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Archives for August 2012

How Awards for Young Musicians could help you

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Francesca Tortora | 11:49 UK time, Wednesday, 22 August 2012

We know there are lots of talented musicians out there who need support with their music making, particularly when it comes to hiring or purchasing an instrument. So, we asked Beverley Mason, Trustee at Awards for Young Musicians, to tell us how they might be able to help.

"As an assessor for the BBC PAF Community Music scheme, during the London 2012 Olympics season I often found myself reveling in the talent of our young British athletes. It was equally encouraging for me to discover the high levels of determination, creativity, and commitment of applicants to the scheme to reach new levels of excellence, raise their game as performers, and inspire the communities around them.


Beverley Mason smiling.


It’s not easy to find the support - financial or pastoral - to create art in the community, so I feel equally fortunate to be part of a team of brilliant people at Awards for Young Musicians (AYM).

AYM was founded in 1998 through the legacy of Robert Lewin, a man who left an extraordinary collection of instruments in his will, which were by his request sold to create an endowment fund to help support the education and development of the UK's most talented young musicians.

How AYM can help

AYM run an annual Awards programme for young instrumentalists aged between 5 and 18. Individual awards range between £200 and £2,000, totaling a minimum of £50,000 per year.

We support all instrumentalists making music in any genre but unfortunately we don’t support singers. However, we’ve compiled a helpful list of places where you might wish to apply for other kinds of funding on our website.

Our Awards can help with costs including:
•    Buying or hiring a musical instrument
•    Music lessons
•    Weekend music schools
•    Music courses
•    Orchestra fees
•    Travel

The application process

We have an open application process and once a year musicians and their families have the chance to apply for a grant to help towards the cost of music education, purchase of instruments, school fees and other forms of support, such as travel. Our next round of applications will close on 15 March 2013 so there is still plenty of time for young musicians to apply for a grant.

Our key criteria for instrumentalists are; financial need and exceptional musical talent. Applicants will need to:
•    Show evidence of their financial need
•    Have ideally achieved a distinction in their last music exam – or, if they haven’t taken exams, show evidence of this level of ability
•    Be recommended by their music teacher

Our expert panel of adjudicators work hard to ensure that applicants with both identifiable talent and the most potential have the opportunity to demonstrate their playing skills through an audition.

Auditions take place in London every Spring. This process helps us to determine the highest level of award and potentially create an additional tailored package of special support, because the panel looks at the whole picture, including personal circumstances, teaching and progression, as well as the narrative about the applicants’ musical development.”

Example of a past winner

Jay, a 14 year old from Manchester, won the annual AYM Edith Hemingway Memorial Award, which AYM gives to the most promising musician from the north-west of England. Gary Crosby, the internationally acclaimed artistic director of Tomorrow’s Warriors, a jazz development organisation that’s been working in partnership with AYM and was an adjudicator at Jay’s audition was so impressed by him that he went out and found a saxophone of much higher quality than the instrument Jay originally applied for funding for. Yamaha, one of our partners, agreed to supply the sax at a considerably reduced rate. Gary also arranged a masterclass for Jay with the renowned saxophonist Denys Baptiste at a famous London Jazz venue.

In Jay’s own words: “It is a great honour that AYM decided that I was worthy of receiving such an award. It helps me believe in my own abilities and strengthens my belief that I can become a great musician. Playing the saxophone has become a great source of joy in my life. Receiving this award for doing something I love is unbelievable.”

For full details about Awards for Young Musicians please visit their website or contact Caroline Harvie, AYM Awards Administrator via email on


Have you considered Grants for the arts?

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Francesca Tortora | 13:01 UK time, Thursday, 9 August 2012

Whatever the outcome of your application to our music schemes this year, there are lots of other funding opportunities out there to help your music projects and ambitions get off the ground. Rachel Nelken, Relationship Manager – Music for Arts Council England, tells us about what’s available through their scheme Grants for the arts.

“It’s been a privilege to be an assessor for the BBC Performing Arts Fund this year; seeing such an amazing array of talented performance groups across the country, many having designed really ambitious and exciting projects. These artistic adventures offer real opportunities to groups to develop their own practice and bring it to a wider audience to enjoy.

Applicants and potential applicants to BBC Performing Arts Fund’s schemes in England this year may not be aware of an ongoing opportunity for funding which would, in many cases, be equally suitable for their projects. Arts Council England’s Grants for the arts is an open access scheme to which anyone – individuals, groups or organisations – can make an application. The grant opportunity is there broadly to support work which will achieve Arts Council’s mission of ‘Great Art for Everyone’.

Applicants need to demonstrate that their projects will fulfil four main criteria:

Artistic Quality
How can you demonstrate that your project is going to be high quality artistically?

Public engagement
What opportunities are there for the public to participate in or experience your work?

How can you show you’ve got a good team/personnel in place to manage the project? What systems do you have in place to ensure the project will be well managed?

What other funding or sources of income are there for the project? How will you manage the finances of the project?

As you can see the criteria are not dissimilar to the BBC Performing Arts Fund’s Community Music scheme and projects such as commissioning, festivals or events of any kind (if they involve the public as participants or audiences) would be eligible.

You can apply for Grants for the arts at any time – it has a rolling deadline. There are two levels of funding – up to £10,000, and above £10,000. The first scheme is the one to which I normally suggest most people come for their first try. If you’re successful you can develop bigger, more ambitious projects for the bigger pot later! The under £10,000 scheme has a 6 week turnaround – pretty fast for a funding body! Be aware that Arts Council almost never fully funds a project and will be looking in most cases for a fair amount of ‘match-funding’ – cash and ‘in-kind’.


Abimaro singing

Abimaro and the Free received funding through Grants for the arts

Abimaro is a singer/songwriter who earlier this year was awarded a grant for a mini-tour of East London coffee shops. You can find out more about her experience in this video.

Don’t be daunted by the amount of information about the scheme as it’s fairly digestible, and definitely worth reading before you put in an application. I would also strongly suggest running your ideas past the very helpful and knowledgeable Grants for the arts Enquiry Team on 0845 300 6200. While you’re at it, see if you can find out the name of your nearest regional Relationship Manager.

Arts Council Relationship Managers are based across England in the Regional offices and we can help advise and support you as you make your application to Arts Council. These are eventually assessed by our central office in Manchester but Relationship Managers are given the opportunity to make additional comments and recommendations as part of the assessment process. So it’s well worth getting to know your local Relationship Manager. The best thing you can do to ensure success for your application is to get as much advice and support as possible from us as you write it. I am always amazed when I see applicants who haven’t taken that opportunity.

We’ll look forward to hearing from you soon!”

Check out all the information on the Arts Council’s website.

Music Fellowships - the scheme from a Trustee's perspective

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Francesca Tortora | 10:47 UK time, Wednesday, 1 August 2012

August is now upon us (when did that happen?!) and in just under two weeks time our Music Fellowships scheme will be open for applications. Sally Stote (BBC PAF Trustee) is part of our Grant Giving Committee, which will be making the final decision as to which applications receive a grant once the scheme closes in October.


Sally Stote smiling

We asked her to tell us more about what’s on offer:

Tell us about the Music Fellowships scheme
The Music Fellowships scheme is our opportunity to support talented individuals, or Fellows, in the early stages of their professional music careers. The Fellowship will help people to nurture and develop their creative skills through bespoke placements within existing organisations.

So what is PAF offering?
There are up to 20 grants of £10,000 available to organisations who are looking to take on a Fellow, to cover the costs of offering the opportunity. So whether it’s to pay for training, the hiring of specific equipment or expenses, the grant is there to fund the Fellow’s activities within the organisation.

And what types of organisations can apply?
A whole variety of organisations will be able to apply! Music charities, music festivals, venues, agencies, recording studios, record labels and professional performing groups like orchestras or choirs are all eligible. Music doesn’t have to be the sole emphasis of the organisation, so long as the Fellowship’s focus is music, they can still apply.

What is a Fellow?
A Fellow is an individual who is beginning to form a career within the music industry. They can be anything from musicians, composers or songwriters to producers, conductors or programmers and they can specialise in any form of music.

How should an organisation interested in the scheme find a suitable candidate?
There are two ways really. Firstly, an organisation may already have a few suitable candidates in mind, perhaps those whose work they have seen or heard elsewhere.  However, a Fellow can’t have had carried out any paid work with the organisation previously. Alternatively, an organisation can hold their own application process to find their Fellow. Either way, the process of finding that person should be transparent and fair. It’s also worth keeping in mind that, unlike last year, organisations must have chosen their candidate at the point of applying.

Why can’t Fellows apply independently of an organisation?
We have directly funded individuals in the past but with the Fellowship schemes, we wanted to support them in a different way. By awarding grants to organisations, the chosen Fellows will gain access to resources they wouldn’t have otherwise. The experience will be tailored to them specifically and give them the benefit and support of all aspects of the organisation from mentoring, performance opportunities, training plus access to equipment, space and even audiences. However as an individual we would encourage you to approach suitable organisations, informing them of the scheme and presenting yourself as a potential candidate.

So the grant can’t be used to cover tuition fees?
I’m afraid not. The grant is to cover the cost of the Fellowship placement only. However the Fellowship could involve individual training opportunities run by the the organisations’ staff and/or visiting artists for instance.

How long is the Fellowship?
Every Fellowship will be different – that’s the best thing about this scheme, it’s flexible. A Fellow could work towards a specific event where an intensive four month placement would be ideal. However others may find a part time placement is more appropriate for the Fellow to develop their skills set over a longer period of time. As long as it takes place between 1st February 2013 and 31st January 2014, the length of the Fellowship should suit the activities being undertaken.

Tell us how the application process works.
First, have a read of the Terms & Conditions and FAQs to double check your organisation is eligible. Then you need to find your Fellow. Once you have done that, you will need to pass an online eligibility quiz and send some documentation to us as proof of your eligibility. You can then access the application form and submit it to us.

Remind us, when can applicants apply?
Applications will open at 10am on 13th August and will close either at 5pm on 15th October OR once we have received 100 applications. The deadline for sending us your proof of eligibility documentation is 21st September.

We will also have the application form available for you to download as soon as we can in advance of the opening date though so that you can begin drafting your responses.

Thank you Sally!


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