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The ability to make music is one of God’s choicest gifts to His people. Music enriches our lives, rouses our emotions, and stimulates our intellect. At Calvin College, there are many opportunities for you to use your musical gifts to “make a joyful noise!”

The Calvin College Music Department offers a wide variety of scholarships for first year students, transfer students and continuing students. Please browse the tabs below to find the appropriate information applicable to your circumstances, as the processes vary. For information about other music and non-music scholarships available at Calvin College, please visit our Financial Aid Office.

Please note: The total of all Calvin scholarships and grants may not exceed the cost of tuition, including the Calvin Dependent Tuition Waiver as well as named and departmental scholarships administered by Calvin and general college scholarships. A student is still eligible to apply and receive a music scholarship, but it may result in no monetary benefit.


First-Year Student Music Scholarships

The application deadline for 2014-15 first-year student music scholarships has passed. Applications for 2015-16 will be available soon.

Scholarship Types

First-Year Music Scholarship
Scholarships are available for piano, organ, voice, winds (flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, saxophone, trumpet, French horn, trombone, euphonium, tuba), strings (violin, viola, cello, double bass), percussion and composition. Students who are awarded a music scholarship are required to take private lessons in the area of the award and participate in an appropriate faculty-directed ensemble for the duration of their scholarships.

Composition Scholarship
As Calvin College offers many opportunities for student composers and songwriters to have their music performed while in college, we invite incoming students who have already written music to apply for our composition scholarships. Your application might include traditional concert music, original songs, music for worship, film music, or music for web pages or video games. Recipients of the composition scholarship agree to have at least one new work performed in a Calvin context and take private music lessons during the year of this scholarship.

String Instrument Award from the Cayvan Collection
Mr. and Mrs. Leo L. Cayvan were long-time supporters of the Calvin Music Department. In addition to funding several music scholarships, Mr. and Mrs. Cayvan donated an excellent collection of stringed instruments to Calvin. This collection includes a small number of professional-quality instruments that are made available to students as non-monetary awards. Incoming and returning students are eligible for these awards, which are based on achievement and need. The awards are renewable, pending review by a music faculty committee. Students who are awarded these non-monetary Llewellyn L. Cayvan Violin, Viola, Cello or String Bass Awards are expected to perform with the Calvin Orchestra and take private lessons. First year students are required to perform a live or recorded audition to be considered for this award.


Please note: Pre-recorded accompaniments are not permitted.

Live Audition

Live auditions will be held on Saturday, February 8, 2014 and Saturday, February 15, 2014 at the Covenant Fine Arts Center. Applicants are encouraged to attend a live audition.

Recorded Audition

Unable to attend a live audition? Consider submitting a recorded audition. Recordings should be emailed in MP3 format to Heather Rogers, Music Events Manager. All recorded auditions must be received by the scholarship deadline.

Audition Requirements

Piano Auditions
Audition length — 10 minutes
Audition repertoire — choose two (2) selections from the following (music must be memorized):

  • 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 Century work

Organ Auditions
Audition length — 10 minutes
Audition repertoire — choose two (2) selections:

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

Instrumental Auditions
Audition length — 10 minutes
Audition repertoire — choose two (2) contrasting selections from the following solo literature:

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

An accompanist is not required for a live instrumental audition. Please arrange to have a pianist accompany your performance on a recorded audition if the piece calls for it.

Percussion Auditions
Snare drum (rudimental or concert style)
Audition repertoire —

  • one (1) etude demonstrating technical ability (examples of acceptable books include Peters, Cirone, Whaley, Delecluse, Firth, Pratt, Wilcoxen)
  • demonstration of standard rudiments (flams, drags, rolls, etc.)

Mallets (marimba, xylophone, or vibraphone)
Audition repertoire —

  • one (1) short work or etude (5 minutes or less) demonstrating technical and musical facility. Either 2 or 4 mallet works are acceptable (examples of acceptable material include works by Abe, Bach, G.H. Green, Musser, Peters)
  • all major scales through 4 flats and 4 sharps

Audition repertoire —

  • one (1) etude or solo work demonstrating technical and musical facility (examples of acceptable works include etudes by Goodman, Firth, and Delecluse or solos by Carter, Beck, Cahn)
  • ability to accurately tune intervals of 4ths and 5ths

Voice Auditions
Audition length — 10 minutes
Audition repertoire (music must be memorized) — two (2) art songs in contrasting styles:

  • one (1) selection must be in English
  • one (1) selection can be an operatic aria or a musical theater selection appropriate for voice type and development

MP3 recordings are permitted for voice auditions. Please arrange to have a pianist accompany your recorded performance if the piece calls for it. An accompanist (Calvin staff or your own) is required for a live audition. Please indicate your accompianist preference on your application form.

Application Process

All applications and materials must be submitted online.

  1. Complete your application for admission to Calvin College through Admissions.
  2. Choose to attend a live audition or submit a recording.
  3. Submit application materials to the Calvin Music Department by the deadline.
    • Music scholarship application online form
    • Audition recording (MP3)1
    • Composition portfolio (if applying for a composition scholarship)2
    • Copy of your music (for vocal auditions who are using a Calvin staff accompanist.)
  4. If you choose to combine your live audition with a campus visit, register for Fridays at Calvin through Admissions or by calling 1-800-688-0122.

1 Even if you plan to attend a live audition, you are required to provide an audition recording unless you sign the “no recording provided” waiver online. We recommend making a recorded audition to have as a back-up in case of bad weather, illness, or other unforeseen situations. These may be submitted in advance of your audition and will only be used if necessary. If you decide not to provide a back up recording, the department of music will only be able to determine a scholarship award based on a live audition.

2 Applicants for a composition scholarship must submit 2-5 original compositions. Include a score (or lead sheet), recording, and program note (describing the composer’s intent for the music) for each composition. Submissions may be mailed or submitted electronically (PDF, mp3, and Word docx files are preferred.)

Application deadline for first year student music scholarships is Wednesday, January 15, 2014.

All application materials (on-line application, recording, composition portfolio (if applicable) and music for vocal accompanist (if applicable)) must be received by the application deadline. We will notify you about the details of your audition by February 3, 2014. Notification of the results will be mailed to the applicants on March 1, 2014.

Audition Weekend Schedule

While you are on campus for your scholarship audition, we hope that you will take advantage of some other opportunities to learn more about Calvin.

Friday, February 7, 2014 — Music Department Day

Fridays at Calvin (Music Department Day) – Join us for a Fridays at Calvin geared toward students interested in studying music. During Fridays at Calvin you can visit classes, go to chapel, attend an ensemble rehearsal, tour campus, and meet with Calvin faculty. Your parents are also invited to join us to learn more about Calvin. For more information and to register for Fridays at Calvin, please visit Admissions or call 1-800-688-0122.

Scholarship Audition Day (Saturday)

Scholarship Breakout Sessions — The Calvin Music faculty and staff would like to invite you and you parents to one of two breakout sessions taking place on February 8 and 15, 2014. Please plan to join the Music Department for a casual information session and refreshments taking place in the Covenant Fine Arts Center Swets Hall. Please indicate if you are interested in attending one of these sessions on your scholarship application form and we will schedule your audition time as close to a breakout session as possible.


If you are traveling from out of town for your scholarship audition, consider lodging at the Prince Conference Center located on the campus of Calvin College. To check hotel rates & availability, please visit the Prince Conference Center or call 1-866-526-7200.

Please note: This application is for first-year students only. You can find other scholarships, music and non-music, through the Financial Aid Office.

Please note: If you wish to apply for more than one area of study (for example, voice and piano) please complete separate applications for each area study.