External funding sources
Students seeking external financial support are encouraged to begin their search as early as possible.
In addition to the leads on this page, don’t be afraid to approach local businesses within your community to see whether they might be able to help you. Spread your net wide and don’t just concentrate on people who support music. You may be surprised at what other resources are available.
When writing an application for funding, be sure to provide the fullest picture. Successful applicants are, often, those that demonstrate their achievements to date and their goals looking forward, as well as an honest outline of financial resources already in place. Funders rarely provide students with everything they ask for, so try to demonstrate creativity in financial management as much as you would your artistic ability.
The Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding
The Academy subscribes to The Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding. The guide was written by two postgraduate students who, between them, have won over £50,000 from 50 different charity awards. It contains step-by-step guidance on how to put together a winning grant application, examples of model personal and financial statements, and over 500 links to voluntary sector funding sources.
A link to our gateway can be found here. If you are a prospective student, you will require a PIN access code for this, which the Academy will email to you when you accept our offer of a study place. Current Academy students can use the guide by logging in with their Academy email address.
Further Guides and Resources
- British Council international student funding (tel: 020 7211 6000)
- European Funding Guide
- Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) Funding Ideas
- Directory of Social Change Funding Search
- Charities Aid Foundation
- FindAPhD Scholarships
- Postgraduate Search - Funding
- gov.uk - Student Finance A-Z
- British Council Study UK Scholarships
- iefa Scholarships and Loans
- World Federation of International Music Competitions
- The British and International Music Yearbook (Rhinegold Publishing)
Crowdfunding is increasingly being used as a vehicle to raise funds towards fees. It enables individuals to raise money online to reach a financial target. Although this is a common route for people raising funds for charity, self-financing in this way needs care and thought. If you use crowdfunding, your ‘project’ must be seen to have value and possibly material benefit to a wider audience. These websites contain useful insights:
The following organisations may be in a position to help you – but please check carefully to see if you are eligible before approaching them, as criteria often change. Please note the Academy provides this data for information purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the organisations directly.
The Cherubim Music Trust is a charity that loans professional-calibre orchestral instruments for five-year periods to advanced music students aged 18 and above, who cannot afford one that matches their ability.
The Coro Nuovo Bursary supports young musicians aged 18 to 26 with a Sussex connection as they embark on a professional career in music.
The Countess of Munster Musical Trust is an annual award towards the cost of postgraduate study in the UK and abroad. Open to instrumentalists, singers and composers undertaking performance-based courses. Interest-free instrument purchase loans are also available for those on the brink of a platform career.
CH Dixon Charitable Trust offers funding for musicians of all ages in England. Apply to RM Robinson, 22 Vicarage Drive, London, SW14 8RX.
The Charlotte Fraser Foundation is a charity that has been awarding scholarships and bursaries to postgraduate students since 2000. These awards are open to Woodwind, Brass and Voice postgraduate students that are resident in Great Britain and who have received offers of places on MMus or MPerf courses at the Academy. Awards cover both years of Masters courses.
Drake Calleja Trust financially supports and artistically nurtures exceptionally talented musicians studying in London. The scholarships are open to classical solo instrumentalists and singers of all nationalities aged 18 and above.
The Elizabeth Eagle-Bott Memorial Fund has annual awards of up to £10,000 to visually impaired organists and other classical musicians. Funding is for any musical activity in preparation for the music profession. Open to UK citizens only. Contact: The Music Advisory Service, RNIB, 105 Judd Street, London, WC1H 9NE. Tel: 020 7388 1266.
Help Musicians UK: All students can consult the Help Musicians UK website. They offer financial awards for postgraduate, and in some cases, undergraduate studies. Students will be judged according to their musical potential, an ability to sustain a career within the industry, and financial need. You must have lived in the UK for three consecutive years at the point of application.
London Symphony Orchestra Conservatoire Scholarships: The scheme is a ground breaking new initiative that aims to ensure that musicians from all backgrounds have opportunities to access conservatoire training, reduce barriers to entering the profession, and to continue the LSO's commitment to nurturing and promoting a thriving classical music sector
London Goodenough Association of Canada (LGAC) offers scholarships for graduate study in London. The LGAC awards scholarships go towards the cost of accommodation at Goodenough College.
Making Music Awards for young musicians: Making Music presents a number of awards, bursaries and prizes to individual musicians, groups and organisations in both the voluntary and professional sector.
The Philharmonia MMSF Instrumental Fellowship Programme (formerly the Martin Musical Scholarship Fund) is a fund administered by the Philharmonia Orchestra for those aged under 25 on 31 January. If you are a UK citizen, the award can be used to study in the UK or abroad. If you are not a UK citizen, the award must be used for study in the UK. You must be studying for a performing career as a soloist, chamber musician or orchestral player. Organists, singers, guitarists and academic studies are not supported by the Fund.
Oppenheim-John Downes Memorial Trust has awards for deserving artists of any kind, whether writers, painters, sculptors, musicians, dancers, craftsmen or inventors, who are unable to pursue their vocation because of financial hardship. Awards are restricted to persons who are natural born British subjects, of parents both of whom are British subjects, and applicants must be over 30.
Pendle Young Musicians' Bursary was set up in 2012 to give young musicians a chance of gaining substantial funding to help them continue their musical studies. The bursary is open to those aged 17 to 21 years who reside in a specified catchment area.
The Prince’s Trust: for applicants aged 16 to 25 who are not in education, training or employment. Form available online or call 0800 842842.
Royal Over-Seas League Music Competition has four solo awards for Keyboard, Strings, Wind/Percussion and Singers, the winners of which compete for the Competition Gold Medal and First Prize. The solo awards are open to UK and Commonwealth citizens, including former Commonwealth countries, for instrumentalists and singers up to and including the age of 30 at a specified date.
Royal Philharmonic Society has various instrumental, singing, and composition awards.
The Worshipful Company of Musicians offers a wide range of awards, from a jazz young musician award to the John Clementi Collard Fellowship – an honorarium of £5,000 awarded to a professional musician of standing and experience, aged 27-50.
The Wayne Sleep Foundation offers medium to large sized awards given to individuals who have obtained a place at a higher education arts institution and are specifically to be put toward accommodation and living costs.
Yamaha Music Foundation of Europe: awards can be used for any purpose related to advancement of studies. Open to full-time students of any nationality under the age of 28, studying at recognised higher education institutions in the UK. Entries by CD or DVD.
This page gives some funding options based on your country of origin if you come from outside England.
We recommend that international students contact either their own education ministry and/or British Council office for details of possible awards for study abroad.
On this page, we have details specifically for students from Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, Germany, India, Ireland, Scotland, Spain, Turkey, the USA and Wales.
The Australian Music Foundation is a charitable organisation that promotes and celebrates Australian musical life, offering scholarships and awards to Australian musicians pursuing their further musical education outside Australia.
The Tait Memorial Trust offers annual grants for postgraduate students and young Australian professional musicians (age limit 35) while they’re living in the UK. The grants provide training and performance opportunities and generally help further careers.
Most Canadian provinces offer some financial support if you are studying full time outside the province, for example through the Canada Student Loan Program. Also see Employment and Social Development Canada for government loan information.
The Canadian Centennial Scholarship Fund (CCSF) provides awards ranging from £2,000 to £5,000 to Canadian men and women for academic and artistic study in the UK.
Canada Council for the Arts offers a broad range of grants and services to professional Canadian artists and arts organisations.
The Hnatyshyn Foundation is a private charity established by the late Right Honourable Ramon John Hnatyshyn, Canada's 24th Governor General. Each year the Developing Artists Grants programme provides eight $10,000 scholarships to exceptional young Canadians in post-secondary performing arts training programmes.
London Goodenough Association of Canada (LGAC) offers scholarships for graduate study in London. These go towards the cost of accommodation at Goodenough College.
Quebec, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut offer their own student financial assistance programmes.
Anglo-Danish Society Scholarships for postgraduate performance, composition and research are available for Danish students wishing to study in the UK and vice versa.
There are various funding bodies open to German students wishing to study in the UK, including:
- Studienstiftung des deutschen volkes.
- Evangelische Studienwerk Villigst.
- Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Studienförderung.
Private loan assistance for Indian students is offered through Global Education Management Services (GEMS). The application form is available on the GEMS website, and all applicants will require an Indian relative as co-signer, with assets in India.
The Arts Council of Ireland Funding Guide is a useful guide to funding sources.
Irish Heritage Music Bursaries are for Irish composers and performers based in Ireland or Britain. For further information contact Patrick Lennon on 01932 229755 or visit the website.
Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation awards grants to individuals and institutions in the UK and Japan. There are two deadlines each year: 31 March and 30 September. Results are announced two months after the deadline.
Sir James Caird’s Travelling Scholarship: grants and scholarships are available to Scottish postgraduate students for one year, but may be renewed for up to two further years.
The Cross Trust: open to students of Scottish birth or parentage. Aims include encouragement of performance participation in music and drama. Applicants must demonstrate outstanding merit; financial hardship is also taken into account.
Glasgow Educational and Marshall Trust helps Glaswegians to advance their academic or vocational qualifications.
Student Awards Agency for Scotland provides a range of awards for undergraduate and postgraduate study.
The Scottish International Education Trust provides support to Scots who show exceptional ability and promise.
British Spanish Society grants are available to students of either UK or Spanish nationality and are awarded for postgraduate studies in any discipline including any field related to the work of the Society's Principal Supporters, who generously fund the scholarships.
The Dr Nejat Eczacibasi Foundation offers scholarship opportunities for prospective postgraduate students from Turkey.
Fulbright Commission offers postgraduate student awards to US citizens wishing to study in the UK.
Marshall Scholarships are available for US students to study at the Academy. Separate applications must be forwarded to both the Marshall administration and to the Academy. If the Marshall administration selects you as a potential recipient of scholarship support, that offer will be held until your Academy entrance audition process has been completed.
VA Benefits for US forces veterans: The Academy is registered with the US Department of Veterans Affairs, so if you are a veteran you can get financial support towards your tuition and maintenance costs for studying with us. Further information, including how to apply for this funding.
Also Federal and Private loans are available, see our Loans page.
The Arts Council of Wales provides a range of awards for study.
Working while studying
Students may be able to obtain work (both inside and outside the Academy) during their time here.
International students on a Tier 4 or Student Visa are usually allowed to work up to 20 hours per week within the restrictions of their visa regulations.
Opportunities to earn money as a musician might be possible if the work is organised through the Academy’s External Bookings department. More information is available on the International page.