Apply for the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award

Financial need should never hold a young musician back.

Since 2005, From the Top and the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation have awarded more than $2 million in scholarshipto exceptional young musicians with financial need. In addition to providing these young artists with an opportunity to perform on From the Top’s national broadcasts, recipients are awarded up to $10,000 to help offset the often prohibitively expensive costs of studying classical music at a high level. Each year, From the Top chooses approximately 20 exceptional pre-collegiate musicians ages 8-18 to receive the Award.

Start here:

  1. Read this page of information
  2. Explore our Scholarship FAQs if you have more questions
  3. Use the link at the bottom of the page to apply (you will be taken to an online application)
  4. Still have questions? Send an email to scholarship@fromthetop.org or call 617.437.0707 x123

Who should apply?

Classical instrumentalists, vocalists, and composers (ages 8-18) who have not yet entered college during the academic year 2014–2015.
Applicants must be interested in performing on From the Top with Host Christopher O’Riley, and demonstrate (in order of importance):

  • exceptional musical achievement
  • unmet financial need
  • solid academic achievement
  • strength of character.

More on selection criteria

From the Top individually reviews each application using the criteria below to make scholarship decisions. While all these criteria are important, musical achievement and financial need are given the most attention during the application review process.

  • Exceptional musical achievement
    Applicants must have strong musical ability and a willingness to perform on our NPR show. All recipients of the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award must also perform on From the Top and play at the same musical level as other young performers on the show.
  • Unmet financial need
    Applicants must substantiate a limited family income and insufficient funds to cover the cost of new instruments, music lessons, and/or summer music program tuition and travel expenses. While there is no formal cut-off, since program inception, 90% of our past recipients come from families with an annual household Adjusted Gross Income of less than $60,000. We take into consideration: high cost of living in some areas, extraordinary medical expenses, and number of dependents in college. You will have the opportunity to submit information about these special circumstances in the financial section of the application.
  • Academic achievement
    Applicants should possess strong scholastic records indicated by good grades (typically a GPA above 3.0 or mostly A’s and B’s), academic awards, and strong test scores (if available).
  • Strength of character
    Applicants should also possess a combination of drive/determination, initiative, maturity, leadership, an ability to overcome obstacles, and a commitment to giving back to one’s community.

Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award Scholarship Benefits

  • National exposure through a featured radio performance on NPR’s From the Top with Host Christopher O’Riley.
  • Up to $10,000 in financial support, which can be applied to instrument purchase, summer music camp expenses, private lessons, and other musical expenses.
  • Participation in From the Top’s Arts Leadership Orientation.
  • Creation and implementation of an Arts Leadership activity. Young Artist Award recipients will be responsible for creating and implementing their activities, but will receive support along the way to ensure successful completion and documentation. Learn more about From the Top’s Arts Leadership Program.

Application deadlines

Students may apply for the scholarship at any time, but applications will be reviewed in three cycles throughout the year according to the below deadlines. All recipients are notified on a rolling admissions basis in accordance with our 2014–2015 taping season.

2014–2015 Deadline I: October 1, 2014
2014–2015 Deadline II: December 15, 2014
2014–2015 Deadline III: February 1, 2015
Note that it is free to apply for the scholarship (there is no application fee).

*Please note that high school seniors must apply by the October 1 deadline to be eligible.

How to apply

  1. After reading this page and our Scholarship FAQs, visit the link at the bottom of the page to proceed to the online application.
  2. Applicants will be asked to submit at least two unedited, un-enhanced video or audio samples of their music. You will also need to submit copies of tax forms, grade transcripts, and other documents.
  3. Please note that if you decide you’re eligible and you want to apply for the scholarship, you must only fill out the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award application and no other From the Top application. All applicants to the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award are automatically considered for an appearance on the radio program as well as for the scholarship through their Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award application. Even if you are not selected for the Young Artist Award, you may be selected to appear on the show as a performer.
  4. It is free to apply for the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award. There is no application fee.

Please use Google Chrome, Safari, or Firefox as your web browser when filling out your application. The online application program does not work in Internet Explorer.

If you experience any problems accessing or filling out the online application, please contact scholarship@fromthetop.org for immediate assistance.

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