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Music Brings Us Together Essay Scholarships

Music Education Scholarships

Show Off Your Talents: Go Head to Head with the Best in Large or Small Music Programs

There are a great number of scholarships available for student musicians, not only paying education costs but also providing opportunities to attend music camps or perform abroad with prestigious groups. Every type of musical talent is supported, and there is also a scholarship that underwrites research in musicology.

The following information should not be considered a complete listing, but it’s a good general overview of the aid available for student musicians.

Scholarships From Private Organizations

Young Musicians Foundation

The Young Musicians Foundation hands out cash scholarships to musicians between the ages of 8 and 26 to help pay the costs of attending music camps, schools, or festivals, or studying with private teachers. You must show great talent, prove your financial need, and residence in Southern California is required. Singers must be at least 12, and those who play instruments must apply before finishing the senior year of high school.

You must first submit a recording, and then compete at a live performance. There is an application fee of $25, and while that is normally a red flag in seeking scholarships, the foundation is a reputable organization of long standing.

The Opera Foundation

The Opera Foundation’s scholarships consist of singing engagements at world-renowned opera houses in Europe (the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Bayerische Staatsoper, and Teatro Regio Torino). The importance of this opportunity to your future career cannot be overstated.

When you compete for one scholarship, you compete for all three, and you cannot choose among them. Your award includes travel expenses of between $13,000 and $16,000 plus a monthly stipend of between 700 and 1,000 euros from the opera houses. You must be a U. S. citizen or permanent resident between 18 and 30 to apply.

BMI Foundation

The BMI Foundation has posted a long list of scholarships available for students who are either musicians or musicologists. Here are some examples of the proffered financial assistance:

  • The Woody Guthrie Fellowship Program supports those who are studying Guthrie’s life and work. A $5,000 award supports one student’s research at the Woody Guthrie Archives, and your project may focus on his creative output, influence on American culture and history, or personal philosophy.
  • The Women’s Music Commission award, also for $5,000, subsidizes a new musical effort by a female composer between 20 and 30 years old, and the BMI Music Foundation supplies the performers or musicians necessary to present that new piece.
  • The Lionel Newman Conducting Scholarship is for students who are classical conductors, and the winner will work for three years with the Los Angeles Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra.
  • The Evelyn Buckstein Scholarship (one or two awards per year) provides full tuition to City College of New York. Applicants must plan professional careers in songwriting, composition, performance, or musical education.

ASCAP Foundation

The ASCAP Foundation also offers numerous scholarships, and its grants have their own separate page. Here are some of ASCAP’s options:

  • The Vic Mizzy Scholarship goes to a graduate student studying scoring for movies and television at the Steinhardt School (New York University).
  • The Charlotte V. Bergen Scholarship is given to a student for education at an accredited school or conservatory of music.
  • The Louis Armstrong Scholarship Honoring W.C. Handy is awarded to a student enrolled at Mt. Vernon High School who excels in musical performance and composition.
  • The John Denver Music Scholarships Supported By BMG Chrysalis provide talented, financially needy student musicians between 10 and 16 with full tuition to the Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp.

Liederkranz Foundation

The Liederkranz Foundation sponsors a competition for vocalists, with three categories of award bringing anywhere from $1,500 to approximately $8,000. Each category has its own requirements for age, number of arias sung, and type of music, as follows:

  • General Opera Division (20-35 years old): five arias in three languages, one of which may come from operetta or zarzuela music.
  • Wagner Division (25-45 years old): five arias, four by Wagner himself.
  • The Lieder/Art Song Division (18-30 years old): five art songs (a sixth is optional) for a singer with keyboard accompaniment.

The Liederkranz competition charges a $60 fee to apply.

Scholarships From Colleges

Every music department offers some sort of financial aid, and the following is a small sample.

University of South Carolina

The School of Music at the University of South Carolina provides scholarships for about two-thirds of its majors. It is quite simple to apply: just audition to receive automatic consideration. If you are an out-of-state student and you receive a scholarship from the School of Music, that entitles you to a large reduction in your out-of-state tuition and fees, if your grades are satisfactory.

University of Iowa

The University of Iowa’s School of Music follows the same procedure by screening scholarship applicants at the time of their auditions. There is one named scholarship reserved for music majors for two years out of every four, the Adelaide Boerner Trickey Scholarship, and a number of general scholarships for students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Aspen Music Festival and School

The Aspen Music Festival and School hands out scholarships based on musical talent and financial need. Resident assistantships and fellowships are also available.

 

 

The following scholarship and grant opportunities are available to high school and college students involved in music education and music performance. They are provided here for the convenience of Tri-M Honor Society and NAfME Collegiate members. For more information on these scholarships, please visit the websites referenced. Know of a scholarship or opportunity that should be added to this list? E-mail memberservices@nafme.org.

Click on a category below to browse the scholarships:

Scholarships for High School Juniors

Music-Related Scholarships

Marine Band Concerto Competition

“The President’s Own” United States Marine Band, in conjunction with the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation and NAfME, announces the Marine Band Concerto Competition for high school musicians.

  • The winner will appear as a guest soloist with the U.S. Marine Band and receive a cash prize. Open to high school musicians (grades 9–12) enrolled during the 2013–2014 academic year. Performers of woodwind, brass, or percussion instruments may apply.
  • Deadline: November 15

National Music Scholarship Fair

This annual spring event gives students the chance to audition for several college/university music programs from across the country. You can audition for as many of the participating schools as you like. You’ll also learn more about each of the represented programs.

School Band & Orchestra Magazine Essay Scholarship

This scholarship offers prize money to students who write an essay of 250 words or less on a music theme.

  • Selected students win a $1,000 scholarship and music products for their school music program.
  • Public and private school students in grades 4–12 are eligible.
  • Deadline: December 31

The Williams Chorale Bacardi Fallon Scholarship Competition

The Williams Chorale Bacardi Fallon Scholarship Competition is for high school juniors and seniors pursuing vocal or instrumental studies.

  • The Williams Chorale and the Bacardi Fallon Scholarship Foundation will award over $12,000 in prize money, including $8,500 to the top four talented high school students. All applicants chosen to compete at the April competition who do not finish in the top four will receive $300. Each prize-winning student will also be a featured soloist with the Williams Chorale in its Annual Spring concert.
  • The competition is open to high school juniors and seniors who are pursuing vocal or instrumental studies and who attend any U.S. high school.
  • Deadline: Traditionally March 15

Davidson Fellows

The Davidson Fellowship is open to students who can demonstrate noteworthy achievements through the creation of a “significant piece of work” aimed at improving the lives of others in several subject areas, including music. A “significant piece of work” in music would be an exemplary performance and/or another demonstration of extraordinary accomplishment.

  • Awards are granted in the amount of $50,000, $25,000, and $10,000.
  • Applicants must be under the age of 18 to be eligible for this award.
  • Deadline: Traditionally March 3

The VSA Arts International Young Soloists Program

This program is designed to identify and encourage talented musicians who have a disability. The VSA Arts International Young Soloists Award is given annually to four outstanding musicians or ensembles, two from the U.S. and two from the international arena.

  • Any individual musician (instrumental or vocal) from the U.S. who has a disability and is under 25 years of age is encouraged to apply. Any individual musician who is under 30 and is from outside the U.S. is encouraged to apply.
  • The award provides an opportunity for these emerging musicians to each earn a $5,000 award and a performance in Washington, D.C.
  • Deadline: November (application materials will be online in the fall)

Tri-M Music Honor Society Chapter of the Year Music Scholarships

These scholarships are available to members of the Tri-M® Music Honor Society, a program of NAfME. The scholarship program offers scholarship money for summer study programs to chapters that win one of three recognitions at the national level in each division: senior (high school) and junior (middle school). Scholarship money is awarded by the advisors of the winning chapters to deserving students.

  • Open only to members of the Tri-M Music Honor Society.
  • Winners have the chance to win up to $1,000 in scholarship funds for summer music study.
  • Deadline: April 30

Community Service/Extracurricular Activities Oriented-Scholarships

 

Discover Card Tribute Award Scholarship

The Tribute Award Scholarship Program is open to high school juniors that have a minimum 2.75 GPA and plan on attending an accredited certification, licensing or training program or institution of higher education. In addition, the candidate must demonstrate accomplishment in all of the four following areas: special talents, leadership, community service, and obstacles overcome.

  • Scholarships of $25,000 are available.
  • Deadline: late January

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards

Sponsored in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals, these awards honor young people in grades 5 through 12 who have volunteered in their communities. This award program is the country’s largest volunteer recognition program for young people.


SYTA Youth Foundation “Road” Scholarship

Students planning educational travel programs but needing financial assistance can apply for a “Road” Scholarship offered by the SYTA Youth Foundation, Inc. (SYF). The SYF provides scholarships three times a year. Music directo
rs, teachers, principals, and other youth leaders can submit nominations.

  • Students 25 and under who are participating in student group travel are eligible.
  • Awards up to $1,000 are available.
  • Deadlines: October 15, January 15, and May 15 

Scholarships for High School Seniors

Music-Related Scholarships

Marine Band Concerto Competition

“The President’s Own” United States Marine Band, in conjunction with the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation and NAfME, announces the Marine Band Concerto Competition for high school musicians.

  • The winner will appear as a guest soloist with the U.S. Marine Band and receive a cash prize. Open to high school musicians (grades 9–12) enrolled during the 2011–2012 academic year. Performers of woodwind, brass, or percussion instruments may apply.
  • Deadline: November 15

Glenn Miller Birthplace Society Scholarship

This award is given to graduating high school seniors or first-year college students who intend to make music a central part of their future life.

  • Applicants submit audition CDs or tapes; finalists compete in Clarinda, Iowa; and 3 instrumentalists and 3 vocalists are chosen to perform at the Glenn Miller Festival. Winners receive up to $4,500.
  • Deadline: mid-March

National Music Scholarship Fair

This annual spring event gives students the chance to audition for several college/university music programs from across the country. You can audition for as many of the participating schools as you like. You’ll also learn more about each of the represented programs.

School Band & Orchestra Magazine Essay Scholarship

This scholarship offers prize money to students who write an essay of 250 words or less on a music theme.

  • Selected students win a $1,000 scholarship and music products for their school music program.
  • Public and private school students in grades 4–12 are eligible.
  • Deadline: December 31

The Williams Chorale Bacardi Fallon Scholarship Competition

The Williams Chorale Bacardi Fallon Scholarship Competition is for high school juniors and seniors pursuing vocal or instrumental studies.

  • The Williams Chorale and the Bacardi Fallon Scholarship Foundation will award over $12,000 in prize money, including $8,500 to the top four talented high school students. All applicants chosen to compete at the April competition who do not finish in the top four will receive $300. Each prize-winning student will also be a featured soloist with the Williams Chorale in its Annual Spring concert.
  • The competition is open to high school juniors and seniors who are pursuing vocal or instrumental studies and who attend any U.S. high school.
  • Deadline: March 15

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation Scholarship

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation provides funds to select seniors from Cleveland and New York City public high schools who intend to study music or the business of music at the college level. Scholarships are awarded based on personal essays. The scholarships total $50,000 with the monies split evenly between Cleveland and New York. Check with your school’s guidance counselors for more information.

Stamford Symphony Orchestra Instrumental Scholarship

Stamford Symphony Orchestra offers an instrumental scholarship to qualified high school seniors who either live in or attend high school in the state of Connecticut and will be pursuing a music performance major in college.

  • Winners are awarded up to $10,000 for college study.
  • Deadline: December 1

 

The VSA Arts International Young Soloists Program

This program is designed to identify and encourage talented musicians who have a disability. The VSA Arts International Young Soloists Award is given annually to four outstanding musicians or ensembles, two from the U.S. and two from the international arena.

  • Any individual musician (instrumental or vocal) from the U.S. who has a disability and is under 25 years of age is encouraged to apply. Any individual musician who is under 30 and is from outside the U.S. is encouraged to apply.
  • The award provides an opportunity for these emerging musicians to each earn a $5,000 award and a performance in Washington, D.C.
  • Deadline: November (application materials will be online in the fall)

National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts (NFAA) Recognition and Talent Search

NFAA accepts registrations from young artists in the categories of dance, cinematic arts, jazz, music, photography, theater, visual arts, voice, and writing for its talent search program. High school seniors may apply to win cash awards and scholarships and the chance to participate in NFAA Arts Week and be named a U. S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts.

  • Individual awards of up to $10,000 are available.
  • Registration for 2011 opens March 15

CBC Spouses Heineken USA Performing Arts Scholarship Competition

This scholarship fund is operated by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and offers scholarship funds to highly motivated students who plan to attend, or are currently attending, an accredited college or university or are pursuing a career in the performing arts.

Tri-M Music Honor Society Chapter of the Year Music Scholarships

These scholarships are available to members of the Tri-M® Music Honor Society, a program of NAfME. The scholarship program offers scholarship money for summer study programs to chapters that win one of three recognitions at the national level in each division: senior (high school) and junior (middle school). Scholarship money is awarded by the advisors of the winning chapters to deserving students.

  • Open only to members of the Tri-M Music Honor Society.
  • Winners have the chance to win up to $1,000 in scholarship funds for summer music study.
  • Deadline: April 30

Community Service/Extracurricular Activities Oriented Scholarships

Best Buy Scholarship

The Best Buy Scholarships are available to students in grades 9-12 who demonstrate academic achievements, volunteer efforts, and work experience. Students must demonstrate commitment to and involvement in volunteer community service. Selection of recipients will be based on solid academic performance and exemplary community service with consideration also given to participation and leadership in school activities and work experience.
Coca-Cola Scholars Program

The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation awards a total of $3.4 million annually in achievement-based, four-year scholarships to 250 outstanding high school seniors from communities across the U.S. Students will be selected based on their leadership, academics, extracurricular activities, character, motivation to succeed, and community service.

  • 200 Regional Scholarships of $10,000 each and 50 National Scholarships of $20,000 each will be rewarded.
  • Deadline: October 31

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards

Sponsored in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals, these awards honor young people in grades 5 through 12 who have volunteered in their communities. This award program is the country’s largest volunteer recognition program for young people.

 

SYTA Youth Foundation “Road” Scholarship

Students planning educational travel programs but needing financial assistance can apply for a “Road” Scholarship offered by the SYTA Youth Foundation, Inc. (SYF). The SYF provides scholarships five times a year. Music directors, teachers, principals, and other youth leaders can submit nominations.

  • Students 25 and under who are participating in student group travel are eligible.
  • Awards up to $1,000 are available.
  • Deadlines: October 15, January 15, and May 15

Scholarships for Marching Musicians

The following organizations offer resources for marching musicians who are looking for college funds.

This list is courtesy of Halftime magazine. For more information, see the article “Get Paid to March” in the March/April 2008 issue. 

Scholarships for College Students

Music-Related Scholarships

BMI John Lennon Songwriting Program

This scholarship is awarded to the best original composition for vocal-instrumental performance with the broadest popular appeal.

  • Open only to current students or recent alumnus/alumna at any institution with an active NAfME Collegiate chapter. Students may enter by submitting entries to the campus Collegiate Chapter advisor.
  • The 1st place winner receives a $10,000 scholarship, and two runners-up receive a $5,000 scholarship.
  • Deadline to submit entries to your chapter advisor is in December. See the BMI Contest page for more information.

CFJS Scholarships

The Central Florida Jazz Society (CFJS) Scholarships are for students studying jazz music. There are no age limits, just that the applicant be in his or her senior year of high school or first three years of college.

  • An audition in Orlando, FL, is a requirement
  • Awards of up to $1,500
  • Deadline: April 1, 2012

Shannon Kelly Kane Scholarship

The Shannon Kelly Kane Scholarship was created by Shannon’s family and friends in coordination with the National Association for Music Education to honor her exemplary life and her love of teaching music.

  • The scholarship award is open to graduating seniors at Syracuse University and University of Florida who are receiving a degree in Music Education and who will be teaching music or pursuing an advanced degree in music after graduation.
  • Scholarship will be awarded prior to graduation.
  • All application materials must be postmarked by April 15.

Glenn Miller Birthplace Society Scholarship

This award is given to graduating high school seniors or first-year college students who intend to make music a central part of their future life.

  • Applicants submit audition CDs or tapes; finalists compete in Clarinda, Iowa; and 3 instrumentalists and 3 vocalists are chosen to perform at the Glenn Miller Festival. Winners receive up to $4,000.
  • Deadline: mid-March

Bel Canto Vocal Scholarship Foundation

This organization hosts an annual vocal competition for young opera singers ages 21–36. Over $15,000 in scholarships is available.

  • Application deadlines are in October; auditions are held in Illinois, Michigan, Rhode Island, and Texas.

The Opera Foundation, Inc. Scholarship

This scholarship offers American singers the chance to perform and study at Deutsche Oper Berlin and Teatro Regio Torino, two of Europe’s most prestigious opera companies.

  • The scholarship is open to American citizens and permanent residents between 18 and 30 who are beginning their professional careers.
  • Deadline: March 2, 2012

 

The VSA Arts International Young Soloists Program

This program is designed to identify and encourage talented musicians who have a disability. The VSA Arts International Young Soloists Award is given annually to four outstanding musicians or ensembles, two from the U.S. and two from the international arena.

  • Any individual musician (instrumental or vocal) from the U.S. who has a disability and is under 25 y
    ears of age is encouraged to apply. Any individual musician who is under 30 and is from outside the U.S. is encouraged to apply.
  • The award provides an opportunity for these emerging musicians to each earn a $5,000 award and a performance in Washington, D.C.
  • Deadline: November (application materials will be online in the fall)

Strings Magazine Scholarship Award

The Strings Magazine Scholarship Award is available to students currently enrolled in an undergraduate program who are majoring in Music Education or Music Performance of the bowed string instruments. Scholarships are awarded based on financial need, academic merit, and community service.

  • Awards of up to $3,000 are available.
  • Deadline: April 3, 2012

CBC Spouses Heineken USA Performing Arts Scholarship

This scholarship fund is operated by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and offers scholarship funds to highly motivated students who plan to attend, or are currently attending, an accredited college or university or are pursuing a career in the performing arts.

Community Service/Extracurricular Activities Oriented Scholarships

SYTA Youth Foundation “Road” Scholarship

Students planning educational travel programs but needing financial assistance can apply for a “Road” Scholarship offered by the SYTA Youth Foundation, Inc. (SYF). The SYF provides scholarships five times a year. Music directors, teachers, principals, and other youth leaders can submit nominations.

  • Students 25 and under who are participating in student group travel are eligible.
  • Awards up to $1,000 are available.
  • Deadlines: December 15, February 15, April 15, August 15, and October 15

Other Scholarships

USA Funds Access To Education Scholarships

USA Funds awards scholarships to undergraduate, graduate, and professional students who come from households with annual incomes of $35,000 or less. Scholarships are renewable annually, provided the candidate maintains a GPA of at least 2.5 on a 4.0 scale.

  • Maximum award per individual, including renewals, is $6,000.
  • Deadline: February 15 

Helpful Links

State Music Educators Association Scholarships

Some state music educators associations offer scholarships to high school or college music students. Visit NAfME’s Federated State Associations page and click on your state MEA Web site to check for opportunities.

Scholarship Search Engines & Databases

Music Scholarships

A list of music scholarships organized by focus area/instrument.

Online Education Database

Includes a list of music scholarships and grants of up to $10,000.

FastWEB

Develops a “customized profile” to match applicants with potential scholarships.

NOTE: This web site DOES have a marketing angle. You will be asked if you would like to receive information, or have your name provided to their supporters for marketing purposes. If you do not wish to receive any marketing information, simply click on all “no thank you” options. NAfME cannot be held responsible for any marketing contact you may receive through the use of this Web site.

Scholarships.com

Provides a customized profile for information on college choices, available Federal loans and scholarship opportunities.

College Compass

Click on “Financial Aid” and “Scholarships” for advice and numerous resources nationally and state specific.

The College Board’s Scholarship Search

An online tool that locates scholarships, internships, grants, and loans to match education level, talents, and background criteria entered through a questionnaire.

Unusual Scholarships!

Are you left-handed? Do you have a prom outfit made out of duct tape? Check out these unusual scholarships-who knows what you might find!

McNally Smith College of Music Scholarships

McNally Smith College offers a number of scholarships to undergraduates and returning students in the categories of music performance, music production, music business and music composition.

Sallie Mae College Answer

Provides a free scholarship search to provide customized scholarship leads.

Yahoo Education

Yahoo’s Financial Aid Search Engine.

U. S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Financial Aid

Information on steps in the financial aid process; includes a “scholarship match wizard” to help you find scholarships that fit your interests.

FinAid!

A comprehensive guide to financial aid, military aid, and loans. Includes a guide to filling out financial aid paperwork.

International Education Financial Aid

Search for scholarships and grants to fund study abroad programs.

The BMI Foundation, Inc.

The BMI Foundation is a non-profit that supports music study and performance through various awards and scholarships.

ASCAP

ASCAP (The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers) offers a variety of songwriting contests, some of which award cash prizes. The ASCAP Foundation offers a list of music-related awards and scholarships.

Scholarship Help

Scholarshiphelp.org

A web site designed to educate students about scholarship access and the necessary requirements for achieving maximum financial aid. This site provides information free of charge to help students avoid scholarship scam artists.

NPR: Paying for College

NPR’s All Things Considered explored in a week-long series in May 2005, how American families of various financial means—and in different stages of life—are figuring out how to finance higher education.

Collegiate Funding

Features a guide to the different aspects of the financial aid process and access to financial aid professionals.

College Guide

Provides advice on a variety of topics, from how to afford college to how to consolidate your student loans

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