According to statistics from 2013, over 11,000 scholarships were awarded to music majors from institutions of higher learning. While this may seem low compared to the 300,000+ given out to business majors, music majors still outranked architecture, chemical engineering, and physical education majors by a sizable margin.
The ever-growing popularity of majoring in music leads prospective music students to wonder what they can do to set themselves apart, to lead the pack, or stick their heads above the crowd. The best way, of course, is to apply for a scholarship. Even simply applying shows commitment and faith in one’s ability long before entering the halls of a music building. Here are a few options for music majors to pursue:
Glenn Miller Foundation Scholarship
Deadline: March 1
Offered since 1996 by the Glenn Miller Birthplace Society, this scholarship honors Miller, a famed bandleader and legendary figure in swing music. Miller disappeared in 1944 while on the way to perform for US troops overseas. The scholarship is open to anyone studying music and the money awarded may be used for any education-related expense.
Applicants are asked to submit an audition CD and an application, and three scholarships are awarded in two separate categories: vocalists and instrumentalists. The first prize winner receives $3,000, second place $2,000 and third $1,000.
National Federation of Music Clubs Scholarships
Amount & Deadline: Available On Website
The National Federation of Music Clubs (NFMC) prides itself on being the “largest non-profit organization in america to promote and support American music, performers, and music education.” From the many different scholarships available on their website, it appears their promise of support rings true.
In total, $750,000 is awarded annually in grants and awards, money to be put towards students’ education in music. These scholarships are broken down into many different fields, each with their own different qualifiers and awards, including piano, vocals, composition, conduction, and even the cowbell!
Ladies of the Podium Scholarship
Deadline: December 1
The Ladies of the Podium scholarship is one of many awarded by the WBDI organization, Women Band Directors International. This particular scholarship, designated in memory of Ms. Kathy Schmidt, a conductor and music educator, applies to young women entering musical colleges who are interested in becoming band directors.
It is one of eleven similar scholarships for college-aged women interested in the field. The scholarship application must include two letters of recommendation and any honors or awards given to the applicant. Open to all female music majors, the amount awarded is dependent on the specific program the student is enrolled in or seeks to enter.
CBC Spouses Heineken USA Performing Arts Scholarship
Deadline: April 29
This award was established in 2000 after the death of legendary soul singer Curtis Mayfield by the Congressional Black Caucus, an organization of black US congressmen and women. To qualify, you must be an african-american or black student pursuing a degree in the arts. Although most scholarships are awarded in music, all performing arts majors are eligible.
Applicants are asked to submit a personal statement, three letters of recommendation and a two minute visual sample of their work. Eventually, ten $3,000 scholarships are awarded to students for their further education in the performing arts.
Vans Off The Wall Scholarship
Amount: Full Ride
Deadline: Varying, depending on Audition date
Possibly the most prestigious college of music in the world, Berklee College of Music offers courses of study in many different genres, such as jazz, reggae, flamenco, hip-hop, and bluegrass. This particular scholarship, however, is geared towards students who are pursuing rock or alternative music, and is sponsored by Vans, an American clothing company specializing in alternative skateboard fashion.
The scholarship is awarded to one student annually entering the school with need for “financial assistance.” It is a “full ride” scholarship, covering housing, tuition, and fees for four years, as well as supplying the student with a laptop (as is required by Berklee). As one would imagine, the award is very competitive, and requires an audition, academic transcript, and interview. However, if a student does receive the scholarship, they will get to attend one of the best music academies in the world for free.
Definitely worth a shot, right?
Gina Bachauer International Junior Piano Competition
Amount: Prizes totaling around $60,000
Deadline: Auditions begin in November
Named for Gina Bachauer, a Greek classical pianist who passed away in 1976, this competition is run biannually by the Bachuaer Foundation to give young pianists an opportunity to showcase their skills.
There is a lengthy audition and qualification process, eventually leading up to two competitions in Salt Lake City, one for students ages 11-14 and the other for students 15-18. The 24 students in the older age group vie for many prizes which total around $60,000 and can be put towards an education in music at any school which offers the major.
Deadline: March 1
The Associated Male Choruses of America, or AMCA, awards yearly scholarships of around $1200 to students enrolled in college music programs. To qualify, the student must be endorsed and supported by a member of the AMCA and submit three letters of recommendation explaining why they’re deserving of the award. Additionally, academic transcripts and an essay are required.
The scholarship is not limited to one recipient and is open to all students of music regardless of their year in college.