Gaming and Music Masterclass

17 February, 2016

Music and gaming is an exciting partnership, so we wanted the best industry insights for our recent Masterclass.

Fortunately, our panellists were second to none. Alastair Lindsay is Head of Music at Sony Computer Entertainment Group where he’s worked since the mid-90s. Chris Nairn is a composer whose eclectic output includes pop, TV scores, and of course, video game music. Joanna Orland is a game sound designer and is currently Senior Sound Designer for Sony.

BIMM London’s Head of Music Production Johan Englund hosted, giving each speaker the chance to discuss their route into gaming music, their thoughts on the industry, their writing processes, and what they look for when recruiting. They even played samples of their work and works in progress.

Here are some favourite insights from the Masterclass:

How would you advise practicing writing for a game?


Stay consistent with practice and writing, and definitely network. I wouldn’t worry about the fact you won’t necessarily have a game, you just have to have an understanding of the techniques you use. You could always take a scene from a game and put your own spin on it by creating your own triggers.

What should I put in my portfolio to grab your attention?


For sound design I want to hear what your distinct style is. Your sense of drama and sound effects. Put together a few different clips to show variation. You should also tailor your portfolio to the job you’re applying for. If it’s a Sci-Fi game, you should put that general theme throughout your portfolio. It’s also a case of being likable and if we would get on. In this job you need social skills, and interaction is what it’s all about.

On networking in the gaming industry:


Contacting people directly isn’t always the best idea, but it does work. Going to conferences is great as there are people in the industry you can network with. Online forums are helpful, as well as events. Twitter is a great way of learning about these as the industry will announce them and create a hashtag.

When you compose, how do you ensure the music is non-intrusive but effective?


I ask a lot of questions and I research so I know exactly what the developer wants. For things like horror games you want to create tension, then when something is planning on jumping out and scaring you, you make sure that creates the most impact!

We always strive to put our students in contact with the industry’s finest like Alastair, Chris and Joanna, and we hope our Masterclass encouraged some of our students to think about an exciting growing area of music they might not have considered yet.

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