Scholarships and Grants

We have raised over $85,000 since our scholarship program began in 1993, helping more than 650 area children study the arts. Our scholarship program is funded through benefit recitals and other fundraising activities, as well as by private donors.

Need Scholarships

Need scholarships provide financial assistance to students 18 years of age and younger who are unable to pay the full fee for private lessons, classes or ensembles. These scholarships are awarded in the fall and spring. Partial scholarships are allocated by the scholarship advisory board on the basis of need, demonstrated interest and available funds.

If you want to be considered, fill out a need scholarship application form at the beginning of the fall or spring semester. Your application must include:

  • Financial information
  • A recommendation from a teacher (a music teacher, if possible)
  • A program registration form (billing arrangements will be made at a later date)

Need Scholarship Application

Incomplete applications will not be considered. Need Scholarship deadline is Oct. 15 for the fall and Jan. 15 for the spring.

Talent Scholarships

Each year, we award six $250 scholarships to talented musicians who demonstrate a high level of skill and musicianship. The scholarships are awarded to two students in each of the following categories:

  • Elementary (grades three-five)
  • Junior (grades six-eight)
  • Senior (grades nine-12)

All instruments are welcome. Applicants must be enrolled in private lessons or an ensemble at the Community School of the Arts. Applicants who take lessons on two instruments may audition on both. They must submit two application forms and pay the application fee twice.

If you want to be considered, fill out a talent scholarship application form. You will be required to attend an audition.

Talent Scholarship Application

Talent Scholarship application deadline is Dec. 9 and the auditions are on Jan. 16 at 1:30 p.m.

If you receive a talent scholarship, you will perform in our annual Honors Recital. Check our calendar for recital dates. You may not compete for another talent scholarship for two years (two full cycles) after receiving the award.


We partner with local and national organizations, whose assistance allows us to enrich our programs and expand their reach.

Farny R. Wurlitzer Grant

For the last several years we have been awarded a grant from the DeKalb County Community Foundation's Farny R. Wurlitzer Fund. This grant helps provide need-based scholarships to students enrolling in our lessons, classes and ensembles.

We are grateful for this partnership. It is through this type of collaboration that we are able to make a difference in our community.

National Endowment for the Arts Grants

We received grants in 2011, 2012 and 2013 from the National Endowment for the Arts, through the Arts Education in American Communities program. This is an invitational grant for $10,000 with a $10,000 matching grant from NIU. This grant program supports our work by helping us bring talented artists and teachers to DeKalb to enhance the community.

Contact Us

College of Visual and Performing Arts
Office of External Programs

Music Building 132

Kristin Sherman

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Online Office Hours

Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
(lunch from noon – 1 p.m.)

To protect the safety of our staff, students and families, we will operate remotely for the fall semester. Our staff will be available at their remote offices during normal NIU business hours and can be contacted via phone or email.

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