The BA (Hons) Creative Musicianship degree focuses on your creativity and the expression of your own unique ‘creative voice’.
The BA (Hons) Creative Musicianship degree focuses on developing your creativity and the expression of your own unique ‘creative voice’.
This is done through performances, composition of original material, and multimedia interdisciplinary collaborations. Along with the development of musicianship and performance skills, the course also focuses on essential entrepreneurial and critical business skills that a creative musician needs in order to forge a successful career.
Through this course, you will develop expertise in your principal instrument, individually through one-to-one instrumental tuition across all three years, and collectively within a group workshop environment. You will also be given the opportunity to explore and analyse a range of genres to help inform your own artistic development and compositional ‘voice’. In the business and entrepreneurship modules, you will gain an understanding of marketing, branding, social networking and successful new business models, while developing broader communication, management and interpersonal skills. Using the latest technology, you will be given the opportunity to build a portfolio of your own original music, working in collaboration with other disciplines and media, such as film, dance, games and fashion.
Successful completion of programme BA(Hons) Creative Musicianship at ICMP leads to the award of Bachelor of Arts by the University of East London. Full programme specification here.
Year 1 - Level 4
In the first year, you will develop and enhance your technical and creative skills including one-to-one tuition on your principal study instrument. In addition to this, you will begin to develop your compositional ‘voice’, while gaining an in-depth understanding of contemporary and traditional music production processes. The first year of the programme is also intended to develop your critical awareness with regards to the wider arts, creative industries, and music business sectors. Level 4 is made up of the following modules:
Performance and Context I
On this module you will develop your performance skills through the study of a range of performance traditions, genre conventions and idiosyncrasies and the identification of your unique artist ‘voice’ through first and/or second instrument study. Crucially, one-to-one instrumental tuition is incorporated, which enables you to focus on aspects of study designed to develop and promote technical proficiency, self-expression and the ability to contextualise on first and/or second study instrument. Additionally you will develop the ability to compose, arrange and perform original music, generating an understanding of genre conventions and how these can be manipulated or re-presented for a contemporary audience.
Core Principles of Music Making
In this module you will develop an understanding of established methodologies and models for composition, songwriting and creative practices through a structured learning pathway which includes the creation of a portfolio of original repertoire. You will study the core principles pertaining to melody, harmony and rhythm and how these are applied in a composing or arranging context. You will also acquire an advanced awareness of musical structures and the use of music technology while developing basic keyboard skills to support your learning and enhance your skill base.
Music, Culture, Context and Criticism I
On this module, you will be introduced to effective ways of recognising and interpreting the development of popular music genres and develop the skills necessary to justify intellectual positions using critical texts and resources. The module utilises the University of East London’s ‘Skills Curriculum’ as a core framework for investigating, analysing and critiquing current debates and theories relating to the context within which popular music is produced, performed and consumed.
Music, New Media and the Arts
On this module you will develop an understanding of how music works in the context of new and emerging media channels and the wider arts sector, principally through the creation of a portfolio of work consisting of interdisciplinary and collaborative arts projects. You will also study and practise established and more recent forms and methodologies of music composition for new and emerging media, and consider the underlying philosophical and aesthetic connections and threads that link and contextualise music within the wider arts sector.
Year 2 - Level 5
In the second year, you will continue to develop and specialise in your principal study instrument through one-to-one tuition. Building on level 4, you will also be adding to your portfolio of original compositions. Considerable focus will be placed on exploring contemporary concepts and current practice relating to twenty- first century entrepreneurship, such as online marketing, search engine optimisation (SEO) and convergence theory. The second year of the programme has been designed to encourage you to begin forming artist brand concepts, ideas and projects for your final year of study. Level 5 is made up of the following modules:
Performing and Context II
This module will enhance your performance skills primarily through the study of performance traditions, genre conventions and idiosyncrasies and the development of your unique artist ‘voice’ through principle or second instrument study. Importantly, one-to-one instrumental tuition is available on this module, focusing on aspects of study designed to develop and promote technical proficiency, self- expression and ability to contextualise on your first and/or second study instrument. In the ‘Genre and Performance Workshops’ on this module you will develop your ability to compose, arrange and perform original music and understand genre conventions and how these can be manipulated or re-presented for a contemporary audience.
Exploring Music Making
On this module you will develop an understanding of established composition, songwriting and creative practices, methodologies and models primarily through the creation of a portfolio of original repertoire. Specifically, you will study composition, production and songwriting, and also the core principles pertaining to melody, harmony and rhythm and how these are applied in a composing or arranging context. You will also acquire an embedded awareness of musical structures while further developing your keyboard skills to support your learning and support harmony, theory, arranging and music technology throughout.
Music, Culture, Context and Criticism II
This module will enable you to explore the relationships between popular music genres through a process of critical interrogation, and to experiment with a range of analytical approaches to justify intellectual positions. The module ensures you understand how to interrogate and deconstruct popular music through a range of critical and political ‘lenses’, building on the foundational work of the Level 4 module “Music Culture, Context and Criticism I”. You will additionally further develop your capacity for intellectual engagement with popular music through analysis and critique, engaging in the current debates and theories relating to the context within which popular music is produced, performed and consumed.
Marketing and Monetisising Your Music
This module will enable you to develop an awareness of the various facets of today’s rapidly evolving music industry and their inter-relationship, providing a solid grounding in the frameworks of recorded and live music and publishing. The module will deliver an overview of the contemporary music business and develop your professional capability more generally, establishing the framework of the music industry and exploring the three main industry sectors: recorded music, live music and publishing. Importantly, you will develop an understanding of current monetisation models; marketing and promotion strategies; and the role of management. You will also learn how to recognise and exploit changes in practice which have been brought about by the impact of the internet and new technologies.
Composition for Film and Media (Option)
The main aims of this module are to enable you to develop an understanding of core concepts, principles and models within the field of composition for film and media. Importantly, you will also generate a portfolio of original, personalised repertoire that will be an invaluable resource as you develop your career in the music industry.
Entrepreneurial Practice (Option)
This module will enable you to develop an understanding of core entrepreneurship concepts, principles and models in the creative industries, skills crucial to the development of a successful and rewarding career. Specifically, you will study marketing, advertising, public relations, branding and business models both in digital and non-digital realms, using as a primary methodology the analysis of current case studies.
Live and Studio Recording Techniques (Option)
This module will enable you to develop an understanding of the core concepts, principles and recording methodologies prevalent in a conventional non-home recording studio environment. Specifically, this will cover the development of the skills and knowledge that will enable you to engage with the facilities and equipment in professional medium- to large-scale recording studios with the capacity for recording live instruments and vocals.
Live Performance Technology (Option)
On this module, you will develop both an understanding and practical working knowledge of hardware and software music technology in the context of creative live performance contexts. The main topic of study is ‘Live Music Technology’, within which you will develop the prerequisite music technology skills for use in both solo and ensemble performance contexts.
Year 3 - Level 6
In the third year, you will devise a final performance project that showcases your original work. Coupled with this is the final creative project, in which you can either choose to align your work with that of your final performance project or deviate completely into interdisciplinary territory. Complementing these two modules is the Dissertation module, offering you a space in which you can research and explore concepts related to your own practice or interest areas. You will receive one-to-one tuition across both semesters. The focus of these individual tuition sessions will be on refining performance practice with the intention of informing the major projects. Level 6 is made up of the following modules:
On the dissertation module, you will plan, develop and realise an appropriate, independent research project under relevant subject-specialist supervision. This will enable you to develop the skills of critical and/ or historical analysis acquired in the programme so far, and to apply them to a question of your own devising; offer a critical analysis of a wide range source material; demonstrate evidence of independent thought; write lucidly; and complete an extended piece of writing which draws upon the above skills. The structure of the module aims to offer support in research skills and project development, as well as dedicated subject support, and topic specialism. Part One (lecture and seminar series) consists of a review of the field/subject discipline; a review of the conventions of scholarly writing and citation; the theories and methods comprising the area of study; identifying and selecting a suitable object of inquiry; primary and secondary sources (and how to use them); dissertation framework and structure; dialogic scrutiny of key texts and debates in subject area (including ethical implications); the formulation of an agreed project, to include presentations by you to the wider student group on the progress of your proposal; and the production of drafts and revisions in relation to structured feedback and according to agreed schedule of submission Part Two (supervision sessions and write-up), consists of a revisit of conventions of scholarly writing and citation; a revisit of theories and methods comprising the area of study; a review of the framework and structure of the dissertation; a refinement and development of your agreed dissertation project; regular supervision (as agreed with the supervisor); and the production of drafts and revisions in relation to structured feedback and according to agreed schedule of submission.
On the Recorded Project module you will synthesise the skills developed through previous modules on the programme in order to produce a recorded project (EP, album). You will develop the ability to conceptualise, plan, produce, present, analyse and evaluate a final recorded project, and additionally develop advanced production and arranging skills to support project implementation.
On the Performance Project module, you will synthesise the skills developed in the previous performance modules of the course in order to produce a showcase performance of your own original repertoire. You will benefit from one-to-one instrumental tuition, which will focus on those aspects of study that support the refinement of technical ability, self-reflective practice and an advanced level of self- expression and contextualisation on both first and second study instrument. In the ‘Performance workshops’ you will develop the ability to plan, arrange and perform music as well as developing rehearsal techniques, leadership/MD skills and reflective practitioner skills.
Business Project (Option)
On the Business Project module in year three, you will develop a personalised, professional business plan for your own artistic or creative project. You will also study advanced principles pertaining to marketing, advertising, public relations, branding and business models both in digital and non-digital realms, primarily through the analysis of current artist and start-up case studies.
Professional Project (Option)
The aim of this module is to support you in the utilisation of the skills you have developed throughout the programme in order to identify, plan and complete a project to a professional standard. You are empowered to decide the form of your own project (e.g. music for media, a music-based community project, a live performance, [production of an EP etc.). Main topics of study include the artist and collaborative practice, within which you will understand the challenges and demands of working as an artist in a collaborative and interdisciplinary creative context, and an interdisciplinary project seminar, in which you will discuss and analyse project management best practice and methodologies prevalent in artistic project contexts.
- Develops your creative skills and unique creative voice
- Learn entrepreneurial, business and networking skills to maximise your creative ability
- Develops your performance and musicianship skills
- One-to-one tuition in your principal instrument
- Prepares you for a portfolio career within the music industry and the wider creative sector
- The personalised learning experience equips you with the knowledge, understanding and skills for successful employment in the music industry
- The London location provides opportunities to perform in gigs at top London venues and immerse yourself in the current music scene
- High-quality teaching by industry practitioners
- Extensive music industry links and access enable you to build that all-important network
- A high level of contact teaching hours is delivered in small groups in world-class facilities
- A creative and inspiring learning environment
Applicants will typically have A levels, BTEC Diploma or Extended Diploma or International Baccalaureate equivalent to 200 UCAS points, or an ICMP Higher Diploma.
In addition, you should hold GCSE Grade C or above in English and Maths, or suitable equivalent, such as Level 2 Key Skills, Functional Skills or Adult Literacy/Numeracy.
We also welcome applications from mature applicants who may have no formal qualifications but who can nevertheless demonstrate their suitability for study through appropriate skills and experience.
This course is also available as a one-year Cert HE option
Featured Success Story - Ben Martinez
Ben Martinez studied guitar at the ICMP.
He is best known for his work writing and arranging with the prolific singer/songwriter, Jessie J, and is currently working with The Saturdays.
Featured Tutor - Giacomo Occhipinti
Giacomo has been a gigging professional musician and teacher since 2000. Back in Italy he obtained a Bass diploma from the prestigious Lizard Academy, joining the teaching faculty straight after graduation. As Coram Lethe’s bass player he released two albums and toured Italy.
Since moving to London in 2005 he has established himself as a teacher and live performer. He has obtained a BA in Jazz from Middlesex University and a PGCE from the University of Greenwich.
His live credits include international artists like Candi Staton, The Supremes, Jack Ashford’s Funk Brothers of Motown, Brenda Holloway, Thelma Houston, Chris Clarke, Mable John. Other credits inlcude: Erika (formerly iMMa), Atlantic Soul Orchestra, PUSH!, Crowd Company, working with producers like dan Swift (Snow Patrol, Aqualung) and Mark Crew (Bastille, Taylor Swift) and recording with Mark Richardson (Skunk Anansie, Feeder).
Current projects include his jazz-funk band GOGO and constant practice!
About the School
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