Creativity, Collaboration, Craft: Making Music for Video Games

One of Bradley’s freshest majors, Music for Video Games (MVG), draws in students with a breadth of different interests and aspirations. Regardless of their favorite music genres or video games, there are plenty of opportunities for MVG students to hone their craft and prepare to enter the industry.

“I'm very surprised at the amount of opportunities that are available to me,” said first-year MVG major Sean Crawford. “In my first semester, I worked on an indie game with Bradley students called Skyterra. This semester, I worked on the BU Game Jam where I made little jingles for a horror game. This weekend, I'm also going to work on the 12-to-12 Animation."

For Crawford, the entry into MVG was simple.

“I just love music and I love video games. Why not put them together, you know?”

Music can play many roles within the context of a video game. Sometimes it’s the focal point, while other times it provides background atmosphere — it ebbs and flows throughout the game, providing context to the larger narrative.

“It contributes to world-building, character development, tone and mood,” said first-year MVG major Ange Bass. “Some of my most memorable moments in the games I play are related to the music. There are a lot of moving parts that make a video game good, but I think the right soundtrack can turn a good game into a great game.”

Bass and her colleagues in the department frequently find themselves collaborating across disciplines, working with game developers to produce music that perfectly suits the nature of the game.

“I had friends in high school, but not friends that were into this stuff,” said Bass. “Seeing people that get it in the way that I do, makes it easier to connect with them. I feel like we just clicked instantly.”

MVG students aspire toward all different types of games.

“I really want to do indie games, starting off,” said Bass. “Indie games feel more personal to me. There's so much love and care that goes into it from the developers. It's not like a big studio, so it's like the few people that are working on it, that's their baby.”

Meanwhile, sophomore MVG major and Interdisciplinary Film Studies minor Harper Shaw has a different direction in mind for their trajectory. While primarily interested in the more traditional composing done for story-based games like Life is Strange and The Walking Dead, they are also drawn to the bigger role music takes in rhythm games like Guitar Hero and Beat Saber.

“Even though they're polar opposites, those are the two things I would love to work on eventually.”

Shaw credits the music department for creating such a mutually respectful and beneficial environment for learning their craft.

“My department is so crazy helpful,” Shaw said. “It's just such a welcoming environment, and that's part of why I wanted to come here in the first place.”

Crawford, Bass and Shaw were all gracious enough to share a piece from their portfolios. 

Choose Your Character

Ange Bass (she/her), First-Year

Hometown: New Lenox, Illinois

Instruments of Choice: Guitar, bass, piano

Extracurriculars: Mic Check (DJ/Studio Engineering)

Portfolio Pick: Just Shapes and Beats Boss Fan Rendition – School project to create music for existing games


Harper Shaw (they/she), Sophomore

Hometown: Viola, Illinois

Instruments of Choice: Bass, clarinet, keys

Extracurriculars: Bradley Symphonic Winds (clarinet), Tech Crew, Lighting and Sound Recorder (Dingledine), Advanced Audio Engineering

Portfolio Pick: star lab – A first venture with a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)


Sean Crawford (he/him), First-Year

Hometown: St. Louis County, Missouri

Instruments of Choice: Vocal bass, beatboxing, piano

Extracurriculars: Bradley eSports (Splatoon 3, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate), Dynamix, Bradley Chorale

Portfolio Pick: Hoist the Anchors! – Theme for an imaginary pirate game

Dr. Lynnsey Lambrecht and the composers featured at Bradley's first Music for the Screens Concert this past fall