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Students studying the Extended Diploma in Music described a visit to Leeds O2 Academy to see heavy metal group Saxon as 'the best trip ever!'

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The trip provided students with the opportunity to experience everything they are learning on the 'Music Industry Unit'. They saw how a professional venue is used to host touring bands and met with professional musicians and technicians, giving them a fantastic insight into the music industry and the job opportunities within it. 

The students were particularly inspired by former York College music technology student, Ben Hammond, who is now the lead sound engineer for the internationally acclaimed heavy metal band. Ben told the students that the skills he learned at College have helped him gain employment in the industry. Students also had a detailed talk from the band's stage monitor engineer.

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Students met Saxon's lighting designer who explained that it takes five hours to rig the lighting for the concert and stressed the importance of his role – "it can make or break a performance." Student Dan Jennings (formerly of Tadcaster Grammar School) said: "It was awesome to see that Saxon use the same technology we have at College, but on a bigger scale."

Meeting the group's guitar technician, who doubles as the group's stage manager, the students were overwhelmed to see Saxon's high specification sound equipment and guitars. Music student Doug Eastbury (formerly of Tadcaster Grammar School) said: "It was interesting to see how this dual role fits with the other job roles on the tour. We have talked about this in our classes at College." The students also talked to the bands tour manager who took them on a VIP visit to the band's tour bus.

Chatting to legendary lead singer Biff Byford about getting started in the Industry,, being taken on the tour bus, listening to the sound check and watching Saxon give a TV interview were also on the schedule. Following the York College group photo with rock icons Saxon, the students were overwhelmed by the evening concert which they described as "absolutely awesome."

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Music Tutor Rob Parker: "We would like to thank Saxon, their production team and the Leeds O2 Academy for their time and generosity. The trip encompassed so much of what is taught on the Extended Diploma Music course, it was the perfect fit! Seeing how the different job roles join together to bring about one final performance and ultimately the tour, really added to the students' enjoyment and appreciation of the concert. It was a valuable and unforgettable experience for us all."

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Extended Diploma in Music Level 3

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