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Sing, Sing, Pew, Pew

Adam Gauntlett | 23 Sep 2011 15:00
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Berklee has hosted an annual Video Game Demo Derby since 2009, which members of the Choir have participated in and which Julia, as Secretary of the Video Game Music Club, helped organize. The Derby, much like its San Francisco equivalent at the Game Developers Conference, is intended to allow budding musicians a chance to perform their material for videogame veterans. In 2009, representatives from 2K Boston, 38 Studios and Berklee faculty sat in judgement, and gave immediate feedback on the presentations. Events like the Derby are vital to students, both for personal development and to get an idea of what the job market may expect of them. Many of them want to make their careers in game music, so to be able to talk to industry veterans about their work is an opportunity not to be missed.

Regardless of what language you speak and what culture you're from, everyone has a reaction to the music they hear.

Game music is becoming a significant part of Berklee's curriculum; they now have a Video Game Scoring Lab, and collaborate with MIT and the University of Southern California on gaming projects. None of this is lost on the Choir, even Daniel, whose major is Film Scoring. "I just enjoy collaborative works so much! So even if it is uncertain right now, my wish is to be able to do both." Julia feels much the same way, torn between her love for gaming and a desire to perform live, in front of an audience. "I would love my career to somehow be involved in the gaming industry [but] bringing live game music to fans is something I will always enjoy."

For the moment, both have other concerns. Julia still has to get through her final year, but she wants to go out on a high note, possibly a tour but definitely another album. Daniel wondered whether the Choir should start considering their fan base, which is growing daily. Glowing press notes from Nintendo and Blizzard brought them a lot of attention, but it also meant a wider audience than they had enjoyed at Berklee. Their fans have been asking for more, and putting in song requests; for a student club that was founded just so its members could share their love of videogames, meeting those expectations can be daunting. Like Julia, Daniel wants to take the Choir on the road, so they can reach all the people who want to hear them sing. The album is a great start, but they want to do a lot more than that.

Whatever they do, music will be part of their lives. "Maybe if I wasn't a musician," Julia told me, "I wouldn't be so interested in game music. Music is the most universally relatable part of a game. Regardless of what language you speak and what culture you're from, everyone has a reaction to the music they hear . . . good game music can bring a story to life, be catchy (maybe even singable), original, funny, dramatic, and make you want to play the game again and again."

"A game lets you become the character itself," Daniel said, "Being able to live your own adventure. There's no better way to make you feel inside a good story than with the help of music."

Adam Gauntlett can't hold a note, but that doesn't stop him trying.

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