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How Oz is Using His Experience to Place Our Students "Above the Crowd"

What makes a good teacher? Endless qualifications and certificates? An encyclopaedic knowledge of a given subject? Here at Weston College, we have always stood by the belief that lived experience is far superior to any badge or certification. First person knowledge and in-depth understanding of real industry practice is what makes a good teacher! 

 

On that note, meet Oz Cahill... 

Oz is our incredible Music Performance Instructor and Technician and he is the very definition of experienced. Alongside working at Weston College since 2013, Oz has also stayed very much involved with the music industry – stage managing the John Peel Stage at Glastonbury Festival every year.  

Annually taking place on Pilton’s Worthy Farm in the heart of Somerset, Glastonbury is a world-renowned music festival that sees over 200,000 people pass through its golden gates every year. As if this wasn’t outstanding enough, Oz has also recently been awarded his very own stage to manage: the Sessions Bar Stage! 

Amazed by Oz’s fantastic achievements, we wanted to catch up with him to find out more about his journey through the music industry.  

From humble beginnings, Oz began his career as a dancer on the Pontins circuit in the late 70s, alongside performing Do-Wop street singing with friends in his spare time. However, he tells us it wasn’t until the early 2000s that opportunities in music really arose again when he connected with a few local acts who were running Open Mic nights with the aim to get involved in events. Oz soon found himself drawn to Weston College when his daughter, who’s musical career he had been managing for about a year, became a student.  

Oz

“In 2011 the old curriculum manager invited me in as a guest to witness his Tuesday lectures. As an owner of a couple of businesses, I was able to re-schedule my work to attend throughout 2012. At the end of the year, I closed my companies and signed up to a Fast Track events management course here at the college. Proving myself at the end of the course I was offered a job, whilst managing a few artists and putting on small charity events. Constantly networking and creating openings for my acts and now predominantly our students.” 

Oz prides himself on his excellent links to industry, and how this in turn provides exquisite work experience opportunities for his students. He has successfully secured many roles for music learners to work at Glastonbury Festival - supporting them to gain real, first-hand experience of the industry they one day hope to work in.  

Gaining access to this type of experience is rare and highly sought-after, an element of our music courses that other institutions just cannot compete with! Something many professionals can only dream of; can you imagine saying your first job was working at THE Glastonbury Festival?  

Oz went on to discuss his recent appointment of the Sessions Bar Stage: 

“I had been managing performances on the Sessions Bar Stage since 2014, but with limited autonomy. However, this year the stage has been officially handed over to me. Which has the potential to open many doors, obviously for my longevity with the festival, but mostly for our student's long term." 

We then asked Oz what his main goals are for the future at Weston College, specifically on the Music Performance courses and Technical Theatre and Live Events course. 

“Moving forward, my main aim, goals and focus will be on my college responsibilities to create as many genuine industry openings and opportunities for our learners as possible...Alongside, helping to develop and support our learners to achieve their goals and aspirations.  

I would also like be able to promote our courses at every opportunity...It would also be amazing to see wider cross-collaboration between courses in the Creative Faculty [because] there is so many collective opportunities for development. Obviously musically biased, I can see the need for Media, Photography, Graphic Design, Performing Arts and Textiles all working together to create complete end packages, ready for industry, alongside further developing academic subjects such as English and Maths. Doing all this with the theory of placing our students above the crowd, rather than in it!” 

We truly admire Oz’s attitude and dedication to holding learners up and teaching them all the skills necessary to give them the competitive edge and experience they’ll need in industry! We went on to ask him, what do learners gain from coming to Weston College that they cannot get elsewhere? 

“Apart from wonderful opportunities, our learners gain wider skills, as well as passionate and supportive tutors. From my perspective, one of the college’s biggest unique selling points is the genuine investment of time we put into our learners. Another is the annual Creative Arts Summer Festival that encompasses incredible facilities, demonstrations of student achievements and the external professional Music/PA tent which also gives the learners the experience of working/playing in a professional environment. 

Learners are nurtured and encouraged to follow their own path. Gain confidence, self-reflect, visualise and become pro-active within their career paths.” 

According to Oz, the glamour and glitz that we see in the music industry is a complete fallacy. You cannot get anywhere without hard-work, dedication, and passion. Luckily, all of these things are encouraged and supported here at Weston College, doing all we can to ensure our students make their dreams a reality! 

Our catch up with Oz ended on some final words: “Stay focused, don't ever give up and follow YOUR dream...Oh, and get a degree!” 

A huge thanks to Oz for taking the time to bestow his musical wisdom upon us, and a big congratulations for his amazing work with Glastonbury Festival and creating industry connections for Weston College learners! 

If you are interested in finding out more about the wonderful music courses Oz teaches on, click here.  

To see what music degree opportunities UCW (University Centre Weston) have on offer, click here.  

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