We continue to be impressed by the dedication and enthusiasm that we see from the dedicated learners on kadenze.com. As online education becomes more accessible, more and more students are honing an aptitude in the field of creative technology.

One of these students is Petr Yakyamsev, who has received certificates in a number of digital arts courses. Petr has utilized kadenze.com as a valuable academic resource for learning about programming and music technology. In this interview with Petr, he explains how he first discovered the platform and how kadenze.com courses serve as an excellent supplement for developing his work in sound design.

Tell us about yourself and your background.

I’m a sound designer for games. I was born in Togliatty, Russia and studied aircraft engineering at Samara State Aerospace University. Somewhere during the the second year of my higher education I realised that I wanted to proceed with learning music, so I started to study jazz music in the local Jazz School “Moving Club” in the evenings. After a few years I found myself in the hobby jazz band, which eventually become a professional collective where I started to make money from playing music. After a while, guys from the band decided to go their own way and I decided to focus on audio for games (I have participated in a few small game-projects already).

Petr Yakyamsev works as a sound designer for video games.

At the same time, I realised that while I could do some music, I didn’t completely know what sound design actually is. After some research I found that there was an opportunity to be employed by companies as in-house audio guy, which was mind-blowing for me. But you need to do sound design, not music. The problem was that there were no vacancies in the city and more importantly no teachers, instructors or mentors who can give feedback or advice, which is extremely valuable from the start.

To not waste time with reinventing the wheel, we (my wife and I) moved to St.Petersburg where I got the fortune to start working as a Junior Sound Designer at Strategic Music. At that moment (2013), it was the most famous company that provided outsourced audio in Russia, while other competitors were just starting out. So I spent a year learning the craft and got myself comfortable with everything and then decided to go freelance. There was a lot of good people that I was lucky to encounter during that time and we made a good projects together: Insomnia, Sandbox Evolution, Animal World, Blockhood, and others. After a few years I got employed by Gaijin Entertainment (Moscow) to work on ‘War Thunder’, then later got employed by Stunlock Studios to work on ‘Battlerite’.

What made you want to take music technology courses on kadenze.com?

A few reasons: I like to learn new stuff like audio and engineering. I basically took everything I was interested in from Coursera and then discovered kadenze.com, where courses are more in line with my profession (the intersection of audio-production and engineering). More in-depth, more interesting, more inspiring –that’s just what I needed.

What benefits do you see in taking online courses that traditional, in-person courses don’t offer or fall short on? How would you compare those two experiences?

The biggest benefit is the ability to study what you want and where you want. As you can see from my experience, sometimes you really get locked geographically and just don’t know how to start. The ability to take some courses online will at least give [you] some basics of the topic, so you will have something to start from and then research it more in-depth by yourself.

Screenshot of Petr’s final project for the course ‘Programming in Max: Structuring Interactive Software for Digital Arts’.

What did you find most enjoyable about the courses? Which one was your favorite?

I will not tell any surprises here, because I really enjoy the discoveries that [the courses] give me. Even if you will not proceed with practicing the material after the course, the knowledge of how this could be done and what it is needed is very valuable. Sometimes you find something that […] builds upon [your knowledge] (Chuck led me to Max/MSP). So, every study is important even if you’re not sure you will practice it. Everything sums up at some point.

I would say Max/MSP is the best experience so far. It is so in-depth that you get out of it with a pretty good understanding of the topic and practice. That is a great example of how courses on complicated topics should look like.

What are some unexpected challenges you found in learning through online education?

The lack of opportunity [to] answer [fast questions] like you can do in-person. Sometimes the information in the coursework is not perfectly clear and you’re not sure what result is expected.

Do you have favorite coursework that you submitted, or that you saw from another student in the Gallery?

I would say every student’s work in the ‘Programming Max’ course has its own twist, it was interesting to explore them.

Since taking the courses, how have you applied the knowledge you’ve developed from the projects you’ve completed and skills you’ve learned? In what ways have they enhanced your career or portfolio potential?

I wouldn’t say I apply learned skills as they are presented in the course, it’s more like I adapt them to my daily work in some specific way. ‘Physics-Based Sound Synthesis’ led me to an understanding of physics-based sound plugins — ways to think of them, ways to work with them. ‘Introduction to Programming For Musicians and Artists’ gave a nice vision of how things could be connected and what opportunities it gives, which is pretty important in game development. ‘Programming Max’ literally kicks me closer to use Max/MSP in Ableton (which is my primary DAW) — both developing my own small solutions and understanding 3rd party plugins.

Regarding career and portfolio — yes, I truly believe that taking online courses, even short ones, is important for your career, especially if you are from the middle of nowhere. It doesn’t mean that having certificates from online courses will immediately boost your growth; you still have to practice your craft daily, build your portfolio, and figure out the best possible way to showcase everything. But, in a situation when you have equally strong competitors, having such things as course certificates will give you a few points in your favor.

As I look back to all online-courses that I’ve taken (not only on kadenze.com), I can say that all these bricks of information work as additions to professional competence. At some point it all starts to work as your own subconscious internet of knowledge.

What kind of opportunities do you hope to pursue in the future, and in which subjects?

I feel great doing sound for games, so I will keep my position and strengthen my skills. For now, my main focus is understanding of the “proper” mix, what this term actually means for specific projects (game, film, music) and how to achieve it. I mean, we all do mixing, but I just started to be curious about why certain things in certain projects sound that good. I still also prefer to study music as a hobby.

Any advice you’d like to give to students interested in taking programming and sound design courses on kadenze.com?

If you are reading this and wondering if you need to start some course, then I just wanted to say: “It is time! Start it now!”

Anything else you would like to tell us?

Thank you for creating kadenze.com and I wish you good luck in every effort of getting it better!

If you want to develop skills in programming, sign up for these courses below:

Sound Production in Ableton Live for Musicians and Artists

Sound Production in Ableton Live for Musicians and Artists

California Institute of the Arts


Programming Max: Structuring Interactive Software for Digital Arts

Programming Max: Structuring Interactive Software for Digital Arts

Stanford University


Physics-Based Sound Synthesis for Games and Interactive Systems

Physics-Based Sound Synthesis for Games and Interactive Systems

Stanford University