Applications now open for The Music Center’s Spotlight Program

Pictured above – Spotlight 2019 Grand Prize Finalists.

Southern California high school students interested in the performing arts can now apply to be a part of The Music Center’s Spotlight, a free annual arts education and scholarship program.

A TMC Arts program, Spotlight offers arts training, experience and workforce development skills taught by professional artists and arts administrators, and awards more than $100,000 in scholarships.

All students who apply to Spotlight receive written feedback from a distinguished panel of judges and a certificate of achievement. In addition, they have an opportunity to receive valuable audition experience and knowledge in their performance disciplines through master classes and performance. Students also experience a supportive environment in which to develop important life skills, including building self‐esteem, preparation and perseverance.

The deadline for submission is October 14, 2019.

NB: Total number of applicants is limited to 400 per category.

How does it work?

High school students of all skill levels are encouraged to apply for free.

  • All students, whether they apply to Spotlight or not, are invited to attend The Spotlight Academy, a free day of performing arts workshops for students, parents and teachers, on September 15, 2019 at The Music Center. Students can RSVP for The Spotlight Academy at
  • Preliminary 1 (first round) auditions: Students submit an online video in one or more of the following categories: acting, ballet, classical instrumental, classical voice, jazz instrumental, non‐classical dance and non‐classical voice. Note: Semifinalists and honorable mentions from the previous year will bypass the preliminary 1 (first round )  and advance automatically to preliminary 2 live auditions.
  • Preliminary 2 (second round) auditions: Students who advance to this round will audition live before a panel of judges.
  • Semifinal master classes/auditions: Fifteen semifinalists in each category will participate in a master class to gain feedback before their semifinal audition. Two grand prize finalists and an honorable mention in each category are announced after the semifinal auditions.
  • Grand Finale: Spotlight will conclude with a grand finale evening performance at The Music Center’s Ahmanson Theatre on May 30, 2020.

How to apply?

Applying to Spotlight is easy, but first make sure you are eligible to participate:

  • You must be a Southern California high school student who attends a public, private, online or home school. Your home base must be in one of these counties: Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, Santa Barbara, Kern, San Diego, Riverside or San Bernardino
  • You must be an enrolled high school student as of December 31, 2019.  You may not be enrolled as a full time college student
  • Dance students need to check the category rules page for residency exceptions 
  • You can apply to one or more of these categories: Acting, Ballet, Non Classical Dance, Classical Voice, Non Classical Voice, Classical Instrumental or Jazz Instrumental 
  • Previous grand prize finalists are not eligible
  • Previous participants, semifinalists, and honorable mentions are eligible
  • You can apply to more than one category; however you will only be allowed to advance to finals in one, determined by which category you advance to the finals first
  • You must attend final rehearsal and performance if you become a Grand Prize Finalist 
  • All judges decisions are final
  • Complete the online application by October 14, 2019
  • ***NEW THIS YEAR: Each category will be limited to 400 applicants.*** Get your applications in early so you don’t miss out!
  • Prepare and upload your audition video (recorded January – October 2019). Don’t get nervous, we are going to make this super easy. If you get stuck along the way, just email them at 
LOS ANGELES, CA. JUN. 05, 2018. Spotlight 2018 Grand Finale Performance at Walt Disney Concert Hall, an evening of performances from the Grand Prize Finalists of The Music Center’s Spotlight program, which identifies, engages and supports high school artists in dance, voice, acting and music. (Photo Credit: Lawrence K. Ho)

Spotlight is part of The Music Center’s commitment to helping all students gain outstanding arts learning experience in their schools and in the community. The program is designed to help students explore their professional goals and increase their confidence. Spotlight alumni are performing with the world’s best dance companies, top orchestras and leading jazz clubs; singing in the leading opera houses; and starring on Broadway. They are also major executives working behind‐the‐scenes in arts schools, institutions and businesses.

MORE INFO: For more information, including details on how to apply in each category, visit

Pauline Adamek

Pauline Adamek is a Los Angeles-based arts enthusiast with twenty-five years' experience covering International Film Festivals and reviewing new Theatre, Film and Restaurants.


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