Music Scholarships

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What Music Scholarships are Available for College? 

Music majors may find music scholarships for college from many sources that support musical talents of all kinds. Are you a vocalist? Drawn to music performance or music education? Do you compose jazz or play classical music with a musical instrument? Perhaps you want to go for a music therapy degree program. Various scholarship providers also offer financial aid for music related studies to those who qualify.

Colleges with a school of music or music department and nonprofits in the performing arts space may offer college scholarships for music. Some nonprofits may also ask for a performance CD, audition or video recording which helps them narrow down finalists. 

The NFAA youngARTS Program is one. It is specifically for high school students/high school seniors. Eligible applicants must be a U.S. citizen, or permanent resident/green card recipient. Also, you must be able to show they are legally able to receive taxable income in the United States. Criteria include age (15 to 18 years old, or those in grades 10 through 12) and talent for the arts. Selected winners receive cash prizes between $100 and $10,000.

Many genres of music also create awards for music students in need of financial assistance. So, use your interests to fuel your search for scholarships. If your favorite music is pop, rock, indie or R&B, you could apply for the John Lennon Scholarship. 

In 1997, Yoko Ono and the BMI Foundation came together to offer annual awards that honor John’s legacy. It is open to college student songwriters and composers. BMI also offers the Peermusic Latin Scholarship competition which the genre is Latino music. The BMI Jazz Master Scholarship is one for graduate students who show promise in Jazz.

10 Scholarships for Music You Should Play for in 2021 

Sing, compose, conduct, or play your way through college with the help of a scholarship. Check out these 10 college scholarships for music majors. Keep the application deadline in mind and apply soon!

  1. Davidson Fellowship
  2. Rainbow City Band Scholarship 
  3. University of Bridgeport Music Scholarship for International Students
  4. Benny Goodman Foundation Scholarship
  5. CBCF Spouses USA Performing and Visual Arts Scholarship
  6. Jazz Education Network (JEN) Scholarship Program 
  7. MTNA Chamber Music Performance Competition 
  8. SBO Magazine Music Student Scholarship
  9. Mr. Digital Piano Innovative Annual Writing Scholarship
  10. Spotlight Awards Program 

Could You Get a Music Scholarship for Playing an Instrument?

Yes, if you qualify, you could receive a scholarship award for playing a musical instrument. Instrumentalists may play the piano, guitar, flute, clarinet, violin, trumpet, drums etc.

One grantor is the National Federation of Music Clubs. NFMC offers scholarships for various types of musicians attending a U.S. college. The NFMC Elizabeth Paris French Horn Award is one. It is open to full time undergraduate students who submit a performance CD. NFMC also has other awards such as a music composition competition that’s open to the U.S. military.

Could You Get a Full Ride Scholarship for Music?

Yes, very talented students going into music programs may be eligible for a full ride award. A full ride is also a merit scholarship and you could expect to compete for these coveted awards.

Who wouldn’t want to win a scholarship that paid for tuition, fees and extras – like housing? Some full rides renew for up to four years too. You may have to maintain your grade point average (GPA) for this to happen.

Eligibility to receive a full ride scholarship varies. For some, you might need a solid scholarship application and to show financial need plus talent. For others such as Berklee Merit Based Scholarships you may have to audition or pass through an interview. 

Both the Berklee College of Music and Boston Conservatory at Berklee consider new first year musician applicants to their full time music degree or diploma programs. One to try for is the Presidential Scholarship. Selectees receive a sum that pays for tuition, on campus housing and the required laptop. To win, you must show the highest musical merit and financial need. 

The Davidson Fellowship is another notable music scholarship. It is open to students who come up with a “significant piece of work” aimed at making the lives of others better. Awards are granted in the amount of $50,000, $25,000, and $10,000. 

Is Going to Music School Worth It?

Going to music school could be worth the time and investment. You could also hone skills, learn current methods and network. Today’s music programs may produce well rounded:

  • Musicians
  • Music Teachers
  • Producers
  • Agents
  • Talent scouts 
  • Vocal coaches
  • Conductors

There are also programs that focus on the music business. These may also prepare for other career paths that may require a college degree.

To put yourself at ease, weigh potential cost of attendance vs job outlook/salary. Tuition and fees at The Juilliard School were $45,660 in academic year 2020-21, according to the NCES. 55% of students receive grant or scholarship aid to offset these costs, also reports the National Center for Education Statistics.

As for job outlook, some careers in entertainment are growing faster than average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Many of these paths use the Bachelor’s degree as entry level. Salaries vary, but tend to pay above the norm. Here are a few potential music careers you may pursue:

Music Directors and Composers: Directors lead music groups and Composers write and arrange original music. 

  • Typical Entry Level Education: Bachelor’s Degree
  • Job Outlook to 2029: 2%
  • 2020 Median Pay: $52,250

Musicians and Singers: Play an instrument and or sing. Some have a bachelor’s degree in music theory or performance. 

  • Typical Entry Level Education: No formal education credential
  • Job Outlook to 2029: 1%
  • 2020 Median Pay: N/A but hourly average is $31.40

List of Music Scholarships

There are 8,409 awards worth $27M below. Apply now to our list of scholarships for musicians.

Arts for Life! Scholarship

Each year Arts for Life! awards $1,000 scholarships to 25 graduating high school seniors in Florida. This award is available for U.S. and international high school seniors in Florida. Students must demonstrate artistic merit and academic excellence in creative writing, dance, music, theatre or visual arts.

Total: $50000

Awards: 25

Deadline: February 03, 2023

BMI Student Composer Awards Program

This competition for original musical compositions is open to citizens of countries in the Western Hemisphere that are 27 years of age or under as of the application deadline. Entrants must be studying music either in an educational institution or with a private teacher.

Total: $20000

Awards: 4

Deadline: February 05, 2023

Senator James M. Jeffords Endowed Scholarship to Honor Marian Hausman Jeffords

This award is available to high school seniors who reside in Rutland County, Vermont, or attend a Rutland County high school. Students must be seeking a degree in the arts, including (but not limited to) music, visual arts, dance, or theater; students must demonstrate academic achievement and financial need.

Total: $8000

Awards: 2

Deadline: February 11, 2023

The R.L. Gillette, Gladys C. Anderson, and Karen D. Carsel Memorial Scholarship

U.S. female undergraduate students who are pursuing a degree in music are eligible for this award. Students must be legally blind (i.e., have best corrected visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye, and/or a visual field of less than 20 degrees in the better eye).

Total: $7500

Awards: 1

Deadline: February 15, 2023

Charles L. Hebner Memorial Scholarship

This award is available for current high school seniors who are U.S. citizens and residents of Delaware. Applicant must plan to enroll full time at the University of Delaware or Delaware State University and plan to major in the humanities or social sciences.

Total: $142824

Awards: 2

Deadline: February 26, 2023

Michigan Tuition Grant

This award is available to Michigan resident undergraduate students who are attending independent, degree-granting Michigan institutions. Students must demonstrate financial need.

Total: $2800

Awards: 4

Deadline: March 01, 2023

Drane and Steele Music Scholarship

This award is for U.S. undergraduate and graduate students who are majoring in music. Students must demonstrate financial need and maintain a permanent residence in one of the eligible central Pennsylvania counties.

Total: $5000

Awards: 4

Deadline: March 01, 2023

Washington American Indian Endowed Scholarship

This award is available to Washington undergraduate and graduate students who are currently attending or planning to attend a postsecondary institution in Washington. The student must have close cultural and social ties to an American Indian community in Washington.

Total: $30000

Awards: 15

Deadline: March 01, 2023

Jim and Margie Fegley Orchestral String Scholarship Fund

This scholarship is open to U.S. high school seniors and undergraduate students who are pursuing a Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Music Education, Bachelor of Arts in Music, Bachelor of Science in Music degree, or a music certificate (specifically in orchestral strings). Students must have been actively involved in his/her high school or college music program or a program outside of school, and have a grade point average of 3.0 or higher.

Total: $1100

Awards: 1

Deadline: March 15, 2023

BHD Endowed Scholarship Fund for Teachers

This award is available for permanent residents of Maryland with an interest in a teaching career. Candidates must have an undergraduate degree in the liberal arts, sciences or mathematics and be pursuing a master’s degree in education.

Total: $2500

Awards: 10

Deadline: April 01, 2023