The Selene Webb (née Mills) Memorial Bursary Fund supports those whose financial situation would prevent them from attending our courses without assistance, particularly music students and those setting out on a career in music. However, our funds are limited and dependent upon donations from benefactors. Only rarely are we able to give full scholarships, to cover the full course fees. Applicants should be prepared, if possible, to pay some or most of the cost themselves.

Applicants are encouraged to seek help from their local authorities, schools, colleges and sponsors, and to undertake fund-raising activities such as giving concerts. Course costs can be reduced by self-catering for some meals, or by staying with friends in Hitchin.

To apply (in confidence) for financial help, complete and return the application form before 31 May 2022 (applications for 2021 have now closed; the form for 2022 bursaries will appear on this page towards the end of 2021). Please read the guidelines on how to apply for a bursary before sending the form.

What our Bursary students say…

2019 Baroque course: Derek (Viola and Violin)


Each year the course has had a different feel, depending on the theme and the group of participants. However, each year I’ve found it friendly, engaging and equally rewarding. This year was particularly notable for the quality of the instrumentalists, especially the number of fine violinists; students, amateurs and professionals alike.

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This year I attended the Cambridge Early Music baroque summer school for the third time—a testament to my having enjoyed it so much previously. The week-long course is becoming a regular fixture of my summer, and is always one of the highlights of my year. This year was no exception, and I am very thankful to the people at CEM for enabling me to take part again, with the generous support of a bursary. I highly recommend the summer school to anybody with an interest in discovering, performing, and learning about Baroque music. As well as the pleasure of immersive music-making with expert tutors and like-minded people, the facilities and beautiful surroundings at Girton College make for a really enjoyable week.
 
The theme of the course this year was French Baroque music, in particular that of Marc-Antoine Charpentier in Paris, and of his rivals, from Jean-Baptiste Lully to François Couperin, who worked at the court of Versailles. French music of this period had developed its own very particular style. The course tutors did an excellent job of explaining the elements of this style and how to perform French music in le bon goût, including detailed instruction on how and when to use notes inégales, and when to add particular ornaments. By the end of the week, the sound of the choir and orchestra was transformed, and collectively there was a real confidence in how to present the music. It was great to receive such expert instruction in this area and it has given me knowledge I can now use when tackling similar repertoire in other projects.
 
One of the great plus points of this course is its inclusive nature. As in previous years, the tutors carefully considered the repertoire and groupings for the sessions, giving participants the chance to work with different people and with all the different tutors. The tutors were very responsive to the range of standards and experience of the different participants, offering tailored advice to help each of us find an appropriate style and develop our understanding of how to perform the music. As in previous courses, I’m grateful for the individual coaching in technique and performance I received in a violin masterclass with Judy Tarling (violin and viola tutor), and I learnt much from watching and playing with others in the violin & viola class in the mornings. Philip Thorby (vocal tutor) was, once again, an inspiring director in the larger-scale music for choir and instruments, drawing out our best performances and really getting behind the meaning and character of the music. My admiration also goes to Peter Holman (course director & continuo) for finding such interesting and neglected music for us to explore.
 
I first attended this summer school as a relative newcomer to Baroque violin, but this year, now as a more experienced player, I really enjoyed playing with and sharing my enthusiasm with musicians who were discovering historically-informed performance practice for the first time. A first for me this year was playing mostly on Baroque viola, an instrument I had started a few weeks before the course. The summer school offered a friendly environment to ease myself in to playing the new instrument and, after the final public concert, I had a real sense of achievement that I’d successfully made the switch from violin. It has given me the confidence that I can now go further with the instrument.
 
Each year the course has had a different feel, depending on the theme and the group of participants. However, each year I’ve found it friendly, engaging and equally rewarding. This year was particularly notable for the quality of the instrumentalists, especially the number of fine violinists; students, amateurs and professionals alike. It was also great to meet and play with people from across the world, from the United States to Malta to Malaysia, all sharing our enthusiasm for Baroque music.
 
Finally, a personal musical highlight of this year’s course was performing a solo violin line with the choir in Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s beautiful Litanies de la Vierge. A musical memory I’ll treasure. My thanks again for CEM for making it possible.

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2019 Renaissance course: Sara (Lute)

Being a lute player, I was keen to attend all of Jacob Heringman’s classes, which brought lutenists and singers together to explore music from the 16th-century French court. During these classes I learnt many lute accompaniments in order to accompany a variety of singers, and I gained so much knowledge about the style and form of French air de cour. I also had fun playing many French lute duets with another participant on the course. These skills were directly related to my studies and so it was very valuable to receive tuition in these areas throughout the entire week. I also thoroughly enjoyed performing in the final student concert on the final day of the course. It was wonderful to be able to perform music with new-found friends, and that we had learnt in such a short—but intense!—space of time.

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I am a principal-study lutenist at the end of my undergraduate degree at the Royal Northern College of Music, and I was so grateful to receive a bursary to attend the Cambridge Early Music Summer School’s Renaissance Week from 4 to 11 August 2019. This year the course was focused on music of the French Renaissance and tuition throughout the week varied from large-scale group sessions to focused chamber coaching from all the course tutors.

Being a lute player, I was keen to attend all of Jacob Heringman’s classes, which brought lutenists and singers together to explore music from the 16th-century French court. During these classes I learnt many lute accompaniments in order to accompany a variety of singers, and I gained so much knowledge about the style and form of French air de cour. I also had fun playing many French lute duets with another participant on the course. These skills were directly related to my studies and so it was very valuable to receive tuition in these areas throughout the entire week. I also thoroughly enjoyed performing in the final student concert on the final day of the course. It was wonderful to be able to perform music with new-found friends, and that we had learnt in such a short—but intense!—space of time.

In addition to building on skills relating to my lute playing, the Renaissance Week also gave me the opportunity to begin learning the viol and to learn to sing improvised canons in a Renaissance style. I am very grateful to Uri Smilansky for offering these more unusual classes—they were a highlight of the course for me. It was not only educational, but incredibly fun, to try out something entirely new, and I feel I have gained skills that I will continue to work on!

Another highly memorable aspect of the course was that it included two exquisite concerts by The Courtiers of Grace. I was so inspired by the performances and it was wonderful to hear the music we had been focusing on during the week performed by such extraordinary musicians.
The Renaissance Week presented the opportunity for me to meet so many wonderful people who share my passion for Renaissance music. I have gained lasting friendships, particularly with the other bursary students I met on the course. During my education at a music conservatoire, I found I had limited opportunity to network with young musicians who were interested specifically in music of the 16th century. Typically, when it came to performance opportunities within the historical performance department, there were few pre-Baroque music projects to get involved in.

The Renaissance Week at Cambridge Early Music was therefore the most perfect course for me to experience. Overall, the course has been incredibly valuable to my development as a musician, and I very much hope I will have the opportunity to attend again in the future.

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Bursary Application Form

The application form will appear here when applications open for the 2022 Bursary scheme (towards the end of 2021).