Music Scholarships


The University of Birmingham will offer 15 University Music Scholarships to new undergraduates in September 2020.

Scholarships will be offered within the three following categories:

  • Orchestral Scholarship
  • Choral Scholarship
  • Jazz Scholarship

Applications are now closed for 2020/21 entry.

Am I eligible to apply?

In order to be considered for a University Music Scholarship, you must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • You must be classed as a “home” student (i.e. been normally resident in the UK for three years prior to the start of your course)
  • You must have selected Birmingham as your “firm” choice following an offer of a place on a full-time undergraduate programme (other than a programme offered by the Department of Music) commencing in September 2020
  • You must be performing at a Grade 8 standard in instrumental or vocal studies and supply both documentary and video evidence of your performing standard.

Please note that for Jazz scholarships, a supporting letter from your instrumental or vocal tutor can be accepted in lieu of standard grading certificates, if required (e.g. ABRSM, Trinity Guildhall, RSL Awards).

What is the scholarship worth?

Each scholarship will offer approximately 17 hours of musical tuition per year for three years. Tuition will be administered by the Department of Music; tuition may be delivered either by tutors employed by the Department of Music, or at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. This musical tuition will have a cash value of £1,000 per year, or £3,000 over the lifetime of the award.

In order to continue to receive the University Music Scholarship in subsequent years, each University Music Scholar must make academic progression at a 2:1 standard in their studies and commit to playing in at least one University Music ensemble connected to the relevant scholarship (i.e. singing in a choir for a choral scholarship).

How can I apply?

To apply, please complete and submit an online Music Scholarship application form.

Orchestral and Choral Scholarships

In addition to submitting your application, you are required to include:

  • A copy of your grade 8 or diploma certificate and mark sheet (if you have not passed a grade 8 examination, we will accept a letter from your instrumental/vocal tutor attesting that you are performing at a grade 8 standard or above).
  • Video evidence of your performing standard. This takes the form of two contrasting works taken from a recognised examination syllabus at either grade 8 or diploma level. We request videos are uploaded and submitted via YouTube, however a compatible DVD is accepted.
  • A copy of the sheet music from pieces that you have chosen to perform for your application.

Jazz Scholarships

In addition to submitting your application, you are required to include:

  • A letter of reference from your instrumental or vocal tutor (or similar) outlining why you would be a worthy recipient of a scholarship.
  • Video evidence of your performing standard. This takes the form of two contrasting jazz standards (see below), each of around 2-3 minutes in length:
    1. The first submission should feature a ‘head-solos-head’ arrangement with an improvised solo. This can be performed with a band accompaniment or a backing track.
    2. The second submission should feature a transcription of a recorded solo, using the original recording as a backing track.
  • A copy of the notated transcription featured in the second video submission. This can be produced by hand or using music notation software.
  • We request videos are uploaded and submitted via YouTube, however a compatible DVD is accepted.

Repertoire List:

  • Any tune from the ‘jazz standard’ repertoire. “Real Books”, or similar lead sheet compilation volumes, are a recommended source of this material.

Backing Tracks:

  • iReal Pro is a recommended app-based resource for chord sequences and backing tracks. Other backing tracks, e.g. from the “Learn Jazz Standards” YouTube channel are also acceptable.

How to submit supporting materials

All additional materials mentioned above can be submitted via the online application form, via electronic attachments submitted via, by post or in person:

Funding, Graduation & Awards, Aston Webb Student Hub, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 2TT. 8

For further details, please consult the Music Scholarship guidance notes (PDF - 187KB).

Due to the continuously developing situation with regards to Coronavirus (COVID-19), we appreciate that applicants may be unable to meet with their accompanists to record and submit videos. Therefore, in this case, please submit an alternative unaccompanied piece, or a study / étude that reflects your current performing standard.

When is the deadline?

The deadline for submitting a completed Music Scholarship applications will be 11:59pm on Friday 29 May 2020.

How will the successful applicants be selected?

Following the deadline, all completed applications will be collated with documentary and video evidence, and forwarded to a selection panel composed of various members of academic staff from the Department of Music. Selection of successful candidates will be based on academic merit (e.g. your A Level results), your musical performing standard as evidenced by your video, documentary evidence, and personal statement. Consideration will also be made on candidates suitability for performing ensembles as part of University Music (e.g. orchestras, choirs, chamber groups).

When will I be notified of the outcome?

Successful applicants will be informed of the outcome following the release of A Level qualifications in August 2020.