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Other sources of funding

Students in glass walkway
Some RCM students receive financial support from external funding organisations. There are a large number of these organisations offering both small contributions and, in some cases, more generous support.

If you are seeking financial assistance from external organisations we encourage you to research the available options thoroughly. Each organisation will have its own restrictions and application procedures. 

Finding other sources of funding

There are many private organisations offering financial support to young musicians, but it can be difficult to know where to start looking and how to approach people for funding.

The resources below may be of use to you. We particularly recommend The Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding for both undergraduate and postgraduate applicants. Much of the information it contains is relevant to students at all levels.

The Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding

This is a very useful general guide on how to access funding from charities, including advice on how to approach organisations and write applications and lots of helpful contacts. You can download a copy for a small charge from the Grad Funding website.

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If you are a current RCM student, you can access this guide for free via the Creative Careers Centre page on learn.rcm.

The Countess of Munster Musical Trust Funding Guide

The Munster Trust provides a useful list of trusts who support young musicians, including some of the smaller trusts who may not have their own websites. 

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The Directory of Social Change

The Directory of Social Change produces a number of useful publications for those seeking financial support. These include:

  • The Guide to Major Trusts, published by the Directory of Social Change in two volumes.
  • Directory of Grant Making Trusts, which is a reference book detailing the largest trusts who give grants to organisations.
  • The Guide to Educational Grants: a general guide to funding sources for education up to first degree level (does not cover postgraduate or specialist music funding).
  • A Guide to Grants for Individuals in Need: a comprehensive guide to funding available to those in hardship, including local, disability-related and religious charities.

All these publications and more are available to buy from the Directory of Social Change website, where you can also find additional resources.

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Help Musicians UK

Help Musicians UK provides great resources for locating funding. They offer their own postgraduates awards with values between £1,000 and £5,000, which students should apply for through Help Musicians UK directly. These are awarded to students who have lived in the UK for three consecutive years, are in financial need, possess musical potential and the ability to sustain a career within the industry.  

In addition to details of their own awards, Help Musicians UK provides information about many other funding sources. Their funding wizard is a particularly helpful resource.

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Student Cash Point

Student Cash Point is a comprehensive website for students seeking funding for university study in the UK.

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Turn2Us

Turn2Us is a general website that helps people from all backgrounds find funding sources. Use the search function to identify trusts who may be able to help you. This is a very useful starting point when looking for funding, and can also help you identify whether you are eligible for any other UK benefits.

Find out more

Restricted grants

Albert Cooper Music Charitable Trust (string students only)

Australian Music Foundation (students of Australian origin)

BAFTA Scholarships Programme (composition students only)

Charlotte Frasers Foundation (British woodwind and brass students on MMus or MPerf only)

Sir James Caird Travelling Scholarships (students of Scottish origin)

Stephen Bell Charitable Trust (postgraduate students only)

The Coro Nuovo Young Musician Bursary (undergraduates with a link to Sussex)

The Cross Trust (undergraduates of Scottish birth or parentage)

The Josephine Baker Trust (vocal students only)

 

The following Trusts and Foundations support students at music conservatoires, however, they do not accept direct applications. Candidates must be nominated by the Director of the RCM.

  • The Biddy Baxter and John Hosier Music Trust
  • The Carnwath Piano Scholarship
  • The George Drexler Foundation
  • The Harriet Cohen Memorial Music Award
  • The Irish Heritage Bursary
  • The Joaninha Trust
  • The John Fussell Award
  • The Marjorie & Dorothy Whyte Fund
  • The Laurin & Arthur Glaze Trust
  • The St Marylebone Educational Foundation
  • The RPS Instrument Grants
  • The Sir Anthony Lewis Memorial Prize
  • The Tillett Trust
  • The Wolfson Foundation
  • The Worshipful Company of Musicians Awards (Busenhart-Morgan Evans & David Goldman) 

Approaching trusts & foundations

The role of trusts & foundations is to give away money, normally according to very specific criteria. Only apply if you meet all of these criteria and take care to meet the strict deadlines that have been set.

We recommend that ou start your search for funding as early as possible in order to meet these deadlines.

Approaching other organisations & individuals for funding

Be proactive and creative in your search. The greater the number of people who are aware of your need for funding the greater your chance of securing the required amount.

  • Visit libraries, some of which hold information on trusts.
  • Approach firms and organisations in your home area.
  • Talk with your teacher; he/she may know of organisations or individuals who may be willing to sponsor you.
  • Talk with people in your local community, including theatre and arts organisations.
  • Visit the careers office or the alumni association of your previous schools, colleges or universities.
  • If you are not a UK student, get in touch with your own ministry of education and local British Council office for details of scholarship opportunities for those students wishing to study overseas.
  • Current students can also refer to the Scholarships page on Muse for a list of other people and organisations that may be useful to approach.

Don't just look for funding for music students. You may be eligible for a small bursary from your local borough, county or parish, or from another fund supporting young people of your nationality, religion, interests or family background. There are awards for children of shopkeepers, military personnel, vegetarians. Be imaginative in your search!

Best practice when approaching businesses and charities for funding

Businesses and charities are more willing to support candidates who they consider will make the most of their opportunities. Always demonstrate what the impact of their donation to you will be. Any approach to such organisations should be made in a creative but professional way. If you are offered an interview or the opportunity to send in details about your future studies, ensure that you include as much relevant information as possible.

Covering letter

Detail your aspirations and what you wish to achieve during and after your time at the Royal College of Music and how your study at the RCM will ultimately help you reach your career goals.

If possible, research the company or organisation you are applying to, in order to see whether they have a history of supporting students.

Tailor what you write to each organisation. Do not send a generic covering letter to everybody. Follow the application guidelines closely and ensure you fulfil their requirements exactly.

Curriculum vitae

Include a curriculum vitae (résumé) if required. This should outline your achievements to date. Ensure you include references.

Budget

It is vital to include a detailed and thoroughly researched budget of the funding you will need to complete your studies. Be realistic, but not extravagant. Organisations will normally want to see exactly how you will be spending their money.

Thank you messages

Always be polite and gracious in your thank you letters, which you should send even if your application has been turned down. If your application is successful it is essential that you write immediately and thank your donor for their support. 

Keep in touch with your donor throughout the year and your time at the RCM. Invite them to performances so they can see how their funds are supporting your musicianship. Organisations enjoy following your journey and want to hear about your progress.

Being polite, possitive and communicative will encourage donors to support you in future, as well as encouraging them to support other RCM students who need to apply for help.

Good luck!

Enquiries

If you have any queries please feel free to contact our Scholarships team, who will be happy to advise you.

Scholarships team

General enquiries about RCM scholarships and seeking other sources of funding

rcmscholarships@rcm.ac.uk