In recent years Ireland has experienced unprecedented growth in a booming games sector, and employment opportunities are increasing. This month we find out from recent graduate Linda Quinlan how the practical experiences of the Certificate in Music Production for Games have inspired her to continue learning new creative skills and provided her with the knowledge and confidence to look for work in the Music Production and Games industries …
Name: Linda Quinlan
Course: Certificate in Music Production for Games in partnership with Pulse College at Windmill Lane Recording Studios
Year Of Graduation: 2014
Home Town / Country: Dublin
My Current Situation
The CMPG study experience has inspired me to return to my piano and music theory studies. I have realised that the better I understand the theory and foundations of music, the quicker and more effective I’ll be during the creative composing process. Returning to study has also really encouraged my curiosity and thirst for knowledge, so I’m considering doing a Teaching Diploma at Griffith College too. I want to learn as much as I possibly can!
From a very young age I was learning the piano so I guess I always had a passion for music. I lost interest in it as a teenager and worked as an Accounts Administrator after I left school. A spinal injury made the long hours in an office unbearable and so I had to leave work. I knew I would need to find a new career and preferably one that I already had some experience in.
Recommendations for the Certificate in Music Games Production, Griffith College and Dublin
I would absolutely recommend this course to anyone who loves music and is willing to work hard. The College is beautiful and very up to date. The lecturers are industry professionals who are currently working in the industry themselves so the insights they pass on are invaluable. I felt completely at home at Griffith.
Preparing For The Certificate In Music Production For Games
I wish I had spent more time brushing-up on my music theory before I started. I was missing some basic knowledge that would have been beneficial to me, if only I had re-read my theory books! An Apple Mac computer and a good pair of headphones will make the creative work and composition so much easier if you can afford it!
Main Tips For New CPMG Students
The course is very short so I would strongly advise you make the most of every moment. Don’t be half-hearted about your study. Do all the homework, start assignments early and write down everything the lecturers tell you! It’s all very valuable information and before you know it – because you’re so immersed in the learning experience – the course is over!
Highlight of My Time At Griffith
Without a doubt, the lecturers! The footage that they brought in for us to work with was fantastic. They shared their years of experience in the music and games industries and advised us on how to communicate with games directors. The lecturers gave us so much invaluable information and material that it was quite overwhelming – but in a good way! From Space Invaders sound effects to film scores, I felt very lucky to be one of the students in their classes.
The Practical Experience
I learnt how to go out on my own, listen, identify and record interesting sounds, and how that sound can be manipulated and shaped into something quite different once back in the studio. I quickly realised that even if I haven’t got my microphone handy, recording sounds on my mobile phone was good enough. The course also gave a thorough grounding in the different software applications most commonly used in the music games industry. We also analysed film scores and I realised the full scope of potential of music composition. A score can start with a very simple musical interval that might suit the tone of the footage. Even using just two notes can develop into a beautiful, striking and effective soundtrack.
My Most Useful Experiences
Before starting the course I didn’t have much experience of composing music and in a few of our classes we were given video footage of film or games and a Midi controller keyboard. We were told to create a score that suited the mood of the footage. It took me a bit longer than some to get into a flow of doing this quickly, but soon enough I was able to keep up.
I was surprised at how quickly I stopped being quite so shy and protective over my compositions. I soon realised that composers have their own unique, individual musical style. Over time my classmates and I took turns to listen to each other’s work before class and these informal sessions really enhanced the learning experience. It was a real eye opener to see one piece of footage analysed and interpreted in so many different ways.
I also learnt not to get too attached to my compositions if I want them to be used in film or games. The goal is to follow a brief and create what the employer wants. Speed is very important when pitching for a game or film score. Since completing the certificate I feel confident that I can send in a pitch within 24 hours. Lecturers gave the most important tip in establishing a successful career in the music production and games industries – it’s key to learn as much as possible and stay up-to-date with the latest technology and software, techniques, events etc. as the more knowledgeable you are the more of a valuable asset you are to potential employers.
Why I Chose Griffith
I was looking for a change of career and saw an ad in the newspaper advertising the Certificate in Music Production for Games. It seemed too good to be true! It combined my two main loves - Music and Video Games. The course also covered film scoring skills and creating sound effects – both very appealing subjects.
What I Liked Most About Griffith
The lecturers went above and beyond the call of duty to support us during the course and in particular to locate music and video resources. They also gave us the heads-up about music and games events that could benefit our development as music producers and composers.
The music technology and production facilities were also state-of-the-art and we always had access to the latest software, so that was great. Classes weren’t too big so I never felt like my work went unnoticed and lecturers were able to give us individual attention – something that’s very important when it comes to developing creative and practical skills.
Best Bits Of Student Life At Griffith …
I met some really wonderful people at Griffith. I was surprised that there were other people my age in my class who were also interested in the same games and films. We still keep in touch and share new work with each other. Also, the College has free parking which is unheard of in Dublin City!
My Plans For The Future
I want to do a bit of everything! I want to compose, I want to record my own sound effects, I want to teach and play live. It is my dream to score a video game and I plan to go to as many gaming events as possible to meet and network with like-minded people and potential employers.
Listen to Linda's compositions for one of her final assignments for the Certificate in Music Production for Games.
GamesDeveloper.ie (for the latest news and upcoming events in the Games Industry)
Music Theory Tips
Music Production, Games & Multimedia Courses at Griffith
Interview by Lydia Casey