Music and Drama Access Fund: providing motivation and achievable goals

Music and Drama Access Fund: providing motivation and achievable goals

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BY: Guest Writer
10 January 2024

The Music and Drama Access Fund has been running successfully since 2020 and has supported numerous candidates on their musical and dramatic journeys. The Access Fund provides small grants for Trinity candidates based in the UK and Ireland who experience barriers to accessing our music and drama qualifications. Barriers may include having Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, living in areas of rural isolation and/or socio-economic deprivation, being in a specific minority group, and more. The grant will be used to help these candidates achieve one of our music or drama qualifications. 

Previous recipients of the grant in 2023 share their experience of how the Access Fund has supported their students. 

Bob from Bob’s Drum Lessons 

Drum teacher, Bob, based in Glasgow was awarded a grant for his student working towards their Initial Rock & Pop Drums exam. His student is in foster care and has moved around a lot, causing lots of disruption at home and at school. The grant was used to pay for the exam fee, extra lessons and the music book. 

“I found out about the Access Fund through a post from Trinity on social media. 

Some of the barriers facing the student were an unstable home life, and very low self-esteem.  

The student really enjoyed the free drum lessons in school and I wanted to help them access some private lessons outside of school to continue that interest. 

I believe the student struggles at school, so to have an achievable goal of taking a graded exam was a more fun and enjoyable way for them to progress. 

It was very wholesome to help the student work towards and pass their exam. It’s good to know this fund exists if I ever have similar students in the future.” 


Vlatko from New Era Music School 

Based in Wiltshire, Vlatko is a music teacher who was successful in gaining an Access Fund grant for a group of his students living in an area of socio-economic deprivation. The grant was used to pay for the exam entry fee and to pay towards lessons. 

“I discovered the Access Fund two years ago through an email from Trinity. 

The group of students supported by the Access Fund are eligible for free school meals provided by the government. They were learning to play a range of instruments, including the violin, piano, guitar, and saxophone." 

Because of the Access Fund grant I was able to provide music lessons at a reduced rate for these talented students who are from low-income backgrounds. 

I work in partnership with the New Era Music School, a charity organisation that has a long waiting list of students who are eager to learn music but are unable to afford individual lessons due to financial difficulties.  

Working towards taking an exam gives students a goal to work towards. My programme is tailored to the students’ level of performance ability and aims to have them taking the exam within six to nine months. The goal of taking the exam is a fantastic opportunity for students to understand the exam criteria, build confidence in performing pieces, and generally improve their overall performance ability. Our students' achievements are our achievements too. Seeing a student pass an exam when they wouldn't ordinarily have been able to attend instrumental lessons without the support of Trinity’s Access Fund is truly a blessing.” 


Liana, peripatetic music teacher 

Liana, a music teacher in London, was awarded a grant for a group of young people working towards singing or piano exams who are in a minority group and come from an area of socio-economic deprivation. The grant was used to pay for the exam entry fee, lessons and books. 

“During the Covid-19 pandemic lots of my students had to stop lessons so I began looking for options to help overcome this – this is how I discovered the Access Fund. I spoke with parents and we agreed that the Access Fund would offer a great opportunity for my students to work towards taking a Trinity exam.  

I applied for three singers working towards their grade 2 exams and two pianists working towards Grade 8. Once the grade 2 singers started singing, their progress excelled so they ended up doing grade 4 instead.  

These students face financial hardship, and prior to receiving the grant, they often had to stop lessons, so lessons were irregular and progress was slow. As a teacher I volunteered lessons, but this was not sustainable.  

These students are from communities who believe in the benefits of learning musical instruments as it shows the importance of striving for excellence. I wanted to reward their dedication. Knowing that they were getting ready for the exam which is paid for by the grant stimulated the students’ interest to achieve more and go further. 

It was a massive motivation for the students to be able to sit an exam and have their progress recognised. 

They deserve it so much because they work so hard, and they experience so much hardship - it gives me goosebumps thinking about it. I am grateful to Trinity and the Access Fund for the opportunities the grants have given my students. “ 

The 2024 Music & Drama Access Fund is open for applications until Friday 16 February 2024. To find out more and to apply, please visit our website.  



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