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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



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