9 Working Tips to Apply for Music Scholarships and Win

Here is a guide on how you can apply for music scholarships to support your musical career pursuit without having to worry about finance and funding from your family.

In as much as one can get music scholarships to pursue one’s course of study, finding these scholarships can be a quite difficult task especially when looking for a full-tuition music scholarship.

One sure way of getting to be considered for a music scholarship is to have a really nice portfolio and sending in an early application as soon as possible.

While most people might want to believe that there are no music scholarships at all, some others will be elsewhere sending in applications to their respective schools of choice and several available music scholarships.


What Instrument gets the Most Scholarships?

The truth of the matter in this context is that the more uncommon an instrument appears to be, the higher the chances of gaining a scholarship in the specialization of the artistic use of such an instrument. Becoming a musician comes with a lot of practice and discipline and if one must excel at it, one has to put in a lot of dedication in other to be excellent at it.

An instance is the Bassoon instrument, we’ll agree that quite unlike the commonly used piano, guitar and violin, Bassoon is rarely even mentioned and hence very rare, this rather than reduce the chances of one getting a scholarship increases it.

There are other instruments as well which are at the top of the list in most preferred music instruments for the scholarship. Some of them include:


Harp is the instrument with the highest scholarship opportunity at this time. It is one of the earliest instruments for music and basically one of the most difficult instruments known to produce aesthetic sounds.

So, having a knowledge of this instrument and desire to pursue a college course in it gives a big advantage. A typical example of such a string-based instrument scholarship is the Dr. Edward Adelson Scholarship program at the University of Maryland for undergraduate music students.

Other instruments that get a higher number of scholarships than others include

  • Cello
  • Oboe
  • Guitar
  • Flute
  • Piano.

Can you get Scholarships for Band?

This is a commonly asked question amongst prospective college students every year, especially among those with interest in music generally and specifically Band lovers. Of course, the answer is a big yes, you can get scholarship for band and there are several of them available yearly.

To get a scholarship into college to pursue a career or passion in band, it is best to start pursuing a dream in music or specifically band from an early stage so that by the time you’re ready to apply for such scholarship you would have gained a lot of experience and built a portfolio to help give you an edge over many other applicants who’ll also be vying for the same opportunity as you.

How to Apply for Music Scholarships

Below are types of music scholarships, steps to apply for them and some known music scholarships you should look out for.

Types of Music Scholarships

An important thing to note here is that music scholarships come in diverse dimensions. There are;

School Issued Music Scholarships

These scholarships are issued by specific colleges. An instance is the case of Oberlin’s college and conservatory which offers the Conservatory Dean’s scholarship.

In this case, however, there’s always an audition where the intending students come to perform and are set to impress a panel of important judges on which his/her admission and scholarship are dependent.

Music Department Scholarships

The thing about music scholarships is that it can come from a variety of sources, so any prospective student ought to keep their fingers crossed maybe after applying through several means.

Some large universities have music departments available to composers and performers, just like in the case of University of California Los Angeles(UCLA) Herb Alpert school of music which offers the John Audino Memorial Scholarship.

In this case, one can take advantage of his/her CGPA in the application if it meets the requirements awarded by the university.

State Organization Music Scholarships

This is typical of scholarships offered by state institutions. Most states in the U.S.A have what is called the music educators association financial awards for students who wish to study music in the university.

National Music Scholarships

The requirements for this kind of scholarship is just as diverse as their goals. A typical example is the annual John Lennon music Scholarship for songwriters and composers which offers a total of $20,000 to three songwriters. To be considered, you will need to submit your own original song for assessment.

Discipline-Specific Music Scholarships

This pertains to scholarships as regards different instruments/disciplines. Sometimes the manufacturers of some instrument offer to give scholarships to qualified candidates.

An example is the Glenn Miller Birthplace Society music scholarship which is offered to only vocalists and instrumentalists that can reach up to $12,000 a year.

Somehow, no matter what you want to do; play a string instrument, want to study music production, or anything as regards music, there will always be a place for you.

Background Specific Scholarships

This genre of scholarships aim at aiding students from different specific backgrounds who are interested in music.

An example is the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Performing Arts Scholarship Awards for African-American and Black students with low income to study the performing arts-music.

How Can I Apply for Music Scholarships?

As a result of the high demand for music scholarships, a lot of things are quite involved. The foremost way to get a music scholarship is by merit; that is to say that a prospective candidate will need an impeccable portfolio revealing his achievements and experience in music and excellent grades in order to stand a higher chance of securing a music scholarship.

Tips to Apply and Secure Music Scholarships

Check for instruments with low enrollment rates

Instruments with low enrolment rates in colleges and instruments that have lesser people playing them in the society usually have higher scholarship propensity. This is because many organizations interested in music that wouldn’t want such instruments to phase out because of lack of players would be interested in offering scholarships to students who are willing to learn such instruments.

Send in applications early

Avoid waiting till it’s almost time for the deadline before you send in your scholarship application. Sending in your application ahead of time will give you the grace of being among those to be first considered.

Most times late applications are not even reviewed at all because by that time the reviewers have already found enough qualified applicants.

Apply to several openings and opportunities

Don’t limit your application to just one school or just one scholarship opportunity. There are so many opportunities out there that one can grab. Applying to one out of a hundred opportunities is like throwing in all your eggs into one basket.

Apply for as many opportunities as possible as this increases your chances of securing a scholarship. This is not just eligible for only music scholarships, whichever thing it is that you want scholarship for, do not limit your application to just one opportunity.

Be sure you qualify before you apply

Don’t relegate some requirements to the background, be fully prepared and be sure you fully stand a chance of getting in before you begin the application. Submit every single required document and follow the application protocol religiously, do not give the judges any opportunity to push your application off.

If not qualified for the scholarship, don’t waste time sending in an application for an award you’re not eligible for. You certainly won’t be considered.

Do your Best in the Audition

Many music schools always require their prospective candidates to come for an audition or send in a performance video in order for the judges to ascertain the level of expertise, seriousness and commitment of the student. The same way it is for several music scholarships too.

Normally, in the case of the performance video (if required), it is best to dress appropriately, relax and gain a calm composure if feeling nervous and give your best to it. You video background and quality matters too.

Understand the criteria and work in accordance with it

Be sure that you fully understand what the criteria and guidelines are before you apply. Don’t rush through the whole thing just so you could submit the application fast.

It is best to work according to the given criteria and requirements, it gives you a sense of direction and allows for you to submit a perfect application; this is because omission of a very important detail or even minor detail can render your whole application void.

Carefully check your Essay tips/resume

When completing the resume and personal essay accompanying the application, carefully make a neat draft of your accomplishments before filling them in properly in your application, this will help you arrange them intelligently.

If possible, you can send your personal essay to family and friends to help you read through and proffer possible solutions.

Know your Audience

When submitting your application, it is advisable to look at the sponsor information and use it to guide your submission.

An instance can be that one of the judges or board members love a certain kind of music, it might be an advantage to use that kind of music for your personal performance choice. Definitely, your submission ought to reflect your personal interests and ideas but a little or more research will help greatly.

List of Available Music Scholarships

  1. Associated Male Choruses of America, or AMCA scholarship
  2. Augustana College Pro Musica scholarships
  3. Bemidji state music scholarships
  4. Berklee Lollapazoola endowed scholarship
  5. Emil and Ruth Beyer composition awards
  6. John Lennon scholarships
  7. IOWA scholarship for the arts
  8. Ellis competition for Duo-pianists
  9. Chopin Foundation of the United States scholarship program for young pianists
  10. Appalachian state Elmer and the Lynn White scholarship award
  11. James A. Hyter vocal music scholarship
  12. Fran Morgenstern Davis scholarship
  13. CBC spouses Heineken United State performing arts scholarship
  14. Catherine Gold Chism scholarship
  15. Hope College distinguished artist, or DAA awards.

Conclusion and Recommendations

This brings an end to this guide on how to apply for music scholarships and tips to win them. There are also other scholarships related content that we have created and you may find interesting.