I just returned from a fantastic experience as the keynote speaker for the North American Conference on Video Game Music. The conference was beautifully organized by Professor William Gibbons of TCU. Here are some photos from the event:
My conference badge for the North American Conference on Video Game Music. This was my first time as a keynote speaker, and I couldn’t have hoped for a more positive experience.
J.M. Moudy Hall on the beautiful campus of TCU served as the site of the North American Conference on Video Game Music, and as you can see, we were enjoying ideal weather throughout the conference weekend!
Here’s a portion of the audience for my keynote address.
My keynote address was titled, “The Role of Music in Video Game Immersion.” I explored some topics related to the effects of music on the brain, and how these can facilitate more intense and involving gameplay. These ideas are also found in chapter three of my book, A Composer’s Guide to Game Music.
After my keynote address, the conference organizer Will Gibbons graciously arranged for me to sign copies of my book for the conference attendees. The signing took place in the beautiful TCU Barnes & Noble bookstore.
The bookstore was festooned with purple everywhere, and all the TCU merchandize featured the celebrated TCU mascot – the horned frog. Fun fact: the horned frog is also the official reptile of Texas.
In this photo, I’d just arrived at the bookstore, and you can see that one of the conference presenters, Enoch Jacobus, jumped in for an excellent photobomb! 🙂 Keep an eye out for Enoch later on.
Here are some more photos from the book signing:
There was a really nice display of my book at the book signing table.
Here’s conference attendee Daniel Braunstein, a student at the University of Michigan.
It was great meeting Michael Austin, an assistant professor of Media, Journalism & Film at Howard University. At the conference, he presented the talk, “Old Categories for New Media: Rethinking Music Videogame Organology.”
Kathleen Kuo is a doctoral candidate studying ethnomusicology and Central Eurasian Studies at Indiana University Bloomington. She presented the talk, “Hitting Reset: Reception, Replay Value, and the Creative Process of Video Game Cover Music.”
And here again is the charismatic Enoch Jacobus, a musicologist who holds a Ph.D. in Music Theory from the University of Kentucky and was just named the new associate editor of Analytical Approaches to World Music. At this year’s conference, Enoch gave a talk about the music of Bioshock Infinite entitled, “Lighter Than Air: A Return to Columbia.”
Will Ayers teaches at the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music. At the conference he presented the talk, “Analyzing Narrative in Video Game Music: Topic Theory and Modular Design.”
Great to meet Neil Lerner, a professor at Davidson College and one of the conference chairs. He also presented a talk at the conference entitled, “Teaching the Soundtrack in a Video Game Music Class.”
What a pleasure to meet David Abad, a student at TCU who wasn’t attending the conference but came over to get a signed copy of my book. Thanks for your support, David!
Dominic Arsenault is an assistant professor of video game design and history at the University of Montreal, Canada. His talk at the conference was “From Atunement to Interference: A Typology of Musical Intertextuality in Video Games.” Also – check out the great Pac-Man tote! 🙂
The next day, I was the subject of a Q&A session moderated by Professor Martin Blessinger and sponsored by the TCU Society of Composers.
Martin Blessinger is an accomplished composer and teaches music theory and composition at TCU. It was great talking with Martin and the great Q&A audience about such topics as game music production, career building, live performance and issues related to game music study. Fascinating questions from both Martin and lots of audience members!
Well, that wraps up this photo blog of my adventure as a keynote speaker at the North American Conference on Video Game Music. It was a thoroughly fulfilling, rewarding journey, and I learned a ton! Plus, I met a lot of fascinating people, and I hope these newfound friendships will continue forward into the future.
If you’d like a taste of what it was like to attend, you can read the messages that were live-tweeted during the event at #VGMconference. Also, a partial transcript of my TCU Society of Composers Q&A is available on Gamasutra.com. Thanks to Will Gibbons, Martin Blessinger and everyone who made this event a fantastic success. It was a great conference!