“Music can name the unnameable and communicate the unknowable.” – Leonard Bernstein
Help Support Music Scholarships!
Western's Department of Music is making scholarships the sole focus of our Give Day efforts, with two key priorities
- The cultivation of a new Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Scholarship aimed at recruiting, retaining, and supporting music students from underrepresented backgrounds. Over the last two years, the Music Department has taken bold steps in reassessing nearly every aspect of our operations and curriculum with the aim of identifying and dismantling systemic inequities. This new scholarship fund is a critical component in our efforts to cultivate opportunities for a broader range of students.
- The general Music Department Scholarship fund, which gives us the flexibility to assist students with short-term emergency needs and help cover financial shortfalls that could otherwise prevent a talented student from attending.
If you would like to make a gift to one of our other scholarship funds, please follow the link at the bottom of this page.
Why Support Music Scholarships?
Unlike students in most disciplines, musicians come to college with years of specialized experience under their belts. The most talented prospects are recruited by numerous institutions, and financial aid and scholarships are among the most critical factors influencing a student's decision where to attend. We are reliant on scholarship funds to recruit and retain a talented and diverse cohort of young musicians each year.
Additionally, the study of music involves significant, and often unexpected, extra expenses—from instruments to reeds to accompanist fees to recording equipment. 70% of WWU music students work full- or part-time to cover the costs of their education, challenging them to balance their jobs, class attendance, studying, practice, and personal health. Scholarship support can help alleviate the pressure of making ends meet and free our students to focus on their academic and creative pursuits.
In a broad survey of Western music students conducted just before the pandemic, nearly 60% of respondents reported that financial stress had interfered with their studies. 35% had experienced food insecurity in the past year, and 2% had navigated homelessness. Scholarship support is a lifeline for these students, and often the only thing keeping them afloat. The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated these challenges, and our students need your help more than ever.
Why Invest in Young Musicians?
Two answers—one local and one global:
If you are a music lover and a member of the Bellingham community, then you know that our students and alumni perform in nearly every venue in the region, from the Bellingham Symphony and Pacific Northwest Opera to nightclubs and neighborhood churches. Bellingham is a special place, and our graduates often stay here for many years after their time at Western has ended. An investment in WWU musicians is an investment in the artistic future of our community.
On a larger scale, in our increasingly polarized world, one of the most effective tools we have to bridge the gap between perspectives is empathy. And one of the most powerful vehicles for empathy is art. Thanks to its miraculous capacity to communicate both universal and highly personal meanings simultaneously, music carries with it a deeply elemental quality to which all humans can relate, no matter their background or affiliations. To engage with music is to be reminded of our shared humanity. Music can bring people together in deeper and more powerful way than almost any other experience, and can help to forge connections across political, ideological, and cultural divides. In this respect, an investment in WWU musicians and music educators is a tangible investment in the future health and wellbeing of our world.
Every gift on Give Day matters and makes a difference. Thank you for your support!