Support and Funding
Help Musicians UK Funding Schemes
Each year, Help Musicians UK gives grants, provides opportunities and offers advice to talented musicians in the final stages of training and the first few years of working professionally; visit the website for details of current opportunities. Help Musicians UK also provides financial support for for professional musicians who are in a crisis, facing a long-term illness or disability, or coping with retirement.
The Royal Society of Musicians
The Society provides immediate financial assistance to professional musicians - both members and non-members of the Society - who are unable to work due to accident, illness or old age. Today some of the greatest names in music appear among the membership, many of whom are actively involved with the Society: as Ambassadors, raising awareness of its work, advising of colleagues in need, recommending other musicians for membership, and fundraising for the Society. Being the oldest musical charity in the UK (founded by Handel in 1738), the Society also holds an extensive and historic archive, available to view by appointment.
PRS for Music Foundation
The UK's leading charitable funder of new music across all genres. Visit the website for details of their range of funding programmes which are open to apply to all year round – each with its own criteria for funding and application deadlines.
Fenton Arts Trust Grants
One of the trust's objectives is to provide grants that will support or reward work or performance by individuals early in their careers. The Fenton Arts Trust Grants are available to support individual works, activities, performances, or prizes in the fields of drama, painting, sculpture, ballet, music, and poetry. An application may come from a group, company or institution, or from an individual as long as the application does not involve support of academic study.
The aim of the Foundation in the field of music is to encourage and assist exceptionally talented young instrumental soloists or chamber ensembles who are British Nationals or resident in the UK and whose talent and achievements give promise of an international career.
The Trust seeks to further the music, work and ideals of Gerald Finzi, assisting individuals and organisations and initiating projects which reflect its policy of encouraging artists and composers to develop their creativity. Separate from its Grant Giving, the Trust awards scholarships to individuals (particularly students and those at an early stage of their career), for projects within the UK or overseas lasting, on average, between 3 and 8 weeks. The Scholarships aim to give opportunities for broadening horizons or taking a new path; projects might show a creative initiative or could involve engaging in some practical experience, education or research, perhaps giving a personal change of direction.
Arts Council England - Grants for the Arts
An Arts Council England (ACE) funding programme for arts activities that engage people in England and help artists and arts organisations to carry out their work. The programme supports a wide variety of arts-related activities, from dance to visual arts, literature to theatre, music to combined arts. It is a rolling programme with no deadlines, so you can apply at any time. Decisions on applications for £15,000 or less take six weeks. Decisions on applications of over £15,000 take 12 weeks.
Arts Council England - Developing your Creative Practice
An Arts Council England (ACE) funding programme that gives individuals the opportunity to apply for £2,000 to £10,000 to take a dedicated period of time to focus on their own creative development, and take them to the next stage in their practice. Arts Council England would like to see applications for development activities from practitioners working in any of their supported disciplines (music, theatre, dance, visual arts, literature, combined arts, museums practice), where a clear development opportunity has been identified. This could be for a period of research, time to create new work, travel (including international working), training, developing future ideas, networking or mentoring.
The Deutsche Bank Awards for Creative Enterprise (DBACE)
An awards programme for final year undergraduate/postgraduate creative students and first year graduates, providing financial and business support to help launch creative careers. The Competition offers entrants the chance to win £10,000.00 to fund their creative project and a year of business mentoring. The programme is currently being reviewed; the next awards programme will therefore be postponed until the 2018-19 academic year.
STEP Travel Grants
STEP travel grants support culturally active and engaged individuals for international return travels within Europe or to/from its neighbouring countries to a partner organisation for a professional cultural collaboration that serves a wider community. STEP stands for ‘Supporting Travel for Engaged Partnerships’ and is initiated and managed by the European Cultural Foundation (ECF) with the financial support of Compagnia di San Paolo.
Performing Arts Micro Bursaries - Jerwood Charitable Foundation
The Performing Arts Micro Bursaries support independent artists and producers with awards of between £250 and £1,000. The Foundation is interested in proposals for development activities in the performing arts where a clear and specific learning opportunity has been identified. This could be for the making of new work, research, travel, training or mentoring. They cannot accept applications for course fees or any associated study or living costs.
Who can apply?
- Independent artists, makers and producers working in the performing arts. This includes, but is not limited to, individuals working as musicians, composers, directors, writers, choreographers, theatre designers, producers and/or performance makers.
- Individuals who have been practicing professionally for no more than 10 years, have completed their formal education and are resident in the UK.
There is no application fee.
- Search for potential funding sources via the funding wizard on the Help Musicians UK website
- The Arts Council England website provides information about funding bodies, databases and directories
- Paul Hamlyn Foundation has created a funding directory for visual artists and composers
- Learn more about finance, funding and legal issues on the Creative Choices website.
Schemes for Emerging Musicians
There are a number of schemes providing support to musicians starting out in their careers through a programme of performance and professional development opportunities. Find out more on the performance opportunities page of the Trinity Laban website.
Professional development advice
The website for the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) has a professional development section offering advice to support musicians in their careers, including a series of webinars that are available to watch online. You can also access legal, tax and business advice by downloading their free easy-to-read advice packs:
- The ISM Performers Pack includes a template performance contract, tips to help you get booked for live performances and session work, guidance on claiming royalties and advice from the ISM’s marketing team on how to promote yourself effectively.
- The ISM Composers Pack contains advice, checklists and template contracts to help composers protect their rights and get a fair deal when offered a commissioning opportunity, publishing or synchronisation agreement. There is also an ISM Self-publishing Pack for composers.
- The ISM Teachers Pack includes advice for instrumental and vocal music teachers.