Does your passion lie in tickling the ivories? Does the thought of making a living from blowing your own horn really give you something to sing about? Do you happen to march to the beat of a different drummer? Then you're probably considering a career in music!
Let's back up for a second, though: The field of music tends to be extremely competitive. While we don't suggest that you turn your back on your dreams, we also want you to be prepared for a tough, post-college job market. Searching for your dream job tends to be a lot easier without the burden of student loan debt. Lucky for you, there are plenty of scholarship opportunities out there for people who are ready to face the music.
[Get advice on how to pay for college.]
The Glenn Miller Scholarship Competition is open to graduating high school seniors or first year college students who intend to make music an important part of their lives in the future. Available to vocalists and instrumentalists, the six scholarships awarded range from $1,000 to $4,000. Apply by March 15.
Part of the mission of The ASCAP Foundation is to "nurture the music talent of tomorrow," and it fulfills this mission by offering many different scholarship opportunities to students interested in making music their career. Though many of its scholarships are limited to students who attend certain high schools, colleges, or universities, there are a handful of more general music scholarships available.
The National Federation of Music Clubs offers more than $750,000 in competition and award prizes on the local, state, and national levels. Either you or your group must be a member of NFMC to apply for the awards, and there are many awards and competitions from which to choose.
[See some college admissions tips for artistic students.]
If you're planning on becoming a band director (and also happen to be female), you could be eligible for a Ladies of the Podium Scholarship, which is designed to encourage more women to become band directors. Women who are studying band music education at the undergraduate or graduate level are encouraged to apply for one of four $500 scholarships. The deadline to apply is December 1. Women Band Directors International also awards several other college scholarships.
This past year, The Young Singers Foundation awarded $34,000 in scholarships to 17 college sophomores and above who are pursuing majors in vocal music (performance, education, or music therapy). If you want to be considered for the Foundation's Bev Sellers Memorial Scholarship, don't miss the January 31 deadline.
[Read about overlooked ways to pay for college.]
The CBC Spouses Heineken USA Performing Arts Scholarship was established in 2000 by the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation in honor of Curtis Mayfield. The scholarships are awarded to 10 students who plan on a career in the performing arts, including theater, motion pictures, drama, comedy, music, dance, opera, marching bands, and other musical ensembles. Though the 2012 application isn't available yet, the deadline for this scholarship typically falls in April, so be ready—you could earn up to $3,000 in scholarship support.
Michelle Showalter joined Scholarship America in 2007 and is an alumna of Luther College in Decorah, Iowa.