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Participant Tales : Sebastian Ruiz VA

Updated: Jan 13, 2019

Hello there! And welcome to week 4 of our participant tales, where I’ll tell you all about our participants in the GEMS Film & Visual Media Scoring Program 2019, which will be taking place between the 1st and 11th July, 2019. This week, we’ve got composer, Sebastian Ruiz VA!

BAM! I’m back, *beeeep*. Did you miss me?

After a well-deserved Christmas break, it’s back to business this week with the Participant Tales series again. This week, we’ll be talking about a past participant: Sebastian Ruiz VA. Sebastian’s a young composer from Mexico, based in New York, who I had the pleasure of meeting during the GEMS course last year. Last Years Highlights. He’s also a pretty fun guy, which you can see from his very entertaining interview today, and also from Sebastians last years interview he gave. Sebastian is returning to the GEMS summer program to study with video game composer Garry Schyman.

After being out of contact with Sebastian for a while, I’ve contacted him again to see what he’s been up to for the past 6 months or so. I remember Sebastian is more centered around video-games when it comes to his composing but does compose for films as well. Here we go!

So what are you currently up to, musically?

“I am currently integrating the audio and music of two video games as well as composing for personal projects”.

Meeting friends and networking

Tell us about some of the friends you met through the GEMS course and how useful that networking was to your career. Are you planning to collaborate with any of them?

Everyone I met on the program was very talented and I have kept in touch with most. I definitely see possibilities of collaboration in the near future. I think something great in the course is that you not only make friends with other students, but also with the faculty and staff, they are all very approachable and willing to help you grow musically even after the program finished”.

Aw, how flattering, Sebastian! And what a talented guy Sebastian is too! Have you heard his piece? It is marvelous. Listen here:

The proof is in the pudding here folks, and this blog is a pretty good piece of pudding in itself – had I not met Nigel during last year’s GEMS program myself, I wouldn’t be writing this blog right now, and you wouldn’t be reading it either. Jeesh, you’d be really missing out, huh?

But anyways! My point is, as Sebastian has said, the socializing and networking doesn’t stop with the course – I still ask the tutor we had, Juanjo Molina some composing-related questions every now and again, and he always answers me to the best of his ability! So, really, you’ll be gaining not only friends (possibly for life), but also great tutors and teachers.

What were some of the most memorable or best lesson/s that you learned during the course?

“Compose with your mind/heart not with your fingers. In less dramatic words; have the tune in your head (at least roughly) and then record it. I can't stress how much this has helped me. Well, those few minutes in front of the orchestra still feel unreal - just wow”.

Yes Sebastian, I also remember Christopher Young specifically saying this, “don’t let your fingers do the talking” – especially when it comes to instrumentalists, we tend to have the tendency to let our fingers go while composing something, instead of focusing on the tune that we often already have in our head. Of course, you might get lucky and get some great material from accidentally hitting the ‘wrong’ notes or just playing around and improvising – but what about how the great the tune in your head is? I definitely think that this piece of advice from Chris is golden!

And lastly, possibly most important question from all of this:

Did the course help you mature as both a composer, and a person?

“I feel it really helped me take a leap and go all in. Being surrounded by people really committed to music really inspires you to reinvent yourself. When I say jump I don't mean to just blindly go at it – but to work both hard and smart. And of course, once I saw such an orchestra playing something of mine, it’s hard to let it go. I want that to keep happening”.

Check out Sebastians website and music here

Beautiful words man, need I even say more? What are you waiting for? Apply!

If you haven’t checked them out yet, check out last year’s interviews and past students’ music here! Videos and Music. Go watch! Go listen!

Until next week, fellow composers!


Writen by the one and only Maria Borg

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