Graduate Awards

The Eastman School of Music provides financial support to its graduate students primarily through the Graduate Award Program, a merit-based system of financial aid. Through its graduate awards, Eastman is able to provide in-depth professional training for graduate students and receive valuable services in return. A graduate award normally consists of a stipend (salary for the work done) and a tuition scholarship (a partial remission of tuition). These are inseparable components (a student may not accept one portion and decline the other). A small number of awards are tuition scholarship only. Admission to a graduate program does not guarantee a graduate award. Graduate applicants who are highly recommended in both their major and for a graduate award, receive the most merit-based financial support.

Applying for a Graduate Award

There are two steps to applying for a Graduate Award:

  • Indicate your interest in up to four different Graduate Awards within the online admissions application.
  • Plan on auditioning/interviewing on-campus at Eastman, and be prepared for any additional requirements specified for the Graduate Awards that you selected.

Applicants requesting graduate awards that are performance-based (for example, a stipend or fellowship awarded in return for ensemble participation) are considered on the basis of their degree program audition. Other graduate awards require preparation of specific materials, and interviews or auditions with faculty members who supervise those awards. Details for each award are specified in the descriptions below.

Faculty supervisors are reluctant to recommend candidates for positions of responsibility unless they have had an opportunity to meet and evaluate those candidates. Therefore, graduate applicants who cannot audition in Rochester have significantly reduced chances of receiving a graduate award.

Applicants may select up to four awards for which they wish to be considered, and provide an outline of experience in each area together with the name, address, position, and telephone number of the person who is most qualified to recommend the applicant for work in each position. (*Note that some awards require the completion of  additional questions within the online application, or preparation of specific materials, and some graduate awards are restricted to specific majors.) Graduate award interviews and auditions are normally scheduled on the same day as the applicant’s audition/interview for a degree program. The graduate awards are processed through the Graduate Studies Office. Applicants generally receive notice of graduate awards with their offer of admission.

Graduate students who have questions about their graduate award should contact the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies at gdean@esm.rochester.edu, or contact the Graduate Studies Office at 585-274-1560

Graduate Awards:

APPLIED STUDIO TEACHER: Recipients of this award teach instrumental or vocal lessons to students such as non-music majors. Graduate Awards in studio teaching are awarded in consultation with the performance faculty, and are based on the applicant’s degree program audition.  Studio teaching awards for Piano and Organ are available to DMA performance majors only.  No additional application or forms are required.

ENSEMBLE PERFORMER: Recipients of this award perform in large instrumental or vocal ensembles, including Conducting Orchestra, as assigned. Award decisions are based on the applicant’s degree program audition.  No additional application, audition, or forms are required.

CLASSROOM TEACHER OF PIANO: Recipients of this award will teach Class Piano to Eastman music majors (non-pianists).  Candidates are selected on the basis of an interview and teaching demonstration in a keyboard skills classroom setting.  Applicants should review the Classroom Teacher of Piano requirements for complete details. (revised 8/1/2014)

STUDIO  ACCOMPANIST – PIANO: This award requires an on-campus audition.  Applicants to the Accompanying & Chamber Music program are automatically considered for this graduate award.  Other applicants must have previous studio accompanying experience, excellent sight-reading skills, and score reading ability.  A collaborative audition will be scheduled on the same weekend as the applicant’s program audition.   Applicants for this award must be prepared to perform the repertoire that they indicated in their application, and should review the Studio Accompanying Graduate Award Repertoire List

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CHORAL ACCOMPANIST– PIANO: Recipients of this award accompany choral ensembles as assigned. This award requires a collaborative audition on-campus on one of Eastman’s Friday audition days. Graduate piano performance applicants, please note that you must be available on the Friday before your Saturday audition if you wish to audition for this award.  Applicants will be prompted to complete additional questions regarding this award within their online application.

OPERA  COACH/ACCOMPANIST – PIANO: Recipients of this award assist with opera rehearsals, coaching and accompanying vocalists. This award requires a collaborative audition in Rochester.   An audition for this Award will be scheduled the same day as the applicant’s degree program audition.   Applicants should also refer to the Opera Coach Graduate Award document for repertoire information.

LUTE OR HARPSICHORD CONTINUO, COLLEGIUM MUSICUM: Applicants who wish to be considered for this award will be expected to demonstrate proficiency with continuo realization in an on-campus audition on the same day as the degree program audition.  For lutenists, the audition for admission will fulfill this requirement. This position entails performing in the Collegium Musicum ensemble.  No additional form or materials are required to apply for this award.

HARPSICHORD ACCOMPANIST: Applicants who wish to be considered for this award will be expected to demonstrate proficiency with continuo realization and accompaniment by performing an on-campus audition on the same day as the degree program audition. This position typically entails accompanying vocalists and instrumentalists. No additional form or materials are required to apply for this award.

SACRED MUSIC ASSISTANT: This award is typically awarded only to organ majors, and preference is given to students admitted to the Sacred Music Diploma program.  Award decisions are based on the applicant’s degree program audition.  No additional form or materials are required to apply for this award.

ORGAN MAINTENANCE: This award is typically awarded only to organ majors.  Preference is given to those with previous experience maintaining organs.  Award decisions are based on the applicant’s degree program audition.  No additional application is required.

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VOICE DEPARTMENT ASSISTANT: This award involves assisting in the voice department office, and is typically awarded to a voice performance major.  It does not require an interview, nor any additional forms or materials.

JAZZ  DEPARTMENT ASSISTANT: Graduate awards offered in the jazz department include departmental and/or teaching assistantships in jazz theory, jazz history, improvisation, jazz writing and arranging, performing in ensembles, and instrumental teaching.  These awards are typically awarded to jazz majors.  No additional forms or materials are required.

MUSIC EDUCATION TEACHING ASSISTANT: Recipients of this award assist with teaching duties in the Music Education curriculum. Graduate awards offered in the music education department include both departmental assistantships (available to Music Education majors only) and assistantships for classroom teachers of music education techniques (available to any interested performers except those who play guitar or keyboard instruments)Interviews are scheduled on the same date as the applicant’s program audition.  No additional forms or materials are required.

CONDUCTING TEACHING ASSISTANT: This award is restricted to applicants admitted with a major in conducting.  Duties may include assisting conducting faculty in rehearsals, leading sectionals, and otherwise preparing for concerts.  Doctoral students may be asked to teach conducting classes.  Awards are based on the applicants audition and interview; no additional forms or materials are required.

MUSICOLOGY  TEACHING  ASSISTANT: Applicants to the Musicology or Ethnomusicology degree programs should select this award, and will be considered based on your interview for the degree program. Applicants to other programs will not be considered. Recipients of this award assist with teaching duties in the musicology and music history curriculum.

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CLASSROOM TEACHER OF THEORY/AURAL SKILLS: Recipients of this award assist with teaching duties in the theory curriculum. Applicants (other than piano performance applicants) will be scheduled for an interview in conjunction with the applicant’s degree program audition/interview.  Piano performance applicants: please note that you must be available on the Friday before your Saturday audition if you wish to be considered for this award. Please see Aural Skills Graduate Award information  for details.  The Aural Skills Graduate Award is highly competitive. Only applicants whose transcripts show exemplary aural skills grades will be considered. Applicants with any aural skills grades lower than an A- will generally not be selected to interview for this award. While preference is given to graduate theory majors, applicants in other majors may also be considered.

COMPOSITION DEPARTMENT ASSISTANT: This award is restricted to applicants admitted with a major in composition.  Duties can include assisting with department performances and projects, and teaching composition-related courses. No additional interview or application is required.

COMPUTER MUSIC STUDIO ASSISTANT: Recipients of this award assist in the Eastman Computer Music Center with projects, performances and/or teaching. Composition applicants are automatically considered for this award.  Other interested applicants may apply; a background in either system programming or electronic music is required.  Applicants should also read the Computer Music Graduate Award form.

INSTITUTE FOR MUSIC LEADERSHIP – DEPT. ASSISTANT: The ideal candidate for this position is an enthusiastic self-starter who is eager to learn and can take responsibility for projects and duties with minimal supervision.  Excellent writing skills are needed, as is the ability to communicate effectively with a broad range of constituents.  A working knowledge of Microsoft Office applications is required.   Data entry experience and familiarity with graphics or video, social media (Facebook, etc.), and web authoring applications are extremely desirable.  More information is available here: esm.rochester.edu/iml/alp/dept_asst.php

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