Fundraise… Your Way to Music School

by Barbra Weidlein

Looking for creative ways to pay for summer music programs, transportation to auditions, even some of your college expenses?

Denver School of the Arts senior Melody Finch held a free recital and invited everyone she knew.  Donations amounting to $1800 allowed her to attend a summer music program connected to a school she’s dreamed of attending several hundred miles away.
Not only was she able to take her vocal skills to the next level, but she was also able to gain insight into what it would be like to be a college student at that school.

In Los Angeles, seniors in a high school rock band organized a Battle of the Bands at their school. Each band that signed up was charged an entrance fee. The sponsoring band sold tee shirts designed by fellow art students. They got a local bakery to donate cookies and cupcakes for a simultaneous bake sale. After donating a portion of the take to the school art department, the organizers each had a part of their first semester book and music fees covered.

Not all students parlay their musical talents into fundraising opportunities. A student in Nebraska found that tips earned by running errands for residents of a senior citizens’ highrise near his school helped him pay most of his airfare to auditions in New York City and Philadelphia. A friend of his from his high school orchestra shoveled neighbors’ driveways before school and on weekends, and was able to pay for his transportation to check out his top choice music schools a few states away. Oberlin Conservatory of Music voice performance major Anthony McCain held three bake sales with his family to raise the funds needed to travel across the country from his home in Washington State to get to school in Ohio (see “Building a Music Career…One Cookie at a Time”).

The message here is clear: students are finding creative ways to pay some of their music school expenses. They’re connecting their musical talents and other skills to the needs and interests around them. Perhaps without realizing it, they are learning to think like entrepreneurs. That mindset and the skills required to turn their ideas into tangible outcomes will serve them well in whatever area of music they choose to major in.

Have you discovered other ways to help pay for some of your expenses? Please share them with us below!

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