Music Lesson Subsidy Program

How to Apply

Application Link

Deadline to apply:  12 noon  Monday, September 16, 2019

The Committee on Music Lesson Subsidies make awards ONLY ONCE annually, in the fall semester. No new subsidy awards will be made during the spring semester.

For returning students: If you will be away during the fall semester, you must still apply by the fall deadline to be considered for spring funding on your return to campus. 

Questions? Contact Stephanie Troisi, Student Services Coordinator, by email or call 617.495.8895. 


The Music Lesson Subsidy Program is administered by the Office for the Arts to support instrumental and vocal instruction to qualified, full-time, enrolled Harvard undergraduates currently receiving some financial aid. It is intended for students who, without financial help, could not make a sustained commitment to taking music lessons. The program is not for beginning musicians. New applicants must demonstrate a certain level of proficiency and/or potential, as evidenced by their musical activities. Returning applicants who have been awarded subsidies in past academic years will have their financial aid status reviewed prior to any subsidy determination for the new academic year. 


-Students enrolled in the Harvard/NEC or Harvard/Berklee five-year programs are ineligible for MLSP funding.

-Funding requests for composition lessons will not be considered

-Outside of the subsidy program, the members of the Parker Quartet have limited availability to take private students. Please be in direct contact with the quartet members to check about availability in their private studios. Space in their studios is not guaranteed. Subsidies are not applicable for private lessons with members of the quartet.

-Special funding from the Department of Music will now be awarded to music concentrators(full/joint) beginning in the fall semester of the sophomore year.  Smaller subsidies for those students not on financial aid are available.  Otherwise, the aid package and administration of the program is the same as the Music Lesson Subsidy Program awards.

-Applicants who are Music Concentrators must:
-Complete Music Concentrator Questionnaire

-Complete Music Lesson Subsidy Application by Deadline of Monday, September 16

-Special funding is available to members of the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra (HRO). Smaller subsidies for those members not on financial aid are available. Otherwise, the aid package and administration of the program is the same as the Music Lesson Subsidy Program awards.

Applicants who are active members of the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra must:
-Complete Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra Subsidy Questionnaire

-Complete Music Lesson Subsidy Application by Deadline of Monday, September 16 

-Remain active members of the Orchestra throughout the academic year or funding will be forfeited.


Subsidies are matching grants covering between 35% and 100% of the total cost of the student's lessons. Generally speaking, the program funds a maximum of six lessons per semester. The average subsidy is $350 per semester, however where extreme financial need has been determined, larger awards may be granted.*  Recipients are selected on the basis of financial need as determined by the University and evidence of ongoing musical commitment and involvement (such as public recitals or performances and participation in Harvard and non-Harvard musical organizations or events.) Multiple subsidies for the study of more than one instrument or for instrument and voice study are not provided.

Recipients schedule lessons directly with their teachers and are responsible for handling all payments to teachers. Locations of lessons should also be set by instructors as professional music lessons are not allowed to take place in the Music Department practice rooms, and the OFA does not have available space to accomodate such requests. The OFA’s online Music Teacher Reference Guide provides a listing of local music instructors who teach, have taught, or are interested in teaching undergraduate students. This listing is a resource only. Recipients may choose to take lessons from other instructors.

After award amounts have been determined, subsidy checks are sent directly to students. In January the office contacts teachers for an evaluation of the lessons and record of attendance. If the lesson plan has been carried out and if the renewal form is returned and indicates reasonable progress and/or commitment, the subsidy will be renewed for the second semester. If a student has not followed through with his or her first-semester plan of study, the subsidy may be cancelled or recalculated at mid-year to reflect lesson plan changes. In such cases, the student will be expected to return any unused money to the Music Lesson Subsidy Fund. 

* Note to Foreign Students: depending on the type of visa you have,  between 14% - 30% of your subsidy may be withheld for Taxes. For additional information go to the University Tax Services web site at