The value of backstage work experience

 2 December 2015

Music Technology students at Havering College have been on production day visits to shows such as Florence + the Machine at Alexandra Palace. So what did they get up to? And how does taking a peek behind the curtain help you understand what backstage work is like?

Taking a look backstage

Callum Corrigan, BTEC Music Technology

"We saw backstage... all the people setting up and how everything worked. 

We got to explore the grounds and free roam and do other things instead of just being stuck backstage all day, which was really nice. 

"We got to see quite a lot of the bands, it was a brilliant opportunity."

Shaun Wormsley, BTEC Music Technology

To go to shows and see how they’re set up is not something you can do every day.

"It gives you a look in on the real world of the industry and how everything’s actually done outside of college. 

"So it was really beneficial from that sort of aspect. Going on the main stage while the performance was happening... that was really quite something."

Alex Pincombe, BTEC Music Technology

"It was really good. I got to see everything behind-the-scenes of the stage, which was good because that's what I want to do."

Daniel Di Lorenzo, BTEC  Music Technology, 

"We actually get to see what it’s like. So we get to see how everything is done, because it’s a rare experience. 

"Usually you say 'oh look amazing... the lights... the cameras' but you don’t see behind-the-scenes and how everything’s set up, like speakers, PAs, subs, how everyone works in a team and how everything’s put together."

Alex Mackie, BTEC Music Technology

"I think it’s pretty cool that Steve Cheney takes the time out of his day to show people everything that happens. 

"It was really helpful because you can actually see what’s going on backstage, instead of just what’s happening on stage."

How backstage visits can help

Alex Wood, Lecturer Music Technology

"These opportunities are brilliant. To go to shows and to see how they’re set up is not something you can do every day. 

"Thanks very much to Steve and Creative & Cultural Skills for organising this because it’s a brilliant opportunity for the students. 

"I find it interesting myself. I never got the opportunity to go and see this sort of thing, but it drives home to them, in reality, how these shows work: all of the effort that goes in to actually putting on a professional gig. And also making them aware of all the job opportunities that are out there, in terms of what they can do. 

It gives you a look in on the real world of the industry and how everything’s actually done outside of college.

"It’s not just that there’s a sound engineer. There are riggers, lighters, stage production teams, drum techs and stage techs.

"It certainly excites them and gives them something new to go and head toward. It widens their horizons when it comes to thinking: what am I actually gonna do with this BTEC? How am I actually gonna get out into the world of work and make something of myself?

"It’s all very well and good studying things in theory, but if you can get out there and really see how it’s done, then brilliant. And the fact that you then get to sometimes go and see a show afterwards is just the icing on the cake. It’s fantastic. 

Thanks to Havering College music staff and students for making the video and Nathan Slater, the technician who edited and filmed it. The music was Saturday Love by Shahid Mughal, a graduate of BA Hons Music Performance & Technology.