Looking for some formal instruction? Here’s a round up of songwriting courses – from night school classes to retreats and a foundation degree. Compiled by Kath Burke, and updated in February 2015
Courses in and around Brighton
You can search Hot Courses to see what’s current – in February 2015 I found BIMM and Northbrook College. www.hotcourses.com
Bimm Professional songwriting diploma
Where BIMM, Brighton or Bristol
Length 1 year – counts as year 1 undergraduate degree in professional musicianship. Entry by audition.
In the past these providers did regular songwriting courses – you can ask to see what’s happening
West Sussex Adult And Community Learning
Where Ivy Arch Studio, Worthing
Length 5 weeks over evenings /weekends
Educated Songwriter – Nashville songwriter Cliff Goldmacher teaches the business and craft of songwriting through webinars, videos and Skype consultations. Highly recommended. http://www.educatedsongwriter.com
Berklee College of Music offers a FREE songwriting course through Coursera. Highly recommended. https://www.coursera.org/course/songwriting
Another practical way to learn from your own materials is by having your songs critiqued. I’ve been doing this online through Cliff Goldmacher at Educated Songwriter, and found it enormously useful. It’s a very streamlined way to learn and you can work at your own pace and don’t have to travel anywhere .
Courses in London
You can search Hot Courses for what’s current. In February 2015, I found courses at City Lit (in Elephant & Castle, famous for its artistic courses), Institute of Contemporary Music. I also saw courses at St Francis Xavier College and Westminster Kingsway but I have never heard of them.
City Academy also runs songwriting courses and workshops http://www.city-academy.com/songwriting-workshop
Courses around the UK
Manchester – live music venue Band on the Wall runs occasional songwriting courses at affordable prices. You can subscribe to receive details here http://bandonthewall.org/education/education-events
Bath Spa University hosts its UK Songwriting Festival every August. This is 4-5 days of intensive workshops, co-writing and tutorials and 1:1 co-writing sessions with professional songwriters. You get to do snatch recordings of your new songs in a studio. Every night there’s an open mic to share new work. And also a guest act. The year I was there, Eddi Reader, formerly of Fairground Attraction, was the star guest. An amazing if intense experience .
Arvon Foundation – known for its creative writing retreats, also teaches songwriting. Tutors include Ray Davies from the Kinks, and Boo Hewerdine who writes for Fairground Attraction singer Eddi Reader. Centres include Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire, and Scotland http://www.arvon.org/genres/genre-songwriting/
Have we missed one? Tell us and we’ll add it to this page. Email kath[at]hotmail.com.