Music Lesson Subsidy Program

Detail photo of a student holding a violinHow to Apply

Please visit the website in early August for Information regarding the application process for the 2021-22 Academic Year.

Please note: Students must be on financial aid and registered with the College full time to qualify for funding consideration. Questions? Contact Stephanie Troisi, Student Services Coordinator. 


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. 

Please note:

  • 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.
  • Subsidies are not applicable for lessons with members of the Parker 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:

Applicants who are auditioning for—or are members of—Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra:

  • Special funding is available to active members of the Harvard Radcliffe Orchestra (HRO) through the HRO Instrument Study Fund. The aid package and administration of the program is the same as the Music Lesson Subsidy Program awards. Smaller subsidies for those students not on financial aid are also available.
  • 2021-2022 Academic Year : Visit this webpage in early August for Application information. Please contact Stephanie Troisi with questions.

Applicants who are Harvard Choruses members:

If you are an undergraduate receiving financial aid from the College, you are eligible for funding through the Music Lesson Subsidy Program and should complete the MLSP application below in addition to the Holden Voice Program Registration Form. 

Additional Guidelines

If you are an undergraduate not receiving financial aid from the College or a graduate student, you are only eligible for funding through the Holden Voice Program. Contact them to receive additional information and access to the Registration Form.  

Subsidies are matching grants covering between 35% and 60% of the total cost of the student's lessons. The program generally 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. We anticipate all lessons taught this year will take place virtually.  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 check awards will be processed via direct deposit (mailing of checks may be required for some international students.) Students who receive funding should confirm they are set up to receive direct deposits and will be forwarded information after applications are submitted for review. In January, the OFA 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 their 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 funds to the Music Lesson Subsidy Fund. 

* Note to international tudents: depending on the type of visa you have,  between 14% - 30% of your subsidy may be withheld for taxes. For additional information, please visit the Office of the Comtroller's tax information for students.