Music Workshop Postmortem

Back in February, I was asked to teach a workshop on video game music composition up at my alma mater, Saint John’s University. I thought it would be fun to give the students a demo game to score, so Will and Ethan helped me out by creating Colorado John (no relation to another whip-wielding cave explorer).

*whip cracks*

Teaching the workshop was a good excuse for me to dig more into the theory behind game music. I structured a lot of my class around Winifred Phillips’ fantastic book A Composer’s Guide to Game Music, one of the few books out there focused specifically on game composing. I encourage you to check out my presentation slides for some game music theory, examples, and tips. You can also find all the resources from the workshop here.

Who are those handsome devils?

The students used the free program Soundation, and came up with some really cool scores for Colorado John, especially considering they had very little experience creating electronic music before. They also created some sound effects from scratch using the free utility as3sfxr.

At the end of the workshop, my students showed off their soundtracks for Colorado John. Here’s a student-created soundtrack by Sean Deal:

Here’s another soundtrack, by Zachary Gibbs:

On the last day of the workshop, Will and Ethan joined us to talk about their experience as freelance game creators.

If you’re an educator and would like to bring this video game music workshop to your classroom, feel free to get in touch!