BA (Hons) Music (Songwriting)

Note: This course is found under the Undergraduate option when making a UCAS application NOT the Conservatoires option.

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Study BA (Hons) Music (Songwriting) at Leeds Conservatoire

Focusing on any sub-genre you want – from acoustic to electronic, mainstream to leftfield – our songwriting degree will prepare you to make a lasting impact on the music industry.

 

  • Starts:
  • Duration: 3 Years /
    4 Years (with Foundation)
  • UCAS Course Code(s): W310
    W3J4 (with Foundation Year)
  • UCAS Institution Code: L30
  • Apply Via: UCAS Undergraduate Application (note: this course cannot be found under the 'Conservatoire' application option)
  • Study Mode: Full time
  • Validated By: University of Hull

Course Overview

Career-focus

Through our well-established Popular Music course, we have over 10 years of preparing our students for a successful career as a writer in the modern music industry. You will gain valuable experience in writing on your own and as a collaborator; crafting songs for yourself, bands, projects and other artists. In tandem with developing your proficiency on industry standard recording software, these solo and collaborative skills will prepare you for a career as a songwriter. You will also attend masterclasses from professional performers, songwriters, producers, managers and promoters, supporting your artistic development as well as sharpening your creative voice.

Industry links

Strong links with the music industry mean that we are in constant contact with major publishing companies and record labels such as Universal, Polydor, Decca, and Kobalt as well as local labels like Hide and Seek and Leaf Label to name a few. Our students receive regular advice on their portfolios from visiting Industry guests, and often live briefs to work on. Recent guests have included Saul Fitton, Warner Chappell publishing; Fiona Bevan, Singer/Songwriter; John Beck, Songwriter/Producer; Dani Sawyer, Universal Music Publishing; Jez Ashurst, Songwriter/Producer; Mark Wood, Songwriter/Manager.

Our partnerships with European conservatoires mean that you could be working on songwriting projects with students in Mannheim, Rotterdam or Copenhagen.

Creative Freedom

During the songwriting degree you’ll get weekly one-to-one tuition with experienced songwriters and regular timetabled sessions in band practice rooms where you’ll have the creative freedom to craft and perfect your own songs. With access to our Apple Mac Labs, you will learn how to bring those songs to life using industry-standard software like Logic Pro.

Music community

With over 1,200 students at the conservatoire, you’ll be able to call on the skills of our diverse community of musicians, producers and entrepreneurs to assist you in performing, producing and promoting your work.

Career destinations

Graduates from Leeds Conservatoire have gone on to a wide variety of careers including Recording Artists, Award-winning Folk Artists, Session Musicians, Producers, and Record Label Songwriters. Find out more in our Alumni section.

“You have so much time to spend on developing your musical approach that it progresses very quickly. I’ve found myself experimenting with genres and sounds that I don’t think I would have got round to for a long time had I not come here.”
– Henry Bateman, graduate songwriter

BA (Hons) Music (Songwriting) - 3 Years

The three-year Songwriting degree features specialist 1:1 and group study in Songwriting, supported by a curriculum designed to prepare you for your career in the music industry.

BA (Hons) Music (Songwriting) with Foundation Year - 4 Years

If you know that conservatoire study is for you, but you don’t think that you’ll meet the academic or musical entry requirements, our four-year courses are an excellent opportunity to start studying your degree while you focus on your musical development.

An extra year of access to our creative and collaborative environment, excellent facilities, expert staff and rich performance opportunities will build your confidence as a conservatoire musician.

Find out more about BA (Hons) with Foundation Year.

What You Will Study (See Modules and Specifications)

Each year of the course is structured into three distinct strands:

  • Specialist Study – One-to-one tuition and group study in songwriting
  • Contextual Studies – Develop your composition, musicology and critical listening skills
  • Professional Studies – Develop your skills for working in the creative industries

Some examples* of Contextual Studies and Professional Studies modules:

  • Working in the Creative Industries
  • Collaborative Composition
  • Self-Promotion & Music Marketing
  • Concerts & Touring
  • Music for the Moving Image
  • Working with Music in the Community
  • Arranging and Orchestration
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Instrumental Music Tuition
  • Music Journalism
  • Computer Based Composition
  • Introduction to Music Technology
  • Emerging Music Models

*The above examples are chosen to represent a selection of the kind of mandatory and elective module options offered, so you can tailor your degree to your area of interest. See the full list of modules currently available for this course, including mandatory and optional modules, plus detailed module specification documents.

Foundation Year

If you choose to study the 4 -year Songwriting with Foundation Year programme, your first year will focus on developing your musicianship through specialist one to-one tuition, and strengthening your music theory and academic skills, as well as your creativity and artistry.

You will also have access to a weekly programme of workshops and masterclasses, as well as regular individual tutorials with academic staff.

Upon successful completion of the Foundation Year, you will automatically progress to year one on your chosen BA pathway

Optional Extra-Curricular Instrument/Vocal/Composition Tuition

If you are at Grade 6 standard or higher in an instrument or voice, you can also choose to have additional 1:1 tuition in this area outside of your standard timetabled teaching.

This is not part of your course, but there are a limited number of Instrumental, Vocal & Composition Bursaries available, or tuition can be arranged at additional cost.

Entry Requirements

Academic Requirements

BA (Hons) - 3 Years

96 UCAS tariff points from level 3 studies or equivalent, which normally include A Level Music or a BTEC Extended Diploma in a Music-related subject.

A minimum of three GCSEs including English Language at Grade C / Grade 4 or above or equivalent international qualification, eg IELTS 6.0 (5.5 in each component).

BA (Hons) with Foundation Year - 4 Years

64 UCAS tariff points from level 3 studies or equivalent, which normally include A Level Music or a BTEC Extended Diploma in a Music-related subject.

A minimum of three GCSEs including English Language at Grade C / Grade 4 or above or equivalent international qualification, eg IELTS 6.0 (5.5 in each component).

Performance and Musical Theory Standard

Read our full entry requirements to see more detail on musical performance and theory standards.

How to Apply

Apply via: UCAS Undergraduate (not Conservatoires)

Read our step-by-step application guide

Auditions

Applicants will need to audition, interview and/or submit a portfolio of work. 

Exact requirements vary depending on which programme you are applying for.

Find more detailed audition information for applicants.

Leeds Conservatoire does not charge audition fees for any Undergraduate or Postgraduate course.

In many cases, if you prefer to submit your audition online rather than attend in person, this is an option. However, we don't want travel costs to be a barrier to attending in-person auditions at Leeds Conservatoire, so help is available for many applicants where finances are an issue. Eligibility and bursary application information is available on our audition information page.

Fees & Funding
International Applicants

If you are an international applicant, visit our dedicated International section of the website for information on:

  • How To Apply
  • Auditions
  • International Entry Requirements
  • Fees & Funding

Course Type: Undergraduate, Single Honours
Study Mode: Full Time
Apply via: UCAS Undergraduate (not Conservatoires)
UCAS Institution Code: L30
Validated by: University of Hull*

*Note for applicants and offer holders for 2022/23 entry:

Leeds Conservatoire plans to apply to the Office for Students for Degree Awarding Powers. If we are granted Degree Awarding Powers, your degree may be awarded by Leeds Conservatoire rather than validated by the University of Hull.

BA (Hons) Music (Songwriting)

Duration: 3 years
UCAS Course Code: W310 

Course Key Information Document 2021/22

BA (Hons) Music (Songwriting) with Foundation Year

Duration: 4 years
UCAS Course Code: W3J4 

Course Key Information Document 2021/22

Ewan mainwood songwriting graduate

Ewan Mainwood

  • Course Studied: BA (Hons) Music (Songwriting)
  • Year of Graduation: 2020

“I really enjoyed the songwriting course and Leeds Conservatoire. The opportunities are there for any aspiring songwriter/ artist if they are willing to take them. Whether that’s the attentive support from the songwriting tutors, masterclasses with accomplished songwriters and producers and even meetings with industry A&Rs which personally for me was huge as it helped me land my first ever publishing deal!”

Ewan says, ‘I think the main thing people have resonated with in my music is the honesty and relatability of my lyrics and the emotional delivery of my vocal. I really try to write songs which mean something to me whether that’s self-experience or experiences of other people I know’.

Since graduating, Ewan has supported the likes of Ed Sheeran and Tom Walker and signed with Warner Chappell. At the time of writing, he is about to release his single ‘Leave Me Lonely’, and is preparation for his first UK headline tour.  

Read more about Ewan

Course Tutors

Danny Cope
Danny CopeProgramme Leader: Songwriting

Courses taught: BA (Hons) Music (Popular), BA (Hons) Music (Songwriting)

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Adam Martin
Dr Adam MartinCurriculum Manager: Popular & Songwriting

Courses taught: BA (Hons) Music (Popular), BA (Hons) Music (Songwriting), MA Music

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Louisa Osborn standing against a red and white background
Louisa OsbornSenior Lecturer: Songwriting, Popular

Courses taught: BA (Hons) Music (Songwriting), BA (Hons) Music (Popular)

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Peter Darling - Man smiling to camera against a plain background, friendly, wearing a denim jacket and black shirt
Peter DarlingSenior Lecturer: Popular Music, Songwriting

Courses taught: BA (Hons) Music (Popular), BA (Hons) Music (Songwriting), BA (Hons) Music (Production)

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Ric Neale
Ric NealeLecturer: Popular Music, Songwriting

Courses taught: BA (Hons) Music (Songwriting)

Read more
Chris Milnes
Christopher MilnesSenior Lecturer: Songwriting, Foundation Year, FdA Electronic Music Production

Courses Taught: BA (Hons) Music (Songwriting), BA (Hons) Music (Popular), BA (Hons) Music (Production), BA (Hons) Music with Foundation Year, FdA Electronic Music Production

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“The community of music here is huge. There are so many opportunities with other musicians. Having the Production course alongside Pop, Jazz and Classical gives you so many options for collaboration.”
– Tom Harvey, graduate songwriter
Facilities

Our Mac Labs are equipped with over 100 high-specification iMacs, MIDI keyboards and audio interfaces. They can be booked at any time outside of lessons until late and are equipped with industry standard software such as Logic Pro, Pro Tools and Ableton.

Find out more
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Open Days

Find out what it's like to study at Leeds Conservatoire by coming along to one of our Open Days. 

As well as talks and tours specific to the courses you're interested in, you can also chat to our staff and students.

Plus, get immediate access to our On-Demand Open Day.

Open Days
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BA (Hons) with Foundation Year

If you know that conservatoire study is for you, but you don’t think that you’ll meet the academic or musical entry requirements, our four-year courses are an excellent opportunity to start studying your degree while you focus on your musical development.

An extra year of access to our creative and collaborative environment, excellent facilities, expert staff and rich performance opportunities will build your confidence as a conservatoire musician.

Find out more
We're thrilled to be partnering with @UniCentreLeeds to deliver their exciting new production arts courses in Desig… https://t.co/LzVue7D06I
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