Shields-Gillespie Scholarship

The Shields-Gillespie Scholarship provides financial aid to AOSA members who are interested in furthering the growth of Orff Schulwerk in Early Childhood Education. These persons must demonstrate financial need in order to further their education in Orff Schulwerk, or they must be educators in Early Childhood programs with low-income populations.  Applicants may apply for training, instruments for their institution, or for other valid creative projects.

  • The funds may be used for professional development, instruments and other special creative projects that are associated with Orff Schulwerk and that will benefit the music education of children. Grant funds may not be used to pay for college credit.
  • If funds are to be used for classroom instruments, a minimum of Level I training must have been completed prior to application.
  • Applicant must be actively involved in teaching preschool and/or kindergarten students in low-income populations.
  • Applicant must demonstrate strong motivation to study and use music, particularly the Orff Schulwerk approach, in Early Childhood Education.
  • Applicant must demonstrate personal financial need if the funds are to be used for professional development.
  • Applicant must present evidence that the proposed professional development, instruments, or project will benefit a low-income population.
  • Applicant must be a current member of AOSA and must have been an AOSA member in good standing for one year prior to making application for the grant.
  • Applicant must be a citizen of the United States of America or must have resided in the United States of America for the past five years.


The mother of Avon Gillespie, Harriette Evans Shields was a teacher of preschool children in the Watts area of Los Angeles, California, where she served families of limited financial resources and diverse racial backgrounds. Mrs. Shields used music as a foundation for fundamental learning skills as well as to create an environment for social awareness and individual creativity. Harriette’s program received recognition throughout the City of Los Angeles and the State of California as an example of the positive effect that aesthetic, music-centered learning philosophy has on the development of preschool and kindergarten children, especially those from ethnically diverse and low-income populations. Administered by the American Orff-Schulwerk Association, the scholarship honors Avon’s memory and encourages the continuation of Harriette Evans Shields’ philosophy of using music as a foundation for learning in Early Childhood Education.

Grant Award History
2018 – 3 grants, $4,244.20 awarded: $2,234.20, $1,210, $800
2017 – 2 grants, 2016, $5,183.68 awarded: $3,530.00, $1,653.68
2016 – 2 grants, $6,170.00 awarded:  $3,170.00, $3,000.00
2014 – 1 grant, $5752 awarded
2013 – 3 grants, $5817.54 awarded: $2280, $1784.97, $1752.57
2012—1 grant, $1,840 awarded
2011—2 grants, $1,734 awarded: $1009 and $725
2010—3 grants, $4,500 awarded: $1257, $2190, and $1053
2009—3 grants, $2,000 awarded:  $550, $1039, and $411
2008—4 grants, $8,234 awarded: $1734, $1861, $2012, and $2627