Grants for School Music Programs Provide Instruments and More

| July 4, 2013 | 4 Comments

Grants for School Music ProgramsIs your school or non-profit music program looking for financial assistance to help maintain or start a school or community music program? Many types of organizations offer grants for school music programs. They traditionally assist with the funding to repair and purchase instruments, provide instruction and training for music teachers and expose children to music through innovative approaches to music education.

Amateur Chamber Music Players
Since its formation in 1993, the ACMP has awarded almost 3,000 grants totaling nearly $4 million to programs and projects world-wide that promote chamber music activities. Grants are available to both well-established and start up organizations looking to provide participation with chamber music. Grants are used to subsidize teacher salaries, lower program registration costs and to provide scholarships for students.

Additional grant monies are available for individuals looking to start their own chamber music workshops. And several grant programs are only offered to ACMP members, such as the Home Coaching program that encourages musicians to meet regularly in groups with a professional coach to hone rehearsal skills and exchange musical ideas.

BMI Foundation
While the focus of the BMI Foundation is to support American music, it also has several opportunities for international students, as well. Yearly, this foundation sponsors competitions for awards, scholarships, internships and commissions. It also provides grants to non-profit music organizations within the United States.

Founded in 1986, the BMI Foundation works to support the creation, performance and study of music. Funding is provided by BMI affiliated songwriters, composers, publishers, employees and members of the public. 97% of donations raised by the foundation find their way to recipients of charitable grants.

Fender Music Foundation
The Fender Music Foundation offers resources to music education programs by awarding instruments to eligible music instruction programs. Instrument grants are awarded to both schools and community music programs inside the United States. The organization mainly awards acoustic, acoustic-electric and electric guitars and bass guitars and the equipment needed to play these instruments. But from time to time the foundation offers traditional instruments in the categories of strings, woodwinds, brass, percussion, keyboards and voice, as well. The Fender Music Foundation does not provide grants for DJ equipment or computers.

To be considered for funding, your program must either exist through a 501c3 approved non-profit organization or through a public school. Participants in your program can be of any age group but must be learning to make music. Music appreciation and entertainment programs do not qualify and your program can not be comprised of professional or career musicians.

To apply, your program must fit into one of the four categories: in-school music classes, after-school music programs, community music programs or music therapy programs. Additionally, you must meet the following criteria: participation can not be denied to individuals based on musical abilities, if your program is a paid program the fee paid must be considerably below fair market value, your program must be in existence for at least one year, your program must offer instruction on a weekly basis for a minimum of eight months each year and your organization must prove it will exist for the foreseeable future.

Guitars in the Classroom
This non-profit educational organization trains and equips teachers to integrate music and teaching in classrooms across the country. Teachers entering the program do not need to have any former musical experience. Participants enter 6-8 week training programs and learn how to make music, lead music and write songs with students with the goal of deepening the learning experience for children across every subject area. Classes are offered at no cost to the teacher or school district and the program can also loan equipment to the classroom.

League of American Orchestras
The League of American Orchestras offers Getty Grants, one-year grants available from $10,000 to $40,000, to support the work of Orchestras in educational settings. These must support long-term in-school partnership programs, after-school programs, health and wellness programs, life-long learning programs and other types of programs that work with various special needs populations.

A Getty Grant may not be used to create a new organization or to support a single event or activity that does not support a long-term relationships within the community. The yearly deadline for submissions is August 15 and the application process continues throughout the Fall with recipient announcement in November.

Orchestras seeking funding through the Getty Grant program must be a member in good standing of the League of American Orchestras and have tax exempt status. Orchestras must be in existence for a minimum of three years prior to applying. Existing programs must use the Getty Grant funding to extend the work already in place. Programs must include at least one community partnership. Orchestras must be willing to participate in American Orchestra mentoring. Orchestras must share their program results and credit all materials for the project with the Getty Grant Foundation and League of American Orchestras in support of the program.

Liberace Foundation for the Performing and Creative Arts
The Liberace Foundation’s main mission is to provide talented students with scholarships and exposure to art to foster careers in the performing arts and creative arts. Since its inception in 1976, it has awarded over 2,700 scholarships, sending students to around 120 colleges and universities to the tune of $5.7 million. The foundation offers grants to accredited schools with degree programs in performing and creative arts, providing scholarships to deserving students in the areas of music, theater, dance, fashion design and creative art. Monies are awarded to students by these institutions as “Liberace Scholars” during each academic year. The foundation does not provide individuals with scholarships outside of the college and university system.

The foundation was started by Liberace who considered the foundation one of his greatest achievements. Liberace himself benefited from a scholarship at age seven that provided him with classical training on the piano at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music. His foundation has continued to assist talented young people to follow in his footsteps decades after his death in 1986.

Mockingbird Foundation
The Mockingbird Foundation provides music education grants to both schools and community centers with a focus on music education for children. Grants are provided between $100 and up to $5,000 on a one-time basis. They do not offer grants outside of the United States and do not fund music therapy or any program that does not include musical participation by the students themselves. The foundation targets children eighteen years or younger, but will consider programs that benefit college students, teachers, instructors and adult students, as well. The foundation looks to provide funding that benefits special needs groups, especially those that work within low income and educationally challenged environments.

The Mockingbird Foundation was started by fans of the band Phish in 1996 and works within that community to raise funding to provide music education to children. It boasts an administrative cost of only 2%, sending the vast majority of the money it raises to the grants it supports across the country. The foundation accepts initial inquires for assistance between January and July, each year, with grants being considered during the Fall and awarded between Christmas and the end of January.

Mr Holland’s Opus Foundation
The Mr Holland’s Opus Foundation offers grants to fund instrument repair and the purchase of new instruments for public, private and charter school music programs. Although any school can apply for assistance through the foundation, the organization receives over 1,000 applications every year and the process is very competitive. Priority is given to programs that serve low-income communities, those with little or no budget for their their existing music program and those that serve the highest percent of the school’s population with music education.

The foundation does not give cash grants. All funding is offered to fund instrument repair and acquisition of new instruments for school programs. The foundation does not offer assistance to programs outside of the United States, fund teaching salaries or music lessons, or support events, concerts, festivals or summer camps.

To apply, your school must submit a pre-qualification form to show that it meets the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation criteria. To receive funding, your school must have an established music program that is taught during the regular school day and it must be at least three years old. Your school must participate in the National Lunch Program and must serve at least 65% of the school’s population. Your school must have an existing inventory of instruments. And if you are applying on the district level, each school must apply separately to be considered for Mr Holland’s Opus Foundation grant consideration.

National Endowment for the Arts
The National Endowment for the Arts was established in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. Since its inception, it has provided over $4 billion in funding to support the arts. Grants are awarded to organizations of all types and sizes that seek to attract new audiences for the arts.

Due to the large scope of the NEA’s efforts, many types of grant programs are available, each year. Grants range in size from $10,000 up to $200,000. Funding is available for programs that seek to strengthen their community through arts projects, programs that bring art to under served populations and to foster the creativity of young people across the country.

Sharon Gewirtz Kids to Concerts Fund
This organization offers music education grants to schools and non-profit music programs that expose children to classical music though live performances. These grants focus on the financial need of the school or music program. Grants are available for up to $500 each on an annual one-time basis. Grant applications must be received by June 30 each year and are awarded in September.

Priority is given to program initiatives that purchase tickets for music education students to attend live classical music performances. Classical music education, both vocal or instrumental, must be the main focus of any music program requesting assistance. Grants are available to either public or private programs, as long as they serve K-12 students regardless of their ability to pay for music education. To be considered, your school or music program must already have an existing music program or curriculum. Grant funds may not be used to fund music instruction but can be used to pay stipends and performance fees for guest instructors and musicians working with your music program.

VH1 Save the Music Foundation
This foundation only provides grants to elementary and middle schools that do not have school music programs currently in place. Applications are handled on the school district level. Grants are used for the start up purchase of brand new instruments for new programs that offer music education inside public school settings.

To be eligible for a VH1 Save the Music Foundation grant, your school must operate as a traditional public elementary or middle school, plan to provide instrumental music education as part of the regular school day curriculum no less than weekly, be able to fully fund at least one certified music teacher, plan to provide a dedicated room for music instruction with secure storage space for musical equipment and must be able to provide the budget necessary for the normal maintenance of the provided instruments and supplies.

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Category: Education Grants, Non Profit Organization Grants

About the Author ()

Kipp is the Contributing Editor for, covering sources of potential funding in the world of grants. His mission is to assist people like you by locating and sharing private, non-profit and government grants. Got a question or a tip on a neat grant? Connect with him now at Facebook Twitter

Comments (4)

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  1. Jill Relmar says:

    Do you have a contact person for the League of American Orchestras Grant? I would like to email or call them TY.

  2. Rev Agapito "Augie" Aviles says:

    I have had a vision to start a community music program in our church. I am wondering if there are grants to help a church get off the ground a program such as this. Our church is in a low to medium income area and this program can be self-sufficient in a very short time.

  3. Joseph Chirwa says:

    Hi, I am an upcoming gospel musician based in Malawi Africa. I will be launching my debut album entitled “By my spirit, Says the LORD” in September 2015. During the launch I will also be shooting a live DVD. My budget is approximately $9,000. I am therefore looking for well wishers to help me fund the function. Any amount will be greatly appreciated. Regards, Joseph

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