FAQ: Composer / Sound Artist Fellowship Program

Do I need to apply with a specific project? Fellowship funds may be used to cover a variety of needs, including but not limited to living expenses, attendance at workshops and seminars, participation in residency programs, travel, equipment purchases necessary for creative work, rental of studio space, buying time from other employment to focus on music making, publication, recording, technical assistance (including legal counsel), healthcare and paying for childcare to make time for art making.

 The fellowship plan may center on particular work(s) or project(s) or a more open-ended area of inquiry, including deepening existing or creating new connections with people, places, organizations, and environments; how the proposed fellowship will benefit the work(s); and why the timing of the fellowship is important.

What if I split my time between two cities? We understand that artists often travel for work and frequently are on the road.  You are only eligible for these programs if your legal residence for more than a year has been and continues to be within the state of Minnesota or the five boroughs of New York City. When in doubt, be guided by the state or city you declare as your residence when you file your taxes.

Will you consider projects from applicants living in other parts of the United States? No, these programs are only open to residents of the five boroughs of New York City or the state of Minnesota. Applicants who are not resident of Minnesota or one of the five boroughs of New York will be deemed ineligible.

Is it okay to apply with a co-applicant? No. This is an opportunity for an individual artist. Members of a collaborative or ensemble who are composers or sound artists may, however, apply individually as long as you have work samples that demonstrate your composition work distinct from those of the ensemble or collaborative.

Is this program open to sound designers or instrument makers? The program is specifically open to artists who compose new music.  The program makes a distinction between sound art and sound design and engineering. The program is open to instrument makers who use those instruments to compose. There is an emphasis on strong composition versus originality of instrument design.

Do I have to have detailed information about my fellowship plan? While this program does not ask for a budget or a specific itinerary or schedule, specifically defined goals and activities are important, including what you intend to do over the course of the year, with whom you will meet or study, where you will travel and why. It is also important to be realistic about what you plan to accomplish. Plans that demonstrate interesting explorations and a limited, focused number of goals typically are more competitive than those that include more projects and dreams then could be humanly achieved within a given year. The panel considers resumes and the letters of reference to gain a deeper understanding of what a typical level of accomplishment is for a particular artist and the likely ability of the artist to execute the fellowship plan.

Is there a format that is preferred for the requested resume? Jerome does not have a specific format requirement, but résumés should include complete information on the works that you have composed, including the length of the work with dates and locations of performances or recordings, as well as your arts training with dates (if applicable).

How critical is the work sample? Work samples are a critical part of the application. Submit your best work, as selection is based in large part on quality of work. Requirements for formatting are strictly applied. Not following them will make your application ineligible. You must submit professional as opposed to student work samples. Work samples in which you are not the composer / sound artist are not eligible. Highly edited video montages or poor quality video samples work against you.

What format is acceptable for work samples? To standardize the work sample review, the Foundation only accepts Vimeo and SoundCloud work samples.  The total time limit for panelist review of audio/video samples is 15 minutes. Applicants may submit up to three (but no more than three) separate samples for viewing as part of the 15 minute total.  Applicants submitting more than 15 minute of work must explicitly direct the panel in the notes field to the specific footage or audio to be reviewed.  Applicants may comment in the work sample notes field about each sample’s relevance to the proposed work, and provide contextual information necessary for the viewing of longer pieces.

Are video samples preferable to audio samples? There is no preference one way or another for video or audio, both are equally acceptable; however, it is better to provide high quality audio samples than to use amateur quality videos.

Why do I have to submit my video work samples via Vimeo instead of YouTube or another video streaming service? Why do I need to submit by audio samples via SoundCloud? Because of the way we run our panels, we need to have all streaming work samples on the same service. We have chosen to use Vimeo for video and SoundCloud for audio, since the vast majority of applicants already use them. Vimeo and SoundCloud accounts are free and uploading work is simple and straightforward. If you have issues creating an account, please contact Jerome Foundation staff.

Are scores required for work samples? No. Not every composer works with scores. If you do use score your work, you may include up to 15 pages of scores in a .pdf format for the audio or video samples you provide.

Why do you require letters of support? Letters of support are very helpful for the panel, providing insight and inspiring confidence. That said, letters that focus on your fellowship plan and that talk in great depth about your work is important. Generic letters work against applicants because they send a signal to the panel that the person writing the letter is not invested in you. Applicants should chose carefully and make sure the references are passionate about your work and have time to communicate this to the panel.

Why don’t you require a budget? This fellowship award is designed to offer artists unrestricted support versus a project grant. The budget is not a review criterion for this program and therefore not a requirement of the application. The panel will be asked to disregard any budget information included in the fellowship plan.

 How competitive is this grant? In 2016, the program received 200 applications for 5 awards. 

May I reapply with the same fellowship plan if I did not receive a grant for my previous application? Absolutely. That said, an applicant that has been rejected is strongly advised to seek feedback and counsel from staff before applying with the same plan yet again.

May I reuse the same letters of reference from my previous application? Yes. The Foundation realizes the time involved in securing reference letters and is happy to upload your previous letters as part of your new application upon request. Please contact us to request this prior to the application deadline. References who wish to review the letters they have sent earlier may request them directly from the Foundation; the Foundation will not provide those letters to the applicants themselves.

How important is the artist statement? Providing an artist statement about your creative vision, your aesthetic philosophy, and creative process is a valuable source of information for panelists.

Do you have a preference for a certain genre of work? No. The Foundation is committed to supporting a variety of genres and works with panelists that have a breadth of experience.

May I email or fax my application materials to the foundation? No, your application materials must be submitted through our online system.

How long do I have to complete my fellowship? This is designed to be a one-year fellowship. For the 2017 program, composers or sound artists awarded fellowships may choose 12 consecutive months any time between July 1, 2017 and December 31, 2019.

May I request feedback on my application? If your application is declined, you may request information on why your request was denied funding by contacting Jerome Foundation staff. However, given the large number of applicants to this program, feedback may be limited.

May I call you if I have additional questions? Yes, please call 651.224.9431 or send an email Eleanor Savage (Esavage@jeromefdn.org)

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