Berklee Online – Post Graduation Thoughts

I’ve been putting this off, writing about my overall experience with Berklee Online, for a couple of reasons. First, I spent the last month in Italy doing this amazing program, the Chigiana Film Scoring Intensive Program. Secondly, I think I was making it bigger in my mind than it needed to be.

To get straight to the point, I feel that Berklee Online’s “Music Composition for Film, TV, and Games” degree program is excellent. Was it perfect in every regard? No, nothing is. Was it what I needed when I needed it? Absolutely.

When I started looking into getting a degree in music back in 2019 I wasn’t even considering online education. I wanted a “legitimate” music education. I did a bit of research to see what the top schools were and USC’s Film Scoring program was at the top of that list.

I reached out to USC’s Thornton School of Music’s admissions department, asking about the process of getting into their Masters in Screen Scoring program, and they recommended Berklee Online as an undergraduate program. I was surprised, as I didn’t think an online program would be a viable option, and asked for clarification. They assured me that they had admitted a number of highly qualified students into their program that had come from Berklee’s online program. With that, I looked into Berklee Online and applied. Within a few weeks, I got the news that I was accepted into their film scoring degree program and would be starting in the Fall of 2019.

The “Pros”: great program, with excellent content, world-class musicians as course authors/instructors all without having to relocate to Boston. Berklee came to me. Also, with Covid, I would have had to do online studies anyways so it worked out great.

The “Cons”: while convenient the online program can never achieve the same experience of being in-person, getting immediate feedback, learning, and collaborating with others in real-time. This became super apparent during the Chigiana Film Scoring Intensive. So much more immediate, in-depth, and fun.

40 classes and 3.5 years later I now have a bachelor’s degree in Music Composition for Film, TV, and Games. As for what is next, I’m not exactly sure right now. Between Berklee Online and Chigiana’s Film Scoring Intensive, I’ve been at it full-time for quite a while and could use some downtime.

Thank you, Berklee for giving me what I needed, when I needed it. I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn from some amazing people and become an alum of your prestigious and excellent school.

Berklee Online – Term 13

Well, it’s kinda hard to believe, but this was my final term with Berklee. All in all, it was a good term, but I am happy to be at the end of the program. The course materials were really good and the instructors did a great job.

The classes that I took this time around were “Introduction to Digital Cinematography”, “Music Cognition”, “Music Composition for Film, TV, and Games Capstone“, and “Rock History”.

As with previous terms, I will go into detail on each class in separate posts. I’ll also do a wrap-up/reflection post of my entire experience with the program afterward.

Thanks for everything, Berklee.

Introduction to Digital Cinematography

I took this class mainly to fulfill an elective requirement for the “Music Composition for Film, TV, and Games Degree” program, but really enjoyed what we learned about. The instructor, Hana Kitasei, was super professional and often provided insightful feedback and direction.

Thanks to my wife, Rachel, for being my collaborator as some of the assignments required human subjects and her help was invaluable either in front of or behind the camera.

Here’s the clip that I put together for my final assignment.

And here is what we covered during the twelve weeks.

Week 1 – “Introduction to Visual Storytelling – Jan 9th – Jan 13th
Introduction, Meet and Greet, Visual Storytelling, Photography, Exposure Times, Photography as Art, Cinema, Workshop: Images as Communication, Discussion 1.1: How Do Images Communicate Something to Us?, The Power of the Image, Messages Hidden in Images, Communicating Your Message, Discussion 1.2: What Images Do You Want to Create?, The Frame, Aspect Ratio, Determining an Aspect Ratio, Workshop: Framing, Assignment 1: Visual Storytelling, Recap

Week 2 – “A Technical Introduction to the Camera” – Jan 14th – Jan 20th
Introduction, How is an Image Created?, Camera Obscura, Creating a Permanent Photograph, Modern Camera Sensors, Creative Use of Exposure Time, Camera Components, Camera Functions, Exposing an Image, How a Digital Sensor Determines Brightness, Exposure and Shutter Speed, Using Slow Shutter Speed on a Video Camera, Quiz 2.1: Camera and Exposure, Controlling Exposure, Three Exposure Controls, Aperture Effects, Exposure and Aperture, The Sensor, Adjusting Sensitivity, Noise, Workshop: Exposure, Video and Still Cameras, Discussion 2.1: Your Camera, Assignment 2: Creative Exposure, Recap

Week 3 – “The Lens” – Jan 21st – Jan 27th
Introduction, What is a Lens?, Lensless Photography, Convergence, Lens Speed, Field of View, Sharpness, Distortion, Guidelines for Choosing a Lens, The Main Functions of a Photographic Lens, Exercise: The Creation of a Lens, Consumer Cameras, What Lens Do I Need?, Choose a Lens, Choosing a Lens, The Normal Lens, Workshop: Lens Types, Exercise: Lens Selections, Perspective and Depth, The Illusion of Depth, Depth, Perspective, and Lenses, Discussion 3.1: Lenses, Quiz 3.1: Lenses, Assignment 3: Creative Use of Lenses, Recap

Week 4 – “Camera Placement” – Jan 28th – Feb 3rd
Introduction, Examining a Shot, Shot Types, Extreme Long Shot, Long Shot, Medium Long Shot, Medium Shot, Medium Close Up and Close Up, Extreme Close Up, Shot Size and Lenses, Using the Medium Close Up and the Close Up, Over the Shoulder Shot, Two Shot, Camera Height, Eye Level Height, High Angle, Low Angle, The “Hero” Shot, Quiz 4.1: Camera Placement, Objective and Subjective Camera Work, Audience Viewpoint, Viewpoint in Movies, First Person Viewpoint, Third-Person Restricted Viewpoint, Omniscient Viewpoint, Point-of-View Shot, Analyzing “Vertigo”, Discussion 4.1: Camera Placement, Assignment 4: The Subjective Camera, Recap

Week 5 – “Camera Movement” – Feb 4th – Feb 10th
Introduction, When Was the Camera Moved First?, The History of Camera Movement, Camera Movement Types, Motivated Camera Movement, The Panning Shot, The Tilt Shot, The Tracking Shot, The Circular Move, The Push-In Shot, The Pull-Out Shot, The Crane Shot, The Handheld Shot, The Steadicam Shot, The Aerial Shot, Moving the Camera Successfully, Static Shots, Significant Camera Movement, Quiz 5.1: Camera Movement, Discussion 5.1: Rocky, Assignment 5: Camera Movement, Recap

Week 6 – “Lighting Tools” – Feb 11th – Feb 17th
Introduction, What Can Light Do for Us?, Illumination, Depth and Shape, Texture, Mood, Telling a Story, Lighting Function Summary, Discussion 6.1: Lighting, Properties of Light, Angle, Color, Diffusion, Lighting Properties Summary, Quiz 6.1: Lighting, Professional Lighting Tools, Safety, Light Meters, Sekonic’s Online Classroom, Improvised Lighting Tools, Assignment 6: Lighting Tools, Recap

Week 7, Creative Lighting, Feb 18th – Feb 24th
Introduction, Three-Point Lighting, The Key Light, The Fill Light, The Back Light, Effective Use of Three-Point Lighting, Practical Lighting Applications, Lighting Analysis, Lighting the Face, Visual Intensity, Evaluating Visual Intensity, Contrast and Affinity, Evaluating Contrast and Affinity, Contrast in Color, Evaluating Color Contrast, How Does Light Help Tell a Story?, Quiz 7.1: Creative Lighting, Discussion 7.1: Creative Lighting, Assignment 7: Creative Lighting, Recap

Week 8 – “Color” – Feb 25th – Mar 3rd
Introduction, What is Color?, The Relativity of Color, The Human Eye, After Images, Primary Colors, Complementary Colors, Complementary Colors in Art, Color Interpretation, Shades of Red, Color Interpretation in Cinema, The Meaning of Color, Discussion 8.1: Color, Quiz 8.1: Color, Color and Images, Color in Film, Drive, Discussion 8.2: Emotion, Assignment 8: Color, Recap

Week 9 – “The Story” – Mar 4th – Mar 10th
Introduction, Story Basics, Exercise: The Scorpion and the Frog, The Rabbit and the Turtle, Exercise: Narrative Film, Conflict, Protagonist, and Antagonist, Exercise: Conflict, Three-Act Structure, The Screenplay, Using a Screenplay, Live Concert Video, Music Video, The Script, Discussion 9.1: The Script, Script Breakdown, Exercise: Script Breakdown, Visual Guidelines, Creative Inspiration, Visual References, Discussion 9.2: Visual References, The Shot List, Exercise: American Beauty, Storyboards, Assignment 9: From Story to Shot, Recap

Week 10 – “The Long Take” – Mar 11th – Mar 17th
Introduction, To Cut or Not, Exercise: Battleship Potemkin, Shooting Sufficient Material, Exercise: Zodiac, The Long Take, Discussion 10.1: Long Takes, Fictional Time, Real Time, Pace and Rhythm, Other Long Takes, Challenges, Background, Camera Movement, Lighting, Goodfellas, Performance, Designing a Long Take, Shadow Man Battle Scene, Careful Planning, Behind-the-Scenes Photos, A Story Within a Long Take, Discussion 10.2: Four Short Films, Assignment 10: Long Take, Recap

Week 11 – “Continuity” – Mar 18th – Mar 24th
Introduction, Exercise: The Edited Scene, Analysis and Structure in the Scene, Editing in the Scene, Editing and the Cinematographer, Types of Continuity, Continuity of Time, Present, Past, Continuity Example, Future, Conditional Time, Continuity of Space, Content Continuity, Lighting Continuity, Flexibility, Directional Continuity, The 180 Line, Discussion 11.1: Continuity, Crossing the Line, Cutting, The 20/30 Rules, The Content Cut, The Action Cut, The POV Cut, The Conceptual Cut, The Jump Cut, Assignment 11: Continuity, Recap

Week 12 – “Collaboration” – Mar 25th – Mar 31st
Introduction, The Creative Team, The Creative Team: The Producer, The Creative Team: The Director, The Creative Team: The Screenwriter, The Creative Team: The Cinematographer, The Creative Team: The Production Designer, The Creative Team: The Editor, The Movie Set, The Movie Set: Assistant Director, The Movie Set: Script Supervisor, The Movie Set: Costume Designer, The Movie Set: Makeup Artist, The Movie Set: Assistant Cameraman, The Movie Set: Sound Mixer, The Movie Set: Electric Department, The Movie Set: Grip Department, Discussion 12.1: Collaboration, Shooting and Camera Procedures, Building a Winning Team, Finding Fellow Filmmakers, Quiz 12.1: Collaboration, Resources, Assignment 12: Digital Cinematography, Recap

Music Cognition

This was a very interesting class that introduced us to the science involved with studying how the brain processes and makes sense of sound. Seeing the kind of work being done in the field of Music Cognition was fascinating, often beyond my full comprehension, yet fascinating, nonetheless.

I was particularly interested in the “Performance Expertise, Improvisation, and Anxiety” lesson. I have done a lot of shows over the years, and before some of them I felt perfectly fine, others I felt somewhat anxious, while some left me completely terrified. The recommendations for coping with Musical Performance Anxiety (MPA) were good reminders of what to do in both the short and long terms.

Suggested short-term strategies:
• Rehearsal
• Positive thinking
• Prayer
• Relaxation techniques
• Using calming substances

Suggested long-term strategies:
• Practicing and developing musical technique
• Talking with classmates, friends, teachers, family
• Relaxation techniques
• Counseling therapy

Thanks to our instructor Professor Bradley Vines for guiding us through this introduction to an incredibly complex area of research.

Here’s what we covered during the twelve weeks of the course.

Week 1 – “Cognitive Psychology and the Neuroscience of Hearing” – Jan 9th – Jan 13th
Introduction, Meet and Greet, Cognitive Psychology: What Is the Nature of Mental Activity?, Music Cognition: What Is Meant by Musical Behaviors?, Processing Stages, Experimental Psychology: Research Methods, Workshop: Vocabulary Review, Part 1, Discussion 1.1: Scientific Investigation, The Human Brain, The Auditory Pathway, Workshop: Vocabulary Review, Part 2, Workshop: Brain Structures, Neural Activity, The Hearing Mechanism, The Cochlea and How Hearing Works, Hair Cells, Workshop: Vocabulary Review, Part 3, Measuring Neural Activity in Humans, Electroencephalograms (EEG) and Event-Related Potentials (ERP), Magnetoencephalography (MEG) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) and Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI), Workshop: Measuring Neural Activity, Discussion 1.2: Musician vs. Nonmusician, Assignment 1: Separating Sense from Nonsense, Recap

Week 2 – “Perception, Part I” – Jan 14th – Jan 20th
Introduction, Physical Correlates of Pitch, Physics of Sound Waves, Harmonics, Partials, and the Fundamental Frequency, Quiz 2.1: Physics of Sound, Theories of Pitch Perception, Virtual Pitch Perception, Absolute Pitch and Amusia, Workshop: Pitch Comparison, Discussion 2.1: Pitch vs. Timbre, Tonality Perception, Foundational Work, Innate Concepts of Tonality, Workshop: Tonality Perception, Timbre Perception, Psychological Correlates of Timbre, Link between Pitch and Timbre, Discussion 2.2: Learning Timbre, Assignment 2: Interpreting a Result Figure, Recap

Week 3 – “Perception, Part II” – Jan 21st – Jan 27th
Introduction, Object Perception: The Gestalt Principles of Organization, The Gestalt Psychologists, Gestalt Principles Important to Audio Grouping, Workshop: Gestalt, Auditory Scene Analysis, The Listening Context: Fission, The Listening Context Examples, Quiz 3.1: Gestalt, Rhythm Perception and the Internal Clock, Internal Rhythms, Rhythm Perception and Neural Oscillation, Workshop: Beat Markers, Rhythm Preferences, Regular vs. Irregular Patterns, Neural Connections for Beat Perception, Workshop: Beat Tapping, Discussion 3.1: Human Evolution, Assignment 3: Skimming a Research Paper, Recap

Week 4 – “Musical Development, Talent, and Creativity” – Jan 28th – Feb 3rd
Introduction, Music and Language, When Speech Becomes Music, Speech Acquisition, Parallels and Differences between Music and Language, Quiz 4.1: Music and Language, Testing Infants, Musical Constraints, Order of Acquisition of Musical Behaviors, Infant- and Child-Directed Songs, Learning Emotion in Music, Workshop: Match Musical Examples to Behavior, Musical Talent, Creativity, Creativity in the Brain, Quiz 4.2: Creativity, Discussion 4.1: Natural Musical Ability, Assignment 4: Follow-up Research, Recap

Week 5 – “Performance Expertise, Improvisation, and Anxiety” – Feb 4th – Feb 10th
Introduction, Musical Performance, Acoustic Correlates of Expressivity, Performers’ Signatures, Quiz 5.1: Performance, Musical Errors and Learning, Transfer of Learning, Musical Practice, Workshop: Experiment, Musical Improvisation, Performance Anxiety, Coping Strategies and Treatments, Quiz 5.2: Improvisation and Anxiety, Discussion 5.1: Show and Tell!, Assignment 5: What Do We Mean By “Good” Improvisation?, Recap

Week 6 – “Evolution and Cross-Cultural Music Cognition” – Feb 11th – Feb 17th, Introduction, The Evolution of Music, Music and Early Social Life, Workshop: Matching Terms: Evolution, Music and Speech, More Commonalities in Music and Language, Quiz 6.1: Music and Speech, Cross-Cultural Musical Behaviors, Intonation Perception, Quiz 6.2: Culture and Intonation, Discussion 6.1: Musical Behaviors, Assignment 6: Research a Language, Recap

Week 7 – “Music and Emotion” – Feb 18th – Feb 24th
Introduction, The Study of Music and Emotion, What Are Emotions?, Emotional vs. Non-Emotional Music, Workshop: Music and Emotion, Mechanisms of Musical Emotion, Workshop: Mechanisms of Musical Emotions, Musical Emotions and Physiology, Why Do We Like Sad Music?, Quiz 7.1: Physiology of Emotion, Discussion 7.1: Musical Performances, Assignment 7: Music and Emotion, Recap

Week 8 – “Music and Memory” – Feb 25th – Mar 3rd
Introduction, What Is Memory?, Localizing Memory, Workshop: Measure Your Memory Skills, Types of Memory Processes, Memory for Music, Workshop: Types of Memory Processes, Experiments in Music Encoding, Valence, Arousal, and Memory Encoding, Surface or Deep Structure Memorization?, Absolute vs. Relative Musical Memory, The Nature of Auditory Working Memory, Quiz 8.1: Experiments in Memory, Musical Imagery: Voluntary and Involuntary, Involuntary Musical Imagery: Earworms, Workshop: Musical Imagery, Discussion 8.1: Musical Memories, Assignment 8: Music and Memory, Recap

Week 9 – “Individual Differences and Music Preferences” – Mar 4th – Mar 10th, Introduction, Developing the Musician’s Brain, Biological Markers of Musicianship, Quiz 9.1: The Musician’s Brain, The Musician’s Brain, Synesthesia, Workshop: Match Sentences, Music Preferences and Personality, Measuring Personality, Correlations between Personality and Music Preferences, Quiz 9.2: Music Preference Dimensions and Musical Genres, Musicians’ Personalities and Career Choices, Discussion 9.1: Do Your Musical Listening Habits Reflect Your Personality Traits?, Assignment 9: Propose a Research Experiment, Recap

Week 10 – “Music Marketing and Branding” – Mar 11th – Mar 17th
Introduction, Background Music, The Work of North and Hargreaves, Workshop: Effects of Background Music, Sonic Branding, Celebrity Endorsements, Workshop: Sonic Branding Review, Multi-Sensory Integration, Sonic Seasoning, Coffee and Music, Ad Music and Cognition, Music’s Impact on Moral Choices, Quiz 10.1: Definitions, Discussion 10.1:, Assignment 10: Best Jingles of All Time, Recap

Week 11 – “Music Therapeutics and Intervention” – Mar 18th – Mar 24th
Introduction, Music Therapy for Neurological Disorders, Stroke Recovery, Melodic Intonation Therapy, Quiz 11.1: Neurologic Music Therapy Review, Music for Well-Being, Pre-Term Infants, Cancer Treatment, Sports Performance, Workshop: Music for Well-Being Review, Music in Communities, Classrooms, Work Songs, Quiz 11.2: Music in Communities Review, Discussion 11.1: Music While You Work, Assignment 11: Music Therapy Interventions, Recap

Week 12 – “Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning” – Mar 25th – Mar 31st
Introduction, Machine Learning as a Creative Tool, Workshop: Machine Learning, Musical Metacreation (MuMe), Performing Robots, Workshop: MuMe and Performing Robots, New Interfaces for Musical Expression (NIME), Ubiquitous Music, Workshop: NIME and Ubiquitous Music, Discussion 12.1: Musebot Music, Reply, Assignment 12: Research and Summarize Findings, Recap

Music Composition for Film, TV, and Games Capstone

This was the class that I was looking forward to taking during my final term with Berklee Online. The idea of being able to work on one piece for an entire term, to focus on and consider a piece of music for an extended period of time was really exciting to me. It did not disappoint.

This course was a great way for us to put together everything we learned throughout the degree program into one project. It required that I utilize topics covered in Music Theory 1-4, Film Scoring 101, Counterpoint, Music Notation & Score Preparation, Orchestration 1 & 2, Music Composition for Film 1 & 2, and Mixing & Mastering on a regular basis. It was the perfect way to finish up the “Music Composition for Film, TV, and Games Degree” program.

One of the biggest takeaways for me from this capstone project was to break music cues out into smaller, stand-alone, Logic project files. I fell into a trap trying to work with one large file so that I could get a sense of how one section was flowing into another, contextually. Unfortunately, it just made for much bigger problems later in the project as I started hitting technical issues with my DAW (clicks/pops, memory overflows) even with frozen tracks and large buffer sizes, which brought all forward progress to a halt. If I were to do it all over again breaking everything into seperate projects would be the first thing I would do (after spotting and mapping everything out).

Another important takeaway for me with this project was having a musical sketch of the entire piece from beginning to end. It really helped to have a “roadmap” to pull everything together and work from. This helped maintain forward momentum and alleviate writer’s block.

Super happy to have been able to study with Ben Newhouse again as he’s one of my favorite teachers ever, not just with Berklee. His approach to the material was always clear, methodical, and well thought out. He always gave really helpful, useful, and timely feedback on all assignments and communications, and was very inspiring as an instructor and person.

Here’s the capstone piece that I put together. It’s a rescoring of the excellent BMW Films “The Hire – Ambush”.

Here’s what we went over during the twelve weeks.

Week 1 – “Overall Industry Profitability” – Jan 9th – Jan 13th
Introduction, Meet and Greet, Course Overview, Need for a Macro Industry Analysis, Porter’s Five Forces—Plus One, Bargaining Power of Suppliers, Bargaining Power of Buyers, Nature of Competition, Influx of New Entrants, Availability of Substitutes, Government Policy, Workshop: Business Terminology, Summary of Strategic Recommendations, Discussion 1.1: Trends and Changes in the Industry, Degree Review Quiz: Music Notation, Assignment 1: Introduce Your Capstone Project, Recap

Week 2 – “Client Needs and Your Solutions” – Jan 14th – Jan 20th
Introduction, Clients, Creativity, and Being a “Hired Pencil”, Discussion 2.1: Horner Follow-up, Musical Expertise, Budget, Customization, Risk, Quantity, Time, Aesthetics: “Different” or “Similar” Music, Client Need Profiles, Possible Solutions for Common Client Needs, Discussion 2.2: Three Different Clients, Degree Review Quiz: Music Technology, Assignment 2: Capstone Project Update, Recap

Week 3 – “Finding Clients” – Jan 21st – Jan 27th
Introduction, Conference Networking Strategies, Film Festivals, Film Societies, Organizations, and Conferences, TV Industry Conferences, Video Game Conferences, Databases and Cold-Calling, Film Schools, US Film Schools, International Film Schools, Industry Publications, Discussion 3.1: Elevator Conversation, Degree Review Quiz: Music Theory I, Assignment 3: Capstone Project Update, Recap

Week 4 – “Composer Marketing Materials” – Jan 28th – Feb 3rd
Introduction, Demos, Audio Demos, Video Demos, Demos: A Possible Approach, Cover Letters, Networking Letters, Credit List, Resumé, Business Cards, Website, Discussion 4.1: Website Content, Course Reading Quiz: Lessons 1-4, Assignment 4: Capstone Project Update, Recap

Week 5 – “Copyrights” – Feb 4th – Feb 10th
Introduction, Copyrights, Compositions and Recordings, Musical Composition and Sound Recording Copyrights, Music Licensing, Performing Rights Organizations, International PROs, The Term “Publishing”, Work Made for Hire, Contract Considerations, Evaluating Contracts, Workshop: Copyright Terminology, Discussion 5.1: Your PRO, Degree Review Quiz: World Music, Assignment 5: Capstone Project Update, Recap

Week 6 – “Royalties” – Feb 11th – Feb 17th
Introduction, Will I Get Royalties?, Evaluating Royalty Opportunities: Television, Film, Workshop: Royalty Opportunities, Video Games and Music Libraries, Royalty Valuation: Inflation, Royalty Valuation: Present Value and Discount Rates, Royalty Valuation: Net Present Value, Workshop: Net Present Value, Royalty Stream Example 1, Royalty Stream Example 2, Discussion 6.1: Royalties or Upfront, Degree Review Quiz: Music History, Assignment 6: Capstone Project Update, Recap

Week 7 – “Make It Once, Sell It Many Times” – Feb 18th – Feb 24th
Introduction, Multiple Payments from Multiple Clients, An Independent Film: Example 1, An Independent Film: Example 2, A Television Episode: Example 1, A Television Episode: Example 2, A Television Episode: Example 3, A Music Library Cue: Example 1, A Music Library Cue: Example 2, Key Observations, Discussion 7.1: Selling a Single Product to Multiple Buyers, Degree Review Quiz: Film Scoring, Assignment 7: Capstone Project Update, Recap

Week 8 – “Pricing” – Feb 25th – Mar 3rd
Introduction, Industry Rates, Cost-Plus Pricing, Competition-Based Pricing, Ability-to-Pay Pricing, Price Discrimination, Price Takers and Price Makers, Pricing Strategies for Composers, Workshop: Pricing Terminology, Discussion 8.1: Ability-to-Pay Pricing, Course Reading Quiz: Lessons 5-8, Assignment 8: Capstone Project Update, Recap

Week 9 – “Intermediaries” – Mar 4th – Mar 10th
Introduction, Agents, Hollywood Agents, Music Libraries, Submission Services, Break Even, Agent Break Even, Music Library Break Even, Submission Services and Probability, Workshop: Break Evens and Submission Fees, Try Multiple Approaches, Discussion 9.1: Submission Services, Degree Review Quiz: Video Game Music, Assignment 9: Capstone Project Update, Recap

Week 10 – “Other Jobs” – Mar 11th – Mar 17th
Introduction, Music Supervisors, Music Editors, Orchestrators, Music Preparation, Composer Assistants, Production Assistant Jobs, Discussion 10.1: Composer’s Previous Jobs, Degree Review Quiz: Orchestration, Assignment 10: Capstone Project Update, Recap

Week 11 – “Temp Scores” – Mar 18th – Mar 24th
Introduction, What is a Temp Score?, Benefits of Temp Scores, Weaknesses of Temp Scores, Creating Soundalikes, Composer Opinion of Temp Scores, Discussion 11.1: Temp Scores, Decreasing the Need for Temp Scores, More on Temp Score Weaknesses, Degree Review Quiz: Music Theory II, Assignment 11: Capstone Project Update, Recap

Week 12 – “Communicating with Clients” – Mar 25th – Mar 31st
Introduction, An Alternative to Theoretical Musical Terminology, Creative Flexibility, The Benefits of Incorporating Feedback, Confidence and Expertise, Do Not Say Bad Things About Your Music, Discussion 12.1: Communicating with Clients, Course Reading Quiz: Lessons 9-12, Assignment 12: Capstone Project Final Submission, Recap

Rock History

This class was very well put together, covering a lot of ground in going over the history of Rock music and its associated sub-genres. Filled with video interviews of artists, producers, engineers, and promoters, as well as a number of original articles the course author, Steve Morse, had written for various publications, the course is overflowing with the history of Rock.

When I signed up for this class I thought that it would be pretty easy to get through as I had done so much personal research on the subject over the years. Turned out that I ended up spending way more time on researching the assignments for class than I thought I would, just to make sure that I had my facts and references straight. That being said I couldn’t see myself doing very well with a history class on classical music so I’m glad that this course was available. All in all, it was a good class, just a bit too much information for 12 weeks.

Here’s what was covered in the course.

Week 1 – “Dawn of Rock & Roll” – Jan 9th – Jan 13th
Introduction, Meet and Greet, Historical Perspective, Digging Into the Roots, Influence of Country-Hillbilly Music, Influence of Acoustic Blues, The Blues Gets Amplified, Rock’s Commercial Beginnings: From Bill Haley to Elvis and Sun Records in Memphis, Elvis, Business Spotlight: Colonel Tom Parker, Discussion 1.1: Analyzing the King, Early Rock & Roll Hitmakers, Technology Spotlight: Leo Fender, Les Paul, Business Spotlight: New Trends, Emergence of Black Stars: Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Bo Diddley, Fats Domino, Emergence of Female Stars: Wanda Jackson, Brenda Lee, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Ruth Brown, LaVern Baker, Discussion 1.2: Birth of Rock Music Map, Inside the Music: The Beats, In Their Own Words, Quiz 1.1: Birth of Rock, Assignment 1: Rock’s Roots, Recap

Week 2 – “Rock’s Racial Integration, a Backlash; Payola; and Moving Beyond the Day the Music Died” – Jan 14th – Jan 20th
Introduction, Historical Perspective, Buddy Holly’s Pioneering Role and Tragic End, Business Spotlight: Buddy Holly and Decca, Rock in Retreat, Alan Freed Helps to Racially Integrate Radio Stations and Concert Tours, then Implodes, Early Rock & Roll DJs: The Pied Pipers of Rock, New Trends, Dance Crazes, Teen Idols Signify Safe Music and a Retreat from Rock’s Roots, Discussion 2.1: Teen Idol’s Re-Recordings, The Rise of The Brill Building Movement and Spector’s Wall of Sound, Surge of Girl Groups and Female Stars, Technology Spotlight: Shifting Music Formats, The Four Seasons Bridge Doo-Wop and Rock, In Their Own Words, The Isley Brothers Provide a Bright Spot and a Link to the Beatles, Workshop: You Know My Name, Assignment 2: 1959-1963: Rock’s Dark Age?, Recap

Week 3 – “Rock Regains its Lustre, Climaxing with the British Invasion of the Beatles and Rolling Stones” – Jan 21st – Jan 27th
Introduction, Historical Perspective, Roy Orbison, Ray Charles, Instrumental Rock, The Surf Rock of the Beach Boys, Business Spotlight: Rock Matures, Beatlemania, Fab Four Inventiveness, Beatles Firsts, The British Invasion, Discussion 3.1: The Beatles’ Popularity, The Rolling Stones Add a Sense of Rebellion, Sparked by Chicago Blues, Stones on a Roll, Business Spotlight: Brian Epstein of the Beatles Vs. Andrew Loog Oldham of the Stones, The Who Slam Into View, Technology Spotlight: Marshall Amplifiers, The Kinks Create a Different World, Quiz 3.1: Rock’s Golden Age, In Their Own Words, Assignment 3: The British Invasion, Recap

Week 4 – “Soul Music, Funk, Bob Dylan and Folk-Rock, and the Birth of Protest Music” – Jan 28th – Feb 3rd
Introduction, Historical Perspective, Motown Records, Behind The Hits, Business Spotlight: Hitsville USA, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, the Temptations, Stax-Volt Records, Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Wilson Pickett, Soul Sisters: Tina Turner and Aretha Franklin, Funk-Rock Pioneers: James Brown and Sly & The Family Stone, Sly & The Family Stone, Protest Music, Bob Dylan’s Inspiration for Folk-Rock, Like a Rolling Stone, Business Spotlight: Albert Grossman, Personal Manager, In Their Own Words, Discussion 4.1: Folk Music’s Influence, Technology Spotlight: Recording Innovations, Donovan: the So-Called “Scottish Dylan”, Simon & Garfunkel: Bringing Folk-Rock to the Mainstream, Workshop: Terms Review, The Lovin’ Spoonful’s Good Time Music, Frank Zappa: The Ultimate Iconoclast, Assignment 4: Rock’s New Voice, Recap

Week 5 – “More British Invasion, Guitar Heroes, British Folk-Rock, and the Rawness of Garage Rock” – Feb 4th – Feb 10th
Introduction, Historical Perspective, More British Invasion Bands of the ’60s: Dave Clark Five, Animals, The Hollies, Them, Hendrix in a Class by Himself, Discussion 5.1: The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Yardbirds and their Alumni: Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page, The Jeff Beck Group, Jimmy Page and Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, Alvin Lee and Ten Years After, Technology Spotlight: New Frontiers in Electronics, Garage Rock’s Cult Status, Spotlight Moment: Rock Critic Gets Carried Away, In Their Own Words, Business Spotlight: Muscle Shoals Studio, Birth of British Folk-Rock, Quiz 5.1: Guitar Gods, British-Folk, and Other Acts of the Middle to Late 1960’s, Assignment 5: Second British Wave, Recap

Week 6 “Progressive Rock; the Birth of Psychedelia; and Acid Rock in San Francisco, L.A., and London” – Feb 11th – Feb 17th
Introduction, Historical Perspective, Progressive Rock Soars in England: Cream, Traffic, and More, Traffic, Jethro Tull and King Crimson, Emerson, Lake, & Palmer and Yes, Technology Spotlight: Robert Moog and the Synthesizer, What is Psychedelic Rock?, Pink Floyd Launches Psychedelic Rock, Life in the Studio: The Moody Blues, The Beatles Raise the Bar, The San Francisco Scene, The Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin’s Cosmic Blues, Jefferson Airplane Take Off, Santana’s Latin Rock, Country Joe and the Fish, Business Spotlight: Concert Promotion Impresarios Graham and Law, Los Angeles Weighs In, The Byrds, The Doors, Love, Buffalo Springfield, Mamas & the Papas, Afro-Psychedelia: The Chambers Brothers, Black Voice of Conscience: Curtis Mayfield, Discussion 6.1: Psychedelic Sounds: West Coast and Across the Atlantic, Festival Peaks at Monterey Pop and Woodstock, Business Spotlight: Trends, Workshop: Terms Review, In Their Own Words, Assignment 6: Still Rock & Roll?, Recap

Week 7 – “Turning the Corner to the ’70s” – Feb 18th – Feb 24th
Introduction, Historical Perspective, A Tough Start, Rock Festivals Imperiled, Excesses on the Road, The 27 Club, Straddling the Extremes: Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young, Heavy Metal and Hard Rock Accelerate, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Glam Rock Asserts Itself, David Bowie, Alice Cooper, T. Rex, Garry Glitter, Elton John, Glam-Funk Psychedelia: George Clinton, Rock Opera in Vogue, Discussion 7.1: Rock Opera, Business Spotlight: Trends and More Lester Bangs, Technology Spotlight: Laser Lights and Inflatables, Soft Rock as a Rejection of the High Decibels, Carole King, Jackson Browne, Carly Simon, James Taylor, In Their Own Words, Canadians Leave their Mark on the Soft Rock Genre, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Neil Young, Business Spotlight: David Geffen, Record Executive, Britain’s Contribution, Cat Stevens, Rod Stewart, Nick Drake, The Beatles Go Solo: Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Ringo Starr, George Harrison, Quiz 7.1: Ushering the 1970’s, Assignment 7: Rock’s Extremes, Recap

Week 8 – “Americana, Reggae, Blues Power in the Arenas, and New Superstars” – Feb 25th – Mar 3rd
Introduction, Historical Perspective, Americana, The Band, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Gram Parsons, Linda Ronstadt, The Eagles, Business Spotlight: Chris Blackwell, Reggae Pioneers, Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Jimmy Cliff, Discussion 8.1: Reggae, Blues Rock Returns and Southern Rock Peaks, Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, ZZ Top, J. Geils Band, Steely Dan Builds a Cult, In Their Own Words, Technology Spotlight: Heil Talk Box, Screaming Your Way: Aerosmith, Kiss, Ted Nugent, Kiss, Ted Nugent, New Superstars: Springsteen, Seger, Fleetwood Mac, Bob Seger, Fleetwood Mac, Mainstream Rock, Boston, Foreigner, Heart, Bad Company, Meat Loaf, Rush: Doing it their Way, Business Spotlight: Trends, Jimmy Buffett Hits the Beach, Workshop: You Know My Name, Assignment 8: Rock Regionalism, Recap

Week 9 – “The Extreme Rebellion of Punk” – Mar 4th – Mar 10th
Introduction, Historical Perspective, Setting the Scene, The Velvet Underground, MC5, The Stooges, CBGB’s Provides a Home, The Ramones, The Patti Smith Group, Television, Richard Hell & the Voidoids, Talking Heads, Blondie, Suicide, The Cramps, Business Spotlight: Seymour Stein of Sire Records, Discussion 9.1: Rockin’ At CBGB’s, Fanzines, In Their Own Words, Technology Spotlight: Drum Machines, The Sex Pistols Pace British Punk Explosion, The Clash Pick Up the Banner, Rock Against Racism, Quiz 9.1: Fill in the Blank Generation, Other Punks of Note, The Jam, The Buzzcocks, Devo, X, Assignment 9: Three Chords and the Truth?, Recap

Week 10 – “Lennon Shock, New Wave, MTV Superstars, The ’80s Soar Despite Censorship” – Mar 11th – Mar 17th
Introduction, Historical Perspective, The John Lennon Tragedy, From Punk to New Wave: U2 and The Police, The Police, U2, Business Spotlight: Super-Producer Brian Eno, Discussion 10.1: Your Thoughts on U2?, Other Prominent New Wave Acts, Elvis Costello, Cheap Trick, The Cars, The Pretenders, The B-52’s, The Go-Go’s, Squeeze, MTV Changes Everything, MTV Stars: Michael Jackson, Madonna, Prince, and More, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Prince, Billy Idol, Peter Gabriel, ZZ Top, Synth Pop and the New Brit Invasion, Eurythmics, Duran Duran, Culture Club, In Their Own Words, Business Spotlight: Trends, Technology Spotlight: Dawn of the Digital Age, Brits on the Edge, The Cure, Joy Division, Gang of Four, Hard Rock Grows a Sense of Humor, Van Halen, AC/DC, Business Spotlight: Super-Producer Mutt Lange, Rock Censorship Turns Nasty, Discussion 10.2: Rock Censorship, Workshop: You Know My Name, The Mainstream Prospers, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Huey Lewis & the News, Bryan Adams, Assignment 10: Rock Videos, Recap

Week 11 – “Rock’s Social Conscience, Street Poets, Surging Female Stars, Rap Crossover, and Thrash Metal” – Mar 18th – Mar 24th
Introduction, Historical Perspective, Benefit Concerts in Vogue, Live Aid: July 13, 1985 at JFK Stadium in Philadelphia, Farm Aid: Sept. 22, 1985 in Champaign, Illinois, Conspiracy of Hope: June 15, 1986 in New Jersey, Human Rights Now!, Discussion 11.1: Benefit Concerts, Rock’s New Street Poets, Billy Joel, Warren Zevon, John Mellencamp, Tom Waits, Revivals: Blues and Rockabilly, Stevie Ray Vaughan, George Thorogood & the Destroyers, Stray Cats, Musical Spotlight: Give the Bass Player Some!, Sisters Doin’ It For Themselves, Donna Summer, Tracy Chapman, Tina Turner, In Their Own Words, Business Spotlight: Ampitheaters and Another Format Becomes History, Technology Spotlight: Scholz Research & Development, Rock/Rap Crossover, Run-D.M.C., Beastie Boys, Arena Rock Surges, and Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Returns, Hair Metal Brings the Ooze, Mötley Crüe, Bon Jovi, New King of the Hill, Thrash Metal Slams In, Metallica, Slayer, ’80s Surprises, Quiz 11.1: The Late 1980s, Decade’s Positive Climax: Bonnie Raitt, Assignment 11: New Attitudes, Recap

Week 12 – “More from the ’90s, then the Effect Of 9/11 and Rocking into the 21st Century” – Mar 25th – Mar 31st
Introduction, Historical Perspective, Alt-Rock Comes on Strong, R.E.M., Pixies, Welcome to Grunge, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, Grunge by Association: Smashing Pumpkins, Pushing the Boundaries: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nine Inch Nails, Flaming Lips, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nine Inch Nails, Flaming Lips, Business Spotlight: SoundScan Changes the Industry, Dramatic New Voices, Sinead O’Connor, Alanis Morissette, Melissa Etheridge, Amanda Palmer and the Dresden Dolls, Nu Metal and Rap-Metal, Rage Against the Machine, Korn, Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park, Punk-Pop Redux: Green Day, Technology Spotlight: Pro Tools, Watershed Moments at Woodstock ’94 And ’99, Woodstock ’94: Rain, Mud, the Launch Of Green Day, the Coronation of Metallica, and the Feistiness of Aerosmith, Woodstock ’99: An Anger-Filled Festival Erupts with Rap-Metal Bands and a Destructive Finale, More Noteworthy Festivals, Brit Revival with Oasis, Radiohead, and Coldplay, Oasis, Radiohead, Coldplay, Business Spotlight: Napster Jolts the Industry, Discussion 12.1: Alternative Rock, In Their Own Words, Sonic Pastiche: Beck, Garage-Rock & Blues Revival: The White Stripes, Jam Bands Capture Fresh Attention, Phish, Dave Matthews Band, The Black Crowes, Technology Spotlight: A Classic Band on Stage, ’90s/’00s Surprises, Workshop: You Know My Name, Disastrous Effect of 9/11 On Changing Radio Playlists, Rock Goes Country, Rolling Stones Keep Rolling, Long Live Rock: Into the Future, Assignment 12: New Horizons, Recap, Postscript: Sources and Texts

Hope for the Hopeless

One of the highlights of the Fall 2022 Term was a collaboration that I did with fellow Berklee Online students Adriene Mixon and Parker Sanders as part of the Project Management For Musicians course we were in. 

The song features Adriene’s beautiful lyrics, Parker’s well-crafted guitar solo, and me handling the rest. I really like how this one turned out. 

Thank you, Adriene and Parker, for working on this with me!

Photo by Joseph Driscoll on Unsplash

Berklee Online – Term 12

This was a tough term, largely due to the extra workload of applying to different Grad Schools while taking four classes with Berklee. It was very challenging and not a whole lot of fun. That being said the instructors were really good and did a great job.

The classes that I took this time around were Creative Writing: Poetry, Interactive Scoring for Games, “Music, Self, and Society“, and Project Management for Musicians.

As usual, I will go into detail on each class in separate posts.

Creative Writing: Poetry

This was a well-done class with a very thoughtful, and super helpful, instructor. I just wish that I enjoyed it more. Even though I did well in terms of my grades, it was a struggle for me to truly understand many of the concepts that we covered. It was a slog. I got through it and was exposed to some fantastic writers but this wasn’t an easy class (for me).

Here’s what we went over during the twelve weeks.

Week 1 – “Prose vs. Poetry”, Sep 26th – Oct 2nd
Introduction, Meet and Greet, Prose: Phrase Lengths, Exercise 1.1: Creating an Effect with Sentence Lengths, Sentence Constructions: Simple Sentences, Compound Sentences, Complex Sentences, Quiz 1.1: Sentence Types, Exercise 1.2: Mixing Sentence Constructions, Sentence Types, Exercise 1.3: Sentence Types, Poetry, Exercise: End-Stops, Phrases, Exercise: End-Stops and Enjambments, Lines with Multiple Phrases, Exercise: Musical Notations, Units of Composition, Prosody, Discussion 1.1: Prosody, Assignment 1: Prose, Recap

Week 2 – “Managing End-Stops”, Oct 1st – Oct 7th
Introduction, Creating Subordinate Clauses, Stable and Unstable Groupings, “Days”, Exercise: End-Stops, Instability, Exercise: Student Poetry, Student Poetry Examples, Exercise: End-Stops Revisited, More Student Examples, Exercise: More on End-Stops, Switching Line Order, Discussion 2.1: Achieving Prosody, Assignment 2: End-Stops and Subordinate Clauses, Recap

Week 3 – “Managing Caesuras”, Oct 8th – Oct 14th
Introduction, Caesuras, Frontal, Medial, and Terminal Caesuras, Creating Tension, Caesura Examples, Emerson’s Handling of Caesuras, Creating Motion, Exercise: Marking Caesuras and End-Stops, Exercise: More Marking Caesuras and End-Stops, Exercise: Caesuras and End-Stops, Discussion 3.1: Managing Caesuras, Assignment 3: End-Stops and Caesuras, Recap

Week 4 – “Managing Enjambment”, Oct 15th – Oct 21st
Introduction, Enjambment, Exercise: Enjambment, Moving from Light to Heavy, Other Movement, Exercise: More on Enjambment, Discussion 4.1: Managing Enjambment, Assignment 4: Enjambment, Recap

Week 5 – “Writing in Iambic Pentameter”, Oct 22nd – Oct 28th
Introduction, Stressed and Unstressed Syllables, Workshop: Stressed and Unstressed Syllables, Iambic Pentameter, Blending Languages, Why Pentameter?, English Poetry, Exercise: “Days”, Exercise: Emerson, Groove and Variation, Exercise: “Distractions”, Exercise: “The Woman with Fire Engine Nails”, Discussion 5.1: Learning Your Craft, Assignment 5: Iambic Pentameter, Recap

Week 6 – “Substituting in Iambic Pentameter”, Oct 29th – Nov 4th
Introduction, Substituting in Iambic Pentameter, Exercise: Substitutions, Themes and Variations, Creating Emotion, “After Long Silence”, Substitutions in “After Long Silence”, Discussion 6.1: Going Against Expectations, Assignment 6: Substituting in Iambic Pentameter, Recap

Week 7 – “Writing in Blank Verse”, Nov 5th – Nov 11th
Introduction, Writing in Blank Verse, Exercise: “Birches”, “Ulysses”, Exercise: “Ulysses”, Compositional Tools, Exercise: “Spring”, Exercise: “Christmas Cheer”, Discussion 7.1: Blank Verse, Assignment 7: Blank Verse, Recap

Week 8 – “Blank Verse Again”, Nov 12th – Nov 18th
Introduction, Blank Verse Again, Exercise: Blank Verse and Substitutions, Exercise: “A Wake”, Exercise 8.1: “Still”, Optional Reading: “Swan(s)”, Assignment 8: Blank Verse, Recap

Week 9 – “Using Rhyme”, Nov 19th – Nov 25th
Introduction, Using Rhyme, Sound in Poetry, Rhyme Schemes, Exercise: Rhyme Schemes, Perfect Rhyme, Exercise 9.1: Perfect Rhyme, Consonance Rhyme, Exercise 9.2: Consonance Rhyme, More on Consonance Rhyme, Exercise: Rhyme Schemes Revisited, Exercise: “Ode to the West Wind”, Discussion 9.1: Using Rhyme, Assignment 9: Using Rhyme, Recap

Week 10 – “English (or Shakespearean) Sonnet”, Nov 26th – Dec 2nd
Introduction, English or Shakespearean Sonnet, Sequence, Sonnet 29, Sonnet 73, “When I Have Fears”, Discussion 10.1: English Sonnet, Assignment 10: English Sonnet, Recap

Week 11 – “English Sonnet Continued”, Dec 3rd – Dec 9th
Introduction, Modern Sonnets, “Putting in the Seed”, “Baby Running Barefoot”, Discussion 11.1: Modern Sonnets, Assignment 11: English Sonnets, Recap

Week 12 – “Italian (or Pertrarchian) Sonnet”, Dec 10th – Dec 16th
Introduction, The Italian (or Petrarchian) Sonnet, The First Eight Lines, “In Memoriam”, The Italian Sonnet Road Map, Keats, “Mezzo Cammin”, “Grief”, “Design”, The ccdeed sestet, e. e. cummings, e. e. cummings Variation, Discussion 12.1: Italian Sonnet, Discussion 12.2: The Arts, Assignment 12: Italian Sonnet, Recap

Interactive Scoring for Games

This was another class that I wished I enjoyed more. The course author (and instructor) was very detailed and quite thorough, offering many fantastic examples and insights throughout the term. Yet the course just had too much information covered in too little time. In addition to the course materials, required reading, discussions, and assignments, there were many rather technical exercises due each week. Also, on two occasions there were two assignments due in one week, in addition to all the other work previously mentioned. It felt unecessarily stressful and short-sighted. (I left my feedback about all this in the course survey.)

Perhaps the most useful thing I can say that I gained from this class is that it helped me to know that I have no burning desire to score video games.

Here’s what we covered in the twelve weeks:

Week 1 – “Video Games: The Industry”, Sep 26th – Oct 2nd
Their Uniqueness, and Musical Considerations, Introduction, Meet and Greet, The Video Games Industry, Types of Video Game Companies, Games Platforms, Quiz 1.1: The Video Games Industry, The Uniqueness of Video Games: Length and Repeatability, The Uniqueness of Video Games: Level of Engagement, The Uniqueness of Video Games: Variability and Game Mechanics, Quiz 1.2: The Uniqueness of Video Games Compared with Linear Media, The Structure of a Video Game, Workshop: The Structure of a Video Game, Game Music Aesthetics, Quiz 1.3: Game Music Aesthetics, Melodic and Thematic Development in Video Games, 14 Video Game Themes You Should Know, Discussion 1.1: Game of the Week—Chime, Assignment 1: Compose Themes to Represent Characters or Locations, Recap

Week 2 – “Interactive Music Overview and Analysis—the Video Game Composer’s Toolbox”, Oct 1st – Oct 7th
Introduction, Synchronization in Video Games, Events for Synchronization, Using Interactive Music Techniques, Mapping Control-Inputs to the Score: What is Controlling the Playback of the Music?, Discussion 2.1: Spotting and Identifying Control-Inputs, The Composer’s Toolbox, Horizontal Re-Sequencing, Vertical Remixing (Dynamic Mixing), DSP (Effects), Musical Stingers, Instrumental and Arrangement Alteration, Tempo Alteration, Harmonic Approach, Melodic Adaptation, and Note Manipulation, Randomization, Discussion 2.2: Interactive Music in Video Games, Game Genres and Demographic Considerations, Music Development in Video Games, Instrumentation and Orchestration, Development, Arrangement, Pacing, and Tempo, Dynamics, 5 Quick Tips for Making Your Work Sound More Professional, Introduction to Using Crossfading to Transition Between Musical Cues, Discussion 2.3: Game of the Week—Ori and the Blind Forest, Assignment 2: Extend Your Music Themes, Recap

Week 3 – “Spotting the Game, Game Technology, and Music Loops”, Oct 8th – Oct 14th
Introduction, Spotting the Game, The Music Asset List, Discussion 3.1: Spotting the Game and the Music Asset List, Software Used to Build Games: Game Development Engines, Software Used to Build Games: Audio Middleware, Quiz 3.1: Game Development Engines and Middleware, Introduction to Unity, Windows and Regions in Unity, Discussion 3.2: Building a 3D Game in Unity, Creating Seamless Music Loops, Audio File Formats and Compression, Quiz 3.2: Audio File Formats and Compression, Discussion 3.3: GDC Presentation—Assassin’s Creed III Music Score: Redefining Musical Standards for the AC Brand, Assignment 3: Creating Music Loops, Recap

Week 4 – “Interactive Music Composition: Horizontal Resequencing and Musical Transitions”, Oct 15th – Oct 21st
Introduction, Horizontal Resequencing, Crossfading Scores, Crossfading Scores and Starting Points, Discussion 4.1: Alternate Starting Points, Synchronized Crossfading Scores, Discussion 4.2: Crossfading Between Two Music Loops in Unity, Composing Bridge Transitions, Exiting the First Piece of Music, Beginning the Next Piece of Music, Using a Sound Effect as a Transition, Discussion 4.3: Horizontal Resequencing, Writing Transitions and Stingers, Discussion 4.4: GDC Presentation—The Gothic Horror Music of Bloodborne, Assignment 4: Writing Transitions, Recap

Week 5 – “Interactive Music Composition Using Vertical Remixing (Layering)”, Oct 22nd – Oct 28th
Introduction, Vertical Remixing (Layering), More on Layering, Quiz 5.1: Vertical Remixing and Horizontal Resequencing, Composing Using Vertical Remixing, Composing Using Vertical Remixing, Challenges with Vertical Remixing, Discussion 5.1: Composing for Vertical Remixing, Synchronized vs Non-Synchronized Layers, Stylistic Approaches to Game Music Using Layered Scores, SFX and Instrument Design, Discussion 5.2: GDC Presentation—The Art of Noise: Incorporating Aleatoric Techniques in Your Scores, Assignment 5: Composing for Vertical Remixing, Recap

Week 6 – “Using Stingers, and Implementation of Layered Music Scores in Unity”, Oct 29th – Nov 4th
Introduction, Composing Musical Stingers, Discussion 6.1: Musical Stingers, Discussion 6.2: Implementing a Vertical Remixing Score within Unity, Unity’s Audio Mixers, Discussion 6.3: Adding Stingers into Your Unity Project, Comparing Horizontal Resequencing with Vertical Remixing, The Concept of Musical Interruption, Eastern and Western Scoring Approaches to Video Games, Storytelling Through Event to Event Based Scoring Using Stingers and Overlaps, Discussion 6.4: GDC Presentation—Making Full Use of Orchestral Colors in Interactive Music, Assignment 6: Creating Your Musical Stingers, Recap

Week 7 – “Interactive Music Composition: Horizontal Sequencing Using Branching”, Nov 5th – Nov 11th
Introduction, Branching Scores, Branching on the Measure Start or on a Specific Beat, Discussion 7.1: Branching from Different Intensity Levels, Architecture of Branching Based Scores, Discussion 7.2: Composing for Horizontal Resequencing, Composing Techniques for Branching Based Scores, Unify Your Intensity Levels, Harmony and Development Implications, Phrase Lengths, Production and Editing Techniques for Branching Based Scores Part 1, Production and Editing Techniques for Branching Based Scores Part 2, Exercise 7.1: Interactive Music and Stingers in Video Games, Assignment 7: Creating a Branching Composition, Recap

Week 8 – “Introduction to Audio Middleware Using Audiokinetic’s Wwise Software”, Nov 12th – Nov 18th
Introduction, What is Audio Middleware?, Considerations When Using Audio Middleware, Advantages and Disadvantages of Audio Middleware, Quiz 8.1: Audio Middleware Fundamentals, Audio Middleware Feature Sets for Video Game Composers, Discussion 8.1: Musical Stingers for Your Branching Project, Using Wwise for Interactive Scores: Wwise Fundamental Building Blocks for Music, WAV Files, Tracks, Segments, Playlists, Switch Containers, Wwise Communication with the Game Engine, Advanced Looping Features within Wwise, Discussion 8.2: Setting Up Your First Wwise Branching Project, Discussion 8.3: GDC Presentation—Watch Dogs: Hacking it to 11, Assignment 8: Branching and Stingers within Wwise, Recap

Week 9 – “Using Unity with Audio Middleware: Advanced Middleware Functionality in Wwise”, Nov 19th – Nov 25th
Introduction, Transitions within Wwise, Adjusting the Timing of When the Music Transition Occurs, The Type of Edit Between the Cues, Transition Segments, Discussion 9.1: Implementing Your Transition Project in Wwise, Working with Audio Middleware Inside a Game Development Platform (Wwise and Unity), Wwise Events, Game Syncs, and the SoundCaster Window, Exporting SoundBanks from Wwise, Discussion 9.2: Creating Events, Using the SoundCaster Window, and Generating a SoundBank within Wwise, Setting Up Unity to Work with Wwise, Discussion 9.3: Developing a Creative Framework for a Project (Introduction to the Final Project), Assignment 9: Connecting All the Pieces Together (Unity and Wwise Integration), Recap

Week 10 – “Working in the Industry, Pricing Your Work, and Creating Demo Reels”, Nov 26th – Dec 2nd
Introduction, Introducing Vertical Remixing (Layering) within Wwise, Discussion 10.1: Implementing Your Layered Project, Working in the Games Industry, Skills Required to Be a Composer in the Game Industry, What to Charge?, The Most that the Client Can Afford, The Value of Music, and the Psychology of Bidding Music, Not All Music Costs the Same, À la Carte Pricing Versus Project Fees, Would You Like Fries with that Shake?, A Note about Revisions, Assignment 10.1: Create a Realistic Estimate for a Project, Sales and Marketing: Finding Your Audience, Demo Reels to Showcase Your Work, Discussion 10.2: The Composer Website, Assignment 10.2: Final Project, Recap

Week 11 – “Game Development Teams, Career Development, and Advanced Features in Wwise”, Dec 3rd – Dec 9th
Introduction, Working with a Game Development Team, Quiz 11.1: Working with a Game Development Team, Wwise Export Settings and Compression, Discussion 11.1: Exporting Soundbanks with Custom Compression Settings, Getting Everybody in Sync with One Another (Version Control Software), Common Version Control Software Used by Game Developers, Where Do Composers and Sound Designers Fit Into These Systems?, Sound Design Features within Wwise, MIDI and Instrument Design in Wwise, Negotiating Tactics, Paths to Becoming a Successful Composer, What Does 9:00 a.m. Look Like When You Are a Composer?, Discussion 11.2: GDC Presentation—Why You Didn’t Get the Gig, Assignment 11: Final Project (Continuation), Recap

Week 12 – “Advanced Interactive Music Scores, Larger Projects, and Where to Go Next”, Dec 10th – Dec 16th
Introduction, What Have You Learned?, Discussion 12.1: What Are Your Next Steps?, Advanced Interactive Music Scores and Design, Advanced Skills: Real Time Mixing for Games, Approaching Larger Projects, What’s Next: Finding Resources and Inspiration Beyond the Course, Unity: Building the Game with Wwise Assets, Video Demo Reel, Assignment 12.1: Create a Video Demo Reel, Assignment 12.2: Final Project (Ending), Recap