Faculty Spotlight: Professor Sean Barrett ‘11 (MM ‘13), Music

When did you feel you found your calling in your field of study?

As a high school student I was in a garage band, which was always just for fun, but I never really was passionate about anything else. Even though I didn’t think it was possible as a career I did a recording program in college, thinking I could become an engineer. Once I saw all the different bands and music opportunities in college, I saw that it is possible to do this as a career.

What are some of your favorite recent projects?

I work on an orchestration team and we have been working with composer Bear McCreary as he has progressed in his career. We are the ones who take the music the composers write and prepare the scores and sheet music! Most recently, we did the entire Rings of Power series, which has eight episodes, wall-to-wall filled with music. We also worked with Pinar Toprak, composer of Captain Marvel, on the new NFL Thursday Night Football theme, so that was especially exciting for the sports industry to have a female composer.

What has been the proudest moment of your career so far?

In general, I’m proud that I can make a living off music. I’m able to support a family with what I do and it’s all music-related, whether it's teaching or working on movies.

What are your ultimate goals when it comes to teaching the next generation?

I never planned on doing anything I’m doing. I started as a gigging bass player and then I found myself teaching and now I also do orchestration, just because I always found myself curious. That’s what lead me to where I am now, just having that curiosity and work ethic. Regardless of what you do in music, there are always so many people who want to do it, so stand out. If you want to do something go out and do it, that’s how I got to where I am.

What’s your advice to someone pursuing a career in the field you teach?

If there’s something you want to do then go out and do it. As a student at APU, I was doing stuff I wanted to do besides just things I had to do, and that's what gave me the tools to do what I do now. Whether it's orchestrating, composing, or playing, if you want to be a player go out and play with every person you can. Making connections with people is so important because that’s how business works, networking. Whoever you have worked with and made relationships with are the people that are going to call you or recommend you for opportunities. I got my gig because another student at APU had been interning with Bear McCreary and from there moved on to work with one of the orchestrators that I work with now, and so that's how I got connected with the team.

Professor Barrett has worked on the orchestration for over 150 movies, tv series, and video games. His more recent projects include The Handmaid’s Tale, Rings of Power, and Slumberland. Check out his complete resume on IMDB.

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