15 College Scholarships for Music Students
Music is your passion, and you hope to pursue it at a higher level. For you, it’s a calling (and a gift). Already, you’ve made huge strides toward pursuing a career in your art.
If you’re looking to further your music education, you may be discouraged by the high price tag of many programs in your field. Fortunately, there are plenty of scholarships available to help you study and develop your passion.
College Scholarships for Music Students
1. ICEBERG New Music Young Composer Awards
Application Requirements: N/A
ICEBERG New Music, a collective of 10 young composers in New York City, furthers its mission of recognizing that “substance, not surface, is the heart of music creation and perception” with an annual Young Composer competition. Geared toward composers from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds, the $1,000 awards help pre-collegiate composers pursue their education.
2. Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award Scholarship
Amount: Up to $10,000
Deadline: November 22 (2021)
Eligibility: Pre-collegiate musicians ages 8-18
Application Requirements: Application, two video or audio music clips, two recommendations, most recent tax returns, transcript, standardized test scores
Awarded by From the Top and the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, these scholarships help offset the costs of studying classic music at a high level.
Approximately 20 classical instrumentalists, vocalists, and composers with demonstrated unmet financial need, educational engagement, and creativity are selected to receive the award, which may be applied toward instrument purchases, summer camp tuition, college audition travel expenses, private lessons, or other music-related needs.
3. Dr. Robert Hawkins Memorial Scholarship
Amount: $1,000 and $2,000
Deadline: November 5 (2021)
Eligibility: Must be planning to attend or already attending a college or university in the U.S.
Application Requirements: Transcripts, three letters of recommendation, essay
Named for one of the Ten Outstanding Band Directors in the United States and a posthumous inductee into the Band Directors Hall of Fame at Troy State University, this scholarship recognizes future band directors. If you’re dreaming of following in the footsteps of your band director — or forging a brand-new path — this is the scholarship for you.
4. Davidson Fellowship
Amount: $50,000, $25,000, and $10,000
Deadline: February 23, 2022
Eligibility: Must be 18 or younger as of application deadline; teams of two are eligible
Application Requirements: A piece of significant work
Named one of U.S. News’ 7 Prestigious Undergrad Scholarships, the Davidson Fellowship offers generous scholarships in the following areas: Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Literature, Music, Philosophy, and Outside the Box. To enter, students must have completed a significant piece of work in one of these categories.
Projects are evaluated on creativity, innovation, impact, and their potential to make a positive contribution to society.
5. Loren L. Zachary National Vocal Competition for Young Opera Singers
Amount: $15,000-$18,000; $1,000-$2,000.
Deadline: Auditions vary by location
Eligibility: Young adults between 21-35
Application Requirements: Application and audition
The 50th Annual National Vocal Competition for Young Opera Singers is one of the most prestigious singing competitions in the world. This year, auditions will be held in New York and Los Angeles. Finalists will attend coaching sessions and rehearsals, as well as the Grand Finals Concert.
6. Fred J. Miller Memorial Music Education Fund Scholarship
Deadline: October 25 (nomination form due)
Eligibility: Applicants must perform at a Bands of America Marching Championship and receive a nomination
Application Requirements: Nomination from band director, resume, essay
The Fred J. Miller Memorial Music Education Fund was established to support future music educators. Every year, a school’s band director may nominate two students for this scholarship. Students must demonstrate musicianship, leadership, skills, and work ethic, as well as plan to enroll in college within one year of graduating high school. They should also plan to pursue a degree in music education.
7. Music for All Foundation Yamaha Scholarship
Deadline: October 25
Eligibility: Applicants must be nominated and have at least a 3.0 GPA
Application Requirements: Nomination from band director, resume, essay
This scholarship, like the previous, is made possible by the Music for All Foundation, dedicated to creating and providing “life-changing experiences through music for all.” These one-time awards recognize students nominated by directors of bands performing at Grand National Championships.
8. John Lennon Scholarships
Amount: $20,000 (total for three scholarships)
Eligibility: College students and alumni between the ages of 17-24
Application Requirements: Original song submission
Established in 1997 by Yoko Ono in conjunction with the BMI Foundation, this scholarship honors talented student songwriters and composers of genres like alternative, pop, rock, indie, electronica, R&B, and experimental. Today, it is considered one of the most prestigious awards for emerging songwriters. Works are judged by a panel of songwriters, musicians, and music publishers and executives.
9. Oregon Music Hall of Fame Scholarship
Deadline: March 15, 2022
Eligibility: Graduating Oregon high school seniors
Application Requirements: Application, letters of recommendation, essay
Young musicians who are residents of Oregon are eligible for this annual award. Applicants should have exhibited serious pursuit and accomplishment in their musical students and want to continue to study music in college. Along with a monetary scholarship, recipients will perform on stage at an awards presentation.
10. Justin Veatch Fund Music Scholarship
Deadline: April 15
Eligibility: Graduating high school seniors living within a 40-mile radius of Yorktown Heights, NY
Application Requirements: Application, examples of musical work, statement, references
The Justin Veatch Fund was established by Jeffrey Veatch in memory of his son, Justin, who died from a drug overdose at age 17. Justin was on the verge of recording his first music album, and his family establish an eponymous fund to support and inspire musically talented teenagers. To apply, students should write a 500-word statement on how they plan to use the scholarship.
11. Iowa Scholarship for the Arts
Deadline: April 1, 2022
Eligibility: Open to Iowa high school seniors; must be planning to enroll at an Iowa college or university
Application Requirements: Video or audio files demonstrating talent and abilities
The Scholarship of the Arts supports talented Iowa students who plan to study at an Iowa college or university. Examples of performing arts categories include music, film, theatre, dance, performance art, and music composition. Students should be planning on pursuing a major in at least one of the following arts areas: animation, architecture, creative writing, dance, English, fashion, fine arts education, folk & traditional arts, graphic design, literature, media arts, music, theatre or visual arts.
12. Marine Band Concerto Competition for High School Musicians
Amount: $2,500, $1,000, or $500
Deadline: November 15, 2022
Eligibility: Musicians in grade 9-12; open to woodwind, brass, and percussion players in 2022 and string, piano, and harp players in 2023 (reverses every other year)
Application Requirements: Performance recording submitted as a YouTube video, application form, letter of recommendation
“The President’s Own” United States Marine Band, in conjunction with the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation, honors talented musicians with this scholarship. Students should select one work and submit a recording, accompanied by a piano, band, or orchestra, as a YouTube link.
Finalists will be invited to Washington, D.C., to compete in a final performance, accompanied by the Marine Band. They will also receive coaching by a member of “The President’s Own.”
13. Central Florida Jazz Society Scholarship Competition
Deadline: April 18, 2022
Eligibility: Open to high school seniors or students within their first three years of college; must be a resident of or attend college in Central Florida
Application Requirements: Audition audio or video clip, letter of recommendation, application
Amateur jazz musicians who are living in or attend or are planning on attending college in Central Florida may apply for this scholarship, which will help them further their studies in jazz music (the award must be used for education-related expenses). Five scholarships are awarded.
14. Colburn-Pledge Music Scholarship
Amount: $3,000 divided among several students
Deadline: April 30
Eligibility: Must be a Texas resident studying a bowed string instrument with financial need; open to under high school, high school, and college students
Application Requirements: Application and audition (video in 2021)
Texas residents who are studying a bowed string instrument, such as the violin, viola, cello, or bass, who want to become a professional musician are eligible to win this scholarship. Students must have demonstrable financial need and possess “genuine musical talent.” Although out-of-staters are ineligible, recipients may attend music programs outside of Texas.
15. School Band and Orchestra Essay Contest
Deadline: April 30, 2022
Eligibility: Students in grades 4-5 or 9-12 (judged in separate age groups) in a school instrumental program
Application Requirements: Essay in response to an annual prompt
Students participating in any k-12 instrumental program are welcome to write a 250-word essay in response to a prompt about music and its impact. This year, the question is, “Why did you join band, and why did you stick with it?” SBO also awards prizes to the schools the recipients attend.
Bonus #16: CollegeVine
It’s always scholarship season at CollegeVine! We offer weekly prizes of $500+, and it’s free to enter — all you have to do is create an account on our website. Increase your odds of winning by building a school list, calculating your financial aid, reviewing essays, inviting friends to join, or answering questions!