Photo of Pratt Music Foundation 2013 Scholars Courtesy of Glenn Reeder.
The Pratt Music Foundation in McLean County is looking for students in grades K-12 to apply for their annual need-based music lesson scholarships.
The scholarships are awarded to students who are talented, motivated, and meet a certain financial eligibility criteria. Those who receive a scholarship will attend the Illinois Wesleyan University Preparatory Music School and receive weekly individual lessons in piano or strings (violin, viola, cello, or bass).
The Pratt Music Foundation was established in 1996 in memory of Dr. T.A.E.C. “Ted” Pratt, who was an Illinois State University physics professor and classical music lover.
When friends and family were thinking of a suitable way to remember Dr. Pratt the idea of music lesson scholarships came up. After seeing a lack of economic diversity in the attendance of private music lessons, it was decided to award scholarships to students who were musically talented but unable to afford the lessons.
“Music is one of the oldest endeavors in humanity,” Marc Miller, Board President of the Pratt Music Foundation, said. “It’s an important part of life, and helping people who have a talent for it grow is extremely important.”
Since 1998, when the program first began giving out scholarships, through 2012 the foundation has awarded a total of 180 annual scholarships totaling $162,147.
In 2013 an additional 27 scholarships were awarded to students.
“It’s important for us to have as many students as possible apply,” Miller said. “We strive to provide this kind of support in our community. If a family believes they have a student who may qualify, we encourage them to apply. It’s very open and we look forward to seeing as many applications as possible.”
The foundation is looking for students who are musically talented, but also very motivated.
“Talent will get you somewhere, but if you’re not motivated it doesn’t really do much good,” Miller said. “Motivation will move you past things that you’re not initially good at. We’re looking for students who care and want to do better.”
Applying for the scholarship is relatively easy, and is available through the Pratt Music Foundation’s website.
The application asks for basic information about both the student and their family, and asks for referrals by both a music teacher and a knowledgeable adult (other than a parent). There is also a financial component to the application, where the family can look up their income to make sure they qualify for the scholarship.
The most important part of the application though, is the open ended short essay questions for the students.
“The open ended essay questions are very revealing to us, because there are no scripted right answers,” Miller said. “You can tell from their answers just how motivated and dedicated the students are. It’s a very important part of the process.”
If you know a student who may qualify for the scholarship encourage them to apply. The application is free and easy to complete. Applications are due by June 1st, for consideration in mid-June.
The application is available for download through the foundation’s website at http://prattmusicfoundation.com and can also be requested through mail by calling 309-827-5534.
For any additional questions feel free to contact PrattMusicFoundation@gmail.com.