How To Write A Grant Proposal For Your Music Project

Sometimes local arts grants will be available for musicians to apply. These can be especially helpful if your music occupies a niche market, or a specific underserved culture. If you decide to go with the local arts grant route to fund your project, you’ll have to do a lot of research to find a grant that is a good fit for your brand. Once you do, you can compose a grant proposal.

Here is how to write a proposal that will gain you the funding you need.

Show them you are established within your community

It’s frowned upon to fund a singular artist without any established credibility in his/her area. If you are applying for a grant you have to write into the grant proposal the community which you serve, and show them the support you have in that community. It must be real, and tangible.

What do you intend to do with this money?

What specifically do you need the money for and why? Like you would for a crowd funding project tell them why it is essential to use this money for a specific thing you plan to spend it on. What will it do? What is the result you intend to achieve?

How are you going to achieve the result?

Time frames, details, and budget planning. All these things need to be outlined in your grant proposal. Financers want to make sure the money they are giving away is going to actually be used by someone competent, and knowledge able on how to spend it. Having a team of people that will work with you will dramatically quell any misgivings they would have.

How is it beneficial to the community?

Show them in your proposal how spending money on what you specifically want to spend the money on is going to be beneficial. Maybe this will stimulate arts commerce in the area. Maybe this will help to attract attention to an underserved population of people. Maybe your music is particularly unique and un-represented in the mainstream market and this will help to kick start attention to the genre. Whatever it is, it needs to be tangible.

Why give this money to you?

Why specifically should you do this? Why not someone else? What opportunity do you provide that would be unique that someone else would be able to do quite in the way that you are going to do it? Again, you are competing for these grants with other qualified musicians, focus on what it is you do best, that would really be a valuable use of this money.

Where can one find information on grants to apply for? 

The above points listed are guidelines when writing a proposal for a grant, but where does one find an arts grant that they could potentially apply for? The answer is that it depends on what city you live in, and what it is you specifically do as a musician. If you are primarily a punk rock musician, and most of the arts grants in your area are for classically trained pianists it might be more difficult to gain grants unless your project is specifically related to classical music (and you can play classical piano music).

Looking for grants is going to be a project that you will have to take on yourself, but there are resources to help you find scholarships, grants, and other financial awards that exist. Some of these include the following:

1. The National Endowment for the Arts:

This is a government organization that provides resources to arts programs throughout the country, and there are regular postings and notices of grants that musicians can take advantage of. You have to search for grants through their website, and you have to apply for them. What each opportunity will ask for in an application will obviously vary from project to project, but many applications will want to see a proposal which is what the article was designed to help you think about and create.


GrantSpace is a website that helps people find funding for not just music projects, but a variety of scientific and artistic endeavours. Grantspace doesn’t necessarily have the literal applications for which you can apply for a grant necessarily, but the website is designed to help you locate grants specific to your area of interest. This is a great resource especially if you are looking outside of your local market.

3. New Music USA:

New Music USA is a grant resource that awards quite a bit of money each year to new work throughout the nation. In order to be eligible for grants that they provide you have to register with them, create a profile, and apply for projects by the deadlines provided. This is valuable resource with what appears to be a number of grants that fit up and coming musicians looking to create new work.

Grants are available, you just have to look for them. Much of the work of getting a grant has to do with how much your skills and goals fit the profile that the grant is looking for. Again, making sure you can clearly demonstrate why you are a great fit for the grant that is being offered is key in being awarded funding. Showing how whatever it is you provide to a community as a musician is important in writing a grant proposal. Best of luck in your grant search!

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Mike DiGirolamo has had a strong interest in music from a young age, playing both the cello and trombone. Outside of music he has a love for movies, theatre, and environmental science.