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Home / Parsons Music Advocacy Awards Brought to you by ISME


Value                                       US$5000 plus a musical instrument

Project duration                    12 months from acceptance to completion

Application deadline            TBA for 2024

Results announced               June 2023 Award winners can be found here.

Qualification                          Applicants and any co-applicants must be ISME members

Apply                                       Applications for 2022-24 are now closed.



The 2022 -24 Parsons Music Advocacy Awards are offered in co-operation with the International Society for Music Education (ISME).  ISME is responsible for the management of these awards.  The awards will focus on music education practices and advocacy activities that support sustaining music education opportunities in schools and communities.  The awards will provide funding for individuals or teams to develop and implement local music education advocacy efforts.

Music education advocacy has been a long-term objective of ISME and this has traditionally been based on evidence-based research to support the value and benefits of music learning and continued participation or involvement in music making.

 The Parsons Music Advocacy Awards will focus on music education practices and advocacy activities that support sustaining music education opportunities in schools and surrounding communities. The awards will provide funding for individuals or teams to develop and implement local music education advocacy efforts. With this award, ISME seeks to identify initiatives and practices that support, sustain, demonstrate or highlight activities that can assist in initiating or sustaining music programs in location setting whether they be a single school, a network of schools or school system or, within a community group or groups.

The fundamentals of each proposal should present but not be limited to the following:

  1. The initiative be economically viable and sustainable and the delivery and resourcing should be financially matched to the community it is designed to serve
  2. An initiative that is environmentally and culturally sensitive
  3. An initiative that offers and enables its participants and communities one or more of the following: the opportunity for people to commence music making and learning; the opportunity to sustain their music making or learning; the opportunity for individuals to maximise their music making potential including entry into music teaching or academic music profession
  4. An initiative that provides equitable and culturally appropriate learning as participatory opportunities that are relevant to the particular circumstances and the audience or local communities it seeks to serve.

The winning programs will focus on providing unique concepts and practices including materials and resources that can be used to support and sustain a positive, realistic alternative to the barriers that are often cited as reasons why music education is not included, marginalised or underdeveloped or under-resourced in many settings around the world.  These barriers may include, but are not limited to, issues concerning in-school time, curriculum requirements, financial resources, teacher skills/availability, parental attitudes, system expectations in relation to the place of music in education, student interest/engagement and so on.

Applicants can, of course, utilise new or existing evidence-based research to support their proposal, however, the proposal will be reviewed on the practical implementation of the content that the applicants create.

The Parsons Music Advocacy Awards may involve additional local collaborators such as schools, teachers, community groups or education authorities.


The Parsons Music Advocacy Awards are valued at $5,000USD each.  There are 10 awards to be made during this 2022-24 biennium.  Two awards are to be allocated to each of the ISME regions being – the Americas, Asia-Pacific, South Asia, Africa/Middle East and Europe.

In addition to the cash award each recipient will be able to select a musical instrument from amongst those provided by the sponsoring partner Parsons Music of Hong Kong. However, the final decision of the model and brand of instrument will be determined by Parsons Music.


Award applications are now closed.

The award recipients will have until 1 June 2024 to complete their programs.

An interim report is required by 1 December 2023 after the date of acceptance and the final report and documentation is to be provided to ISME by 1 June 2024 for inclusion in the 36th ISME World Conference program


Applications are open to individuals or groups.  The submitting applicant will be deemed to be the project leader in the case of group applications.

Applicants (and co-applicants if any) must be members of ISME.

ISME aims to optimise the use of resources available for members to access. Therefore, ISME will not fund the same project or research-related activity with more than one grant at the same time.


The application and reports are to be submitted in English.  However, the content and materials developed for each individual program should be relevant to the location and audience and should be presented in the language or languages in use in that location.

Report Requirement

Each Parsons Music Advocacy Awards Project Leader will be required to report on the use of grant funds during the period of the grant, and on outcomes at the end of the grant period. 

Reporting requirements

  • Interim report due 1 December 2023
  • Final report due 1 June2024

Award Payments

  • 50% on acceptance of the award
  • 30% following receipt of an interim report
  • 20% on receipt of the final report

The proposal and reporting must be completed in English.  However, your advocacy activities and materials should be conducted and developed in your local language/s.

Each awardee will be offered a musical instrument of their choice.  The brand and model of which is to be determined by Parsons Music.

Instrument or cash awards cannot be substituted.

The determination of the Board following the blind review is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

Awardees accept that ISME intends to publish and disseminate music advocacy materials that will be drawn from/or may include content from the completed programs.  These materials will be shared amongst ISME members and other parties engaged in the provision or support of music education services.  

Applications must be submitted by the individual applicant or group project leader.  Applicants (and co-applicants, if any) must be members of ISME.


The intention is that ISME publishes and disseminates music advocacy materials that will be drawn from the work of successful applicants.  These materials with be shared amongst ISME members, ISME Council of Professional Associations (CoPA) partners and other parties engaged in the provision or support of music education services.  Successful applications would be invited to present their award winning programs during the ISME world conference 2024 and possibly at their local ISME regional conference.

Evaluation and Adjudication

The Parsons Music Advocacy Awards are adjudicated, and available funds are awarded, through a competitive process. ISME is committed to ensuring high-quality adjudication of all proposals.

The Parsons Music Advocacy Awards are adjudicated by a panel of ISME members, including members that will provide appropriate regional and local perspectives and understanding.  

Committee members read all applications submitted by a given closing date. Members, as a group, then evaluate and rank all the proposals assigned to their committee.  These reviews are blind.

Finalised lists of awardees will be reviewed and endorsed by the Executive Committee of ISME.  ISME makes funding decisions based on the recommendations of the adjudication committee.  

Evaluation Criteria and Scoring

The following criteria and scoring schemes are used by the adjudication committees to evaluate Parsons Music Advocacy Awards applications:

1. Relevance

The aim and importance of the endeavour to furthering ISME’s mission and building assets than can be used in support of music education advocacy  (40%):

  • Potential to articulate culturally significant music education practices and materials
  • Potential for the project to have influence and impact on music education locally, nationally   and/or internationally
  • Potential to foster global intercultural understanding and co-operation in music education

2. Feasibility

The plan to achieve viable and meaningful outcomes (20%):

  • Probability that the project objectives will be met within the timeline proposed
  • Appropriateness of the requested budget and justification of proposed costs
  • Appropriateness of the strategies for conducting the activity/activities proposed

3. Significance and Impact

The expertise to succeed (40%):

  • Quality, quantity and significance of past experience, demonstrated evidence or other outputs of the applicant and any co-applicants relative to their roles and the objectives of the project
  • Potential of the project in terms of its ability to influence key stakeholders, garner future funding or support, demonstrate sustainability and repeatability amongst like situations

Scoring table

Adjudication committee members assign a score for each of the three criteria based on the scoring table below. The appropriate weighting is then applied to arrive at a final score. Applications must receive a score of 3.0 or higher for each of the three criteria to be recommended for funding.

Score     Descriptor

5-6            Very good - excellent

4-4.9         Good - very good

3-3.9         Satisfactory - good

Below 3    Unsatisfactory

Communication of Results

The applicant (or group project leader) will be informed of the results by email.

How to apply


  • Multiple applications will be accepted from any individual or group, but any individual or group will only receive one grant.
  • Submitting an application is agreement to accept the terms and conditions outlined above.
  • Each submission must be made in one visit to the online platform.

Submissions require a number of uploaded documents which are:

  • Referee statement. No longer than one page which specifically refers to your work in the area of music education advocacy.
  • Brief resume of the project leader. No longer than two pages.
  • Budget template (optional). Use this template if you wish to submit a budget. Template can be downloaded from the end of this page.

Contact Information

For more information about the Parsons Music Advocacy Awards, please contact the Chief Executive Officer.