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Just a guy who plays saxophone.
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Most, well, all of the grant and scholarship money I can find is for students 18-24. I am 34 and I want to go to school for a year or two to study jazz and contemporary music. There aren't even scholarship competitions (not that I would stand a chance) for adults to enter.

I didn't really start playing until I was about 27, and I consider myself a solid intermediate player. I have learned a lot from a couple of great private instructors, but there is so much that I feel I am lacking in the way of theory, ear training, etc that I would like to learn in a structured environment. This would give me the skills and background to feel confident enough to run a small teaching studio out of my home, gig, and work my straight job as little as possible. :mrgreen:

The issue I have (and I can't be the only one) is that I can't go the traditional "starving artist/ student" route because I have a mortgage payment and all the home owner responsibilities that go along with it. If not for the bills, I could afford to work minimal hours and pay tuition at my state school. My wife already works full time as well. She is supportive, but money is the primary concern.

Yes, I am looking for information for myself, but I hope that some of the responses would be useful to others in a similar situation.
 

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I'm not sure you are going to find much - you have a job (as does your wife), so you probably can't get need-based scholarships, from what you say you probably won't get merit-based scholarships. You may need to find less traditional learning opportunities. Perhaps some of the intensive summer camps, or community college programs would work. Or see if your state school offers an audit/non-credit option at a lower cost.
 

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if you live close enough to a state school to commute to it everyday than instead of going for a degree and spending money on classes you don't need (liberal arts) contact the sax prof there and ask for lessons, also contact the theory head and ask them if they or one of their advanced students can teach you ear training and theory. this way you might only be paying 150 a week for sax and theory/ear training. i wish that i had done this instead of college, but i didn't go to college to just learn i also went fr the cultural experience.

if you go this rout the only thing you are missing out on is large ensemble experience and some more advanced theory classes (which you could also find cheap private instruction for).

another thing t keep in mind is that if you make good progress with the sax prof of the univ they will be more inclined to give you a merit based scholarship.
 

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Just a guy who plays saxophone.
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jneelt, That is a good idea...something to think about.

artstove, I never really thought about the summer programs. Most of them seem to be geared toward high school students though.
 

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Get the straight poop. Go to the music department of the school that you want to attend. Information regarding most scholarships, assistantships, and grants are usually to be found in the department in which you are interested, not in the school's financial aid department. In the U.S., if your school has an organization called OASES (The Office of Adult Students and Evening Services), inquire there.

How much money are you looking for?
 

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Several years ago, I had a behind-closed-doors conversation with the financial aid advisor of one of the major music schools about scholarships and other forms of financial support and he was very candid with me. He said that basically, the school was geared towards steering scholarships in the direction of young people who showed the potential for success in the music industry and who, as a result of that and over time, would serve by example as a good recruiting tool for the school. And of course to also kick start the career of such a person.

Although we might argue to the contrary, the prevailing thought is that, once you've gotten to a certain age or spent a certain amount of time in music, you have had your fair shot at the profession. Obviously, any such scholarship you might take would deprive a young, up-and-comer his or hers.

I wouldn't take this as a reason to discontinue looking for scholarships, but to at least be aware that this is what you might be coming up against and also to be ready to have a good, solid come-back to such an opinion already formulated before you enter any financial aid interviews. Forewarned is forearmed. :bluewink:
 

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I think jneelt's approach is a good possible workaround, and bloo dog and gary have good suggestions, too.

I don't know what the other summer programs are like, but Jazz Camp West (http://www.jazzcampwest.org/) is mostly aimed at adults. They have some high school students attend, but they have to be recommended by their teachers (both for being playing skills but also to be able to function in an adult setting). In addition to the amateur adults (like me, for whom high school was a very long time ago) I have found that there are usually a number of adult attendees who are using it to hone their chops to turn pro/get more gigs/etc., like this guy: http://www.berelalexander.com/ and this woman: http://jazztimes.com/community/articles/27333-cd-review-mary-jenson-beyond (yeah, they are both singers, but they are the ones I know). Anyway, you may want to look more closely at the ones near you (unless you want to come to CA for a week this summer) to see what their focus is.

Edit: Here is Jazz Camp West's statement re age of attendees:
Ages range from 15 through seniors. We usually have about 30 teenagers out of approximately 250 students attending the program. Occasionally we will allow someone younger if they are serious about their music, and are mature enough to be in an adult environment. There is a teen point person on site throughout the week, but we do not provide extra counselors for our teenagers. Parents of all teens must feel comfortable having their child be in an adult setting. Teenagers must be self-motivated, be able to adhere to all camp rules and policies, and enjoy being in a setting where there are mixed ages in classes and cabins.
 

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Several years ago, I had a behind-closed-doors conversation with the financial aid advisor of one of the major music schools about scholarships and other forms of financial support and he was very candid with me. He said that basically, the school was geared towards steering scholarships in the direction of young people who showed the potential for success in the music industry and who, as a result of that and over time, would serve by example as a good recruiting tool for the school. And of course to also kick start the career of such a person.
I have to agree with Gary for the most part. It's an unfortunate and very sad part of the politics of the scholarship and student grant game. It's probably even more difficult for one to get a scholarship in the performing arts than in any other field unless one has distinguished himself in the local community, and the department sees him as a candidate for a teaching position down the road.

I know of one L.A. pro who slugged it out on the road and in the city (and recorded with lots of big name entertainers) for years with no degree, but received a scholarship from one university, and then another scholarship from another university. Of course, he teaches as well as performs now.

The OP is more likely to receive a scholarship than a grant these days; it has been like this since the '80's when the BEOG (Basic Equal Opportunity Grant) program lost funding. I think that the OP should keep trying, though. Joining a local community college and getting to know folks in the performing arts department can go a long way toward leveling the playing field.
 

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Anything would help. My state school isn't very expensive, but it is a small department and I can't imagine they have a large endowment.
The fact that the department is small indicates that general enrollment is low. This could also mean that there aren't enough students applying for enrollment in the music program. There could be money there for you. Again, don 't go to the financial aid department. Go to the music department to talk to someone. You could approach one of the academic (not financial aid) counselors with your quest first. Some counselors can be real crusaders and advocates of the "nontraditional" student.

Keep in mind what Gary said. It is true, but it isn't universally true. You WILL be frustrated. There's always an exception. Keep your head up and look for an open window. When you see one, don't pass it up.
 
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