Our websites use cookies (session, persistent, third party, advertising and performance) to improve your experience and for targeted advertising. To find out more and learn how to disable these cookies, please see our cookies policy

Professional Development

Tel: +44 (0)117 32 81043, Option 1 for PD
followed by option: 1 for CHSS, 2 for CBAL or 3 for CATE

You can view, apply for and review your professional development courses here.

Therapeutic Songwriting

Course Details

Course/Module Code



24-25 Non-Accredited 15 credits



24-25 Accredited 15 credits



Course Dates

Select course date below to see all attendance days and to apply.
If no course dates are shown below this could be due to high demand or no availability. If your course is being funded by your employer and they have bought places in advance you will need to contact them to be given the links to apply.




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:

  1. Recordings of songs written on practice
  2. A written self-appraisal
  3. A written reflective piece on your development in the area of songwriting practice, referencing the recordings.
  4. An in-person viva presentation of songwriting practice as a case study

The total word count of the written parts of the portfolio (2+3) will be 3,000 (+/- 10%).



Careers/further study

This module can contribute towards MA Therapeutic Music Studies.


The course content typically 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

Course Director

Luke Annesley

Entry Requirements

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


The 15 credit Therapeutic Songwriting module is taught by two very experienced practitioners in the field, Bob Heath and Jane Lings.

This module can be taken as classroom only, or as a full module, which includes a written assignment and viva presentation. All in-person teaching sessions take place at weekends.

It is suitable for music therapists, either qualified or in training, and also welcomes professionals from other fields such as education, social care, counselling, psychotherapy and community music. Musicians from any tradition or genre are welcome, and there is no expectation of previous expertise in songwriting.

The module is delivered in partnership with the UWE Bristol Centre for Music, and participants will have access to the excellent facilities at the centre on UWE Bristol Frenchay Campus.

On successful completion of this level 7 (Masters level) 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.

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 facilities

The Faculty of Health and Applied Sciences has an excellent reputation for the quality of its teaching and the facilities it provides.


+44 (0)117 32 81158

You can also follow us on Twitter @UWEhasCPD.


15 credit level 7 module

Click here to ask us a question about this course. Please include your full name with your question. If required, please let us know if you want us to add you to the future dates mailing list. Alternatively you may email us directly at pd@uwe.ac.uk


To view all CPD courses offered by UWE Bristol, please select (click on) the box below

View courses