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New degree program at Bradley University introduces students to the music behind video games

Business Wire
Business Wire
The Spyro video game series was first introduced in 1998.

The soundtrack to the next video game you play may be handcrafted by a Bradley University student.

That’s thanks to the new degree program, music for video games, the university will launch this fall.

Dr. Lynnsey Lambrecht is an assistant professor of music theory and composition at Bradley. She said students in the music composition program have been writing soundtracks to capstone projects from the game design department for the past five years. So, it made sense to craft the work into its own program.

“We definitely wanted to capitalize on both our music department as well as our interactive media department,” Lambrecht explained. “So the students who take this degree, they'll have the highlights of both areas. In addition to that, we wanted to make sure they'd be prepared for the real world. So, we built in business courses and technology courses, so they would be able to be marketable and be a professional out there.”

Lambrecht noted the audio and soundtracks found in video games have developed in phenomenal ways over the years, making it an important field of study.

“Any of us who have watched a movie on mute or played a video game on mute, we don't feel the full impact, and I think that goes back to our senses and how music plays such a pivotal role in all entertainment, in all media,” said Lambrecht.

In addition to business and technology courses, students will take classes in orchestration, recording arts, sound design, as well as the opportunity for electives that are geared more toward the game design side of the equation.

Carl Anderson, associate chair of the department of music, said this degree, along with many that are technology-based, is designed to give students the fundamentals they need to be marketable now and in the long run.

“Technology moves and changes, and the most important thing is their sort of thirst for knowledge of what the next greatest thing is that they need to learn about as they move through their career,” said Anderson.

Carl Anderson (left) is the associate chair of the Department of Music at Bradley University. Dr. Lynnsey Lambrecht teaches music theory and composition.
Jody Holtz
Carl Anderson (left) is the associate chair of the Department of Music at Bradley University. Dr. Lynnsey Lambrecht teaches music theory and composition.

While the program focuses on music for video games, Lambrecht said the skills learned from the courses are transferable to many other mediums.

“They also have the opportunity to take elective courses with the animation department and film studies minor as well,” said Lambrecht. “So, they could write music that can be transferred to films, video games, commercials, even podcasts now; they're all underscored with music for the best effect.”

There is no audition required to enter the program, however, interested applicants do need to submit a portfolio.

“We look for a student to submit two examples of their work,” said Lambrecht. “Whether it be something they did on their computer, like in a digital audio workstation, and that could be an arrangement or a remix of another tune that's already out there.”

Overall, Lambrecht said she’s very excited to bring this program to the university.

“The students will really have the experience and opportunities to develop a portfolio to make them very marketable for video games in the future,” she said. “And you know, it's a billion-dollar industry. And it's a lucrative career out there that we can help prepare students for.”

Applications are being accepted for the Fall music for video games degree program. For more information, head to the music department’s website.

Jody Holtz is WCBU's assistant program and development director, All Things Considered host, as well as the producer of WCBU’s arts and culture podcast Out and About.