American Music Abroad Exchange Program 2018

American Music Abroad Exchange Program 2018

Deadline: January 21, 2018

Applications are open for the American Music Abroad Exchange Program 2018. The American Music Abroad (AMA) is an international exchange program designed to communicate America’s rich musical contributions and diverse culture to audiences around the world. The program is an opportunity for American musicians to travel the world as a music ambassadors, collaborate with musicians and grow their global fan base.

Approximately 15 ensembles will be selected to embark on a 15-day multi-country tour, where they will engage with international audiences through public concerts, interactive performances with local musicians, lectures and demonstrations, workshops, jam sessions, and media interviews.

In cooperation with the U.S. Department of State, American Voices will arrange a series of month-long, multi-country cultural exchange programs including public concerts, interactive performances with local traditional musicians, lecture demonstrations, workshops, jam sessions and media interviews and performances.  These tours will focus on younger and underserved audiences in over 40 countries around the world with little or no access to live American musical performances.  American Music Abroad ensembles are currently expected to travel in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Central and South America and Eastern Europe.

Prior to the respective tours, each ensemble will partake in an American Music Abroad @Home program in Washington, D.C., which includes performances and workshops at schools in underserved communities, immigrant community centers and foreign embassies.


Tours will take place from September 2018 through May 2019. Program activities will focus on younger and underserved audiences in approximately 45 countries in Africa, Asia and Oceania, Eastern Europe, Central and South America and the Middle East.


  • All flights are booked according to the Fly America Act, where applicable, in economy class. Embassies book musicians in quality hotels that meet State Department security and per diem standards.
  • There is a $200 honorarium per tour day, per musician. Most tours will last for approximately 20 days making compensation per musician approximately $4,000.
  • Touring musicians, when abroad, are covered by a standard State Department medical and accident coverage. Musicians are encouraged to take out travel insurance for loss or damage to their instruments. American Voices can assist with finding coverage at reasonable amounts.
  • Each musician will receive in advance of the tour a sum to cover a daily per diem for meals and incidentals as well as lodging based on State Department guidelines specific to each city. Musicians will be expected to travel with credit cards or cash to cover these expenses over the 20-day period.

The only expenses musicians can expect to incur are personal ones such as souvenirs, etc.


  • Each musician must be at least 18 years of age, a U.S. citizen, and either hold or be able to obtain a valid U.S. passport. Please note we cannot make any exceptions.
  • Applying ensembles must be either trios, quartets or quintets (3-5 people).
  • The diversity of traditional American genres we are seeking, includes, but is not limited to Contemporary Urban, Hip Hop, Rock & Roll, Indie Rock, R&B, Jazz, Blues, Broadway Musical Theater and American roots music genres like Country, Gospel, Soul, Bluegrass, Zydeco, Cajun, Afro-Caribbean, Tejano, Southwestern American Conjunto, Native-American and Folk.
  • No musical group or individual musician may participate in the American Music Abroad program more than 3 times in the last 5 years, including prior iterations such as The Rhythm Road.
  • Bands combining or crossing-over genres will be considered.
  • Successful applicant ensembles are required to demonstrate artistic integrity, musical ability and knowledge of the role their genre has played in American history and culture. In addition, bands must demonstrate knowledge of innovative Music Business strategies and a strong commitment to community and education programming.
  • Applicants must be amenable to rigorous traveling and performance conditions, as touring regions and itineraries may be challenging.
  • In addition to concerts and media appearances, the selected ensembles will present educational activities that include, but are not limited to: workshops, classes and community outreach activities.

Selection Criteria

  • High artistic standards.
  • Demonstrated communication skills and the ability to communicate with diverse groups of vastly different age ranges, educational backgrounds, language abilities and levels of exposure to American culture and music.
  • Creative presentation of genre and education materials.
  • Demonstrated commitment to educational and community activities.
  • Knowledge of and experience in Music Business.
  • Experience and/or potential to thrive as cultural diplomats.
  • Ability to perform consistently and effectively in difficult touring schedules, climates and travel conditions.
  • Ability to obtain passport, visa, immunization and complete other preparations.


November 1, 2017: Applications open for the 2018-2019 Touring Season
11:59pm PST on January 21, 2018: All completed applications and supplementary materials must be submitted.
Late January/Early February 2018: AMA announces finalists selected for live auditions.
March 19-24, 2018: Live auditions are held in New York and San Fransisco. American Voices will work with ensembles to schedule live auditions dates and locations (audition location is at American Voices’ discretion).
April 2018: Final ensembles are selected and notified.


Read the FAQs for any question you may have.

Complete the online application.

For more information, visit American Music Abroad Program.