Julian Vickers, MA Music, Royal Accademy of Music
Funding for Fees and Maintenance
I am about to start my second and final year of Masters study at the Royal Academy of Music, where I study as one half of a guitar duo, on a specialist guitar duo course. After the initial euphoria of being offered a place on the course I was quickly confronted by future deposit requests and bills, of £10,795 plus an expensive relocation to London from Birmingham.
I was alerted to a number of charities via my university, and after applying and auditioning, received generous awards from both Help Musicians UK and the Countess of Munster Awards, which are the two most well known specialist music charities. Although their help was substantial, I was still had a large funding gap, and was unsure of where to go next after these two main charities. Shortly after however I found the Alternative Guide to Postgraduate Funding, discovering many new charities, and along with the Charity Commission website I was able to shortlist a significant number of charities. After reading through all the guides to get help researching and writing my applications I was extremely successful, raising 75% of the remaining amount through funding; over the past 2 years I have received awards from the Seary Charitable Trust, Sodexo Educational Awards, Split Infinitive Trust, RBWM Arts Fund and the Prince Philip Trust. I have combined this with private teaching in London for the remainder of my fees.
For me the most positive responses were from charities and trusts in which I matched specific guidelines and criteria, for example, coming from Berkshire or studying a performance music course. I would say that this is the most important part of funding – the more you match a Trust’s specific interests and criteria, the more likely you are to receive assistance from them. I wasn’t as lucky with Trusts with much more general criteria, and kept good records of any rejections, to see if reapplying in my second year would be worthwhile. I would also recommend keeping an eye out on University notice boards, as it turned out my university catering company also had a student excellence award, which had a very low application rate. Although I have been very lucky with funding, I did send out a large number of letters, receiving many rejections, but I believe this was necessary in order to reach the charities which did eventually grant me financial assistance.
I am very grateful for all the help and resources on the Alternative Guide, which enabled me to discover charities and hone my application skills, and I am sure that without it I simply would not have been able to continue to study for a further two years.