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.

Who can apply

The Elizabeth Eagle-Bott Memorial Fund grants funds of up to £10,000 per bid to:

  • blind or partially sighted people to support their music making, and
  • to third parties supporting blind or partially sighted musicians in their music making.

To qualify, applicants, or people supported by applicants, must be both:

  • registrable as sight impaired or seriously sight impaired (partially sighted or blind), and
  • a UK citizen.

Priority is given to classical musicians, especially organists.

Each applicant may receive up to and including three successful bids (each in a different year).
The offer of an award for each year takes effect from June. The funding is valid for 24 months. The award may be used within or outside the UK.

Applicants are encouraged to submit enterprising bids suited to their musical aptitude and interests.

Examples of support

  • payment for instrumental or vocal tuition
  • tuition for the fees for a music course
  • transcriber and reader costs
  • the purchase of music technology
  • the costs of putting on a concert
  • developing accessible and assistive music technology
  • payment for specialist tutoring and tuition (for example, on accessible
  • technology for music, in relation to stagecraft, and so on)

The Elizabeth Eagle-Bott Memorial Fund is administered by RNIB through a panel of experts in the music profession sitting in May each year. The awarding body may meet more than once a year to consider exceptional applications. The decision of the panel is final.

Making an application

Applications are to be submitted to RNIB by email to mas@rnib.org.uk by 31 March each year. There is no application fee, and interview and audition expenses will be met by the fund.

Background

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 interest in assisting young musicians who are visually impaired arose from attending an organ recital given by a student at the Royal College of Music, who himself was blind.

She came to appreciate 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, working in classical music can receive substantial financial support.

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

Example awards

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 has just 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.

V completed her postgraduate studies in singing with support from the fund. She is currently combining recital work and singing for formal functions with running workshops and teaching music.

A was funded for a copy of accessible music notation software to support his studies in composition prior to his undergraduate course.

Further information

For an application form or further information, please

  • Email: mas@rnib.org.uk
  • Telephone: 020 7391 2273. For advice on your application, please contact the Chair of the EEB Panel, via the RNIB's Music Advisory Service.

The Musicians Benevolent Fund

The Musicians Benevolent Fund provides musicians of all genres the help they need, when they need it, throughout their lives. It supports musicians:

  • planning to enter the profession at the start of their careers
  • who hit a serious crisis or illness or accident during their working lives
  • who need continuing support because of a debilitating illness
  • in retirement.

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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