If you are a songwriter or composer between the ages of 15 and 24, you may be eligible for the John Lennon Scholarship Program. The Lennon scholarship program was established by John Lennon’s wife, Yoko Ono, in 1997. The program was established to recognize and reward young songwriters, working in any genre and support them with a songwriting scholarship.
Applicants are only accepted from a select list of schools each year. You can get this list through the BMI Foundation. Note that applicants may also be selected from the National Association for Music Education as well, but the competition is only open to students who are currently enrolled at an institution that has a MENC Collegiate Chapter, and that chapter must be active. The John Lennon scholarships can also be awarded to the alumnus of such institutions as well, as long as they meet all other requirements. If your school is not on the list provided by BMI, you should contact the MENC Chapter Advisor at the music department of your school.
There are usually three Lennon scholarship awards given each year. There is one $10,000 scholarship, and two $5000 scholarships. In order to apply, you must submit an application and an original song that includes lyrics. The song must be accompanied by whatever instrumentation that you choose, and the song cannot be based on any other work or song.
In order to be eligible for these songwriting scholarships, you cannot have had any work commercially recorded or distributed, and you cannot have already won the John Lennon Scholarship in the past. If there is more than one song writer for the song, all of the writers must be eligible for the Lennon scholarship and each must submit his or her own application, and if those writers win this songwriting scholarship, the John Lennon scholarship amount will be divided equally between all writers of the winning song. The rights to the song that you submit for the competition cannot be assigned to anyone else either.
You must submit your song, with your completed application and any other requested materials. The song must be submitted on CD or audio cassette. The CD or Cassette tape must be labeled with the title of the song, and you must include three copies of the lyrics with the song. Your name cannot appear on the CD, Cassette, or the lyrics of the song. You also may not include the name of your school. This is why the application and all other requested materials must be submitted at the same time, and the MENC Chapter Advisor must confirm the application as well. It is also vital that you keep copies of your song and lyrics, as they will not be returned to you.
As you can see, this is a very lucrative composer and songwriting scholarship that is awarded based on talent more than anything else. It is important to understand, however, how BMI will use your song should you win the competition, and one of the Lennon Scholarships. For more information about the rights of BMI should you be selected as a winner go to John Lennon Scholarship program.