HAVE you got the X Factor? Well, now it does not matter if you do or not, as a North East college is offering a course on how to learn it.
Bishop Auckland College in County Durham is believed to be the first in the country to come up with the idea for a course specifically designed to help budding performers pass auditions for the hit ITV talent show.
Students enrolling on the 17-week programme, which starts next week and ends just in time for the next round of auditions, will receive tuition in singing and performing as well as coaching on how to project themselves confidently.
The idea stemmed from the college’s previous work with X Factor winners Joe McElderry, from South Shields, and Saltburn’s James Arthur, who both performed at the Bishop Auckland Music and Arts Festival.
The three-day annual event run by the college attracted crowds of more than 6,000 last June, and students on the new course will be able to put into practice what they have learned by performing at this year’s festival.
Mike Jinks, head of art, music and performing arts at the college, explained his inspiration for the X Factor Preparation course.
He said: “I wanted to run a course which prepared people for X Factor auditions and similar competitions across the country.
“Many applicants have talent but need to work on key things such as their singing technique and confidence.
“People auditioning also need to know that the ones who succeed on X Factor don’t just walk in there blind.
“It’s not about just wandering in, singing a song and you’re famous.
“Most applicants have been doing the rounds for years working really hard – it’s very rare that you get a Susan Boyle character.
“The course is also about giving people real, transferable skills. The biggest thing they will get out of it is confidence, whether this is for a future singing audition or a job interview.”
The X Factor Preparation course runs at the college’s main Woodhouse Lane campus from 6pm to 9pm every Monday night for 17 weeks, starting on January 21.
It will be led by experienced actress and performer Susan Harris, who has worked with musicians including Lenny Kravitz, and had TV roles including Davina Pike on Emmerdale during her 25-year career.
There are 40 places available and there are no formal entry requirements other than enthusiasm and motivation, although those enrolling need to complete a two-week probationary period. Fees cost £95, but eligible applicants meeting certain qualifying criteria such as receipt of benefits will not need to pay.
On completion, students will qualify with an NCFE Level 1 Certificate in Music.
Mr Jinks added: “There are plenty of colleges running the NCFE qualification but as far as I’m aware none of them have designed the course around the X Factor. It’s something I came up with last year but it was finding the right time to run it as it had to be timed to finish when the X Factor auditions start.
“But it also ends just in time for the next music and arts festival in early June, and students who have qualified from the course will be invited to perform there in front of thousands which will be great experience for them.”