours of independent learning on projects, productions, placements or self-directed study.
Assessment will be through: Coursework, presentations, assessed tutorials and portfolios.
Your future career
Depending on your progression choices after Level 4 and based on your skills and interests, as a graduate, you will be able to work in a range of music industry professions.
You will receive outstanding career development and support during your study, working with top industry professionals and tutors.
You will be able to enter a range of music industry professions equipped with the industry knowledge, academic and industry skills that companies require. Notting Hill Academy of Music alumni have gone on to work in A&R, record labels, copyright, streaming services and talent/creative management and many more.
Studying a creative related subject provides our students with a wide range of skills. This course allows students to pursue such roles as:
Founder at Dreamlife Records
A&R at Relentless Records
A&R at Dreamlife Records
Artist signed to Black Butter Records
A&R at 2TE Records/Warner Bros UK
How to join
- Duration – 9 months
- Start date – Sept 2024
- Type – Face to face
- Tuition – Up to 10 hrs per week face to face
- Mode of study – Full time
- Qualification – Certificate in Higher Education (Level 4)
During the course you will complete around 60 hours of indicative scheduled learning and teaching activities per module and we recommend you undertake 20 hours per week of independent study outside of your scheduled learning hours. Awarding body Rose Bruford College.
Two A-Levels at C grade/equivalent, Level 3 qualifications, or relevant music industry experience.
All applicants will be asked to complete a course-specific admissions task designed to demonstrate their creative skills.
Institution code: N/A
Course code: N/A
All applicants will need to attend an experience day at the Academy and meet with a team member in order to be offered a place to study at NHAM.
As part of the offer, all applicants will need to then complete a course-specific admissions task designed to demonstrate their creative skills.
We encourage all applications to be submitted by 31 August 2024.Learn more
UK/Republic of Ireland students
Please be aware there is an equipment list for this course. We highly recommend each student has their own laptop or tablet with a secure wifi connection that allows them to access all learning materials and complete all assessments during the course.
You also should be aware that you may incur additional costs during the course of your study, which could include the following:
- Travel costs