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Are there performing arts scholarships?

QUESTION: I've been searching every Web site possible and can't find any arts scholarships. I am interested in theatre, music and dance. There seem to be a lot of awards for athletics and technology, but what about the arts? Signed, Searching Artist

Dear Searching Artist: With alumni support for athletics and the practical applications of science and technology, there are a lot of awards available for college athletes and future scientists. There may seem to be a dearth of such support for the arts. But there is hope for aspiring performing artists.

The first place to turn is to organizations that your instructors or you may be members of, organizations for performing artists.

For example, the Music Teachers National Association offers a national awards program for performances in brass, percussion, piano, string, voice and woodwind. You can find out more on their Web site at

For dance, the National Dance Association offers awards for students. Details are located at

These are some examples, but depending on your specific area of interest there may be more opportunities. Investigate other national as well as local professional organizations.

In addition to organizations for performing artists, foundations are also a good source for awards. The BMI Foundation co-sponsors and administers a number of scholarships for composing, conducting and performing music. The Pete Carpenter Film Composing Internship provides the opportunity for a composer under age 35 to work side by side for one month in Los Angeles with theatrical film and television composers. Yoko Ono has established the John Lennon Scholarship Fund to also award young composers.

And don't forget that one of the best sources of scholarships for performing arts is colleges themselves. Many schools offer awards for students who are talented in these areas. Ask the music or performing arts departments for more information.


Gen & Kelly Tanabe
Gen and Kelly Tanabe are the founders of SuperCollege and the award-winning authors of 11 books on college admission, financial aid and scholarships. Together they were accepted to all of the Ivy League colleges and won more than $100,000 in merit-based scholarships to graduate from Harvard debt-free.

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