CMS Fund: Grants for College Performing Arts

OVERVIEW: The CMS Fund is part of the College Music Society, a consortium of musicians, conservators, and academics dedicated to promoting music research, education, creation, and outreach. Its awards support both students and educators, mostly for projects focused on instruction or community engagement. Eligibility is restricted to CMS members. Awards range from $200 to $2,000 in size.

IP TAKE: The fund’s awards are modest, but if you’re a music educator looking to gain recognition for your teaching accomplishments or a professor or grad student developing a community-centered project, this is a funder worth reaching out to.

PROFILE: The CMS Fund is housed within The College Music Society, which was founded in 1958 by when the College Music Association and the Society for Music in Liberal Arts Colleges merged into a single organization.

The parent organization, CMS, describes itself as “a consortium of college, conservatory, university, and independent musicians and scholars” that “promotes music teaching and learning, musical creativity and expression, research and dialogue, and diversity and interdisciplinary interaction” as well as “provides leadership and acts as an agent of change by addressing concerns facing musicians, the music field, and the music in higher education community.”

To that end, the CMS Fund “supports exemplary and innovative projects of the Society's members to bring to the wider public community the accomplishments of the music profession in higher education.”

Grad students in music will find support in the CMS-Yamaha In-Residence Fellowship Award. This $2,000 award is given “to a graduate professional music student pursuing engagement and outreach activities,” enabling him or her “to create and complete a residency in a community institution, including educational, artistic, and civic enterprises during the subsequent academic year.” As an additional requirement, the applicant’s major studio teacher and music unit executive must sign off on the application and give the awardee support in program development and operation.

In keeping with its outreach goals, the fund also offers Seed Grant Support “for music projects that bring together participants in higher education and members of the local community.” More specifically, the fund is looking for “community engagement projects that have potential for sustainability over time in local communities.” The award gives a $200 stipend. Individuals, organizations, and specific departments can all apply for this grant.

In the award category, the fund offers the Robby D. Gunstream Education in Music Award. This $1,000 stipend is given “to recognize established and on-going, imaginative and effective programs of engagement by higher education music faculty members that further education in music with local or area organizations.” Individuals, faculty groups, or entire departments all may apply, but bear in mind that focus on “established and ongoing” programs - if you’re just starting out, better to look at the Seed Grants.

For accomplished music instructors, the foundation also offers the CMS Instructional Technology Initiative Award, which “recognizes an active CMS member who has demonstrated exceptional initiative in integrating technology with college music instruction,” along with a $500 stipend.

The fund does not have a database of award recipients, but the previous year’s awardees can be viewed by clicking on the “Past Recipients” link on the top banner of the fund’s home page.

In addition to the above, the fund also offers travel grants for students and members of “historically underrepresented populations” to attend the annual CMS National Conference, along with the Robert M. Trotter Lecture, which “brings an outstanding music professional” to the conference as well. The fund’s site does not offer information on how to apply for travel grants, however.

In all cases, applications are due in mid-May, with award winners announced in early July. Applicants must be CMS members in order to be eligible for consideration.

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