Criteria for Ensembles Bursary

Ensemble bursary form 2016-17 If you wish to apply for an Ensembles Bursary, you must be receiving one of the following (or similar benefits):

  • Income Support, any level
  • Jobseeker’s Allowance, any level
  • Child Tax Credit

You must:

  1. receive more than the basic £545.34 excluding any childcare element and
  2. have an assessed annual income of less than £18,000

This change is necessary because many more people are able to claim Child Tax Credit than were eligible for Working Families Credit.


If you have any questions, please contact Beverley Lockyer at

Am I entitled to an Ensemble Bursary?

If you are currently in receipt of Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support or Working Families or Child Tax Credit (see Eligibility Criteria), then you may be entitled to and should apply for an Ensemble Bursary. Discretionary awards are also made to people in receipt of equivalent benefits.

Am I guaranteed to receive the bursary, as long as I am receiving one of those benefits?

We have allocated an amount of money to be spent on bursaries, which we think should cover the demand. However, if demand exceeds the money available, new applicants will be placed on a waiting list.

What happens if my circumstances change?

It is your responsibility to inform us, if you no are longer entitled to benefit.

How much is the Bursary worth?

Each Bursary is worth a maximum of 65% of the cost of the tour & up to 50% of the cost of the courses. We will issue a Bursary for each course or tour, as long as the student is attending regularly and is making sufficient progress. You will need to pay the difference between the bursary and the charge made by us for the cost of the course or tour.

Where can I use the Bursary?

You can use it as part payment for Essex Music Services Ensemble courses or tours. The Bursary is NOT valid for use with private/non-county Music Ensembles.

If in doubt, please call us.

How do I apply for the Bursary?

Just download, print and complete the application form at the top of this page and return to us with the relevant documentation to support your application.

Endangered Species Scholarships

Pathway 1 – County Music Groups

In addition to the standard Ensembles Bursary Voucher, Essex Music Services can offer up to 15 Instrumental Scholarships and 10 Choral Scholarships. In 2017-18, endangered youth orchestra instruments are:

  • Violin
  • Viola
  • Double Bass
  • Oboe
  • Bassoon
  • Trumpet
  • French Horn

This will allow gifted young people who sing or play an endangered species instruments to apply for financial assistance to join the orchestras and choirs.  These scholarships (unlike the Ensembles Bursary) will not be means tested but if demand is greater than the number of awards available, awards will be allocated according to orchestral or choral need. Please note that orchestral need is assessed annually and instruments on the list can change annually because of this. Scholarships are worth 66% of county ensemble course and tour fees.  An Essex Youth Orchestra owned instrument might be available on a free loan for instruments such as Tuba but this is dependent on instrument availability, please enquire is this is of interest to you.

Pathway 2 – County Music Schools

To support the learning of Endangered Species instruments in our music schools, we now offer a limited amount of scholarships to encourage young people to take up an unusual instrument.  This scholarship can include:

  • A Music School tuition voucher to be used towards a 121 lesson at a music school worth approximately £240 per year
  • Free loan of an instrument (dependant on availability)

Your child will be expected to join county ensembles as soon as the teacher recommends that they are of an appropriate standard.  They will automatically get the endangered species reduction of 66% off for any county ensembles they attend.

If the child fails to attend a course, the music school or fails to make consistent progress, the scholarship and instrument will be withdrawn.

Please note that this scholarship scheme is not offered in conjunction with the Instrument Hire Scheme or in conjunction with in-school peripatetic lessons,  It can only be used towards the cost of County Music groups or towards lessons in County Music Schools.

To apply for either County ensembles and / or County music school endangered award, instead of uploading proof of household income, please upload a letter to support your application to tell us why the Scholarship is essential for the child to attend Ensembles activities and/or takes lessons on an instrument.  Please note that we will accept a letter from the Parent or Guardian, Teacher-in-Charge of a Music School or Instrumental Teacher.  Apply online HERE.