Conservatory Merit Awards, Assistantships, Fellowships

Conservatory Merit Awards

Conservatory Merit Awards are available to full-time Conservatory students.  The Conservatory currently provides financial assistance to approximately 60% of our students.  These awards are based on the following criteria:

  • Assessment of audition performance, portfolio assessment, writing sample assessment
  • Interview (where required)
  • Academic achievement

Conservatory Merit Awards do not require a separate application. Students are automatically considered for Merit Award consideration at the audition, interview, and/or portfolio evaluation. 

A list of Conservatory merit scholarships is available here.

Award Notification

Conservatory Merit Awards and graduate assistantships are awarded beginning in late March. Recipients will receive email notices along with Merit Award / assistantship acceptance contracts at that time. The Conservatory adheres to the National Association of Schools of Music code of ethics for awarding and accepting binding dates.

For information about other UMKC scholarships please click here.

Graduate Assistantships and Fellowships

The Conservatory provides graduate assistantships, graduate teaching assistantships, and fellowships to 58 students. A complete listing of these graduate aid opportunities is available below.


The following information describes anticipated Conservatory graduate positions for the academic year 2019-2020.  Unless otherwise indicated the following assistantships require approximately 10 hours per week of service. GTA/GA/Fellowship contracts are for one academic year only, with the possibility of renewal for a second year for masters students and up to three years for doctoral students. 

These descriptions are meant to serve as a guide as you consider your qualifications and interests and determine which positions you wish to pursue. To receive or retain any of these positions a student must (a) be admitted to a degree program and demonstrate reasonable progress toward completion of that degree, (b) enroll in a minimum of nine credit hours per semester, (c) maintain their status as students in good standing with a 3.0 GPA, and (d) adequately fulfill the duties assigned by the supervisor(s) related to quality of work and attendance. If you have questions about these positions, please contact us at

In addition to the graduate student positions listed below, the Community Music & Dance Academy (the Conservatory’s Community School) frequently hires graduate students in the areas of keyboard, voice, instrumental studies, theory and composition to teach community members. For more information about available positions, please contact the Academy at 816-235-5448.

Graduate Fellowship String Quartet 

  • Members of the Graduate String Quartet are required to rehearse for a minimum of four hours per week and will receive a weekly coaching session from a member of the string faculty. Students will also function as members of the UMKC Orchestra as needed by the Director of Orchestras. The Graduate String Quartet will present at least one full recital per academic year on campus, and may also perform in off campus venues as representatives of the Conservatory of Music and Dance.

Graduate Fellowship Woodwind Quintet 

  • Each member of the graduate woodwind quintet will be responsible for five hours minimum of weekly rehearsal in addition to individual preparation.  One hour of this time each week will be devoted to a coaching session with a faculty member.  Other hours will be scheduled by the group no later than the first day of each semester.  The quintet will be responsible for a variety of performances each semester including full recitals, outreach concerts, noon recitals, children’s concerts, and competition
  • Opportunities for the 2019-2020 school year:

Graduate Fellowship Brass Quintet 

  • Each member of the graduate brass quintet will be responsible for five hours minimum of weekly rehearsal in addition to individual preparation. One hour of this time each week will be devoted to a coaching session with a faculty member.  Other hours will be scheduled by the group no later than the first day of each semester. The quintet will be responsible for a variety of performances each semester including full recitals, outreach concerts, noon recitals, children’s concerts, and competitions.
  • Opportunities for the 2019-2020 school year:

Accompanying GAs (Ballet and Modern Dance)

  • There are two Dance Accompanying Assistantships that involve accompanying dance classes for the Dance Division. Interested applicants should be familiar with dance appropriate repertoire (repertoire consisting of simple melodies that can be repeated in “even” phrases, most often in multiples of 2, 4, or 8 measure phrases in various time signatures-2/4, 3/4, 4/4 – polonaise, polka, marches, waltzes, adagios), as well as improvisation. The classes run from 60-90 minutes. Previous experience is preferred.

Accompanying GA (Choral Ensembles)

  • The Choral Accompanying Assistantship consists of rehearsals with the Conservatory Choral Ensembles and accompanying the choirs for performances throughout the year as assigned. Prior experience in accompanying, excellent sight-reading and score-reading skills and ability to follow a conductor is required.

Accompanying GAs (Opera)

  • There are currently two Opera Accompanying Assistantships. One GA will be assigned to play for opera workshop and serve as the music director for the “scenes” program. The other GA will be assigned to accompany opera main stage rehearsals including chorus rehearsals. Schedule varies according to production needs. Prior experience in accompanying, knowledge of standard repertoire, sight-reading capability and ability to follow a conductor is required.

Collaborative Piano GAs

  • There are four collaborative assistantships; two in the vocal area and two in the instrumental area. Students will accompany lessons, studio classes and recitals, as well as rehearse with assigned partners. Prior experience in accompanying/collaborative piano and excellent sight-reading skills are required. The evaluating faculty request that applicants supply repertoire lists and/or printed programs as validation of prior experience.

Composition GTA

  • Student will teach and/or assist with classes in composition, computer music, and/or orchestration. Other possible duties may include maintenance and troubleshooting in the computer music studios, lab proctoring, or scheduling for the composition seminars.

Composition Electroacoustic Music GTA

  • Duties include Studio Manager for the electronic studios in composition, maintaining all hardware and software, liaising with IT, and assisting students and faculty weigh orientation. This GTA also includes teaching our Techinques of Electronic Muisc I (Digital Audio) and II (MIDI). 

Concertmaster GA

  • Student will sit as concertmaster for all services of the Conservatory Orchestra, and will perform in the Chamber Orchestra as needed by the conductor (i.e. sometimes as the concertmaster, sometimes on another part). Student is responsible for bowings in a timely manner.

Conducting GTAs (Choral)

  • Students will assist choral faculty with all aspects of running the choral program. This includes conducting ensembles, teaching conducting (undergraduate), and helping with the Choral library and all choral department events and concerts.

Conducting GTA (Opera)

  • Student will serve as the assistant conductor and as such will assist the music director in all activities of the Fall opera, including conducting piano rehearsals, pit set up, marking music, attending auditions, etc. Student will function as either conductor or assistant conductor of the Spring opera, and will recruit the orchestra for this production. Student will also assist the orchestra stage manager for on stage commitments. Weekly time commitment varies greatly.

Conducting GTA (Winds)

  • Students will assist with rehearsals, set-up, and librarian duties. Students also regularly conduct the Kansas City Youth Wind Ensemble and assist with instrumental conducting classes.

Euphonium GTA

  • Students' duties may include helping with classes (e.g., attendance records), teaching a limited number of classes when the instructor cannot attend class, helping with research, working closely with I.L.L. in keeping up with orders and computer searches, assisting in work with international affairs, conferences, and publications. Students will appear as an instructor of record.

Jazz Studies GTA

  • Student will conduct jazz ensemble and combo rehearsals, supervised and unsupervised, as needed, as well as maintain the jazz chart library and database. Other duties include rehearsal setup, jazz bulletin board maintenance, and assistance with logistics related to concert/recital performances and guest artist appearances. Generally requires approximately 10 hours per week.

Music Appreciation GTA

  • The student will set up the classroom (stage), take attendance and record grades for a class of approximately 100. In addition, the student will provide tutoring and may be asked to teach an occasional class. The student may also be asked to help theory faculty with research, clerical work and computer searches. This assistantship generally requires 8-10 hours per week.

Music Education PhD GTAs

  • Students will participate in the development and administration of various scholarly research projects. Students may also teach or assist with methods classes, conducting courses, student teaching and field experience.

Musicology GTA

  • Students’ duties will include helping with classes (e.g., attendance records), teaching a limited number of classes when the instructor can not attend class, helping with research, working closely with I.L.L. in keeping up with orders and computer searches, assisting in work with international affairs, conferences, and publications. Student should have a good knowledge of computer databases.

Music Theory GTA

  • Student will teach a freshman ear training class in the Fall, continued in the Spring, and possibly a music fundamentals class in the Spring.

Northland Symphony GA

  • Student will play with the Northland Symphony for 5-6 hours per week with the remaining 4-5 hours spent at the Conservatory teaching applied lessons and perform various clerical duties for the trumpet studio.

Opera Young Artists GAs

  • Students will participate in university opera productions and sing in the ensemble of the Lyric Opera of Kansas City. (Required audition for Conservatory voice faculty and Lyric Opera, planned enrollment of at least six hours/semester and other criteria; please refer to young artist information on Conservatory website, or contact 816-235-2900 for updated details)

Orchestra Librarian/ Ensemble Member GTA

  • Student will serve as the orchestra librarian and perform in orchestra, chamber orchestra, and occasionally in the wind ensemble. Responsibilities also include approximately two hours of clerical work (copying, library work, bowings, etc.) for the ensemble per week.

Orchestra Manager GTA

  • Student is responsible for all setup, tear down, and all equipment related to the Conservatory Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra (including opera setup). Student also is responsible for all librarian work, including copying bowings (with assistance), distributing parts, returning music, taking attendance, copying, etc.

Percussion GTA

  • Student will maintain the percussion instrument collection (tuning, repair, and upkeep), serve as the librarian for the Percussion Ensembles, teach secondary students as required (and in some cases primary majors), conduct the percussion ensemble on occasion, coach sectionals for the large-ensembles, act as a liaison between the percussion studio and the large ensemble directors, perform various clerical duties for the percussion studio, maintain an inventory and security system for the percussion instruments and offer supplemental expertise in the GTAs areas of interest.

Piano Teaching Assistantships GTA

  • Students will be responsible for teaching both class piano and applied piano lessons. The weekly commitment of 10 hours will be divided between class piano sections (2 hours for each section), applied lessons (half-hour or an hour per student, depending on enrollment), and a one-hour seminar that meets weekly to discuss course curriculum, classroom procedures and teaching strategies. Potential GTAs must possess knowledge of basic keyboard skills, adequate verbal skills and demonstrate an ability to teach effectively in both a classroom and studio setting. New GTAs are required to enroll in Group Piano Pedagogy the first semester it is offered after their appointment begins.

Recording GTA

  • Student will record, master, and archive concerts and recitals, duplicate and label CDs and DVDs, engineer recording sessions for students and faculty members, and install/operate sound reinforcement systems. Although the GTA will receive training in UMKC’s recording and archival systems, a basic understanding of audio technology and acoustics— as well as prior experience with recording equipment and software—are essential.

Saxophone GTA

  • Responsibilities: Up to 10 hours of work per week, as assigned by the faculty. Duties include assisting with private lesson instruction, saxophone quartet coachings, studio classes, technique classes, and saxophone ensemble, as well as non-music major private instruction.

Voice Class/Studio GTAs

  • Students will be primarily responsible for teaching private, applied voice lessons. Those receiving lessons may include Conservatory undergraduates and graduates as well as UMKC non-music majors. One GTA will also teach a three credit hour course (CONS 101 Voice Class) each semester on the fundamentals of voice production, breathing, diction, song literature and vocal pedagogy. The GTA teaching the Voice Class will also teach applied voice lessons to fulfill the 10 hours of responsibilities per week. Applicants for these positions need to include a resume of all teaching experiences. Voice class/studio applicants MUST send their resume to: Professor Ray Feener in order to be considered for the position.

Stipends and fee remissions

For the 2018-2019 academic year, the Conservatory stipends are:

  • $4,700 for graduate assistants or graduate teaching assistants seeking Master’s degrees
  • $5,650 for graduate assistants or graduate teaching assistants pursuing doctoral studies

Other positions and stipends include:

  • LOKC Young Artists: $8000 for year 1, $6,000 for year 2
  • Brass Quintet, String Quartet and Woodwind Quintet Fellows: $8,000
  • PhD Fellows: $6,000
  • Concertmaster: $10,000

Stipends are paid in nine equal monthly installments on the last day of the month (September – May). 

GTA positions also provide varying amounts of remission of the in-state and non-resident tuition. Students are responsible for any additional fees accrued including incidental fees related to lessons, computer fees, activities fees, etc. Duties may change slightly in any given semester. 

All Conservatory Graduate Teaching Assistantship and Graduate Assistantship duties, awards, stipends and supervisors are subject to change.