2024-2025 Starling Scholarship Information

Gifted Music School is grateful to have received another generous grant from the Dorothy Richard Starling Foundation, which is recognized nationally for supporting the education of future top concert violinists. Since 2017, the Foundation has chosen to partner with Gifted Music School in supporting the violin studio of GMS co-founder, Mr. Eugene Watanabe.


The Dorothy Richard Starling Foundation Scholarship is available to violin students who demonstrate a serious commitment to their musical studies and meet the following eligibility requirements:
  • Applicants must be admitted to the Conservatory at Gifted Music School (new or returning students), and enrolled for the 2024-25 school year.
  • Students who are awarded the scholarship will study with Mr. Watanabe as their only primary violin instructor, or in approved special circumstances, in close collaboration with a Gifted Music School Conservatory violin faculty member. 
  • Applicants must demonstrate exceptional talent and commitment to pursuing a career in music.
Visit our Conservatory Admissions page to learn more about application and audition requirements.

Selection Criteria

The criteria for selection include, but are not limited to:
  • Evidence of an absolute commitment to becoming a concert violinist:
    • Solid track record of practicing consistently (4-hour daily average) and thorough preparation
    • Past record of achievements or successful performances that suggest a possible performance career at a national or international level.
    • Demonstrated prioritization of music training (e.g prioritizing GMS over conflicting activities or extracurriculars)
  • Evidence of a commitment to comprehensive, well-rounded musical instruction:
    • Full commitment and participation in the artistic and academic offerings of the Conservatory program.
    • Citizenship in both Mr. Watanabe's studio and the Conservatory at Gifted Music School.


The scholarship covers the following for each recipient:
  • Tuition for the Conservatory program.
  • Private lessons with Mr. Eugene Watanabe.
  • Limited accompaniment fees for working with a GMS collaborative pianist (Dr. Conlan Miller or Dr. Whitney Pizza)
  • Limited reimbursement for travel to national/international competitions.  Students need to file a travel assistance request (and approval) prior to the event.
Students wishing to renew their scholarships will need to file a renewal application outlining their accomplishments for the past year. Students who receive these awards will be named "Starling Scholarship Recipients" and will play a critical role in representing Gifted Music School and the Watanabe Studio in competitions, performances, program notes, and biographies.

Application Process

  • Prepare the supporting documentation:
    • A personal statement describing the following:
      1. How you meet each of the selection criteria (address each point)
      2. Your background and long-term career goals (describe your musical aspirations, commitment to becoming a concert violinist, and why you believe you are a deserving candidate for the scholarship)
      3. (If applicable) What your previous experience at Gifted Music School has meant to you.
    • A list of accomplishments in violin, music, or any other area you'd like to highlight to the scholarship committee.
  • E-mail your completed application form and supporting documentation to scholarships@giftedmusicschool.org by August 1, 2024.

Have Questions?

Please direct any questions to scholarships@giftedmusicschool.org.

Past Starling Scholars