If you have a project in mind – either big or small – chances are that it requires (or would be improved by) some type of funding. Arts funding is incredibly competitive, but there are ways of putting together money to pursue research and/or creative projects. Here are a few resources and ideas to get you going.
- Websites like Kickstarter and Go Fund Me allow you to reach out to large numbers of potential donors. Jay Anderson’s Horn Solos Project and Jeff Scott’s Recording Project are excellent examples of well-designed Kickstarter campaigns. Their goals and project descriptions are very clear, as are the benefits of investing in their work. One very interesting project on Go Fund Me was designed by Joshua Paulus, who plays Third Horn with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra. Using Go Fund Me, Mr. Paulus raised a considerable amount to help defray the expenses of competing in the Prague Spring International Festival Competition.
- Another funding source is composer Sy Brandon’s publishing company, Co-op Press. I have participated in his Grants for Performers program, making recording demos of some of his music for brass trio, and am currently preparing his Suite for Horn and Piano for another demo recording. His music is quite good, and his program is a great way to generate some funds for other projects.
- Grants and grant writing are a huge topic, and I am by no means an expert. However, I have written a few successful grants, both internal and external, over the last few years. One of these grants helped fund our faculty brass trio’s 2012 tour to Thailand. From my limited experience in grant writing I can say that the process is usually very competitive. Everyone has worthy projects, and there is never enough funding to go around. Your application needs to be impeccable, right down to the smallest detail, in order to be competitive. Make sure that you follow the grant application’s instructions precisely, especially with regards to budget and project description. Talk to others who have successfully authored the kinds of grants for which you are applying, and try to find out exactly what is required. You may not be successful the first time (or the second or third time) you apply, but a big key to success I believe is to keep trying. David Cutler’s The Savvy Musician has an excellent list of funding sources, as well as lots of other great information for musicians.
- If you are affiliated with a university, then you may have access to databases which aggregate and sort different types of grants. Here are some links to various databases and general tips on grant writing from my university’s Office of Sponsored Programs and Research.
Good luck! Have you raised funds for a project in an interesting or unique way? I’d love to hear about it!