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Music Scholarships and Financial Aid


The Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music and the University of Memphis are proud to offer a full range of financial assistance packages rewarding both musically and academically talented students. School of Music performance scholarships and graduate assistantships, combined with low tuition and the low cost of living in the city of Memphis, make us one of the most affordable music schools in the country. 

Performance Scholarships

The Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music awards numerous talent-based performance scholarships each year to incoming undergraduate students.  All music scholarship awards are based on a combination of talent level (as identified by audition), ensemble or studio needs, and available funds.

These scholarships:

  • Are renewable for up to 8 semesters, unless otherwise noted
  • Are stackable with most academic awards
  • Require enrollment in applied lessons and an additional ensemble (placement by faculty)
  • Are counted as part of any federally funded financial aid package and may affect the overall distribution of federal funds.

School of Music Chamber Players Program

Students who are selected for the Chamber Players Program provide leadership among their peers, hone their skills as performers, and serve as ambassadors for the School of Music while performing in three distinguished chamber groups - the Beale String Quartet, Magnolia Woodwind Quintet, and the Central Avenue Brass Quintet. Students are most often top instrumental performers who, in addition to their regular academic and music curriculum, perform in a distinguished chamber ensemble for all four years of study. The Chamber Players Program is open to incoming music majors who are resident, non-resident or international applicants. The award covers the cost of full tuition up to 15-hours per semester. Students must be declared music majors and maintain all requirements for a music scholarship.

The Chamber Players Program ensembles perform together for the duration of their studies, enabling each ensemble to prepare performance repertoire in great depth, and mature as an ensemble together. The time commitment for one of these distinguished chamber ensembles can be more than required of other ensembles in the School of Music and provides students a rare opportunity to learn how to develop programming, explore new repertoire, and interact with audiences, while performing as a cohesive group in the School of Music, within the community, at conferences, and for recording projects.

Athletic Band Scholarships

Mighty Sound of the South Athletic Band Scholarships are awarded to students for performance as color guard members, Tigerette members, marching band musicians, and pep band musicians.  

Fall awards - Given for participation in the Mighty Sound of the South Marching Band during the fall semester (football season). Amount is $1,000.00.

Spring awards - Given for participation in the Pep Band during late fall and spring semester (basketball season). Amount varies based on funding availability.

There are a limited number of Non-TN-Resident Fee Award available for qualified incoming athletic band participants. These are awarded to students who exhibit high academic and artistic achievement who fulfill ensemble needs. Applicants must be exemplary musicians, color guard members, or baton twirlers who have a 3.25 Cumulative GPA and a 24 ACT (1110 SAT) to be considered for a Non-TN-Resident Fee Award. 

Please contact the Band Office at 901.678.2263 or mightysound@memphis.edu for further information.

Non-TN-Resident Fee Award

The School of Music awards a limited number of Non-TN-Resident (out-of-state) Fee Awards to students who audition and who are not residents of the State of Tennessee. 

Academic Common Market

Non-TN-Residents who reside in participating SREB partner states and who pursue concentrations in Jazz, Recording Technology, Music Business or Recording Technology may be eligible to receive a fee waiver from their state under the Academic Common Market program.

These students should review the requirements and instructions at: https://www.sreb.org/academic-common-market

Private Donor/Endowed Awards

Private donor/endowment scholarships have specific requirements that are determined by the Donor. Several of these awards require a separate application through the Tiger Scholarship Manager (LINK). For some awards, recipients are confirmed by faculty nomination and a committee review process. View a list of Donor/Endowed Awards on this page.

The School of Music employs a number of graduate music students as Teaching and Research Assistants. These students serve an average of 10-20 hours per week each spring and fall semester and receive some form of financial assistance from the School of Music. In addition, graduate students are strongly encouraged to apply for the Federal Work Study Award.

How do I apply for a graduate assistantship?

The School of Music application serves as the application for graduate assistantships. Other items are also required, including:

  • Graduate School application
  • School of Music application (w/ audition and other supporting documentation if required)
  • Receipt of transcripts by the Graduate School
  • Letters of Recommendation

When do I apply for a graduate assistantship?

All application materials must be received and completed by March 1 (February 1 for International applicants). These include:

  • Graduate School application
  • School of Music application (w/ audition and other supporting documentation if required)
  • Receipt of transcripts by the Graduate School
  • Letters of Recommendation

Endowed scholarships are special one-time awards that require additional application or materials. They may be available for undergraduate through graduate students. Go to Tiger Scholarship Manager and search for the name of the scholarship you want to apply for, then follow the instructions from there.

Lily Afshar Guitar Scholarship

The Lily Afshar Guitar Scholarship is available for students enrolled at the University of Memphis. Students must be a full-time student (undergraduate or graduate) enrolled in the guitar program within the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music. Non-Tennessee residents and foreign students may be eligible for this scholarship. The recipient must maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 and be a talented guitarist with excellent practice habits, high quality of performance, and demonstrate extreme financial need.

Joe D'Gerolamo Memorial Scholarship

The Joe D'Gerolamo Memorial Scholarship Fund is awarded to a student studying jazz in the College of Communication and Fine Arts at the University of Memphis. Candidates must demonstrate financial need as well as academic merit.


Elba Gandy Memorial Scholarship

The Elba Gandy Memorial Music Scholarship Fund was created to provide assistance for students studying music at the University of Memphis. This is an annual scholarship.


James and Christopher Gholson Scholarship

The James and Christopher Gholson Scholarship Fund is available for undergraduate and graduate students majoring in Commercial Music or Woodwinds (music education or music performance). The award recipient must meet the following criteria: must have evidence of financial need, must have evidence of musical talent and potential success, and must visit the Tutoring Office and select a self-tutor, online or office guided program that best fits their general needs and select a means of documenting reading improvement that occurred from the beginning to the end of the school year in which the scholarship was awarded. Award recipients may reapply for additional awards in subsequent years provided they are in good academic standing, having a minimum GPA of 2.5, and meet the above criteria.  Applicants must write a three page essay that addresses the following:

  • The applicant's affinity for the needs of under-represented or under-served communities.
  • The importance of reading speed and comprehension and its relationship to music and academic success.
  • The applicant's commitment to enhancing their reading speed and comprehension.

 

Herbert Herman Memorial Scholarship

The Herbert Hermann Scholarship Fund is available for incoming freshmen and current students of the University of Memphis. Current students must possess a 3.0 grade point average and incoming freshman must have received a 20 on his/her ACT score. Financial need may be considered.

John G. Hughes Music Scholarship

The John G. Hughes Scholarship is available for students enrolled at the University of Memphis. Applicants must be a full or part time freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior of the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music. Preference will be given to students studying organ. Recipients must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0.  A need for financial assistance is not required and this scholarship is renewable to the recipient for a maximum of four years.

Robert Kelley Memorial Scholarship

The Robert Kelley Memorial Scholarship award is given to an enrolled student at the Music Business Division of the Scheidt School of Music at the University of Memphis. The recipients must have been in the top 20% of their graduating class or have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 and be pursuing a degree in the music business. This scholarship may be renewed for a total of four years if all criteria continue to be met or at the discretion of the selection committee.

Douglas C. Lemmon Memorial Scholarship

The Douglas C. Lemmon Scholarship is available to a full-time student enrolled at the University of Memphis and a study of trombone within the Department of Music. The recipient must be in academic good standing and may receive this award for a maximum of four years if eligibility requirements are met.

Jerry Lee Lewis Endowed Scholarship

The Jerry Lee Lewis Endowed Scholarship Fund is available for students enrolled at the University of Memphis and pursuing a Bachelor of Music degree within the College of Communication and Fine Arts and be in good academic standing.

Lubriani Clarinet Award

Established in memory of Frederic Lubrani, professor of clarinet at the University of Memphis, this award honors an outstanding clarinetist or clarinetists.

Dr. Barbara D. Mashburn Choral Scholarship

The Dr. Barbara D. Mashburn Choral Music Education Scholarship is available to an undergraduate student enrolled at the University of Memphis and the Music Education Choral Degree program of the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music. In addition, the recipients must demonstrate commitment to utilizing his/her talents and training as a music educator.

Ethel T. Maxwell Voice Scholarship

The Ethel Taylor Maxwell Voice Scholarship is available for incoming freshmen and current students of the University of Memphis. Incoming freshmen shall have been in the upper quarter of their high school class and have demonstrated voice talent.  Emphasis will be placed on voice talent.

Dr. Sidney J. McKay Award

The Dr. Sidney J. McKay Fellowship is awarded to a full-time graduate student pursuing a degree with a focus in wind conducting or music education with the intent to become an instrumental music educator. Candidates must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.25 at the time of graduation. Local, out of state, and foreign students are eligible for this award. Preference will be given to a student who demonstrates financial need.

Berl Olswanger Scholarship

The Memphis Gridiron Show, Inc. honors the late Berl Olswanger by rewarding an undergraduate student with a scholarship in the fall semester and selection is made in the spring.  To be eligible for the award, students must be an undergraduate in the College of Communication and Fine Arts with interest in music and have a minimum GPA of 2.5.  Preference is given to a music major.

Sam Phillips Scholarship

The Sam Phillips Endowed Scholarship Fund is awarded to a student studying music or music engineering in the College of Communication and Fine Arts at the University of Memphis. Candidates shall have demonstrated financial need as well as exceptional talent.

Elvis Presley Endowed Scholarship

The Elvis Presley Endowed Scholarship Fund is available to a student in the College of Communication and Fine Arts at the University of Memphis. Applicants shall demonstrate financial need and academic merit.

Presser Foundation Scholarship

The Presser Scholarship is available for students enrolled at the University of Memphis. The award will be made to an outstanding music major, at or after the end of the student's junior year. Recipients of this award are known as a Presser Scholar.

Charlie Rich Scholarship

The Charlie Rich Endowed Scholarship is available to a student studying music in the College of Communication and Fine Arts at the University of Memphis. Candidates for this scholarship shall have demonstrated financial need as well as academic merit.

Charles Riecker Memorial Fund

The Charles Riecker Memorial Fund shall be given to graduate vocal students in the opera program. The selection is made by the Voice and Opera faculty at the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music from both current and incoming graduate students.

Clement Santi Memorial Music Scholarship

The Clement Santi Memorial Music Scholarship is given to deserving full-time students in music and the dramatic arts at the University of Memphis.

Santi Family Legacy Scholarship

The Santi Family Legacy Scholarship is given to an enrolled student at the University of Memphis and pursuing a degree majoring in music with a concentration in performance in the area of voice with preference given to a student participating in opera. Recipients must have a minimum ACT score of 23, live in the Mid-South region, and be a proven leader in the community. In order to retain this scholarship, recipients must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 and participate in fifteen hours of community service each semester. This award can be awarded for a maximum of four consecutive years if all criteria continue to be met.

Smit Music Composition Award

This award is given in memory of Johannes Smit, professor of composition at the University of Memphis. It recognizes an outstanding composition student.

SunTrust Scholarship Fund

The SunTrust Scholars Program is given to enrolled full-time undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Memphis.

Undergraduate requirements: Must be a resident of Shelby County, Tennessee or reside within 30 miles of Shelby County, Tennessee, must declare Music major, must be enrolled as a full-time student and must have a 25 or higher on ACT and a 3.0 GPA.

Graduate requirements: Master's candidates enrolled in the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music having graduated in high standing with an undergraduate degree, full-time students must maintain at least 12 graduate credit hours, and renewal of the SunTrust Graduate Music Scholarship requires maintaining a cumulative 3.5 GPA and carrying a minimum of 12 credit hours for full time students.

The Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music, and the Memphis Symphony Orchestra (MSO) have joined to create the Memphis Diversity Fellowship Program (MDFP), a prestigious performance fellowship program for exceptional string players. The program provides a two-year learning experience for up to four graduate and post-graduate violin, viola, and cello players coming from African-American and Latino communities that are historically underrepresented in classical music. 

Only one position (violin) is available for the 2021-2022 season.

Program Benefits

  • Tuition and Compensation
    MDFP Fellows receive a full tuition scholarship while enrolled in Master of Music, Doctor of Musical Arts, or Artist Diploma programs. They also receive compensation of $8,000 per season while performing with the MSO.

Professional Performance Opportunities

  • MDFP Fellows perform a minimum of five concert cycles per season with the MSO, and participate in additional performances in solo and chamber setting for community engagement and education. Fellows also have the opportunity to perform as a string quartet with the other fellowship participants. 
  • Mentorship and Apprenticeship Opportunities
    MDFP Fellows engage in intensive study with the string faculty of the University of Memphis, and are paired with MSO mentors who provide guidance throughout the duration of their degree and fellowship. They have apprenticeship opportunities with the MSO music director and conducting staff, instrumentalists, CEO and administrative staff, MSO Board members, and members of the MSO Circle of Friends. LAstly, Fellows will serve as Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music ambassadors in the Memphis community.

How to apply

MDFP Applicants must complete an application form and an audition. 

Dates and Deadlines

Audition Dates Application Form is Due
February 13, 2021  
February 27, 2021  
March 5, 2021  
The application form must be submitted no later than the Thursday prior to the selected audition date above

 Audition Requirements

VIOLIN

  1. Solo repertoire:

    An outer movement of a standard concerto from the 19th or 20th century
    Two contrasting movements of one of Bach’s Sonatas or Partitas for solo violin
    For DMA only: The first movement of a Mozart concerto, in addition to the movement of a standard concerto and two contrasting movements of Bach.

  2. Orchestral excerpts:

    Beethoven:  Symphony No. 9 | Mvt 3:  measures 99-115
    Debussy: La Mer |  [19] to [20]
    Mozart:  Symphony No 39, K543 | Mvt. 1:1st 9 measures | Mvt. 1: [A] to [C] |  Mvt. 4: beginning to downbeat of 1 measure before [A]
    Prokofiev: Symphony No. 1, op. 25 (Classical) |  Mvt. 1:Beginning to [7] |  Mvt. 4:Beginning to [52]
    Strauss, R.: Don Juan, op. 20 | Entire 1st page

  3. Possible sight-reading from the standard orchestral repertoire

Thank you for your interest in scholarships for Online M.M. Music Education students in the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music at the University of Memphis. Funding is available periodically to students who are NOT receiving a graduate assistantship (GA) and who demonstrate financial need and academic excellence. In addition to this application, requirements include unofficial transcripts, endorsement from a School of Music faculty member, and a written essay. Selections are made based on financial need (50%) and academic merit (50%). Graduate scholarship funding is fluid from one year to the next; therefore, recipients are not guaranteed future funding in subsequent years of their degree programs. Awards appear as credits on recipients' student accounts; cash awards are not possible. Apply here.