Members Only Music Scholarships for grades 2 - 12, Santa Cruz CountyMTAC Members Only

Tax deductible donations to our scholarship funds (Talent Bank Awards Festival and Opportunity Grants) are gratefully accepted. Make checks payable to SCCMTAC. Please specify in a letter to which scholarship fund you’d like your donation applied. Mail checks to:

Barbara Jirsa, Treasurer
221 Nevada Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Talent Bank Awards Festival Scholarship

This merit scholarship program has been a major encouragement to county music students since 1970, when the idea was first proposed by a Santa Cruz County lawyer who enjoyed singing and believed in encouraging young musicians.

Member teachers have raised over $150,000 in the years since the program began. Many of the hundreds of Santa Cruz County music students who have won these awards have gone on to careers in music performance and education.

The brochure and application forms are available by clicking the link below. The deadline for submitting applications is January 15, 2018.

The Talent Bank Awards Festival will be held Sunday, April 15, 2018 at Cabrillo College. It is open to SCCMTAC teachers, students, parents and friends.

A recital of the top 2018 Talent Bank and Barbara Call Scholarship awardees will take place Sunday, April 22, 2:30 pm at Resurrection Church in Aptos.

Barbara Call Memorial Scholarships

The award was established in 1999 by Barbara Call and her friends for excellence in performance for piano, violin, viola, cello, double bass, or chamber music students from Santa Cruz County. It is held in conjunction with the Talent Bank Awards Festival in April. Barbara Call was a distinguished Santa Cruz County pianist, teacher, and founder of the Talent Bank program.

Winners will perform at the Barbara Call Memorial Recital on Sunday, April 22, 2:30 pm at Resurrection Church in Aptos.



Opportunity Grant Scholarships

These yearly awards go to highly motivated young students whose families are financially unable to provide private music lessons.

Applicants must be enrolled in a Santa Cruz County school or be home-schooled county residents, and at grade levels from 2 through 12 during the coming school year. Applicants must have practice access to the chosen instrument of study.

The scholarships, which may be full or partial, remain in effect for one school year beginning in September. Scholarships may be renewable on a year-to-year basis, provided funds remain available and acceptable musical progress is being made.

Applications are due in mid-June for scholarships serving the upcoming school year. Interviews are held in early summer. More information about this program is available from Kit Birskovich, 426-5172,



Mueller Scholarship – Administered by the Santa Cruz County Symphony

Now in its 25th year, the Santa Cruz Symphony’s Mueller Scholarship Program is named for Ruth Mueller, a retired Santa Cruz music teacher. Upon her death in 1988, through a planned gift to the Symphony, Mueller created an endowed scholarship fund for local music students. Her vision was to encourage students of orchestral instruments by helping with the cost of music instruction tuition.Mueller Scholarships were first awarded in 1990, and over 100 students have been the beneficiaries of her generosity.

The applicant must meet the following criteria:

  •       • demonstrate a commitment to an orchestral instrument for at least one year.

(Note: piano, saxophone, and guitar are not considered orchestral instruments for this program.)

  •       • practice regularly and is consistent in attending lessons and rehearsals.
  •       • show promise and has the discipline to develop as a classical musician.
  •       • is not older than 18 years of age as of July 1, and reside in Santa Cruz County.

The Symphony’s Education Committee typically awards a total of $5,000, with individual scholarships ranging between $300 and $500. The award will be paid directly to the recipients’ music teacher or ensemble, such as the Santa Cruz County Youth Symphony or Cabrillo Strings. Applications are made available through the Symphony’s website between April and May. Please visit for more information.


Youth Chamber Music Competition

Since 2003 the Santa Cruz Baroque Festival has offered an annual Youth Chamber Music Competition to encourage young music students to participate in chamber music ensembles. The competition is open to chamber ensembles consisting of Santa Cruz County and Santa Clara County(*) student musicians (Santa Clara County student musicians are admitted on a space-available basis). To participate, a competition entry form must be submitted on behalf of each group. Each member of the winning ensemble receives $100 up to a total of $400 and performs during the Baroque Festival’s Season Concert II or III. Second place winners receive $50 each up to a total of $200 and are recognized along with honorable-mention award groups. While groups are encouraged to compete by playing Baroque and other early (pre-1750) music, the competition is also open to instrumental ensembles performing Classical, Romantic, 20th Century and 21st Century concert repertoire.

This competition has been generously supported by the David E. Kaun Fund at the Community Foundation of Santa Cruz County.
For more information, go to


// Preferred Dress

Hair should be arranged so that it does not fall into the face while performing.
Black concert attire is appropriate.

Dresses or skirts knee length or longer, or dressy slacks. (Skirts shorter than knee length should be accompanied by tights.)
Blouses or shirts completely covering midriff when performing.
Dress shoes (no athletic shoes or flip-flops).
Pianists: Try out shoes with piano pedals beforehand.

Collared dress shirt, dress slacks and nice shoes. Coat and tie welcome.
No athletic shoes or flip-flops.

**Dress guidelines apply to all Santa Cruz County Branch performances, including Certificate of Merit events.

// Not allowed

T-shirts, shorts, athletic team jerseys, jeans, bare midriffs, exposed underwear, form fitting camisoles or tank tops,
sloppy slide-on shoes including flip-flops.
We reserve the right to ask inappropriately dressed students not to perform.



  Plan to arrive a little early – allow more than enough time to find parking.
  Sit quietly while others perform.
  Performers should acknowledge the audience’s applause with a bow and smile before and after performing.
  PLAN TO STAY FOR THE ENTIRE RECITAL — if you must leave early, sit near the exit and leave between pieces.
  Parents, be prepared to take noisy younger siblings outside.