The MEA has a long history of community philanthropy related to music education. The MEA contributes to local colleges, supporting their music programs in a variety of ways. In addition special scholarships are awarded to selected students of MEA members from the Mary Jean Nelson Scholarship Fund. The Scholarship Committee and MEA Board administer the program. Each year the Mary Jean Nelson Scholarship Fund provides financial assistance for deserving music students to attend summer music camps or festivals and to help music majors who are attending colleges, universities or conservatories. MEA also provides the Allegro Scholarship which covers fees for participation in MEA events.
A recent recipient of an MEA-MJN college scholarship wrote, "I was ecstatic upon hearing that I received this award and am extremely grateful... to purchase textbooks to help further my knowledge in my passions of music and programming... pursuing a career in program development for a music software company." Another student who was recently awarded a summer camp scholarship wrote, "I was lucky enough to be selected as a recipient of the 2014 MEA Camp Scholarship. I used my scholarship to attend the 2014 High School Piano Camp at Westminster Choir College... Though it was only a one week camp, I was able to polish my solo piece with the help of some amazing teachers, and put together a piano quartet in time for the final performance in Bristol Chapel. It was a memorable experience and I hope to return next year!"
The MEA is a nonprofit 501(c)(3), and all donations to the MEA-MJN Scholarship Fund are tax-deductible. The scholarship fund relies solely on donations, matching contributions from employers, and music sales at the monthly MEA general meetings. Making a tax-deductible contribution to the MEA-MNJ (Mary Jean Nelson) Scholarship Fund is a meaningful way to honor a person with congratulations (birthday, anniversary, graduation, or other), get well wishes, or in memoriam. An announcement of your tribute including your special message will be sent to the honoree. We hope you will be generous in your donations so that the MEA can maintain and expand this supportive program.
Information for the Allegro, College, or Camp Scholarships can be found on the corresponding application forms. You can view all details and download the application forms by going to Forms/Downloads on the main menu. Online application forms are available from the teacher's Member Homepage.
Scholarship Committee Co-Chairs:
Sondra Tammam and Charlene Step
The Music Educators Association of New Jersey is comprised of nearly 300 piano teachers across the state. MEA supports music opportunities through activities such as auditions, recitals, competitions, master classes, composition festivals and scholarship awards. Please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to these worthwhile efforts by clicking the 'Donate' button below. You may also download a donation form here.
I was fortunate enough to have the great honor of attending the Westminster Choir College Piano Camp in Princeton, New Jersey, thanks to the MEA Mary Jean Nelson Scholarship I received. At the camp, I had the pleasure of spending an extremely productive and rewarding week with many wonderful teachers, including the esteemed Professor Ingrid Clarfield. Through the coaching, interpretation, and analysis with her and other mentors, I was able to take a relatively rough piece and bring it to a performance-ready level in a very short period of time. I could see the improvement every single day as I polished and fine-tuned the piece.
In addition to working on my solo, I also had the opportunity to learn improvisation, memorization strategies, anxiety control methods, the mechanics of the piano, music history, music theory, and a piano quartet. I had played duets before, but learning a quartet and putting it together was something I had never done before. I was challenged every day, but I went to sleep feeling exhilarated and proud of what I had accomplished. I proved to myself that I could learn new music and polish older pieces relatively quickly — and that I can be more ambitious with my musical goals. I feel truly humbled that I was able to receive a scholarship to attend the camp, and the profound effects it has had on my confidence and improvement as a musician.
I would like to thank my piano and music teachers for supporting and encouraging me throughout this journey, as well as my parents and the MEA Scholarship Committee for providing me with this opportunity. Without them, I would not be who I am today.
— Gordon Li, student of Julia Lam
With my passport in one hand and my luggage in the other, I embarked on a journey to immerse myself in German culture and two weeks of classical music. At the Interharmony Music Festival, I attended masterclasses everyday and studied under the guidance of talented, enthusiastic, and wise pianists. I learned new practice methods and performance techniques that enlivened my rendition of Beethoven’s Sonata Opus 2, No. 1, Prestissimo. I learned to be more precise and articulate with faster notes. I also learned how to be an “actress” — to fully express the tone and the feelings of the piece. I studied how to perform in a chamber group, blending and articulating with musicians playing the flute and bassoon. In all, my performance skills strengthened in the short two weeks at the Interharmony Music Festival.
I met teenagers from New York, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Germany who quickly became my friends. I had never before met a group of such talented and motivated musicians. Because of them, I am inspired to practice smarter and more frequently.
When I was not practicing, I found myself enamored with the student showcases and faculty performances of intricate pieces. During the orchestra concert, I remember being entranced by the famous Hungarian Dance No. 5. The notes reverberated in the church and, at that moment, I found a deeper appreciation for classical music.
I traveled to Sulzbach-Rosenberg with my desire to learn from great artists and returned to New Jersey not only with new techniques, but with a stronger passion and appreciation for classical music, and definitely better “acting” skills! Thank you to MEA-NJ for your generous scholarship that allowed me to explore Germany, to work under the masters, and to enjoy the music and performances of great classical artists!
— Eliza Tagle, student of Beatrice Long
I attended the Sulzbach Rosenberg International Music Festival as part of the Interharmony International Music Festival this summer. To be immersed in music in this small quaint town in southern Germany for two weeks this past August was an experience that was so memorable and enriching. I gained new perspectives from masterclasses and lessons with the knowledgeable and inspiring faculty, had numerous solo and chamber performance opportunities, and became familiar with German culture through our day-to-day interactions with locals and our excursions to Nuremberg and Regensburg.
But even more memorable was the opportunity of meeting and getting to know the musicians. Through our shared appreciation for music, we formed a small community who inspired one another to become better musicians and better people. To do so in Germany — where some of the greatest music in history has been created — made that experience so much more special.
I had a wonderful time in Germany and would like to thank the MEA of NJ again for the generous scholarship!
— Kelsey Lee, student of Beatrice Long
The Fund was named for one of the MEA's former outstanding teachers, Mary Jean Nelson. Born in 1926 in Logan, Utah, Mary Jean took to the piano at an early age. By 14 she was already performing at church functions and teaching piano to other children. After graduating from Utah State University in 1948, where she received the Outstanding Graduating Student Award, she was admitted to the Juilliard School of Music in New York. Mary Jean opened a piano studio in Morristown, NJ, after she and her husband and two children moved there in 1960. She was an active soloist and accompanist in the area, performing with various chamber groups, soloists and choral ensembles. She was also a judge in MEA competitions, and a recipient of the Annual MEA Teaching Award. The Fund was named in her honor shortly after her sudden death in July, 2000.