Frequently Asked Questions

If you've read the guidelines and still have questions about the Career Development Bursaries scheme, see if your query is listed here.

If you have a question that isn’t answered below, please email talent@helpmusicians.org.uk or call 020 7239 9119. We'll update these FAQs over time.

Eligibility

I am still studying at a university, college or conservatoire, can I apply?

You must be aged 21 or over to apply. We would discourage applications from students who are still engaged in intensive musical training, but if you are in the final stages of study then we would be happy to consider your application.

Do I need to have a degree to apply?

Whilst we anticipate that some applicants will have undertaken formal music training, we welcome proposals from musicians who have pursued other pathways into the profession.

Do you support composers?

Yes, we can help performing musicians and composers.

Why is there an age limit?

With limited resources, and because the fund is highly competitive, we have decided to prioritise those in the early stages of a professional career. We recognise that some musicians will start developing a professional career later than others but want to ensure that this funding is targeted at younger artists who are less likely to have been able to save towards their own professional development. We will keep this under regular review. The age limit was increased to 35 after the pilot rounds.

What we can support

Can I apply for funding to purchase equipment?

You cannot apply or funding for any kind of equipment, including computers and audio-visual kit.

I would like to go on a short course abroad; can I apply for travel costs?

Yes, you can apply to us for travel costs.

Can I apply for funding to help with the costs of instrument purchase?

No. We can’t help with the purchase of new or second-hand musical instruments or musical equipment. Please see our advice page on funding for musical instruments for further information.

I want to study music at university or college. Can I apply for funding for my tuition fees or living costs?

No. We provide a range of scholarships through other schemes. Please see our Advanced Training page for further information.

I would like to apply for funding for a community project to work with children; is this something that you would support through these awards?

These awards are intended to benefit your development as a musician. Educational or outreach projects will only be considered if the main focus is your own creative development as an artist.

Can I apply for funding to pay for PR, marketing or general promotion (such as a new website)?

No. The scheme is designed to support opportunities that will develop you artistically. We may consider making a small contribution to promotional costs that are directly related to wider artist development activity.

Can I obtain funding for a project that has already happened?

Funding cannot be given in arrears or for any costs incurred before a bursary is awarded.

Can I apply for funding to record an EP or album?

No. The scheme is not designed to fund recording projects. You might consider our Emerging Artists Fund which can support this kind of project. Alternatively, take a look at the PRS for Music Foundation. However: If you are undertaking a developmental activity (such as a creative residency) which will involve recording as part of the process, then we may be able to make a small contribution to the costs.

The application process

Can I meet with you to discuss my application?

Unfortunately we don’t have the capacity to meet with applicants before you submit your application. If you have any questions about eligibility, please get in touch by telephone (020 7239 9119) or email (talent@helpmusicians.org.uk).

Can you offer me any advice on my application?

We are unable to provide detailed advice to applicants, except about eligibility criteria. However, if you are unsure as to whether your project is suitable for these awards, please get in touch via telephone (020 7239 9119) or email (talent@helpmusicians.org.uk) and we may be able to give you some basic guidance.

Who can I ask to be my referee?

Your referee must be an eminent musician or music professional. They should have seen you perform or heard your music. However, they should not be directly connected with the activity you’re applying for.

How are applications assessed?

All applications will be reviewed by Help Musicians UK staff for eligibility against the guidelines and suitability for the scheme. Eligible applications will be considered by a panel, who will prioritise according to the stated criteria.

Who decides which applications will receive funding?

We select expert advisors with a range of different perspectives to help us make decisions. We aim to work with specialists wherever possible.

When will I hear if my application has been successful?

We will aim to let you know within one month of the deadline.

Awards

I’ve been rejected. Can I apply next time?

Yes, you can apply again at the next round.

Can I apply to the scheme more than once?

You make multiple applications but applicants may only receive one grant per calendar year, and no more than three grants from the scheme in total.

Will you provide any feedback if I’m not successful?

Generally we are unable to provide feedback unless our panels specifically request it. This is due to the large number of applications.

How long do I have to use my funding?

You will be expected to use your Career Development Bursary within one year.

How will the grant be paid?

It depends on the activity you’ve applied for. When we offer the grant we will agree whether to pay the money directly to you or to a third party.

General

How much funding is available?

In 2016 we expect to award at least £50,000 through the scheme.

What is the competition like?

The success rate for the first two rounds was 26% - we were able to fund one out of every four applications.

Where does the money come from?

Help Musicians UK is a charity that raises funding from a number of sources. Visit About Us to find out more. Whether or not you apply for an award, why not get involved in fundraising for us or spreading the word. We help musicians throughout their careers - maybe a musician you know has had an accident or is suffering from a health problem. We’re here to help.