I had an amazing opportunity to join fellow Audio Systems Engineering and Audio Technology students to put our technical expertise behind a fresh strand in the acclaimed Celtic Connections music festival.
We manned the mixing desks as emerging talent from across Scotland performed at GCU for hundreds of music fans in the inaugural Celtic Connections on Campus.
I spent two weeks working on live shows every day, either on campus or at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. Working practically on live sound was a great opportunity, especially as we were being broadcast on radio, too. It was exciting and nerve wracking setting up such a big system, working in front of such a huge audience, and switching from working with 18-piece bands with all sorts of different instruments to a single guitar player and back again. I had never miked an accordion before, so that was a cool challenge!
There’s lots of thinking on your feet. For example we set up for three fiddle players, but when they went on stage, they stood in a different order so one player’s bow began hitting off the mike. Musicians don’t have to consider that kind of thing but we had to get in and discreetly move it! Also, I had never worked in front of so many people before. Audiences themselves create challenges, such as clapping, that we had to react quickly to deal with. Real-life is the best learning experience. It was fantastic.
“The experience also helped us foster relationships with musicians; everyone has their own preference and, in addition, each day you didn’t know who would be turning up.
“We had to predict what musicians might do – even if that’s deciding to retune mid-set. My programme offers lots of opportunities to have real-life experiences and it is the best way to learn. It was fantastic fun.