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Music Scholarships

Academics / Departments & Programs / Visual and Performing Arts / Scholarships / Music Scholarships

Whether you're majoring in music or not, you can apply for a wide range of scholarships and financial support at Calvin.

Whether you're a music major or just want to develop your musical knowledge and skills through private lessons, ensembles, and music courses, we encourage you to apply for the Music Scholarship Program.

Calvin's robust music scholarship program is tailored to meet you at each stage of your academic career. Many named and endowed scholarships are designated for students in their second through fourth years of study. The music department also offers a limited number of scholarships for first-year students who demonstrate outstanding musical preparation and who wish to continue making music at Calvin.

All music scholarship applications and recorded auditions are carefully reviewed by full-time members of the music faculty. Awards are based on talent and ability to contribute to enriching the musical life of the Calvin community. Scholarships range from $600–$2,000 for one academic year (divided over two semesters) with some endowed name scholarships of greater value.

Scholarships & Requirements

  • Application

    Application Requirements

    Note: all application materials are due by February 1, 2021. Check back later for information on future application deadlines.

    Please note: The music application is part of the general application.

    Application materials include:

    1. On-line application at
    2. Audition recording - Recordings should be submitted as a YouTube link at

    Although many institutions hold live auditions, Calvin University requires a recorded audition so that every applicant, from anywhere in the U.S. or abroad, will receive equal consideration. We do encourage every prospective music student to visit Calvin University, sit in on classes, and perhaps take a sample lesson at the Music Department Day.

    Scholarships for first-year students are available for:

    • Voice
    • Piano
    • Instrumental (Woodwinds, Brass, Strings)
    • Guitar
    • Organ
    • Percussion
    • Composition

    Some scholarships require students to take private lessons in the area of the award and most require participation in an appropriate faculty-directed ensemble for the duration of the scholarship.

    Application Process

    Deadline: February 1, 2021

    1. Complete your application for admission to Calvin University (
    2. Submit application materials. All items must be received by February 1, 2021: 1) Music scholarship application on-line form:; 2) Audition recording (YouTube link)
    3. If you are thinking about majoring in music, consider attending the Music Department Day during Fridays at Calvin. Register for Fridays at Calvin through the admissions office at or 1-800-688-0122.

    Notification of the results for scholarship awards will be mailed to the applicants by March 1, 2021.

  • Auditions

    All Areas

    All auditions should be submitted as part of Calvin's online scholarship application available December 1.

    All performance auditions should be video-recorded live and uploaded to YouTube. Submissions of original compositions can be live video recordings or audio recordings, and should also be uploaded to YouTube. The scholarship application will ask you to provide links to your YouTube recordings. (Here you can find Information on uploading videos to YouTube.)


    Length — no more than 10 minutes total
    Repertoire —Two songs of contrasting styles that best demonstrate musicality, tone, tempo, and technique. Contest, competition, or other solo performance pieces are appropriate. Examples of appropriate selections include:

    • An art song, opera aria or oratorio in English or a foreign language. (e.g. Schubert’s “Die schöne Müllerin,” Vivaldi’s “Un certo non so che,” Barber’s “Sure on this Shining Night”)
    • A selection from music theater repertoire. (e.g. “I Dreamed A Dream” from Les Misérables, “Defying Gravity” from Wicked)
    • A vocal selection of your choice; this could be an arrangement of a hymn, gospel song, popular song, or jazz standard. (e.g. “Go Tell it on the Mountain,” “Precious Lord, Take My Hand,” “Blue Skies”)


    Length — no more than 10 minutes total
    Repertoire — choose two (2) contrasting selections from the following:

    • a baroque work, such as a Sinfonia or Prelude and Fugue by J.S. Bach
    • a fast movement from a sonata by Haydn, Mozart or Beethoven
    • a Romantic work (Chopin, Brahms, Schumann, etc.)
    • an Impressionistic or 20th/21st Century work

    Instrumental (Woodwinds, Brass, Strings)

    Length — no more than 10 minutes total
    Repertoire — choose two (2) contrasting selections from the following list. The selections should best demonstrate musicality, tone, tempo, and technique.

    • a movement from a sonata, concerto or comparable composition
    • a solo piece that is appropriate for high school solo & ensemble festival (contest)
    • a standard solo etude


    Length — no more than 10 minutes total
    Repertoire — choose two (2) compositions representing contrasting styles. One piece should be originally written for the guitar and the other could be a transcription. One of the two may be in a jazz or popular style.


    Length — no more than 10 minutes total
    Repertoire — choose two (2) contrasting selections:

    • one composition by J.S. Bach (such as a Chorale Prelude or a Prelude and/or Fugue)
    • one contrasting composition from any style period (if the Bach work is meditative, this choice should be vigorous and vice versa)


    Length — no more than 10 minutes total
    Repertoire — choose two (2) excerpts, etudes or solo works in contrasting styles on any of the following instruments: snare drum (rudimental or concert); timpani; and marimba, vibraphone, or xylophone. Excerpts may be performed on the same instrument, but demonstrating abilities on two instruments is encouraged.


    The following materials will be requested in the online application:

    1. Recordings of two of your compositions, ideally in contrasting styles, uploaded to YouTube. (These can be live video recordings or audio recordings.)
    2. Scores, lead sheets, and/or lyrics for both recorded compositions you have submitted (in PDF format)
    3. A one-page written narrative that tells us about a little bit about yourself and your music (in PDF format). It should include:
      • A description of your experience with composition thus far (e.g. have you taken lessons? How long? How much work have you done as a composer?)
      • A short program note explaining the central idea and/or history behind each of the two pieces you have submitted.
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