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Grants for Musicians: Everything You Need to Know

11 min read

You don’t have to be a global superstar to make money as a musician. One of the options available to musicians seeking financial support is applying for grants. There are many grants for musicians available through both private and public organizations. Despite being widely available, many musicians might be unaware of all of the resources available to them. To help bring awareness to the financial support system available, here is some information on how to apply for grants for musicians.

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What Kind of Grants for Musicians Are Available?

Grants for musicians come in a variety of styles. Some grants offer general support for musicians of all ages and styles. Other grants cater to musicians performing a certain genre or musicians fitting specific demographics. There are even musician grants specific to touring, recording, and purchasing instruments.

Are there government grants for musicians?

Yes, there are government grants for musicians available. The National Endowment for the Arts is an agency of the federal government that offers a range of programs and grants for musicians. Some local government agencies may also provide grants for musicians.

Government grants are not the only grant options available to musicians, however. Many private organizations and foundations offer financial aid and other forms of support to musicians of all types.

Below is a non-exhaustive list of grants available to musicians from both government and private institutions. Some musicians may be eligible for several grants at once, while some grants are more exclusive.

Government Grants for Musicians

National Endowment for the Arts

As mentioned above, the National Endowment for the Arts is a federal agency that supplies grants for all types of artists. That includes grants for musicians, among several other categories.

NEA musician grants are geared more toward ensembles, groups, and organizations rather than individuals. However, NEA grants are fairly broad in their scope. Performing musicians of all genres are encouraged to apply, as are all types of musical organizations. The NEA specifically lists “professional artist development programs, artist residencies, community engagement projects that involve diverse communities; education activities for people of all ages; and service organizations” as eligible grant recipients.

NEA grants are awarded on a project basis. This means grant applicants must list a specific project in need of funding when submitting their grant application. However, the broad criteria means that many different musicians can apply. The NEA offers grants for musicians to record music, grants for musicians to buy instruments, or even touring grants for musicians in some cases.

The NEA accepts music grant applications twice annually: once in the winter, and once in the summer. NEA grants can range anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000, depending on each project’s needs.

See the NEA website for full details on eligibility and application requirements.

Grants For Young Musicians

ASCAP Foundation

The ASCAP Foundation (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers) is a charity organization that offers a range of grants and awards to young artists. The ASCAP Foundation is a branch of ASCAP, a not-for-profit performance rights organization responsible for public performance and licensing agreements.

The ASCAP Foundation is committed to supporting musicians, music fans, and the future of music in many different ways. The organization runs several programs, grants, and scholarships aimed at young musicians in particular. This includes programs and grants for musical theater, jazz musicians, and a variety of other performance types. In addition, the ASCAP Foundation hosts a range of talent development programs to provide support for aspiring musicians.

You can read more about the ASCAP Foundation’s grants for young musicians online through their programs and grants page. The organization’s awards are expansive, meaning there are plenty of great opportunities for young musicians.

National Assembly of State Arts Agencies

The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) is a nationwide non-profit that advocates for the arts and supports local art agencies. NASAA supports all types of arts, including all forms of music. The organization previously sponsored the annual National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards, which celebrated and rewarded young artists nationwide. While the Youth Program Awards have been discontinued, NASAA still provides workshops and resources to support young musicians. This includes a broad range of Cultural Youth Development programs nationwide, as well as webinars and on-demand learning tools.

Guitar Center Music Foundation

Guitar Center is known for being one of the leading musical instrument retailers nationwide. But the Guitar Center Music Foundation also offers grants for musicians to buy instruments for up to $5000. These grants are intended for schools and music education programs, with the aim of improving music education across the country.

Grants For Black Musicians

Black Artists Fund

The Black Artists Fund is an initiative sponsored by Fund for the Arts. Fund for the Arts is a Louisville-based organization dedicated to supporting and promoting local artists. Fund for the Arts hosts a broad range of events and programs intended to promote community engagement and provide support to artists. That includes several grants and micro-grant initiatives for artists in the region.

The Black Artists Fund is one such grant, specifically intended for black artists in the greater Louisville area. The grant is intended to celebrate and “amplify the creations” of local black artists, including musicians.

Black Artist Foundry

The Black Artists Foundry is an organization that is committed to offering “unrestricted funds, studio and exhibition spaces, and community to Black artists”. The organization’s support for black artists is manifested in several different ways. The BlackAF Fund is the organization’s annual grant, awarded to black artists in all mediums. Past winners include dancers, fashion designers, painters, and visual artists, as well as musicians.

In addition to offering grants for black musicians, the Black Artists Foundry also provides a range of other resources. This includes connecting black artists with outside grant opportunities, community events, and educational opportunities.

Artist Project Fund

The Artist Project Fund is a $ 2,000 grant awarded by the NBAF to several Atlanta-area artists each year. The NBAF is a national non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and supporting black artists in all mediums. In addition to the APF, the NBAF hands out the Horizon Awards each year. Horizon Award winners in several categories, including music, receive a $10,000 cash reward. However, this award is invite-only, meaning aspiring artists cannot apply for it.

Grants For Female Musicians

New York Foundation for the Arts

The New York Foundation for the Arts Women’s Fund is a grant program for female artists across a variety of disciplines. All female artists in the NYC area, including musicians, are encouraged to apply and are eligible to receive a grant.

The NYFA offers grants of differing sizes based on the artist’s discipline and project size. Recipients of the music grant will receive $20,000. Applicants must be working on a project to receive funding or have a project planned. Funded projects are expected to be finished within 12 months of receiving the grant.

Applications for the NYFA Women’s Fund close in late fall (the 2023 deadline is November 1). Recipients should be notified of their funding by early spring of the following year.

Grants For Jazz Musicians

BMI Foundation

The BMI Foundation is a nonprofit organization that supports, “the creation, performance, and study of music through awards, scholarships, grants, and commissions.” The foundation offers a range of grants for different genres of music, including grants for jazz musicians.

The BMI Future Jazz Master Award is awarded each year to one jazz performer between the ages of 17 and 24. The winner receives a $ 5,000 cash prize, in addition to the recognition and prestige that comes with winning the award. The Future Jazz Master Award has an open application process, although there are application criteria that must be followed.

The BMI Foundation also distributes invitation-only rewards for jazz musicians, and performers in other genres. The Charlie Parker Jazz Composition Prize is awarded annually to a nominated jazz performer, who receives a $ 3,000 cash prize.

Grants For Classical Musicians

BMI Foundation

The BMI Foundation also awards grants for classical musicians, in addition to jazz and several other categories. The BMI Composer Awards are open to any composer under the age of 28. The BMI Foundation welcomes submissions “for any instrumentation and in any classical genre”.

Multiple recipients are awarded a cash reward, with prizes totaling up to $20,000 annually. The Composer Awards have an open application process. Applicants must submit an original composition of their choice in order to be eligible to receive the award.

Other Ways to Make Money as a Musician

Applying for grants for musicians can be both effective and rewarding for anyone trying to make a living through music. But there are other creative options available as well. From utilizing social media to selling digital downloads and online music courses, there are tons of creative ways to monetize your passion. And getting started can be as easy as signing up with Ecwid. Ecwid can help you build a custom, professional website to sell your products and services and grow your online brand.


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About the author

Max has been working in the ecommerce industry for the last six years helping brands to establish and level-up content marketing and SEO. Despite that, he has experience with entrepreneurship. He is a fiction writer in his free time.

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