Skip to Content

School of Music

Banner Image

Creativity in Music Awards


The purpose of the Creativity in Music Awards is to support music students who pursue inventive projects while giving them a framework for expanding boundaries, taking chances and discovering their personal voice. Initiative objectives include:
•    Cultivating and recognizing creativity within our student population
•    Marrying artistic excellence with creative potential
•    Fostering a safe space for innovation and experimentation
•    Developing critical/independent thinking
•    Developing excellent professional written communication skills
•    Broadening student understanding of success
•    Exploring beyond traditional music school requirements


2017 focus celebrates creative live performance events. These include:
•    Degree recitals
•    Chamber music performances
•    Student organized studio performances
•    Educational events
•    Non-required performances (on or off campus)
•    Other student-driven events involving musical performance and an audience

Proposed projects must be completed by Spring or Summer 2017.


A maximum of six finalists receive a 30-60 minute consultation and up to $250 to support related expenses. Finalists compete for three top awards:

    1st prize - $1500
    2nd prize - $1000
    3rd prize - $500

Judges have discretion over which awards to offer and the amount of each award. They may opt to present less than the maximum depending on the quantity and quality of proposals.


Eligible applicants include all full-time music majors, undergraduate and graduate. Proposals may come from individuals or teams involving at least one music student.


1. Required info meeting. Competition overview, Q & A. (If you cannot attend, contact us to set up another time to meet with you.)
2. Proposal due (Fri, Nov 18 by 5 PM). Consists of the following:
a. Cover sheet. Complete the project overview cover sheet.
b. Two contrasting recordings featuring you/the group. (This does not have to be the same pieces featured on competition event.)
c. Project proposal. In 500-words or less, describe the proposed event. What will the audience experience? How is your event creative/innovative?
d. Faculty letter of support. Letter of project support from sponsoring faculty member.
3. Finalists announced (Dec 1). A maximum of six proposals will advance to the final round.  Each is awarded up $250 for event support in addition to a 30-60 minute consultation with a Spark advisor.
4. Event (Jan-Apr). Perform and video your event at the scheduled time.
5. Project summary due (Apr 11). Video of performance plus a 500-word maximum description of event. (May be borrowed from original proposal, though we anticipate many events will evolve from the initial description.)
6. Winners announced (April 18, 1:10 PM). Top three winners announced during School of Music Awards Day.

Applications should be emailed as PDFs with the subject heading “Creativity in Music Awards” to by 5PM on November 18, 2016.

If granted an award, your final report (500-1000 words) must include:
1. Project summary: Description of how the project went and when it was completed. Were any elements different than your original proposal?
2. Lessons learned: What did you learn from this project? Any surprises?
3. Next steps: Based on what you’ve learned, what decisions will you make for a more creative and successful future?

Final reports should be emailed as PDFs with the subject heading “Creativity in Music Final Report” to

Important Dates

November 18, 2016, 5PM: Applications due
December 1, 2016: Finalists announced
April 11, 2017: Project summary due
April 18, 2017: Winners announced at School of Music Awards Day


First round applications: Members of Spark team
Finalist round: Music professionals not involved with USC School of Music


Members of the Spark team are available to consult about project design and the application process. If you have questions or would like to meet with someone, please email