Sean is Director of the School of Music and Associate Professor of Music Theory at TCU. He teaches a wide range of courses, including Freshman and Sophomore music theory and aural skills, Form and Analysis, graduate seminars on music analysis and musical meaning, and a media studies class for the TCU Honors College. Prior to joining the faculty at TCU, Sean served on the music faculty at the University of Texas-Arlington. He has earned both MM and PhD degrees in music theory from Florida State University and holds a BM degree in music theory and trombone performance from Furman University.

Atkinson is the author of a best-selling course for The Great Courses called Music Theory: The Foundation of Great Music. The course teaches viewers the basics of Western music theory, from note and rhythm reading, all the way through harmony, harmonic progressions, and reading lead sheets. Additionally, his research, which broadly address issues of musical meaning in multimedia contexts, has been published in numerous journals, including Music Theory OnlineIndiana Theory ReviewThe Dutch Journal of Music TheoryMusic Theory and Analysis, and Popular Music. He is also active in the growing field of video game music (ludomusicology), with presentations at the North American Conference on Video Game Music and Music and the Moving Image, and several forthcoming essays in edited collections on video game music. In 2018, Atkinson joined with a group of faculty from across campus to create No Quarters, an on-campus video game lab committed to the interdisciplinary research and teaching of video games. Housed in the TCU library, the lab allows students and teachers to explore a growing number of games and consoles, including virtual reality.

Atkinson is also an active member of the faculty at TCU, having recently served as chair of the Faculty Senate during the 2020-21 academic year.


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