Education for a Video Game Music Composer

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  • #3281

    So I’m almost ready to start submitting applications in summer and fall for spring ’16 or fall ’16 semesters at universities in California. I’m just about done with Jr. College save for 3 Gen. Ed classes, and one more round private lessons in Music Composition until my Jr. Qualifying. I’ve started building up a portfolio and even working on some projects for grad students at a nearby university. I was just wondering if anyone knows any good programs or what kind of programs I should apply for. I’m really interested in sound design but my passion is definitely in music composition. I’m working on self teaching myself implementation programs like fmod and wwise, it’s just hard figuring out as far as education what will be beneficial to me and what will not. My dream school would be the SF Conservatory of Music, besides that top pick would be UC Santa Cruz, CSU Northridge, CSU Fullerton and San Jose State in that order and I am thinking about doing Music Composition with a focus in Electronic music, but I don’t really know what I’m doing and no teacher or counselor I’ve met knows anything about Video game music/audio. So I always feel like I’m just going at this endeavor alone and blindly which is scary. Anyone who has gone to any of these programs or a different program that they found helpful would be great! I just don’t know where to go from here and I’m honestly very scared about transferring schools.

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  • #3306
    Brian Schmidt

    SFCM has recently started a program in game audio and many very experienced GANG members teach or advise for it. I’d definitely reach out to them.
    Pyramind studios also is a great SF location for Game Audio education; they have a benefit of being a working studio, actively working on games as well as their coursework. It sort of depends on what you’re looking for

    There are definitely a lot of good resources out there.
    Another thing is to keep an eye on the various meetups (it sounds like you’re local to San Fran) and/or conferences. GDC ( occurs each Spring (it was this past March), or GameSoundCon are good places to look for game audio education as well


    Thank you! I actually attended GDC this year and plan on attending game sound con as well. I actually met with the associate dean of the program you mentioned at SFCM and it’s looking like one of the best options. I literally just joined meetups like 15 minutes ago! I always try to go digging for more information and I always feel like I’m going in the right direction before I even get my questions answered, so I guess I’m doing ok on my own. It’s just scary because people who can usually help at school like academic counselors, have no idea what to do with me, so a lot of it is studying up on the internet. But from what I’ve gathered so far, that’s a lot of what this profession is, internet research, trial and error, and first hand experience.


    I never actually heard of pyramind until now, does anyone have experience with them that would suggest for or against it?

    Brian Schmidt

    It’s just scary because people who can usually help at school like academic counselors, have no idea what to do with me

    FYI please feel free to give my name & contact info (brian [at] brianschmidtstudios [dot] com) to your academic counselor. I’d be happy to chat with him/her if they have questions about the industry.


    Oh thank you so much! I’ll definitely pass that info along to both my counselor and my private instructor for music composition.

    Kole Hicks

    Something I’d just like to mention really quickly is that while you certainly want to pick a program that offers you the most, I’ve found…

    1) No matter where you go or what you study, the value of that which you take away from something is heavily reliant upon your own persistence & passion. A super dedicated person will find the maximum amount of value in a situation many would consider fruitless. I think beyond being a character trait, this is a skill that can be developed (and certainly a useful one if you want to get into freelance Game Audio).

    2) While you certainly want to surround yourself with knowledgable people & learn from the best, make sure you don’t dig the hole (debt) too big. Time is our most valuable resource & the more you have to pay back, the more time that’ll require of you. Our industry is friendly, but very competitive so finding consistent (well paying) work right after graduating can be quite difficult.

    Best of luck!

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