Pursuing Music as a Career - How to Find the Resources to Fund Your Dreams
By Mercedes Killeen
Any career artist can attest to the financial uncertainty of working in a creative industry. Whether you pursue a career in theatre or classical music, there’s a certain level of difficulty that most artists will face in terms of funding their dreams. But what’s important to realize, as a musician, is that there are many resources out there to help you fund an education and/or career in music.
If you’re a young adult, perhaps in high school or college, it can seem daunting to pursue a career in classical music. There will no doubt be pressures from all sides to pursue a “traditional” career in something like economics or medicine. Telling your parents that you want to become a musician isn’t always the answer they want to hear.
While it’s true that a career in the arts can be difficult financially, it’s crucial to remember that you can find help with pursuing your dreams. If you truly want to pursue classical music, and you have the passion for it, you shouldn’t immediately write it off because of financial reasons. Stick with the passion you have, and try to research various resources to fund your goals.
Because there is, after all, a middle ground between following your dreams and giving in to pressure to pursue a “traditional” life and career. You can recognize that finances are important while still valuing your happiness and true calling. That’s where resources like scholarships can be a massive help.
How to find funding
Financial aid from universities and colleges
First of all, it’s important to note that, if you’re applying to college (or in college) for a classical music program, you should look into your school’s financial aid resources. Simply check out your school’s website (or get in contact with their financial aid office) to find out about the scholarships, bursaries, and awards you are eligible to apply for.
Make sure to maximize these resources, especially if you’re low-income, since many scholarships are based on financial need. You should also consider scholarships if you have very high marks in school, as that will increase your odds of winning.
Other scholarships, awards, and grants
Aside from college financial aid, you should look into the many other scholarships offered in your country. There are tons of organizations who want to fund the work of young artists pursuing musical careers. You just need to look for them!
Here are some tips and links—
- Scholarships.com has an entire section on their website devoted to music scholarships. There are over twenty American music scholarships listed—read through the list to see if you qualify for any.
- Strings Magazine awards a $3,000 scholarship to one string player per year who can demonstrate both financial need and excellence in their craft. Check out their website, linked above, for instructions to apply.
- The National Federation of Music Clubs grants several awards for musicians. Most of them require a $10-$30 fee along with your application, and you can be awarded up to $3000, depending on your field.
- The Scholarship Program of Women’s Art Association of Canada lists several different awards available for women in the arts. You can browse the website to see which ones you might be eligible for.
- If you aren’t in college but are still pursuing a career in music, you should strongly consider applying for grants from organizations like The Canada Council for the Arts and The Ontario Arts Council. These applications take quite some time to complete, but they offer some of the highest amounts of money available to professional artists.
- The Yamaha Music Foundation of Europe awards scholarships to music students across over 30 countries. The discipline they focus on changes from year to year (i.e. 2019-2020 is for Piano students). Check out their website for specifics.
As you can see, there are many financial resources available across the world to help you as a young, classical musician. And these are just a few examples! Take some time to research the best scholarships in your city, state, and/or country, and apply to the ones which seem most applicable.
Remember that, although it’s tough, you can find the funding to help you pursue a career in music. It just takes a bit of work. Good luck with your classical career!
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Mercedes Killeen is a Toronto-based professional author and editor. This article was written for Axtell Music.
For Mercedes freelance services visit fiverr.com/killeenm