Adjunct Instructor develops Academy for video game music creators

Graphic by Justus O'Neil

Faculty at the University of Indianapolis have worked to create a space for musicians and students to implement their music into the world of video games. It started as a project of a composition seminar class, Adjunct Instructor and Composer Matthew Bridgham put together the idea for a month-long section on video game music, termed the ”Video Game Music Academy.”

From Oct. 2 until Nov. 2, students attended the academy. Participation was open to students in the Composition Seminar class as well as anyone else whom it piqued their interest. The goal was to open the door for creativity and knowledge of music to be collaborated and catalyzed by people involved, according to Bridgham.

Bridgham said the Video Game Music Academy welcomed music composers Jules Pilgrim and Dale North throughout the month to spread knowledge about the process of making and understanding music for video games.

“Jules Pilgrim balanced everything out. He has written music for films and currently a lot of what he does is for films, independent films and things like that. So he has his hands in both worlds,” Bridgham said. “He balanced what Dale North was saying, by saying that there are places to express your individuality in scoring a film, but you have to just find them you have to know when to be a team player, when to be a supporting role as a musician, and then times where you can shine.” 

Students spent time listening to the advice of these composers and used it to reference when they worked on their projects. Senior music therapy major Rinata White said she saw a flyer for the academy and decided to join. She mentioned the process and workflow she was introduced to while in the academy: looping.

“But I noticed a lot, what the composer usually does is he [North] says, it’s a lot of looping. When you loop, sometimes you gotta make sure it fits well with other pieces,” White said. “He says usually the music moves when you get into different areas. So you have the opening music, then you have town music, that goes into maybe a fight scene, then goes back to the town. That could go to the country, and go back to the city.”

The program also emphasized the importance of personal practice when it comes to making music. Within the Academy, Bridgham said that learning of others’ methods of making music is important when making music.

“Some people don’t write by hand. Some people don’t even create scores, some people imagine the music and just keep it memorized,” Bridgham said. “One of the reasons I like to engrave my music and put it down, and record it, is because you might lose it.” 

The Video Game Music Academy currently will not be continued, according to Bridgham. To continue, the program would require funding and additional resources for it to become established, and new possibilities could open up from there, according to Bridgham. Bridgham said that they would love to see this happen, and believes that in the future something like this could work. 

“I do think UIndy would benefit from it, especially based on the reaction I’ve seen,” Bridgham said. “It would benefit from exploring commercial music or video game music, film music, specifically video game music because it’s such a big field right now.” 

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