We sat down to speak with Sarah Sherlock, a student on our BA (Hons) in Music Production programme and alumnus of our Music Production for Games 1-Year Certificate, about her recent success at the WhatIf? International Participatory Arts contest, with her musical submission ‘Peripheral Vision’ (which you can hear below).
Congrats on your recent awards success Sarah! Can you tell us about the contest?
Thank You so much! I was told about the contest from my lecturer Clare Fitch, who was my Sound Design lecturer last year on the Music Production for Games course and also this year on the BA (Hons) in Music Production here in Pulse College. The contest was run by an International Participatory Art blog of artists, musicians and programmers called What If? and the submission was to to take some sound clips on their Soundcloud page to create a unique musical soundscape. There were some very interesting submissions from talented sound designers and composers so I was truly delighted when they chose my piece for a winner.
What was the creative thinking behind your submission?
I knew right of the top upon choosing the sound design samples that I really wanted to capture a dark electronic/ambient feel in the drone, and to incorporate it with a simple guitar melody that would be introduced as the song builds and gradually fades away. There’s actually another guitar that’s more so hidden with lots of Reverb, it’s way down in the mix but I think it still adds a nice blend to the track although it’s barely audible. I worked in collaboration with a photographer for a hyperlapse video for this track, which you can see here.
You are currently studying the BA (Hons) in Music Production, having already studied with us on our Music Production for Games Cert. What drove you to go down this line of study?
I’ve always been mainly into producing in general, with guitar being my first instrument I always loved the writing and recording process. Since I have always been an avid gamer I became obsessed with game music and I knew I had to study the Music Production for Games certificate. I learned an invaluable amount of knowledge in games music and composing for visual media in general having completed the course but I just wanted to keep on learning, so the BA (Hons) in Music Production seemed like the best next step to take. Luckily enough Pulse accepted me back to another year at least!
What I love most about studying here is your expectation of yourself is always changing in the work that you do. You’re always writing, producing, recording, composing etc…and this hands on approach is giving you a great idea of what would be expected of you in the industry. As I’m still studying and finding my area in which I would like to pursue mostly weather it be in producing, composing, sound design, and I’m always looking in ways I can improve my music. From studying the Music for Games certificate I found a love for film scoring so I’m hoping to attend the Film Scoring Summer Programme in Varna, Bulgaria this July with Pulse College.
What are your tips to anyone at home considering a future in studying music production for games?
What I learned most about game music is to be aware of what the type of game it is and how you can aid the story and gameplay with your music, to let the game dictate the score essentially. It helps to think about what type of audience the game is aimed at and how you can chose your instrumentation.
Another essential tip not only in games music but in all music for visual media is to be aware of the other sounds such as the dialogue and sound design, so that your music is not competing against any of the key moments. It’s important to know that when you’re just starting out, like me, any of the projects I’ve worked on since studying on the course have been in collaboration with other students for indie projects. So as the composer you could very well be asked not only to compose the music but to create the sound design too so it helps to be a “jack of all trades” if that makes sense!
Find out more about Sarah
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