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Sandy Beales, session musician and live bassist for One Direction, held a special Masterclass recently at our partner Metropolis Studios for some lucky ACM students!

Having toured with One Direction for five years, alongside songwriting with Wheatus (who wrote the hit ‘Teenage Dirtbag’), Sandy has made quite the career for himself in the music business. Now, after the split of One Direction, Sandy plans to continue touring and songwriting, but will supplement that with a new role teaching at ACM London. Ahead of joining us there, he took the time to speak to a group of ACM students at Metropolis:

Sandy went into great detail for the students on how he got started as a session musician, including the different artists he worked with before he got the gig with One Direction, and gave lots of insightful tips on auditions and studio recording.

“There’s no such thing as being over-prepared.”

When asked about the importance of the gear he uses as a bassist, Sandy had this to say:

“Gear is so important as a professional bass player… Gear is paramount. You’ve gotta have the right gear. Having different basses at my disposal means I can achieve any sound that an MD, management, an artist, anyone desires… I can create it.”

Sandy Beales / ACM Metropolis / Shot by Rob Blackham

To wrap up the session, Sandy gave us his top 3 tips for session playing!

1- Preparation.

“Just have your stuff so prepared. If you get given songs to learn, over-prepare them. Just learn everything as much as you can, and internalise it. Leave the least amount of room for error.”

2- Punctuality.

“Just be professional… be on time. Don’t ever be late. Turn up early to everything. People don’t always notice it, but people notice when you’re late, trust me.”

3- Versatility.

“Be able to play loads of different genres, and get all the techniques on your instrument down. Be very aware of what it means to be a session musician these days… You’ve gotta have a load of different things going on; it’s so hard to just do one area. So be prepared to be a bit of a chameleon, be versatile, and be able to do all sorts of different things within music.”

We’d like to thank Sandy for helping to give our students an understanding of what it takes to be a session musician on the world stage, and for sticking around after the Masterclass to answer everyone’s questions!

Sandy Beales / Shot by Rob Blackham

If you’d like to study music at ACM and learn first-hand from incredible musicians like Sandy, please call our Admissions Team on 01483 500 841 or visit to book a place on an ACM Open Day today.

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