Gaby Stead2

Course Studied: BA (Hons) Music (Business)

Year of Graduation: 2018

Top Career Highlights:

  • Finishing my undergraduate degree with First Class Honours
  • Doing my Master’s degree at a Russell Group university
  • Hosting my own club night at my favourite Leeds club - Wire

Recognising the importance of the ability to communicate with a wide range of audiences, Gaby Stead has begun to forge a career within marketing and communications. A former student on our Music Business degree programme, she subsequently completed a postgraduate course in Advertising and Marketing at the University of Leeds.

We caught up with Gaby to discuss her experiences of studying Music Business at Leeds College of Music. During her time as a student, she volunteered in artist liaison at Leeds Festival and established her own club night at the Wire Club – Portal Presents.

When did you first encounter music/when did your interest in the music industry begin?

I've always loved music for as long as I can remember and I've always loved exploring new genres but I really became interested in the music industry when I started going to gigs as a teenager. The music and larger arts scene is so important to our society and culture and I just really wanted to get involved in that.

Tell us a little bit more about your experiences within marketing and advertising?

Business Studies was always my favourite subject at school. I really enjoyed learning about marketing as it requires so much creativity and it really is essential in every industry.

On the Music Business degree we focused a lot on marketing and communications. As I went on to doing my own projects, I was able to put what I'd learned into practice. Graduating from LCoM with a really great grade spurred me on to apply to do a Master’s degree.

On finishing my education, I have worked within the Junior LCoM department in a marketing role. Here, I undertook promotion of the Short Courses and Junior LCoM programmes offered, with a particular emphasis on social media and helping to develop our online presence. This role gave me the opportunity to undertake some really interesting research projects and become familiar with how a marketing function operates within an organisation. I also met some great contacts with whom I hope to keep in touch and collaborate with in the future!

Currently, I work as a Marketing and Communications Assistant at a children's charity in Leeds. In this role I'm still quite hands on with social media but I’m also working on a more varied number of projects and functions. I'm beginning to learn more about press and PR, alongside developing my skills in marketing design for online and print materials. I'm also building my skills in web design and helping to develop key content for newsletters, e-bulletins, and other communications to our supporters.

I plan to expand my skillset and pursue a future in marketing - but I'll be continuing to work on my music projects on the side so keep an eye out for those!

What key skills do you need to work in marketing, advertising and communications?

A creative mind-set is absolutely essential! Absolutely everyone uses marketing for something so to be sure you stand out, you have to think outside the box. People are so busy, you've got to have the ability to get a message across to people in a way that makes them listen.

Could you tell us a little bit more about Portal Presents?

Portal Presents is the club night that myself and my boyfriend run in Leeds. We're both so passionate about live music and putting on events was something we both really wanted to do - so we just decided to go for it. We hope in the future to get a regular thing going with it, it's just such a great feeling to see everyone having a good time at an event that you've organised.

You volunteered as a member of the Artist Liaison Team at Leeds Festival during your studies. What did that opportunity provide?

Volunteering as an Artist Liaison at Leeds Festival was one of the best things I did at LCoM! It was such an amazing opportunity to be involved in such an established event, meet lots of other people in music, and be able to add it to my CV. 

How did your experiences of studying at Leeds College of Music prepare you for a career in the wider industry?

Virtually everyone you meet has so much industry knowledge and is happy to share what they know in order to help you. There's such a practical focus to the teaching and assignments and the course leaders are so supportive of students taking on their own projects and gaining real-world experience.

What attracted you to the Music Business degree programme?

It seemed like such a perfect degree for me as it brought together two of my main interests. I'd looked round some other courses at other universities but the Music Business programme stood out. The open day and course content was so engaging and just seemed like the right path for me.

What advice would you give someone who wants to study Music Business at LCoM?

It sounds cliché but go for it and make the most of every opportunity you're given! If you're worried about closing yourself off to other opportunities, don't be. There are so many things going on at LCoM so make sure you put yourself forward and get involved; the conservatoire experience here is so different to other places, make sure you use that to your advantage. You’ll find so many opportunities for you that you wouldn't get elsewhere and you’ll get out of the degree what you put into it – so make sure you get involved.

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