Leeds Conservatoire lecturer and alumni join forces on brand new music podcast

By Lauren Bickerdike


Ben Hennessy-Garside, multi-instrumentalist, composer and vocal coach on the BA (Hons) Popular Music programme at Leeds Conservatoire, has recently released his new podcast 'Charting Tracks: A Holistic Guide for Professional Music Makers'.

The podcast is a collaboration between lecturer Ben, and two Leeds Conservatoire graduates - London-based music industry professional Chris O'Gorman and producer and GRAMMY® Award-winning engineer Aamir Yaqub. The three professional musicians met whilst studying production at Leeds Conservatoire and have come together to share their experiences across a range of different areas in the music industry.

We spoke to Ben about the inspiration behind the podcast, the podcast making process and his time studying and working at Leeds Conservatoire.

You can listen to 'Charting Tracks: A Holistic Guide for Professional Music Makers' on YouTube or keep up to date with the latest episodes by following the podcast on Twitter and Instagram.

Hi Ben! We'd love to know more about your new Podcast, 'Charting Tracks: A Holistic Guide for Professional Music Makers'! What can listeners expect to learn?

Charting Tracks

Image Credit: Chris O'Gorman

For the first season, we have three music professionals sharing their experiences across various areas in the music industry and as music consumers.

While each podcast has a theme, we're trying to capture a holistic view of music for professionals in which the nature of building a portfolio career is covered.

We also discuss dealing with creative blocks, devising self-learning strategies, and other such things. We wanted to tap into the interconnectedness of each individual journey through the world of music.

Nowadays, the industry is demanding a more developed and refined package from artists, and so they generally need to 'wear more hats'. Many musicians teach, play in cover bands or work other jobs while creating their own music. There's something about each of these various parts working in tandem and holistically, which we'd love for our listeners to come away appreciating.

What inspired you to start a podcast?

When lockdown happened, I found myself wondering what to do. Initially, I thought I'd try and write a book about all the things I know about music.

Chris was the first co-author that came to mind, as he has a background working inside of major labels and is London based. It became clear that a working engineer and producer would also benefit the project, so we asked Aamir.

In brainstorming the book, it was evident that the podcast was the most natural way to outline our experiences and say what we needed to say.

Have you found anything difficult in the Podcast making process, and how did you overcome these hurdles?

Yes, so much! I could choose from a wide range of difficulties. Here are some:

  • How busy all of us have become post-pandemic. The amount of work required to get it looking/sounding well became more difficult as we had a lot more work going on.
  • Editing challenges. We wanted to make the podcast available on YouTube, but the raw Zoom footage was out of sync or grainy. [We captured] the sense of motion, by blurring and placing behind stylised boxes. There were also several audio artefacts, such as "robotty" words [that required] editing in the local audio recordings from each computer or re-dubbing. Editing involved a learning curve, as it wasn't just the audio but the video footage to match.

How did studying at Leeds Conservatoire help prepare you for your career?


I wouldn't be doing what I do without it. My decision to move into music education came after returning to my job in music instrument retail. I realised that I enjoyed explaining how different pieces of musical and audio equipment work to customers.

Without the understanding gained at Leeds Conservatoire as a student, I wouldn't have been able to explain anywhere near as much as I did, or successfully apply for the PGCE I needed to become a Lecturer.

Nor would I have met Chris, or Aamir, and I would have missed out not only on their (and others) lifelong friendship, but this podcast would never have happened!

What advice would you give to those keen to start their own Podcast?

  • Have a reason to make the thing. What is it you're saying that is different to what others have to say?
  • Don't underestimate the amount of time spent editing (especially when working with top-notch "ummers" and "arrers" like me!)
  • Don't rule out spending some money to use a platform that captures audio locally and helps to collate it afterwards (e.g. Riverside), or automatically remove the "um's" and long pauses (e.g. Descript).

What is your favourite thing about working at Leeds Conservatoire?

Popular Music POD-13.jpg

The music and watching my students develop. This place is full of interesting people (staff and students), with interesting musical tastes and so a lot of the new music I end up listening to comes through people here.

I get to work with up and coming artists, helping them make the music they want to make. I get to see them grow into their own unique sound and get to see them blossom. It really is a privilege.

Alongside that, I probably learn more from teaching all the students I teach than an individual student will learn from me!

Thanks Ben!

Find out more about the podcatsers & Leeds Conservatoire alumni Ben, Aamir & Chris below -

Ben Hennessy-Garside

Ben Hennessy-Garside

"Ben Hennessy-Garside [BA (Hons.)] is a multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer, now specialising in singing. Ben's students include/have included those with exposure on BBC Radio One, artists with Youtube views over 2 million, signed artists, professional/semi-professional function singers, other singing teachers and amateurs."

You can discover more about Ben in his tutor profile.

Aamir Yaqub

Photo Credit: Julian Grimm

Aamir Yaqub

"Aamir Yaqub is a London-based producer, GRAMMY® Award-winning engineer, and songwriter. Aamir has collaborated with a number of respected GRAMMY® Award-winning artists, producers and engineers including Rihanna, David Guetta, Ne-Yo, Will.I.Am and Sia. He currently works freelance at studios around London."

You can discover more about Aamir in his alumni profile.

Chris O'Gornam

Photo Credit: Junior Latifulaoye

Chris O'Gorman

Chris is a development coach, consultant and also runs a digital marketing agency. 

"I've spent the last 12+ years working in the music industry specialising in digital media. My best-known work is probably leading digital strategy for Sam Smith and 5 Seconds of Summer and being part of the digital team that launched One Direction, Little Mix, Olly Murs and many more."

Check out our interview with Chris, where he shares his advice on how to get your foot in the door and remain adaptable within an ever-evolving industry.

Discover more about our BA (Hons) Music (Production)  and BA (Hons) Music (Popular) programme.

By Lauren Bickerdike

Don't forget, this Tues evening (1 Feb) is our Postgraduate Music & Performing Arts Live Online Open Event! Disco… https://t.co/IsMccBxXQW
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