Professional course Therapeutic Songwriting

Entry year
Course code
Professional/Short Course
Health and Social Sciences
Programme leader
Luke Annesley

15 credit Masters level module

Page last updated 2 April 2020


On successful completion of this module, you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a critical awareness of the history and philosophies of therapeutic songwriting and an understanding of how these are embedded into established psychotherapeutic frameworks.
  • Demonstrate competence in active and creative listening skills in relation to music.
  • Show an understanding and competence in the application of melody and harmony in therapeutic songwriting.
  • Critically reflect on student's own development of therapeutic songwriting.
  • Demonstrate competency in a range of musical skills including use of guitar and piano in songwriting.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of group songwriting approaches.

Entry requirements

You must have evidence of employment or volunteering opportunity where songwriting can be applied.

Careers / Further study

This module can contribute towards MA Therapeutic Music Studies.



The course content includes:

Historical and cultural background

  • Historical background to therapeutic songwriting
  • The songwriting process
  • Philosophy
  • Psychological context
  • Working in a culture-sensitive way
  • Introduction to main approaches to songwriting

Musical techniques

  • Basic guitar technique
  • Use of keyboard
  • Use of acrostic techniques
  • Removing protective hurdles and blocks
  • Harmonic structures
  • Improvisation

Therapeutic skills

  • Active listening
  • Creative listening
  • Staying in the music
  • Suspending value judgements
  • Client -led approaches to lyric creation
  • Group songwriting


  • Technology of recording
  • Ethics of recording
  • Use of recorded materials

Learning and Teaching

The teaching sessions will involve a variety of teaching and learning formats including workshops, lectures, individual and small group activities, and discussions (the teaching and learning methods will be adapted to the cohort size).

Scheduled learning - the workshops will include workshops, small group activities, and group discussions/seminars.

Independent learning includes hours engaged with practice of techniques, essential reading, further reading and self-directed study, reflective writing, preparation for lectures and in-class activities, and assignment preparation and completion.

This module generates 45 hours of scheduled study time in therapeutic songwriting lectures and workshops.

You will also be expected to spend:

  • at least 12 hours applying the songwriting in practice
  • approximately 60 hours engaged in independent academic study and practice of the songwriting techniques
  • 25 to 30 hours completing the coursework assignment.

Hours to be allocated: 150

Study time

Preparation for and completion of the assignments will take up approximately 25 learning hours and 60 hours remain for independent study connected with this module.

Placement learning: Learning in practice will comprise a minimum of 12 hours.

Scheduled learning: will account for around 45 hours on this module and will involve lectures, seminars, demonstrations, workshops and small group work.

Independent learning: (approximately 88 hours) includes hours engaged with essential reading, reflective writing, presentation preparation and portfolio completion.


Summative assessment of all learning outcomes aims to capture in the main competencies and aspects of critical understanding which are required for M-level. The assignments will involve reflective practice as well as appraisal and discussion with examiners and peers in order to demonstrate the integration of theory and practice and to allow you creative ways of integrating complex thinking and practice.

The portfolio will include:

  • a recording of songs written on practice
  • appraisal from practice managers, course tutors and self-appraisal
  • a written reflective piece on your developing competency in the area of songwriting practice
  • a presentation of the songwriting practice as a case study The word count of the portfolio will be 3,000 excluding the CD and appraisals

Component A has a formative aspect of assessment as you will be able to gain ongoing feedback from Practice Teachers/Mentors during your practice placement and will be able to obtain formative feedback on other aspects of your portfolio from academic staff.


Study facilities

Explore the fantastic facilities at UWE Bristol's Glenside Campus on this short YouTube clip.

Prices and dates

Supplementary fee information

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How to apply

How to apply

You are required to apply online for your CPD modules, which you can take as stand-alone courses or as part of an undergraduate (level 3) or postgraduate (Masters level) programme.

For further information