Alumni Focus - Nicole Higgins on the frontlines of live music

An education in music technology can lead to a range of opportunities in the creative industries. We caught up with former Plymouth student Nicole Higgins who recently landed a role at Allen & Heath.

Having graduated with an FdA in Live Sound, Nicole Higgins threw herself into the industry landing jobs with P.A. companies across the South West. After working for a year as a freelancer and travelling to places like Monaco, Nicole landed the dream job working for Allen & Heath.  We caught up with Nicole to hear about her journey so far and find out how studying at dBs Music helped along the way. 

What was it like to study at dBs Music?

Studying at dBs Music offered a lot of variety between practical and theory based lessons. I always found they were presented in a clear manner, that was easy to understand, with lots of enthusiasm.

Tutors - Olly, Jim, Leo and Simon often shared important and useful real life/industry experience in their lectures. This gave us a better understanding of what we were studying and also gave us an idea of how we could apply what we were learning to different job roles in the future.

How did your time at dBs Music help you progress in your career?

My time at dBs music gave me the confidence to build my communication and problem solving skills alongside my theory and practical work.  What I learnt helped me feel more confident and prepared going into the industry full time after I graduated. The lecturers were very supportive and helped with any gigs that were happening with dBs Music or at The Hub. They also supported me with my freelance work in local venues as well. 

What course did you study and what were some of the best parts of the course?

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I studied the FDA in Live Sound engineering. I really enjoyed learning about acoustics and the physics applied to 'line array' speaker systems.

I also particularly enjoyed my final practical assessment where I engineered FOH (front of house) in Carnglaze Caverns using a Martin Audio MLA Mini speaker system.

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Live at Carnglaze Caverns

What have you been up to since leaving dBs Music?

Since leaving dBs Music I worked freelance full time for just under a year. It was tough but very rewarding. I was lucky to have so many opportunities working for various PA companies in the south west between Cornwall and Bristol. My time as a freelancer also took me to Monaco for a week doing corporate work.

Following that, I have now started a role at Allen & Heath in Penryn. I was originally working in the 'software test' team but have now moved to 'product support' working on two of their ranges full time. I'm still working freelance alongside this role because the festival season had already kicked off when I started the position. It’s been a really great experience so far, getting to apply the problem solving skills I have acquired from sound engineering and putting them into practice in a different way at Allen & Heath. 

Tell us about your favourite career moments so far.

My favourite moment so far is engineering at Glastonbury festival. I worked for RG Jones on the opening ceremony and as a system technician on Block 9’s Icon Stage for Simon Honywill.

I would also say that working for Allen & Heath has been a massive highlight for me. I hope that I can go from strength to strength with them. It has been a very rewarding job, both in 'software test' and 'product support', with no one day being the same!

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Looking to kick start a career in the business? Check out our 11 Pro Tips For Breaking Into The Industry.

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