University of the West of Scotland

Programme Specification

Session: 2017/18

Last modified: 28/07/2015 19:42:22

Named Award Title:MA Songwriting and Performance

Award Title for Each Award: MA  Songwriting and Performance
PG Dip  Songwriting and Performance
PG Cert  Songwriting and Performance

Awarding Institution/Body: University of the West of Scotland
Language of Instruction & Examination: English
Award Accredited By:
Mode of Study:Full Time
Part Time
Campus:Ayr
Centre for Contemporary Art

School:School of Media, Culture and Society

Admission Criteria

Candidates must be able to satisfy the general admission requirements of the University of the West of Scotland as specified in Section 6 of the University Regulatory Framework together with the following programme requirements:

Appropriate Undergraduate Qualification
Direct entry to the MA is open to those possessing an Honours degree (minimum lower second) or equivalent in a relevant area of study. Students possessing an Ordinary degree (with an average mark of 50% or better) can apply to enrol on the Postgraduate Diploma and, on successful completion, transfer to the MA programme. Students should be able to demonstrate commitment and a level of skill in the practices of songwriting and performing. In this context definitions of ‘performance’ can include recorded performances either by the songwriter or performances by others that are directed by the songwriter. There will be opportunities throughout MA: Songwriting and Performance for those songwriters who want to build an approach to performance based in studio production and the direction of other musicians, vocalists and performers
Other Required Qualifications/Experience

Candidates must be able to satisfy the general admission requirements of the University of the West of Scotland as specified in Section 6.3.1 of the University Regulatory Framework together with the following programme requirements:??Candidates will be required to:??• Attend an interview for the course with the programme leader. This will take place in the studio spaces of UWS Ayr Campus.?• Present a folio of music (usually 3 songs). This may be in the form of CD, links to online presentation or in the form of an actual performed audition. The programme leader may also request submission of a short piece of written work.?• Present other relevant materials including but not limited to evidence of past practice, materials relating to previous live or recorded performances and publicity materials (where relevant).?• Provide evidence of undergraduate qualifications.??The programme may in certain circumstances permit entry to the course where specific professional or other experience is demonstrated and is deemed appropriate to the level. This may come with other caveats, including the completion of a theoretical / research methods module and will certainly be subject to interview / audition and presentation of folio materials as outlined above.??Applicants may also be considered with other academic, vocational or professional qualifications deemed to be equivalent and will follow university procedures with regard to RPL. Support for Recognition of Prior Learning is available through the Lifelong Learning Academy.


Further desirable skills pre-application

A demonstrable interest and commitment to songwriting and performance and academic study. This includes a demonstrable interest to literature and other media commentaries on the subject.


General Overview

The PgCert/PgDip/MA in Songwriting and Performance is focused on the development of exemplary songwriting / arts practice skills and the performance and technical attributes necessary to communicate those skills within the contexts of new and developing industry and distribution networks; providing strong critical / academic underpinning and a series of exciting practical events the programme aims to establish a locus for the research and practice of the creation and distribution of song, the currency of the music industry.

Aimed at graduates from a range of music / performance disciplines and industry professional writers / performers the programme provides an opportunity for participants to develop practice in a series of structured and immersive writing projects with performance and recorded outputs. Combining a range of tailored modules and collaborations with existing Masters Provision (MA: Music Innovation and Entrepreneurship and MA: Creative Media Practice) the programme seeks to provide a broad range of demanding content, strongly reflective of the cultural and creative landscape.

The programme will provide an opportunity to spend intense and sustained time developing new song material towards release in physical and digital forms and building new performances and recordings of material. The programme will also provide a strongly critical focus with the expectation that students will conduct research in areas of songwriting history, practice and cultural location as well as developing critiques of their own practice. Delivered by established songwriters, performers both from within the staff of the School Of Creative and Cultural Industries and a range of guest lecturers / industry mentors the course offers a tangible interface with industry indeed there is an expectation that students will be developing their professional career / profile concurrently with live module-centred projects. Further the course builds on the strength of the School of Media, Culture & Society as a locus for excellence in music practice-based research as evidenced by the existing suite of Masters Programmes, BA (Hons) Commercial Music and the outputs of lecturers and alumni.

MA: Songwriting and Performance provides students with an opportunity to develop collaborative, autonomous, critical and reflective skills at each of the three levels with the overarching theme being the development of a new and substantial body of creative work, ready for a range of platforms and industry contexts. Learning and Teaching approaches include intensive and immersive collaborative workshops, rehearsal / performance workshops, innovative approaches to critical studies and self-directed work with supervisory input.

Students can choose to exit with PG Cert, which focuses on creative collaboration in a wide variety of contexts along with approaches to song and practice critique. PG Dip broadens to include areas of solo work, collaborative rehearsal practice and live performance along with rights issues, intellectual property and music distribution. The PG Dip also includes a research and development module towards the MA Creative project itself. Students choosing to complete the MA have the opportunity to undertake this major creative project with outputs that may include the recording of an album, the development of a new body of songs or the undertaking of a series of performances. In their totality the modules provide a broad but detailed and critically focused narrative tailored for the creative musician entirely in line with industry expectations and the developing possibilities of the ‘new artist model’.

The programme was developed with direct input from music industry bodies, songwriters, performers and students and aims to embody the expectations of the creative and cultural industries from a variety of perspectives including those of creative music practice, entrepreneurial flair and proper engagement with rights and intellectual properties. The MA: Songwriting and Performance graduate will be an accomplished, reflective arts practitioner with a set of strongly focused professional tools and the ability to exist and thrive autonomously in a range of practice contexts.

It is anticipated that some graduates will move on to undertake practice-based-PhDs within UWS and in other institutions. Members of the MA: S&P drafting team are currently engaged in PhD support within UWS including the supervision of studies that have a strong music theme / topic. It is anticipated that this will prepare ground for future articulation / development from Masters project through to doctoral study.

MA: Songwriting and Performance combines approaches traditionally associated with ‘research’ and ‘taught’ Masters. While there are clear opportunities for (and expectations of) independently driven practice-based research with tutor and industry supervision there are ‘taught’ opportunities in each of the three levels relating to practice and critical studies. Students will take part in a range of immersive environments, working in strongly output-driven contexts across the range of songwriting and performance practices. These experiences will be integrated with modules of theoretical contextualisation, critical studies and reflective / PDP opportunities. Learning and teaching strategies will be geared towards the following learning processes: • Awareness raising and specialised knowledge acquisition; • Conceptual and critical understanding • Songwriting and performance experience • Critical reflection / methodological evaluation The programme delivery makes use of a range of teaching and learning methods suggested in the benchmark statements to include: • Project Work (including blocks of practice activity) • Lectures including guest lectures • Demonstrations • Tutorials/seminars • Group and individual project work • Personal research • The use of text books and journals • E-learning (VLE) • One to one interaction • Peer learning through discussion of colleagues work. • Independent learning • External placements (Work-Related Learning) - this activity will take full cognisance of Regulation 5.8. See section 29. There will be a mixture of large and small group and individual learning and teaching situations including tutor-led, student-led and independent learning sessions. Students will use a range of traditional and technology-based systems for accessing and manipulating data, resources, contacts and literature. The learning context will encourage active and creative engagement with cultural and communicative forms and practices. Assessment strategies will follow the specific emphasis and intended learning outcomes articulated in the range of modules on offer including: • Creative submissions • Engagement in collaborative work • Portfolios • Seminars • Textual analysis • Reports • Performances • Critical self-evaluation • Independent research • Independent production of creative art works Personal development and employability skills will be embedded into the programme and incremental throughout the duration of the student experience. PDP may not necessarily be assessed but core and employability skills will be. Students will be encouraged to maintain a PDP portfolio of feedback, evidence, reflection and goals. Support will be available through tools for e-portfolio development (VLE). Guidance by staff should be in the form of articulation of goals, support in actions to achieve goals, and encouragement to monitor and reflect on progress. Students are expected to undertake independent study both to supplement and consolidate what is being taught in formal classes. The framework provided to students for independent study develops as students become increasingly independent. In early years the students are expected to complete specific exercises. As they progress through the course and develop increasing independence the nature of the tasks becomes more challenging. The nature of the programme ensures that ICT skills are developed in several modules. Communication skills are developed through the use of collaborative songwriting and performing tasks, reports, presentations etc. Practical work is a mix of individual and group work that develops the ability to work independently and as part of a group taking on different roles as required. Personal development and employability skills will be embedded into modules and incremental throughout the duration of the student experience. Additional hours will focus on development of the skills and increasing autonomy of the student in terms of managing their own learning.


Employability Skills & Personal Development Planning

 

This programme is aligned to the encouragement of employability skills indeed the practical modules are largely based on established industry and work practice. There is an emphasis on actual career building / creative entrepreneurship throughout the programme allied to critical focus strongly in line with effective PDP.

 

Work Based Learning/Placement Details

The PG Cert 40-credit Songwriting Workshop module has, as part of the assessment, a short scale work placement based in a participatory arts project (this will typically take place in a school or community project) requiring students to produce song and performance work in collaboration with participants. There is an expectation of professional engagement, solutions-based creativity and timely delivery of coherent creative work. This is typical of professional expectations in the Community Music sector (a rich employment opportunity for many songwriters and musicians in Scotland).

The elements of WBL within the modules are credit bearing in line with regulation 5.8.3. This is outlined in the module descriptors / learning outcomes. Students will be supported within the modules and with reference to WBL handbook materials (regulation 5.8.6)


Programme structures and requirements, SCQF level, trimester, module name and code, credits and awards (Link to Regulation 5.2.9)

A. PG Cert
Learning Outcomes (Maximum of 5 per heading)

Knowledge and Understanding

A1Students will gain comprehensive experience and understanding of collaborative songwriting practice within a wide range of industry contexts
A2Students will develop extensive knowledge and understanding of the ways in which song material can be evaluated and understood including a range of research methodologies from musicology and other disciplines (such as cultural theory, literary theory and aesthetic philosophy)
A3Students will be able to demonstrate ability to critically evaluate current and historical academic practices in analysis, including advanced scholarship in the discipline

Practice - Applied Knowledge and Understanding

B1Students will use a wide range of the principal skills, techniques and practices associated with songwriting, performance and collaborative arts practice and apply these in the light of a broad analytical and historical understanding of music in context
B2Students will practice in a wide variety of professional contexts including working to briefs, collaborating with a range of clients and negotiating in creative partnerships
B3Students will plan and execute a significant project of research and complete their own analyses of chosen material
B4Students will demonstrate ability to apply a number of specialised research methodologies to song repertoire, including standard methods of musical analysis alongside creative critical responses

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills

C1Students will demonstrate a range of communication skills including both verbal (aural and written) and musical forms
C2Students will be able to use a range of music software and hardware at an advanced level in support of their song-based analytical responses.
C3Students will use a wide range of software to support creative work, including recording software and other web based technologies

Generic Cognitive Skills - Problem Solving, Analysis, Evaluation

D1The range of assessment tools and taught experiences will enable students to develop original and professional responses to creative issues and problems, making informed judgements and exercising autonomy.
D2Students will critically review self-generated creative music work in a series of writings, consolidating and extending knowledge in the disciplines of songwriting and collaborative arts practice.
D3Students will prepare original and creative responses to issues and problems they have identified through their research.
D4Students will demonstrate the ability to critically review, consolidate and practically expand upon complex practices and highly abstract thinking in musicological practice.

Autonomy, Accountability and Working With Others

E1Students will demonstrate professional-level leadership in projects and also to accept and work with direction in complex collaborative scenarios
E2Students will exercise substantial autonomy and initiative in preparation for seminars and in researching their written pieces.

Core Modules
SCQF Level Module CodeModule NameCreditTrimesterFootnotes
123
11MUSC11004Analysing Songwriting * 20check mark  
11MUSC11005Songwriting Workshop * 40check mark  

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

Footnotes

Optional Modules
SCQF Level Module CodeModule NameCreditTrimesterFootnotes
123
               

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

Footnotes

Criteria for Progression and Award

Progression to PG Dip requires at least 60 credits of which a minimum of 40 is at SCQF level 11.

The Post-graduate Certificate in Songwriting and Performance is typically offered as an exit award after successful completion of 60 credits of which a minimum of 40 are at least SCQF11


B. PG Dip
Learning Outcomes (Maximum of 5 per heading)

Knowledge and Understanding

A1Students will gain extensive and detailed knowledge of the ways in which song material can be created and developed for presentation as a coherent performance including rehearsal practice, informal music arrangement, narrative construction (in terms of song material and overall set-list construction) and issues associated with technical presentation
A2Students will demonstrate critical understanding of the principal theories, concepts and practicalities of conceptualizing and realizing a coherent music performance
A3A critical understanding of the principal theories, concepts and principles associated with research for and related to creative practice
A4An extensive, detailed and critical knowledge and understanding in research methodologies much of which is at or informed by developments at the forefront of research in and focused on creative practice
A5Students will demonstrate critical awareness of current issues surrounding the ownership and distribution of copyright material

Practice - Applied Knowledge and Understanding

B1Use a significant range of the specific principal skills, techniques and practices associated with songwriting and the construction of repertoire for audience presentation
B2Use a selection from a range of research methods techniques and practices at the forefront or informed by key developments in creative practice
B3Students will plan and execute a significant performance project from the research and development of new song material, arrangement, rehearsal and contextualisation of materials and the promotion and execution of a professional-level event
B4Demonstrate originality or creativity in the application of knowledge and understanding of research and research methods as applied to songwriting and performance practice

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills

C1Students will use a range of advanced skills in communicating music ideas (including written, demonstrated and verbal forms) in rehearsal context with peers and tutors, working at a high professional level of competency
C2Students will use a range of software, computer and web-based platforms to communicate ideas, record music pieces, communicate with tutors and peers and to promote a series of performances
C3Use a range of advanced and specialised communication and dissemination skills relevant to the accounting for creative research such as
C4Communicate, using appropriate methods, to a range of audiences with different levels of knowledge/expertise
C5Communicate with peers, more senior colleagues and specialists

Generic Cognitive Skills - Problem Solving, Analysis, Evaluation

D1Students will deal with complex and divergent issues, making critically informed judgements towards the creation of a coherent performance event with value for an audience
D2Students will develop original and creative responses to problems and issues in terms of compositional techniques / expression, rehearsal practice, music arrangement and technical issues in the presentation of coherent artistic material
D3Deal with complex issues and make informed judgements in situations in the absence of complete or consistent data/information

Autonomy, Accountability and Working With Others

E1Students will exercise substantial autonomy and initiative in creating a new suite of song material for presentation as part of a live performance
E2Students will take responsibility for the development of this work and will also take responsibility in helping present the work of others
E3Students will demonstrate strong critical reflection on their own practice / performance

Core Modules
SCQF Level Module CodeModule NameCreditTrimesterFootnotes
123
11MEDI11003Collaborative Project20   
11MEDI11005Research: Critical Development20 check mark 

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

Footnotes

Optional Modules
SCQF Level Module CodeModule NameCreditTrimesterFootnotes
123
11MEDI11002Creative Skills 220 check mark 
10MEDI10025Music Film & Sound Aesthetics20 check mark 

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

Footnotes
Music Film & Sound Aesthetics will be offered at discretion of Programme leader to those students who can demonstrate prior learning in the outcomes of Creative Skills 2

Criteria for Progression and Award

Students may progress to the Masters stage of the programme if they achieve 120 credits of which at least 100 must be at SCQF11 with none below level 10.

The Post-graduate Diploma in Songwriting and Performance is typically offered as an exit award after successful completion of 120 credits at level 11.

Distinction is awarded to candidates who have met the criteria as specified in Regulation 7.5.2


C. MSc/MA/MBA
Learning Outcomes (Maximum of 5 per heading)

Knowledge and Understanding

A1Students will demonstrate knowledge that covers and integrates most if not all of the principal areas, features, boundaries, terminology and conventions of songwriting and performance practice
A2Students will demonstrate critical understanding of the principal theories, concepts and principles underpinning contemporary music practice
A3Students will demonstrate a critical understanding of a range of specialized theories, principles and concepts applying to songwriting and performance practice
A4Students will display extensive, detailed and critical knowledge and understanding in one or more specialism related to music practice, much of which is at or informed by developments at the forefront of the discipline

Practice - Applied Knowledge and Understanding

B1Students will use a range of specialised skills, techniques, practices
and/or materials which are at the forefront or informed by forefront developments in songwriting and performance practice
B2Students will apply a range of standard and specialised research or
equivalent instruments and techniques of enquiry
B3Students will plan and execute a significant project of research, investigation or development
B4Students will demonstrate originality or creativity in the application of knowledge, understanding and/or practices related to songwriting and performance
B5Students will practice in a wide and often unpredictable variety of professional level contexts

Communication, ICT and Numeracy Skills

C1Students will use a range of specific, advanced and specialised skills relevant to songwriting and performance practice – for example:
C2Communicate, using appropriate methods to a range of audiences with different levels of knowledge/expertise
C3Communicate with peers, more senior colleagues and specialists
C4Students will use a wide range of software to support and enhance work at this level

Generic Cognitive Skills - Problem Solving, Analysis, Evaluation

D1Apply critical analysis, evaluation and synthesis to issues which are at the forefront or informed by developments at the forefront of creative media practice
D2Identify, conceptualise and define new and abstract problems and issues
D3Develop original and creative responses to problems and issues
D4Critically review, consolidate and extend knowledge skills practices and thinking in a subject/discipline
D5Deal with complex issues and make informed judgements in situations in the absence of complete or consistent data/information

Autonomy, Accountability and Working With Others

E1Students will exercise substantial autonomy and initiative in professional and equivalent activities
E2Students will take responsibility for own work and/or significant responsibility for the work of others
E3Students will take responsibility for a significant range of resources
E4Students will demonstrate leadership and/or initiative and make an identifiable contribution to change and development
E5Students will practice in ways that draw on critical reflection on own and others’ roles and responsibilities

Core Modules
SCQF Level Module CodeModule NameCreditTrimesterFootnotes
123
11MEDI11007Masters Creative Project60  check mark

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

Footnotes
The Masters Creative Project will be a significant piece of practice-led research comprising of a major creative practice output in a specific creative area chosen by the student and building on their previous skills and experience and development and research carried out in earlier modules, in particular the core option Research: Critical Development. The project proposal will be developed in negotiation with the programme team and following approval an appropriate supervisory team will be designated. The Masters Creative Project provides students with the opportunity to develop a songwriting and/or performance-orientated focus over a concerted period of time where they will undertake a substantial piece of professional practice/practice led research on their own, (for example the recording of an album or creation of a series of theatrical performances) based on both substantial creative output and the production of a 5,000 word written contextualisation.

Under the guidance of an allocated supervisor from the programme team, students are given the freedom to pursue their creative practice interest in some depth; consolidating the wide range of learning and practice to which they have been exposed in previous years. The design and implementation of the project serves to allow students to demonstrate to examiners, to peers and to potential employers, their command of their chosen creative practice and associated critical theory, as well as their analytical skills and an awareness of both the principles and practice of research more generally.

Shared with the cohort of MA: Creative Media Practice the Masters Creative Project also offers opportunities for cross disciplinary creative work.

Optional Modules
SCQF Level Module CodeModule NameCreditTrimesterFootnotes
123
               

* Indicates that module descriptor is not published.

Footnotes

Criteria for Progression and Award

Award of Masters requires at least 180 credits of which a minimum of 160 is at SCQF11 with no module less than level 10.

Students who meet the criteria as set out in University Regulation 7.5.2 (D) will be awarded distinction.


Regulations of Assessment

Candidates will be bound by the general assessment regulations of the University as specified in section 7 of the University Regulatory Framework .

An overview of the assessment details is provided in the Student Handbook and full details of the assessment criteria for each module is provided in the module descriptor which forms part of the module pack issued to students. For further details on assessment please refer to Section 7 of the Regulatory Framework.

To qualify for an award of the University, students must complete all the programme requirements and must meet the credit minima detailed in Section 3 of the Regulatory Framework.

(Regulation 7)

(Assessment Policy)