Amber Music Awards

The Amber Trust was set up to help all blind and partially sighted children – including those with additional disabilities – to access and enjoy music. Amber Music Awards exist to provide financial grants to individual children and young people in support of this vision.

The Music Awards are limited by the Trust’s capacity to raise funds. As the Trustees often receive more applications than they are able to support, Amber can only consider requests that will be of clear and direct benefit to the child or young person. Applications will be assessed using the following criteria:

  • Importance of music to the child
  • Expected benefit of the Award to the child
  • Capacity to obtain funding elsewhere
  • The Amber Trust’s capacity to fund

What do Music Awards fund?

Amber Music Awards are open to all blind or partially sighted children and young people up to the age of 18, who may also have other disabilities or special educational needs. Music Awards can fund:

  • Instrumental and singing lessons
  • Music sessions for those with a life-limiting neurodegenerative disease
  • The purchase of musical instruments or items of specialist musical technology
  • Tickets and assistance with attending concerts
  • Travel and accommodation to access opportunities for making music

Who can make the application?

Applications for an Amber Music Award must be made by a parent* or carer* of a blind or partially sighted child or young person (please note that we are unable to accept applications that have been completed on behalf of a parent or carer). From the age of 16 a young person can make an application in his or her own right. We accept applications for more than one child in the same family but a separate application should be submitted for each child.

*This should be a person who has parental responsibility for the child and with whom the child lives.

When should I apply?

Amber holds three award meetings per year. Applications should be submitted by the deadlines given below to guarantee they will be included for consideration at the meeting. Late applications will only be considered at the discretion of the trustees in exceptional circumstances. In most cased late applications will be carried over to the next meeting.

Meeting Deadline
March End of February
July End of June
December End of November

How much funding can I apply for?

You can apply for a Music Award to fund up to three school terms or a maximum 36 lessons or sessions across the school year. Music Awards for music lessons are usually only granted for one instrument.

* It should be noted that for new applicants it is usual for the Trustees to offer a one term grant with the request that a reapplication for further funding be made to the next meeting with a short report from the music teacher.

How long does each Music Award last?

The Music Award should be activated within six months of the date of the offer letter outlining the grant.

What to do next

If you are applying for the first time please take time to read our Music Award guidelines which includes a checklist of the information you will need to complete the online application form.

Music Award Guidelines PDF Document

Apply for a Music Award here

Registration for music teachers and therapists

There is an online form to gather information about the music teachers or therapists working with children applying for an Amber Music Award. This is to ensure that the Trustees have all the relevant information needed when assessing new and re-applicants for Music Awards and that we have up-to-date information when processing invoices.

At Amber we know that hourly rates charged for music lessons and music therapy can vary widely. In order to provide a guide to the levels considered appropriate by Amber, the Trustees have developed a matrix of hourly rates to act as a guide for applicants when applying for a Music Award, and the teachers and therapists whom it is proposed should work with them. This is shown below:

TEACHER Little experience Some experience Very experienced + Significant visual
impairment experience
No formal qualifications £15 £20 £25 add £5
Certificate level £20 £25 £30 add £5
Teaching diploma or degree £25 £30 £35 add £5
+ Visual impairment
add £5 add £5 add £5 add £10
THERAPIST Little experience Some experience Very experienced + Significant visual
impairment experience
Must be registered music
therapist with HCPC
£30 £35 £40 add £5

Please take a few minutes to complete the online form which can be accessed by clicking on the link below.

Teachers and therapists please register your details here.

Please note that by agreeing to us holding your details in this way you will be helping us to build a database of teachers and therapists who work with children with visual difficulties. As we often have enquiries from families seeking a suitable teacher for their child we hope that we will be able to point them in the right direction.

Teachers’ and Therapists’ Music Reports

For teachers and therapists who are already working with a child, please complete this report form:

Music Report Form

The form is designed to streamline the process of reporting the impact of Amber Music Awards, and, taken as a whole, the reports will be used anonymously to provide Trustees with the evidence that they need to secure future funding. Please note that some questions require answers from everyone (these are marked with an asterisk), while others are optional. Please select the ones that are relevant to your sessions. To make things easier, a number of questions have ‘drop-down’ options. It is not possible to part-save a form (although you can navigate between pages within it), so, before starting, we advise that you download the following information about Sounds of Intent:

Sounds of Intent PDF

and have to hand information regarding the number of sessions you have offered, and the child’s attendance rate and punctuality. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Professor Adam Ockelford at

Please note that future requests for repeat funding for a child are contingent on a satisfactory report being received.

Where you have the necessary permission from parents, we encourage you to submit short videos or audio recordings of the child engaging in musical activity with you. These will only be used by Amber for the purposes of gauging the impact of its funding, and will be viewed only by the Awards Panel. To send a video or audio file, please email them to: Larger files should be send via a Dropbox link, We Transfer or in another suitable way.