Music Awards and Funding

The Amber Trust

The Amber Trust was set up especially to help blind or partially sighted children - including those with additional disabilities - to access and enjoy music. The AMBER Trust's vision is to transform the life of any blind or partially sighted child living in the UK who finds music especially important. Each year, AMBER aims to raise in excess of £100,000 to help as many children as possible reach their full potential.

To enable blind or partially sighted children - from toddlers to teenagers - to access the music they enjoy and from which they can benefit so much, AMBER provides funding for

  • music lessons
  • music therapy sessions
  • the purchase of musical instruments
  • software or other equipment
  • concert tickets
  • travel related to musical activities.

For more information and an application form, email info@ambertrust.org or visit Amber Trust.

The Webster and Davidson Mortification for the Blind

The Webster & Davidson Mortification for the Blind was set up many years ago to assist blind and partially sighted young persons. The Governors recently resolved to use the Trust's annual income to assist young people with a significant, diagnosed, non-correctable sight impairment attending school, college or university, to further their musical education. This will be done by means of bursaries (normally tenable for one year with the possibility of renewal at the Governors' discretion) and also grants for specific musical purposes.

Trust funds are not extensive and preference will be given to persons resident, or normally resident, in Scotland.

An Application Form, Guidance Notes and a Referee's Form are available to download from the website. The closing date for receipt of both applications and the referee's forms to support an application is 31 May and 30 November each year.

Elizabeth Eagle-Bott Memorial Awards

Awards to blind or partially sighted musicians, for musical study, projects and events for the benefit of local, national and international communities.

Phase 3: 2015 to 2020

The Elizabeth Eagle-Bott Memorial Fund, in Phase Three running from 2015 to 2020, grants three types of awards A, B and C.

A. Major awards for individuals, of up to £10,000 per bid, to blind or partially sighted, UK citizens, aged 18 and over, to support their music making. These are awarded annually.

B. Major awards, of up to £15,000 per bid, for those working on behalf of the music making of blind or partially sighted, UK musicians. These are awarded annually.

C. Minor awards for individuals, of up to £500 per bid, to blind or partially sighted, UK citizens, aged 18 and over, to support their music making. These are awarded quarterly.

During phase three, from 2015 to 2020, any one person may receive up to two major and two minor awards (A and C) and any one group or person may receive up to three major awards (B). Awards A and B run from 1 June to 31 July thirteen months on, in the year awarded.

Closing dates for applications

The closing time for applications for awards A and B is noon on 31 March each year,

The closing time for applications for award C are

  • 31 March for awards valid between 1 June and 31 August
  • 31 July for awards valid between 1 September and 30 November
  • 31 October for awards valid between 1 December and end of February
  • 31 January for awards valid between 1 March and 31 May

There are separate application forms for each type of award, A, B and C.

Further information

For further information, to request an application form or to discuss your bid please email mas@rnib.org.uk

All bids will be considered by an expert Panel, with their decisions approved by RNIB. The awards are administered by RNIB’s Music Advisory Service.

Information for applicants

Those in receipt of awards are required to arrange for invoices from third parties and to submit appropriate documentation for personal reimbursement. They are also required to submit quarterly reports for the Panel on the benefits of the funding. Where appropriate the support of the Elizabeth Eagle-Bott Memorial Fund is to be acknowledged in publications, programme notes, on websites, etc.

Background to the Elizabeth Eagle-Bott Memorial Fund

Miss Elizabeth Eagle-Bott’s great interest was music. She learnt to play the organ in her sixties. She then played for her parish church for twenty years.

Her particular desire to assist young musicians who are visually impaired arose from her attending an organ recital given by a student, who was blind, at the Royal College of Music. She appreciated that there are additional costs to be met in preparing for a career in music for students with little or no vision. Through her generous bequest, blind and partially sighted people who are musicians, or who aspire to be musicians, can receive substantial financial support.

The first phase of this award, 2000 to 2009, allocated almost £100,000 to young classical musicians with a particular focus on preparing them for paid employment in the music business.

M received support for staging a concert in a leading London venue, making a recording, preparing promotional materials and for the construction of a bespoke instrument. Today, M has an international career as a soloist, and chamber music and orchestral player. His recordings are frequently broadcast on national radio.

J was a professional violinist, playing and teaching, but at the onset of her sight loss realised that she needed to change musical direction. The fund supported her in singing studies at a conservatoire, with travel costs and with a rehearsal piano. She is currently singing principal roles in opera throughout the UK.

D completed his PhD in electroacoustics. The fund paid his fees and costs of specialist equipment for his studies. He is currently winning international composition competitions and lecturing at various universities and conferences.

The second phase of this award, 2010 to 2015, is due to spend just under £200,000 on a broader basis, including supporting third parties working on behalf of blind and partially sighted musicians. Applicants were also asked to consider the community impact of their bids.

The website Raised Bar has developed the SurfaceReader application which provides improved speech feedback from any audio production program on Windows or Mac OSX when used in conjunction with a MIDI control surface. Control surfaces are hardware devices that allow more natural manipulation of music/audio data by providing buttons, knobs and faders which are more appropriate for performing these kinds of interactions. SurfaceReader is an on-going project, with new features and more devices being added as new hardware becomes available.

MuseScore has included the main features needed to produce Modified Stave Notation (MSN) in their latest release, version 2, of their world leading, free music notation package, visit their website. They have also produced various online materials to support MSN production. For more information about MSN, please see the relevant links on the UKAAF website and the RNIB Music Advisory Service

C took very early retirement from his employment owing to his increasing sight loss. He used a grant from the fund to set up an accessible home studio from which he produces music for local community groups, including those with various disabilities. The fund provided him not only with specialist equipment but also with tailor-made training in its use, enabling him to be up and running very quickly.

For more information about the Elizabeth Eagle Bott Memorial Fund, please email mas@rnib.org.uk .

Help Musicians UK

Since 1921, it's helped thousands of musicians establish themselves in the music business, get through a serious crisis, cope with long term difficulties and enjoy retirement. As well as providing advice and guidance, it gives financial and emotional support.

If you need help, know someone who does or want to support visit Help Musicians UK

For further information

Other sources of funding

In addition to the above funds, we also have details of grants from other organisations which can help with financial assistance.

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