Help with your application for Postgraduate support
Advice and guidance to help you with your application
In January each year we open applications for our Postgraduate Awards. This page is designed to help you with your postgraduate application, breaking down and explaining a few key parts of the application form.
Follow the links below for guidance to help you with this application.
Writing a biography
Your biography is your moment to shout about your music, studies, and career so far. In order to assess what you’ve achieved; we’ll want to know about your background. This is not just a straight copy and paste of your press release; write it in first person, be as clear as possible and remember, the more examples you can give us the better.
Areas to consider telling us about are:
- Career highlights — What are you most proud of?
- Where have you studied and who with?
- Have you taken part in any competitions?
- Have you attended any masterclasses?
- What repertoire have you performed or worked on?
- Where have you performed?
- Have you performed with any ensembles/chamber groups/bands/orchestras?
- Who have you collaborated with?
- What opportunities have you embraced so far throughout your studies?
- What opportunities have you embraced outside of education?
You should detail your key achievements and let us know whether you are already earning an income through music related activity such as teaching, performing or community music work.
You should provide two links to video recordings of you performing contrasting pieces to support your application. For most instrumentalists and signers please submit solo performances with piano accompaniment or recorded backing track. For Jazz and Pop disciplines, videos can be of a solo performance, or they can be with an ensemble or band providing it is obvious who you are amongst the other musicians.
The recordings should be:
- Uploaded to YouTube or an alternative video platform (please ensure to mark them as “unlisted”)
- Provided by secure file transfer service, ensuring your links do not have an expiration date.
- Check your online links work before you submit your application
- Ensure that any links provided will be available to access online until 20 April 2023
- Bear in mind the background of your videos and background noise that might be picked up by microphones
- Title each video with the name of the piece and its composer
- Ensure that you can be seen clearly, and you are not obstructed during the performance
Why another year of study?
This part of the application is asking why you wish to embark on another year of study.
In this section we want to know why you plan to study for another year and the goals you hope to achieve by the end of your year of study.
You should include the following:
- Why you have chosen this particular institution and course. If you have studied at a particular institution for 4 years already, tell us why you have decided to stay. If you are changing institutions, why have you decided to move?
- Who you be working with. Are there any teachers you’d like to work with?
- What opportunities at college you would like to take part in. This could be auditioning for certain ensembles or the modules you’d like to take up
- Are there any external opportunities you’d like to embrace? This could be teaching in local schools or joining a music group outside of your institution
- What you will be working on. Will you focus on any particular repertoire?
- What you would like to achieve by the end of the course. Do you have any goals such as performing a certain concerto or recording an EP?
- What technical aspects you would like to work on.
- What skills you want to learn. Think about business skills such as understanding tax or how to build a fanbase
Explaining your short and longer term goals
In this section, we would like to know what your short-term plans are after graduation and what your longer-term ambitions are. Remember to be realistic with your goals and offer back-up plans just in case you experience any obstacles that get in your way.
You should think about the following:
- Detail how you hope to reach these ambitions and the steps you need to take in order for you to achieve these. If your career plan is to join an orchestra or opera company, what knowledge, repertoire, skills, experience do you need to have in order to gain a place/seat, and will you also take up some teaching work on the side?
- Are you planning a portfolio career? By this we mean having several streams of income at the same. For example you may be planning to combine your performance work with teaching music workshop. If you are planning a portfolio career how do you hope to split your time?
- Are your plans innovative or different? If so, what makes your career plans stand out?
Financial need and budget
In these sections we will ask for specific financial information.
Your planned expenditure and any confirmed or unconfirmed funding you hope to receive over the course of your next year of study. Your costs should be converted to yearly costs.
You can include rough estimates if you are unsure how much something will cost, or how much income you will receive, however please indicate how you have worked this figure out in the notes section. Make sure your costs are realistic.
The more information you can provide on each income and expenditure line, the better.
A common mistake here is to include a mix of monthly, weekly, daily and yearly costs, however this will not give us an accurate picture of your financial need.
For example, if your rent is £500 a month, you should work out what this will cost in total for the year- (£500x 12 months= £6,000.)
How to list out income and expenditure
Provide a figure for each income and expenditure item. If an item is not applicable to you, then put 0 next to this line. You will need to indicate figures for the following income lines:
- Student Loan
- Family Support
- Scholarship from your institution
- Bursary from your institution
- Other bursaries/awards/grants
- Personal savings
- Non-music related income
- Music related income
- Other income
You will also need to indicate figures for the following expenditure lines:
- Course fees
- Maintenance (ie. Bills, phone, internet, TV)
- Instrument maintenance
- Study materials (text books/sheet music)
- Accessibility costs
- Other expenditure
Why this is important
Once you have completed all of your expenditure items and income, you should see a shortfall figure which is automatically calculated for you. This is your total income minus your total planned expenditure for the year.
This figure will give us an idea of how much financial support you still require. You should address this shortfall in your written or video response with how you hope to fund your studies. Don’t be afraid to mention any potential or agreed financial support you might be receiving from other sources or organisations..
In your written or video response you should detail any hardships you might face in financing your course and how receiving support from Help Musicians will make a difference to your financial situation. For example, if you are currently working 20+ hours a week on top of your studies in order to fund your course- will an award enable you to cut your working hours down so that you can focus more on your studies?
After you have completed your budget you will need to provide a statement detailing you plans to fund your studies and why our support is vital. In your written or video response you should detail any hardships you might face in financing your course and how receiving support from Help Musicians will make a difference to your financial situation. For example:
- Perhaps you are having to work 20 hours a week alongside your studies. Receiving financial support from Help Musicians would alleviate the pressure of having to work so many hours so that you can focus on your studies and professional opportunities.
- You may be ineligible for some grants/bursaries. The support from Help Musicians would be crucial as it as it is one of the few opportunities that provides financial support for postgraduate study regardless of age or nationality
Please do not include your Income and Expenditure figures in this section.
Further support with your application
If you’re considering applying with video submissions, please read our guidance blog here.