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Keyboard player Gaz Knight aspires to be the next Hans Zimmer and whilst it has taken him a few years to get to where he is today, Gaz feels he is well-placed to start working towards a career in music.
Now aged 34, Gaz first joined the College after leaving school in 2002. With music having been his passion since he was young, at the age of 16 Gaz studied for a music BTEC at the College, but left education after finishing the level 3 qualification.
Gaz said: “I had children at quite a young age and I really needed to be in a job to provide for them. After a few years, I developed a drug problem and hit quite a low point in my life. By chance, I saw a post by one of the College’s music lecturers advertising the Music Practitioner HNC.
“I hadn’t really played much over the years, but something told me to get in contact with the College to see if I would have the right qualifications to gain entry to the course. I had managed to get off the drugs by this point and I really needed something to keep me focused. Fortunately, I was accepted onto the course and I am so pleased with how things are going.”
It is fair to say Gaz’s musical ambitions have changed over the years. “I originally wanted to pursue rap,” Gaz explained, “but I’ve developed an interest in music for TV and films. It has taken a lot of hard work to bring on my technical skills and music theory, but I’ve received so much help from the staff. Their passion for music is inspiring and keeps you striving to be the best you can be.”
Gaz was keen to praise the staff for their pastoral support. Having experienced mental health problems, he said the music team members have worked hard to develop his confidence. Gaz said he’d also found a lifeline in his fellow students.
Gaz said: “I would be lost without my coursemates – I actually share a house with someone I met at the College.
“Returning to education wouldn’t have been possible without applying for a loan. Whilst this might sound like a lot of hassle, it was really straightforward and something else the staff helped me with.”
Gaz, who has since completed a Foundation Degree is now undertaking the music practitioner top-up year to give him a full honours degree. He hopes to progress to a masters at the BIMM Institute.
“I don’t think you can ever leave it too late to pursue something you are passionate about. This course is so varied. Not only does it develop your theory and your technical skills, you also cover things like arranging music events and marketing, giving you an array of skills. This course has made me believe in myself again and I am so pleased I saw that original Facebook message.”