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 8,484 awards worth $27M below. Apply now to our list of scholarships for musicians.

Phil Layton Award of Excellence in the Arts

Junior, senior, fifth-year undergraduate engineering students at George R. Brown School of Engineering at Rice University are eligible for awards ranging from $2K-$4k. Applicants must show an involvement in performing, visual or written arts.

Total: $8000

Awards: 2

Deadline: October 31, 2021

Dr. Robert Hawkins Memorial Scholarship

This scholarship is available to U.S. and international students who are pursuing a degree in instrumental (band) music education.

Total: $1000

Awards: 1

Deadline: November 05, 2021

Concerto Competition Scholarship for High-School Musician’s

“The President’s Own” United States Marine Band, in conjunction with the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation, is pleased to announce its Concerto Competition for High School Musicians is open for applications. (All materials due Nov. 15, 2021). The winner will appear as a guest soloist with the Marine Chamber Orchestra and receive a $2,500 scholarship from the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation. Second and third-place winners will receive $1,000 and $500 scholarships respectively.

Total: $4000

Awards: 3

Deadline: November 15, 2021

Musicians Making a Difference Scholarship

Share with us your personal story. Describe specific ways in which you have positively impacted your community and why you believe you should be chosen for the Pearl “Musicians Making A Difference” scholarship. If selected a winner, how will this scholarship aid in your post-graduation plans? Please include your career goals, the level of impact you have had on the community, and any challenges faced. Essays should be no more than 600 words.

Total: $10000

Awards: 2

Deadline: July 16, 2022

The 2021 Donald Runnicles Musical Arts Scholarship Competition

The Grand Teton Music Festival is proud to announce the 4th Annual Scholarship Competition in honor of Music Director Sir Donald Runnicles. The competition is open to graduating high school seniors from Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana who will pursue their primary studies in music (classical, jazz, or other) at an accredited four-year college with a music program recognized by the National Association of Schools of Music, or a conservatory with a widely recognized national profile such as The Juilliard School, Curtis Institute of Music, or the New England Conservatory.

Total: $50000

Awards: 3

Deadline: July 19, 2022

Mario Lanza Institute Scholarship Program

This scholarship competition is open to all students who are 21-28 years of age with a background in the study of vocal music. Students must attend preliminary auditions in Philadelphia, PA, to qualify for prizes.

Total: $1750

Awards: 4

Deadline: October 05

Berrien Fragos Thorn Arts Scholarship for Migrant Farmworkers

Students who are 16 years of age or older who are interested in pursuing the development of their talents in an art discipline may apply for this award. Students must have a history of movement to obtain work in agriculture.

Total: $2500

Awards: 10

Deadline: November 01

University of Maine Visual and Performing Arts Scholarship

This scholarship is available for high school seniors who will graduate from a state-approved Maine high school and plan to attend the University of Maine at Orono.

Total: $12000

Awards: 10

Deadline: December 01

Jazz At The Ballroom Scholarship

The Jazz At The Ballroom Scholarship is available for high school students in the Bay Area who are active musicians. Students must submit a sample of their musical performance and finalists will be invited to participate in a live concert where the scholarship winners will be selected.

Total: $1500

Awards: 3

Deadline: December 07

Loren L. Zachary National Vocal Competition for Young Opera Singers

This vocal competition is open to U.S. and Canadian residents who are 21-35 years of age as of the time of application and who are operatic singers. Applicants must be prepared to attend auditions in New York City or Los Angeles at their own expense.

Total: $5005

Awards: 10

Deadline: January 17