Herbert Zipper Scholars

About the Herbert Zipper Scholars Program

Since its inaugural year of 2013, the Herbert Zipper Scholars program has offered comprehensive, tuition-free music education to the most talented young musicians from low-income families in the Los Angeles area.

The scholarships given to the Zipper Scholars is substantial, and a particularly special component of the program is its “whole student” approach. Each Zipper Scholar has a complete and custom curriculum curated for them so that they are given every tool necessary to excel and realize their talent. In addition to coursework, ensemble participation, and private lessons, their education includes juries, performances, and the camaraderie that comes from meeting other young musicians on the Colburn campus.

In the 2021-2022 school year the Herbert Zipper Scholars program budget was $337,000 and supported 36 students with scholarships ranging from $3,400 – $11,270.

With the entire pathway at Colburn, from Early Childhood to Band, Strings, Harp, and Herbert Zipper Scholars, students from some of the lowest income areas of Los Angeles and the least represented minority communities have access to a Colburn education at every stage of their musical development.

Musical Experience

The Zipper Scholars program is designed to deliver a comprehensive and meaningful education that ensures that each Scholar is prepared for postsecondary education and is ready to thrive as a student artist. Their progress is measured across several metrics: increasing level of difficulty of repertoire; improved confidence and mastery of instrument; deeper musical comprehension through music theory classes; successful audition and placement into applicable ensembles and continued improvement in seating and ensemble placement; sustained high level of inter- est and commitment to musical studies; participation in recitals, competitions, and festivals; and positive feedback from panels in annual juried recitals. In addition, the Zipper Scholars’ academic life is diligently monitored, as a well-rounded education is paramount to a student’s success.


As part of our “whole student” approach, each student benefits from an academic advisor who mentors them throughout their studies at Colburn. Upon graduation, each Scholar will take with them confidence, experience, knowledge, and preparedness to continue their studies in a 4-year college, university, or music conservatory.