Awards for Young Musicians

Giving talent a chance
© Copyright Edward Webb 2012

How to apply

The application deadline for 2016 Awards was Friday 18 March. Awards will be announced in May. We will not be accepting applications for 2017 Awards until autumn 2016.

We believe that all talented young people deserve the chance to progress in their music making. That’s why we award up to £100,000 in grants to exceptional young instrumentalists in need of support each year.

Once a year we invite applications from young instrumentalists playing any musical genre to join our annual Awards programme. Award winners receive flexible funding towards musical costs and individual support, which may include mentoring, master classes with professional musicians, the chance to observe professional orchestras and other ensembles in rehearsal, free tickets to concerts and performance opportunities.

Our main Awards are called Robert Lewin Scholarships and we grant a number of special Awards including:

More ‘Named Awards’ can be found here.

How much can I apply for?
You can apply for up to £2,000.  The average Award granted is £500.  Awards can help with costs including:

  • Buying or hiring a musical instrument
  • Music lessons
  • Weekend music schools
  • Music courses
  • Orchestra fees
  • Travel

Am I eligible?
Our key criteria are musical talent and financial need. To be eligible you should be aged between 5 and 17, be living and studying in the UK and be an instrumentalist  (unfortunately we cannot support singers).

Applications will be means tested and we use an income threshold similar to that of the Government Music and Dance Scheme. Ultimately, however, our adjudication panel makes decisions based on which applicants are most talented and most in need.

Application process

  1. Your parent/carer completes an application form and income declaration.
  2. You contribute a personal statement about your music making and ambitions.
  3. Your instrumental teacher, school and an organisation or group with whom you make music (e.g. a band, music club) recommend you by completing a reference
  4. Whether you are studying classical Western music, classical Indian music, jazz, folk, blues or commercial music you need to provide evidence of your ability. This can be done in a number of ways; it is not essential that you have taken formal exams.

Applying for an Award

2016 Awards will be announced in May 2016.  We will be accepting applications for 2017 Awards from autumn 2016.  To be notified of when to apply please sign up to our mailing list on the homepage of our website.


For information about other possible funders, please see AYM Funding Advice 2016  and an additional list for over-18’s.

Fill out my online form.

2015 Awards

Following an extensive adjudication process, we are supporting 103 exceptional young instrumentalists, across all musical genres, through our 2015 Awards programme. All the young musicians who applied were notified of the outcome of their application, whether successful or not.

Competition for 2015 Awards was extremely high;  we received three times more applications  than we can support   In total we had requests for more than £400,000 towards musical costs.  After means-testing, all eligible applications were considered by our independent adjudication panel and  33 young musicians were invited to audition for higher level grants (over £500).

Each outstanding young Award-winner will receive vital financial help, ranging from £200 to £2,000 and will also benefit from individually tailored support: this may comprise mentoring, access to advanced skills workshops with professional musicians, master classes and opportunities to attend rehearsals with orchestras and other musical partners.

The 2015 cohort  represent a range of instruments and musical genres, from classical guitar to folk-fiddle and from church organ to jazz drums. This year, notably, we are supporting 19 musicians who play a first-study instrument that was on the original 2003 Youth Music ‘endangered species’ initiative, comprising bassoon, double bass, French horn, oboe, trombone and tuba/euphonium.