Since graduating, Beckie has forged a successful career combining her musical passions and the specialisms she developed during her degree. A busy community musician and businesswoman, Beckie’s rapidly-growing business works with children and elderly people across Cheshire. It was recently awarded 'Most Promising New Business 2014' by the East Cheshire Chamber of Commerce and recognised by 'Dragon' Theo Paphitis in his '#SmallBusinessSunday' competition. We spoke to her to learn more about her business and life.
"I grew up in Congleton, and decided I wanted a musical career when I was around 14 years old. I’d been playing violin for several years, and was a member of my local youth orchestra. A school teacher told me 'it was a silly idea, it'd never happen'. This only drove me to work harder, and I was offered a place at Leeds College of Music to study for a degree.
"My first study was the violin, and I was a member of the Leeds College of Music Community Symphony Orchestra and Sinfonietta. I also have a great love of theatre and working with young people, and spent my university years assisting, directing and playing for lots of shows with community and university groups.
"I took modules in community music and conducting. My community music project was at the Mount Dementia Hospital in Leeds. My Nana was living with dementia at the time, which is why I chose that project – it was an emotional, yet educational, experience. In the final year I did a dissertation specialising in Musical Theatre.
"I graduated from Leeds College of Music in 2011 with a 2:1, since then, I have managed to forge a career that uses all three of my specialisms.
"Moving back home, I began researching community music with elderly people. Four years on, and I have turned my research into a successful business called Musical Moments. We currently work with a range of community groups, day centres and over 120 nursing homes across the North West.
"We use music-based, interactive activities for the groups that we work with and in 2014 were awarded three different awards (Silk FM Local Hero Award, Theo Paphitis #SBS Award and the East Cheshire Chamber of Commerce & Enterprise Award). In 2015 we were awarded a grant of £7,000 from Cheshire East Council to increase our levels of outreach work.
"We have several members of part-time staff and I've created a brand new job for musicians. Our latest employee is Leeds College of Music graduate Lucy Chesters.
"Musical Moments also works with other age groups; we run several successful Early Years Music classes each week, frequent sessions for local additional needs charities and additional needs choirs. I've also recently discovered I've achieved a Postgraduate Certificate in Early Years Music Education from Birmingham City University as I've been studying for it due to my interest in Early Years Music.
"In my spare time I continue with my passion for theatre, I regularly musically direct local productions, sometimes taking on roles on the stage too. I also teach violin and theory lessons to pupils of all ages for a few evenings each week.
Beckie frequently returns to Leeds College of Music to give talks to students on the Community Music module.
A typical week in the life of me...
Every day is different - but now I'm usually busy organising all of the admin and running of the business in the mornings.
In the afternoon my team and I deliver sessions for up to 8 care homes a day between us.
Find out more about Beckie's company on the Musical Moments website.