45 Great Music Scholarships for 2021

There’s no way around it. Music scholarships tend to be competitive on some level. Most of the music scholarships for college featured on this list of 45 great music scholarships have a competitive component. Some require live performances. Almost all of them, whether they are specifically music scholarships for college or not, require video or recording submissions. This means applying for these music scholarships for college will tend to require more time than most scholarships in other areas of study. But hey, you’re a musician. You’re used to performing!

The scholarships featured here represent a wide range of instruments, performance styles, and genres. You’ll find scholarships for everything from classical organ performance to church music, jazz, music composition, Latin music composition, and country songwriting. There are also a lot of scholarships for performing arts, fine arts, or music in general featured in the list. The scholarships are offered by everything from clubs and churches to community organizations and major record labels.

It should be noted that where possible, we include the award amount and application deadline to help you manage your time and target the scholarships that will be the best value for the time you must invest in the application process. However, many scholarships have not updated their deadlines for the 2021 application season yet. For these we have included the 2020 application deadline, but the deadlines move sometimes! So make sure you check back regularly with the organizations, or even reach out through email and inquire about the application period for the upcoming school year. If you have additional questions about scholarships in general, application strategies, and other ways of funding your higher education, make sure to check out the FAQ at the end of the article.

Against the Grain Scholarship

Scholarship Website
Instrument/Discipline: Performing Arts

Applicants to the Against the Grain Scholarship must be of at least 25% Asian and/or Pacific Islander ethnicity, and a citizen, national, or legal permanent resident of the United States. Applicants must be full-time college students in an associate, bachelor, or master degree program, or a high school senior planning to enroll in such a program full-time, making this a good choice among the music scholarships for high school seniors. The scholarship is available to all students in performing arts and visual arts majors.

  • Award Amount: $1,000
  • Application Deadline: May 31st

AGL Over the Rainbow Scholarship

Scholarship Website
Instrument/Discipline: Performing Arts

The Alex G. Luttrell scholarship was established when this passionate performer’s life was cut tragically short by a car accident. The Over the Rainbow scholarship seeks to carry on his legacy by providing financial support in the form of music scholarships to students who are majoring in the performing arts. The scholarship is available to graduating high school seniors entering college to study fine arts and/or performing arts.

  • Award Amount: $1,000
  • Application Deadline: April 30th

Arkansas Chamber Singers Vocal/Choral Music Scholarship

Scholarship Website
Instrument/Discipline: Vocal/Choral Music

This scholarship is available to high school seniors graduating from a public or private high school in Arkansas, and is among the best music scholarships for high school seniors available. Students must have a 3.0 GPA and plan to major in music, focusing on choral or vocal performance. The first place award is $1,000 and the second place award is $500. There is an audition and interview component in Little Rock, so applicants should be prepared to travel to the site on January 24, 2021.

  • Award Amount: $1,000
  • Application Deadline: Jan. 1

BIG ARTS Classical Music Scholarship

Scholarship Website
Instrument/Discipline: Classical Music

This scholarship is open to students who plan to major in a classical music instrument, including the piano. There are actually three awards; top prize is $15,000, second prize is $10,000, and third prize is $5,000. Students must be currently enrolled in an undergraduate music program at a Florida university or college. Contact the BIG ARTS classical music scholarship for more relevant information if you fit this basic criteria.

  • Award Amount: $15,000
  • Application Deadline: Contact Organization

BIG ARTS Performing and Creative Arts Scholarship

Scholarship Website
Instrument/Discipline: Performing Arts

This scholarship is more broad than the BIG ARTS scholarship above and is available to students studying visual arts, music, dance, theater, literary arts, and film. The amount of the award varies based on a variety of factors. The scholarship, which may be helpful to those researching music scholarships for high school seniors, is designed to support students who are high school seniors planning to study the arts, or current college students who are studying the arts.

  • Award Amount: Varies
  • Application Deadline: Contact Organization

BMI Future Jazz Masters Scholarship

Scholarship Website
Instrument/Discipline: Jazz

This is a scholarship competition open to jazz students at colleges and universities around the United States. Winners are selected by a panel that consists of musicians who have received the National Endowment of the Arts Jazz Master lifetime achievement award. Applicants must be full-time or part-time students between the ages of 17 and 24. Former winners of this competition are not allowed to enter again; however former honorable mentions are welcome to compete again.

  • Award Amount: $5,000
  • Application Deadline: Jan. 22

CBC Spouses Performing Arts Scholarship

Scholarship Website
Instrument/Discipline: Music

The Congressional Black Caucus Spouses Performing Arts scholarship awards up to 10 music scholarships of $3,000 every year. While the scholarship is not renewable, applicants may apply each year. Applicants must be African-American or Black students who are constituents of a member of the Congressional Black Caucus. They must also be majoring in a performing art like music, opera, or marching band.

  • Award Amount: $3,000
  • Application Deadline: Apr. 30

Central Florida Jazz Society Scholarship

Scholarship Website
Instrument/Discipline: Jazz

This is a scholarship competition. Initial screening requires students to submit a recorded tape, CD, or DVD of themselves performing two improvised numbers, one fast and one slow. Those selected for the final competition will compete for five $3,000 music scholarships. The competition is open to jazz students in their senior year of high school or first three years of college.

  • Award Amount: $3,000
  • Application Deadline: Mar. 15

CINTAS Foundation Fellowship in Music Composition

Scholarship Website
Instrument/Discipline: Music Composition

In addition to the $20,000 award, the winner of this fellowship gets their music performed at the New Music Miami ISCM Festival. Candidates for the fellowship will submit three to five recordings of their music, two of which should be recent compositions. In addition, a list of all works should be included, specifying which have been performed. However, students should not submit CDs or compilations that have been sold commercially. The fellowship is open to Cuban artists. Check with the organization for additional details.

  • Award Amount: $20,000
  • Application Deadline: N/A

Davidson Fellows Scholarship – Scholarships for Gifted Students

Scholarship Website
Instrument/Discipline: Music

This massive scholarship offers awards of $50,000, $25,000, and $10,000 to gifted students 18 years of age or younger. Students must have completed a significant work in the field of music, engineering, mathematics, literature, philosophy or an “outside the box” area. Forbes spotlighted the Davidson Fellows Scholarship as one of the most prestigious undergraduate scholarships available.

  • Award Amount: $50,000
  • Application Deadline: Feb. 10

Dorian De Long Arts and Music Scholarship

Scholarship Website
Instrument/Discipline: Music

The Dorian De Long Arts and Music scholarship is available only to graduating high school students who intend to major or minor in the arts at a Colorado college or university. While students must attend a Colorado college or university, the application does not directly state they must be Colorado residents. However, it would be wise to confirm the requirements, as with all of these music scholarships.

  • Award Amount: $1,500-$2,500
  • Application Deadline: Mar. 1

Edward Hosharian Scholarship

Scholarship Website
Instrument/Discipline: Music Performance or Composition

This scholarship is open to students of Armenian descent who demonstrate financial need, are full-time students at a 4-year accredited college or university, and are sophomores or later in their undergraduate career. Applicants must be majoring in music performance or music composition. Two letters of recommendation from instructors or advisors are required.

  • Award Amount: $5,000
  • Application Deadline: Mar. 2

Foundation for the Carolinas Scholarships

Scholarship Website
Instrument/Discipline: Music

The Foundation for the Carolinas manages 150 scholarships. Some are for anyone in North or South Carolina, while others are specific to one state or the other, and some are limited to specific counties within the states. There are scholarships for a range of majors including fine arts, performing arts, and other categories which music falls into. You can browse their scholarships on the website and see which you might be eligible for. Organizations that offer a lot of scholarships can be a great way to find multiple options!

  • Award Amount: Varies
  • Application Deadline: Early March

Grand Rapids Community Foundation Scholarships

Scholarship Website
Instrument/Discipline: String Instruments, General Music

The Grand Rapids Community Foundation provides $1 million annually in scholarships for students in Kent County, Michigan. 50% of the scholarships are awarded to students of color. 63% of scholarship recipients are first generation college students. The organization has been managing scholarships since the 1940s. Even if you don’t live in Kent County, check your local area for community organizations that manage scholarships in the same manner. It’s a great resource.

  • Award Amount: Varies
  • Application Deadline: Contact Foundation

House of Blues Music Forward Scholarships

Scholarship Website
Instrument/Discipline: Music Education

House of Blues offers many scholarships but the one we are focused on is the Affinity Plus scholarship. This scholarship is available to Minnesota residents studying music-related subjects outside the state of Minnesota. Studying out of state is often more expensive so an extra $5,000 can go a long way toward helping defray additional costs. The scholarship is open to those studying a variety of music-related subjects but music education is the most applicable for inclusion on this list of music scholarships.

  • Award Amount: $5,000
  • Application Deadline: N/A

Iowa Scholarship for the Arts

Scholarship Website
Instrument/Discipline: Music

This scholarship is open to Iowa students who are high school seniors and plan to pursue an arts major at an Iowa college or university. Students who win the scholarship are requested to attend an award ceremony at the Iowa State Capitol. Students must submit five artistic work samples that represent the quality of their artwork. Those planning to study music should submit high-quality audio files of their performances and should make sure that their personal performance is distinguishable.

  • Award Amount: $1,500
  • Application Deadline: Mar. 2

John Lennon Scholarships

Scholarship Website
Instrument/Discipline: Songwriting and Music Composition

The John Lennon Scholarships for songwriting and music composition are open to students and alumni between the ages of 17 and 24. The total value of the three scholarship awards given every year is $20,000. Past winners of the scholarship may not re-enter, but honorable mentions may. The scholarship’s goal is to support the best up and coming songwriters and composers of this generation.

  • Award Amount: $6,300 average
  • Application Deadline: N/A

James R. Pandolfi Scholarship

Scholarship Website
Instrument/Discipline: Music

The Tri-County Symphonic Band of Rochester, Massachusetts offers scholarships to students whose families live in the counties of Bristol, Plymouth, and Barnstable. Students must submit a letter of introduction under 250 words, a resume of their musical background, and three letters of reference. They must also submit a letter of acceptance from the college they will be attending. It is important to note that the deadline below may be later than the deadline this upcoming year, as it was extended in 2020 because of COVID-19. So make sure to check back with the organization regularly for deadline updates.

  • Award Amount: $5,000
  • Application Deadline: May 1

Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago

Scholarship Website
Instrument/Discipline: Performing/Fine Arts

The scholarships offered by the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago are available to Jewish students born and raised in the Chicago metropolitan area (including Lake County, Indiana). Students may also qualify if they have worked one year in a full time job in the Chicago metropolitan area prior to enrolling in college. Students must be entering their junior or senior year of their bachelor’s degree program, and plan to stay in the Chicago area after graduation.

  • Award Amount: $8,000
  • Application Deadline: Feb. 1

Ladies of the Podium Scholarships

Scholarship Website
Instrument/Discipline: Music Education

This scholarship is for women currently enrolled in an undergraduate music education program. Applicants must intend to become band directors. There are five scholarships with various levels of awards, each established in honor of a woman who achieved incredible things as band directors or who supported Women Band Directors International. The organization supports women band directors of all levels and years of experience, from college students to those who have retired.

  • Award Amount: Varies
  • Application Deadline: Dec. 01

Linda L. Mann Scholarship Fund for Music Majors

Scholarship Website
Instrument/Discipline: General Music

The Southwest Florida Community Foundation offers a wide range of scholarships to students from the area. Each scholarship has different requirements but students can submit a general application with all relevant information and they will be considered for each scholarship for which they meet the requirements. The requirements for this scholarship are for students to be graduating high school seniors in southern Florida, majoring in music, and attending Florida Southern College.

  • Award Amount: $1,500
  • Application Deadline: Jan. 11

Bruce T. Gora Scholarship Fund

Scholarship Website
Instrument/Discipline: General Music

This scholarship will be awarded to one high school senior or undergraduate student pursuing music, photography, or architecture. Priority is given to students majoring in brass instruments and trumpet. Students must be a graduate of a high school in Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry, or Lee County and have at least a 2.5 GPA.

  • Award Amount: $1,200
  • Application Deadline: Jan. 11

Lewis B. Barber Memorial Scholarship Fund

Scholarship Website
Instrument/Discipline: Church Christian Music

This scholarship is intended to be applied to the books or tuition of a student studying church music in a pre-seminary or seminary program. Students must have graduated from a high school in Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry, or Lee County. Applicants must be of the Christian religion. Scholarship is open to high school seniors, undergraduate students, and graduate students.

  • Award Amount: $5,100
  • Application Deadline: Jan. 11

Mary Doctor Performing Arts Scholarship

Scholarship Website
Instrument/Discipline: Music

The Mary Doctor Performing Arts Scholarship Committee selects one or two students every year to receive this $10,000 scholarship. Students must be pursuing a career in the performing arts. The scholarship can be applied to tuition, on-campus housing, meal plans, required fees, books, and supplies. Applicants must reside in the Charlotte area; see the scholarship information on the website for the areas that qualify.

  • Award Amount: $10,000
  • Application Deadline: Mar. 13

Nicholas and Helena Patti Foundation Scholarship

Scholarship Website
Instrument/Discipline: Music

While this scholarship is open to anyone of any major, priority is given to music majors. Students must be orphans, or have been raised in foster care, and have had Italian parents. The scholarship is merit-based, so academic performance and (in the case of music majors) musical ability are the primary factors considered when evaluating the applications.

  • Award Amount: $6,500
  • Application Deadline: Nov. 1

NSHSS STEAM Scholarship

Scholarship Website
Instrument/Discipline: Music

This scholarship is available so students majoring in science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics, or any major related to the medical field. Students must submit a 500 word personal statement discussing their intended major and career plans, a resume, transcript, educator recommendation, and color headshot. Five students are awarded $1,000 music scholarships.

  • Award Amount: $1,000
  • Application Deadline: Apr. 15

Oregon Music Hall of Fame Scholarships

Scholarship Website
Instrument/Discipline: Music

This scholarship is open to Oregon students who are accomplished musicians and intend to major in music. Scholarship winners are invited to perform at an award presentation, an opportunity to showcase their mastery of their instrument. While the deadline is around May 22nd, applicants are encouraged to apply as early as possible.

  • Award Amount: $2,500
  • Application Deadline: May 22

Paul F. Brown Scholarship

Scholarship Website
Instrument/Discipline: Music

The Paul F. Brown Scholarship is available to Louisiana residents. Applicants will need to submit a personal statement that includes a list of instruments they play, list of high school music activities, list of music honors and achievements, details their most rewarding musical experience, their career plans and aspirations, and the reason they are applying for the scholarship.

  • Award Amount: $3,000
  • Application Deadline: May 18

Reading Community Singers Scholarship

Scholarship Website
Instrument/Discipline: Music

This scholarship is for students rising in Reading, MA or a surrounding town. Any high school senior or full-time undergraduate student may apply for the scholarship so long as they are majoring or minoring in music. Scholarship recipients will prepare and perform a short program for the Reading Community Singers spring concert, and will also be required to attend the dress rehearsal the night before.

  • Award Amount: $1,500
  • Application Deadline: Dec. 31

Ruth K. Jacobs Memorial Scholarship

Scholarship Website
Instrument/Discipline: Choral Church Music

This scholarship is in honor of Ruth K. Jacobs, who founded the Choristers Guild. The fund is intended to support students who are preparing for a career in church music ministry. The scholarship is available to undergraduate juniors and seniors, and graduate students majoring in music with a particular interest in working with children’s and youth choirs. Applicants will need a letter of reference from a music professor, church musician, ordained minister, and a personal reference.

  • Award Amount: $1,500
  • Application Deadline: Feb. 1

Jeanette M. Russell Jazz Scholarship Program

Scholarship Website
Instrument/Discipline: Jazz

The Jeanette M. Russell Jazz Scholarship Program is open to Florida residents. The scholarship format has two phases. The first phase is a basic application process through which finalists will be chosen. The second phase is competitive, with a review and audition process. The scholarship award varies based on income and financial need.

  • Award Amount: Varies
  • Application Deadline: Mar. 3

Emily K. Rand Scholarship Fund

Scholarship Website
Instrument/Discipline: Instrumental

The Rossini Club in Portland, Maine, holds this scholarship competition each year. All students who are registered as music majors at an accredited music school, college, or university, and are residents of Maine, are eligible to apply. The scholarship is for music majors focusing on instrumental performance and was established in 1932 to honor the club’s third president.

  • Award Amount: $1,500
  • Application Deadline: May 6

Lucia A. Wright Piano Scholarship

Scholarship Website
Instrument/Discipline: Piano

The Lucia A Wright Piano Scholarship was established to honor her and her 55 years as a member of the club. It’s specifically for piano students. Like the other scholarships, applicants who are chosen as finalists will perform in a competition for the award. Previous first place winners may not compete again, but other former competitors may. The performance at the finals must be at least ten minutes, not more than fifteen minutes, and feature two compositions representing two different periods. Periods include baroque, classical, romantic, and 20th or 21st century.

  • Award Amount: $1,500
  • Application Deadline: May 6

Barbara C. Littlefield Vocal Scholarship

Scholarship Website
Instrument/Discipline: Vocal

This is another Rossini Club scholarship, this one for vocalists. It was established in honor of the club’s treasurer, who was also a vocalist. The scholarship follows the same competitive format as the other two. First place is awarded $1,500 while second place is awarded $900. As with all the scholarships the judges do reserve the right not to award prizes at all. The competition takes place on May 30th.

  • Award Amount: $,1,500
  • Application Deadline: May 6

M. Louise Miller – Paul E. Knox Scholarship

Scholarship Website
Instrument/Discipline: Organ Performance, Church Music

The M. Louise Miller – Paul E. Knox scholarship is for students who intend to study the organ or church music at a college or university in the United States. The scholarship is offered through the Greater Bridgeport Chapter of the American Guild of Organists and is open to students from around the country. Winners are invited to give a recital in Bridgeport, Connecticut for members of the chapter. Applicants should submit a recording of two standard organ pieces (Bach and Romantic) and a short essay.

  • Award Amount: $2,500
  • Application Deadline: Jun. 1

Freddie Gruber Scholarship

Scholarship Website
Instrument/Discipline: Drum Set Performance

The Percussive Arts Society offers music scholarships for college for a variety of percussion instruments. This scholarship is for drum set performance and was established in memory of Buddy Rich and Nick Ceroli. Students must be attending a college or university and majoring in drum set performance. Applicants must submit a video of a performance demonstrating style, timekeeping, and general musicianship. The performance may be in one of a variety of settings such as solo, small group, or big band. Regardless of the setting, the applicant must be visible throughout the entire performance.

  • Award Amount: $2,500
  • Application Deadline: Sept. 30

John E. Grimes Timpani Scholarship

Scholarship Website
Instrument/Discipline: Period Timpani

This Percussive Arts Society scholarship is for students 18-26 who intend to study period timpani playing. The scholarship may be applied to lessons, travel to study, university tuition, or any of many other expenses related to the study of baroque/classical period timpani. Students must submit a one-page proposal detailing how they would use the funds, what they hope to achieve with the scholarship funds, what interests them stylistically about the study of period timpani, and experience performing early music.

  • Award Amount: $1,000
  • Application Deadline: Sept. 30

Armand Zildjian Percussion Scholarship

Scholarship Website
Instrument/Discipline: Percussion

Zildjian is a name that will be familiar to all percussionists. Armand Zildjian was a founding member of the Percussive Arts Society. And, of course, the cymbals made by his family since 1623 are legendary. This scholarship, which is unique on our list of scholarships for music majors, is available to full-time percussion students enrolled in an accredited college or university school of music. The applicant must be an active Percussion Arts Society member, so make sure, if you aren’t a member yet, to go to the website and sign up!

  • Award Amount: $2,000
  • Application Deadline: Sept. 30

Fred Hoey Memorial Scholarship

Scholarship Website
Instrument/Discipline: Percussion

The Fred Hoey Memorial Scholarship is available to incoming college freshman percussionists enrolled in the school of music at an accredited college or university. Applicants must be an active PAS member, so make sure you join up before you submit your application! Applications must include a video that demonstrates the applicant’s abilities on at least two different percussion instruments and should be under ten minutes long.

  • Award Amount: $1,000
  • Application Deadline: Sept. 30

Larrie Londin Memorial Scholarship

Scholarship Website
Instrument/Discipline: Drum Set

There are two components to this scholarship. One for drummers 18-24 years of age, and others for drummers 17 and under. The award listed below is for the 18-24 component. Winners of this scholarship also receive a one-year membership to the Percussive Arts Society as part of the prize. Applications should include a 3-minute or less video in which applicants should showcase their abilities in all drumming styles in which they are proficient. Students may also submit a 100-200 word essay on why they feel they qualify for a scholarship and how the money would be used. The money can be used for a variety of purposes including college tuition, private instruction, and for the younger age groups, music camp.

  • Award Amount: $1,000
  • Application Deadline: Sept. 30

Donna Reed Foundation for the Performing Arts

Scholarship Website
Instrument/Discipline: Musical Theater

The Donna Reed Foundation for the Performing Arts hosts regional and national scholarship competitions which culminate in scholarship concert performances for finalists before live audiences and judges. This particular scholarship is open to Iowa high school students with a GPA of 3.0 or greater. The focus of the scholarship is on dramatic arts, so its most applicable to music students with an interest in musical theater and opera.

  • Award Amount: $1,000
  • Application Deadline: Nov. 30

BMI Student Composer Awards

Scholarship Website
Instrument/Discipline: Music Composition

The Student Composer Awards were established in 1951 by BMI. Winners of this competition have included fifteen Pulitzer Prize winners among other musical legends. The judges are all significant people in the world of music composition, meaning that just by entering, your compositions are seen by influential people. Aside from exposure to industry icons, the award funds total $20,000 distributed among those selected as winners. Winners are honored at a prize ceremony in New York City every spring. Entrants must be studying music at an educational institution or privately, and aged 27 or younger. They also can not have won the BMI Student Composer Award more than twice (honorable mentions not included).

  • Award Amount: Varies
  • Application Deadline: Feb. 5

Peermusic Latin Scholarship

Scholarship Website
Instrument/Discipline: Latin Music Composition

The Peermusic Latin Scholarship is open to composers of music in any Latin genre between the ages of 17 and 24. Applicants must not have had any musical work commercially recorded or distributed, and past winners may not re-enter (honorable mentions excluded). Many of the scholarship recipients have had successful careers in television, film, recorded music, and concert performance.

  • Award Amount: $5,000
  • Application Deadline: Jan. 22

Pete Carpenter Fellowship

Scholarship Website
Instrument/Discipline: Music Composition

This is a competitive residency for aspiring film, television, and video game composers. The fellowship includes a $2,000 stipend and a three to four week in-studio mentorship with composers working in LA. Christopher Lennertz and Timothy Wynn host the fellowship. Their credits include Galavant, Supernatural, Medal of Honor, XCom 2, and Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3.

  • Award Amount: $2,000
  • Application Deadline: Jun. 30

Nashville Songwriters Scholarship

Scholarship Website
Instrument/Discipline: Country Music Songwriting

This scholarship is a nationwide competition open to student country music songwriters. Related genres are also acceptable as long as the country music influence is apparent. Acceptable related genres include Americana, blues, contemporary Christian, folk, pop, rock, and roots. The $5,000 scholarship will be awarded to the student who submits the best original song. The competition is open to students between 17 and 24 years of age, the rights to the work must not have been assigned to a major music publisher or recording label. The student must not be a previous winner of the scholarship (honorable mentions excluded).

  • Award Amount: $5,000
  • Application Deadline: Jan. 22

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I keep track of all the information for the music scholarships I am interested in?

First, you will want to compile a list of all the music scholarships for college you are interested in. Then, prioritize those music scholarships by how much time the application process will take, whether or not you will have to travel for a live performance, and how much money you can receive. Then plan accordingly.

Read each scholarship’s eligibility and application requirements carefully to make sure you qualify for it and don’t miss any requirements. It’s true that there is a lot of information to track. Especially if you are interested in multiple scholarships. Thankfully, there are quite a few good options that can help you solve this problem. Get yourself a good calendar app and record the application deadline for each scholarship. Make sure to confirm the deadline. Just to be safe, it’s a good idea to plan to submit your application a couple weeks ahead of the deadline, so if there are any complications, you don’t miss it!

Make sure you schedule times to work on the applications that won’t interfere with your current school and extracurricular schedule.

All this can feel overwhelming. But use this process as a chance to hone your organizational and time management skills. I promise they will help you during college!

A lot of these scholarships are competitions. What if I don’t win any?

Well, the experience of competing can be good in and of itself. And you definitely won’t win if you don’t enter! But one important thing to note is to not count on winning music scholarships for college that are only awarded to one or two people. Make sure you pursue your other, more reliable education funding sources well. Get your FAFSA application submitted early. Explore other funding sources like low-interest student loans.

If finances are a major concern for you, as they are for most college students, consider low-cost in-state public colleges and universities. These are often ⅓ or less the price of private universities or public colleges in other states and offer high-quality programs. They’re not cheaper because they’re worse. They’re often cheaper because they’re heavily subsidized by the state and federal government. Some of the best colleges and universities in the United States are publicly funded universities that are incredibly affordable for students who live in their respective states! It’s important to know that you won’t count as a resident for the purposes of in-state tuition prices unless your permanent residence is in the state in question. Sometimes there are residency requirements that require you to have lived in the state for up to one year.

Some of the scholarships on this ranking are only for students in certain states, or even certain counties where I don’t live. Why include such specific scholarships?

Well, one of the reasons is that most towns and regions have community organizations like the ones featured here, but not all of them have a good presence online. So those we chose to feature on our list of 45 great music scholarships stand as examples of the kind of music scholarships for college that can be found in many local communities around the country. Plus, if they’re competitive scholarships, the more local they are, the less competition you face. So definitely check out your local community and religious organizations and see if they offer anything similar. Your school guidance counselor might be a great place to start looking for this information.

Can I submit the same songs or recordings to multiple scholarships if they meet each scholarship’s requirement?

I like the way you think! The answer to this question will depend on each of the scholarships involved. Don’t be afraid to ask the scholarship organization about this directly! Most of the scholarships don’t mention anything about submitting the same work to multiple scholarships. But some of them may want rights to include submitted pieces or performances on promotional materials and such. So I would make sure to confirm for sure with the organizations offering the scholarships before doing this.

Any other advice?

Have fun with the process! Don’t let it stress you out. Use it as a chance to learn and grow, and create art you can be proud of. If you do this you will take valuable experiences and lessons from the process of applying for these scholarships, whether or not you are selected to receive an award. The professional musician’s life is full of highs and lows, and rejections outweigh accolades for even the most successful musicians in history. But in the end, it’s about expressing yourself through your music. Your art. Remember that and it will always be worth it.

GCD Staff
October 2020

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This concludes our coverage of top music scholarships that will make your college experience that much better.