Five Music Scholarships that Can Help Musicians Pay for College

••• Juanpablo San Martín/ Moment/ Getty Images

When it comes to paying for college most parents are willing to assume a certain financial burden because they believe a good education will enable their child to lead a productive economic life. When financial aid and student loans are factored in, they usually find it is cost-effective to pay for college, with an expectation of a reasonable return on investment.

But what about students who want to pursue a musical career? While becoming a music educator may be a financially rewarding path, the performing arts offer a less certain future. Success in music is often a combination of talent, guidance, and luck. For others, it can be a personally rewarding, yet financially challenging field to enter.

Because a career in music, like many of the other performing and visual arts, can be both deeply rewarding and financially difficult, some graduates face a lifetime of financial difficulty as they try to pursue their passion while summoning the financial resources to repay student loans. That is why it is especially important for music students to search for scholarships that might be able to support their artistic endeavors. With that in mind, here are five music scholarships that every music student should know about.

  1. ASCAP Foundation Music Scholarships: The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) offers information on a wide array of music awards and scholarships, from the Harold Arlen Musical Theater Award and the Cole Porter Award to the John Denver Music Scholarship and The ASCAP Foundation Scholarship at Julliard. This is an excellent site to conduct your search for the perfect scholarship to begin and support your musical career.
  2. The Young Musicians Foundation (YMF) Music Scholarships: The Young Musicians Foundation provides access to exceptional musical education and experiences that strengthen communities through social, cultural and intellectual engagement. Music scholarships featured on their website include Leiber & Stoller Music Scholarship, Uan Rasey Memorial Scholarship for Trumpet, and the David Weiss Scholarship Program. This last program, in particular, provides awards to music students from the age of 8-26 to use for private music instruction, music camp/school tuition or festival attendance.
  1. The Glenn Miller Birthplace Society Music Scholarship: Since 1977, the Glenn Miller Birthplace Society has honored the music and memory of legendary band leader Glenn Miller by sponsoring an annual scholarship competition open to high school seniors and college freshmen. Students from across the country have competed in and benefited from this competition. The competition is divided into two categories, instrumental and vocalists. The finalists travel to Clarinda, Iowa to compete at the annual Glenn Miller Festival. Three winners are selected from each category. The Glenn Miller Society awards a total of $12,000 in scholarships each year. Scholarships are awarded without regard to any other award, and may be used for any education-related expense.
  1. The BMI Foundation Music Scholarships: The BMI Foundation is dedicated to encouraging the creation, performance and study of music. Throughout the year, the Foundation works to administer various competitions for awards, scholarships, internships and commissions. Scholarships listed on their website include a variety of programs that are available to a wide range of students and musicians, such as the BMI Future Jazz Master Scholarship, Lionel Newman Conducting Scholarship, or the Nashville Songwriting Scholarship. The final selections for these programs are entrusted to panels made up of some of the world's most distinguished artists and musicians.
  1. The Bel Canto Vocal Scholarship Foundation: Offering vital financial support to young singers, the Bel Canto Opera Scholarship is an annual competition which is open to young opera enthusiasts. Applicants must be a United States citizen between the age of 21 and 33, actively pursuing a career in opera performance. The scholarship is committed to forwarding the tradition of bel canto, "beautiful singing," and insuring that future generations will enjoy wonderful operatic performances.

Winning one of these music scholarships can reduce the financial burden of student loans, and allow the budding musician the freedom to fully explore his or her chosen performing arts field. Bravo and congratulations for pursuing a career in music!