Diploma in Songwriting and Production

Master each step of the songwriting process from music theory, ear training, keyboard skills and harmony, to songwriting, arranging and production techniques.
This 1-yr programme aims to fully equip students with the creative approaches and technical skills to excel in the local music industry as a songwriter and producer. To demonstrate the skills and knowledge learnt from the course, all students will leave with studio-recorded albums of songs written, arranged and produced by them.

Certificate Courses

Alternatively, all modules can be taken individually as short certificate courses. To apply for this course or to request for a Course Prospectus, please proceed here.

Course Duration / Commencement

12 months. Lessons are conducted twice a week, every Mon and Wed, from 7pm – 10pm.

2017 intake commences on April 2017, Monday.

(Enrolment for 2017 intake is now open. Kindly call or email us for more information on registration.)

Course Structure

This course consists of 13 modules with a total of 220 contact hours and 200 project/assignment hours.

Course Outline

  • Music Fundamentals and Harmony

Students will be taught a strong foundation of music theory and harmonic concepts derived from classical and contemporary teachings, which they will then practice and apply in their keyboard and guitar modules. Lecture topics include scale and mode construction, rhythms and time signatures, key signatures, intervals, chord construction, and the principles of harmonic progressions.

Assessment Breakdown:
Theory examination: 100%

  • Keyboard Skills and Ear Training

This module will equip students with keyboard skills, putting to use the concepts learnt in the previous music fundamentals module. Using Pop songs, students will learn to construct, read and play triads and 7th chords, as well as various comping patterns and voice-leading in the right hand, and play simple bass lines in the left hand, all this while singing the melody of the song. Students will also train their ears and improve on their musicality through Solfege, sight-singing and rhythmic exercises in the Ear Training section of the module.

Assessment Breakdown:
Practical examination: 70%
Ear Training examination: 30%

  • Strum and Sing Guitar Skills:

In order to be a versatile songwriter, it is important to be able to write songs using both the keyboard and guitar. This module teaches and prepares students to be able to read and play basic chords, strumming patterns and simple major scales on the guitar. Through hands-on training, this module aims to get students to be comfortable playing the guitar and eventually writing songs on the guitar.

Assessment Breakdown:
Practical examination 90%
Tutorial participation: 10%

  • Songwriting I: Crafting a Song

An introduction to the craft of songwriting focusing on structure, rhythm, melody and the importance of repetition. Through song analysis and in-class examples, students will learn how to carefully combine all the fundamental elements of a pop song.

  • Songwriting II: Writing Pop Hits

This highlight module teaches the students numerous  tools and techniques of writing a hit song, covering both melodic and harmonic concepts that underlie thousands of hit songs. Each week, a new technique will be taught and students will apply the technique taught to write an original song as their weekly assignment. They will then present their songs to the class the following week to receive critique by the instructor and their peers on how to improve on their writing and songs.

*Songwriting I & II combine for one grade. There is no assessment for Songwriting I.

Assessment Breakdown:
Weekly assignments: 50%
Final presentation: 40%
Tutorial participation and peer assessment: 10%

  • Recording Techniques for Writers

A Pro Tools module to equip the students with the skills and knowledge to record their demos. Through demonstrations and hands-on assignments in the recording studio, students will learn about signal flow, microphones, recording techniques and basic mixing concepts.

Assessment Breakdown:
Recording project: 50%
Editing Project: 50%

  • Vocal Techniques for Singer-Songwriters

An introduction to vocal techniques, this module is specially designed for singer-songwriters and aims to teach students the fundamental elements of singing using current pop songs: control, intonation, diction, tone quality and phrasing. Warm-up exercises and singing in Solfege will also be covered in this module.

Assessment Breakdown:
Practical examination: 90%
Tutorial participation: 10%

  • MIDI Systems for Music Production

This module explores the industry standard Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) specification and its application in music production. Through in-class demonstration and hands-on exercises done at individual computer-based workstations, students will learn how to set up and troubleshoot a MIDI workstation and use sequencing as well as loops to create a music arrangement.

Assessment Breakdown:
Project work: 60%
Weekly assignments: 40%

  • Songwriting III: Writing for TV and Film

This project-based module teaches students the approaches and concepts to writing for television, film and visual media using real-world examples in class. Topics include spotting approaches, harmonic considerations, applying sound effects and scoring techniques.

Assessment Breakdown:
Assignment 1: 20%
Assignment 2: 30%
Final Project: 50%

  • Songwriting IV: Vocal Writing

An introduction to writing and arranging for voices. Students will be taught basic writing techniques such as closed and open voicings, voice-leading, vocal ranges and writing counter-melodies, with a focus on arranging for backing vocals, choir and A Cappella groups.

Assessment Breakdown:
Assignment 1: 20%
Assignment 2: 20%
Final Project: 60%

  • Pop Music Arranging

A study of music arranging for a variety of pop music styles which includes Rock, R&B and Dance. Through step-by-step lessons and dissecting commercial hit arrangements, students will conceptualise and learn how to arrange for different instruments, combining them through layering and sequencing, to finally create a commercial sound.

Assessment Breakdown:
Assignment 1: 20%
Assignment 2: 20%
Final Project: 60%

  • Music Production Techniques

Understanding the important role and responsibilities of a Music Producer. This module deals with the creative and technical aspects of music production, equipping students with the skills to get the most out of musicians, artistes and recording sessions. Through the use of reference songs, students will understand the different stages of production, production values and how to achieve certain sounds in the studio. This module also explores the relationship between producer and engineer, and how to attain a balanced and successful partnership in the studio.

Assessment Breakdown:
Project presentation: 50%
Weekly assignments: 30%
Tutorial participation: 20%

  • Directed Study in Songwriting

Students will be given individual instruction and guidance as they prepare and progress through their final portfolio of a 3-song production album.

Instructor to Student Ratio

The instructor to student ratio is 1 instructor to 10 students.

Entry Requirements

Candidates applying for our diploma courses need to be at least 16 years of age and possess a minimum of three (3) GCE O-level credits or equivalent. Currently, we are only accepting Singaporeans and Singapore Permanent Residents.
Candidates who have attained a NITEC or Higher NITEC certificate will have to complete and pass our Certificate course in either ‘Songwriting’, ‘Audio Engineering’ or ‘Electronic Music Production’ in order to be eligible for admission to the Diploma Courses.

Graduation Requirements

Students need to complete and pass every module in order to graduate.

Attendance Policy

Students are required to meet a minimum of 80% attendance for each module in order to complete the course.

Fees

$9,000 (excluding a one-time registration fee of $300