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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"!

Music Scholarship Eligibility

Scholarships for first-year students are available for:

  • Piano and Organ
  • Voice
  • Brass and Woodwinds (flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, saxophone, trumpet, French horn, trombone, euphonium, tuba)
  • Strings (violin, viola, cello, double bass, harp, guitar)
  • Percussion
  • Composition

Scholarships at a Glance

2016 Music Majors Non-Music Majors Transfer Students Continuing Students
Deadline January 13, 2016 January 13, 2016 August 8, 2016 February 12, 2016
Audition type Recorded1 Recorded1 Recorded1 or live Not required
Audition date Optional2 n/a Scheduled individually n/a
Application form Online Online Online Moodle
Awards announced by March 1, 2016 March 1, 2016 Individual basis n/a

1 Recordings should be submitted in mp3 format only. Pre-recorded accompaniments are not permitted.
2 Live scholarship auditions are will be held on Music Department Day for any prospective music major who would like to be heard by a faculty member. This audition will not take the place of your recorded audition.

Students who are awarded a music scholarship are usually 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 (some exceptions apply).

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.

Missed The Deadline?

We strongly encourage any student who is interested in a scholarship to submit application materials by the deadline. However, there may be a few scholarships remaining that can be awarded during the second stage scholarship application process. This stage is designed for both music majors and non-majors. Notification of the results for scholarship awards will be mailed to applicants by June 15, 2016.

Recorded Audition Deadline: Friday, April 15, 2016. Recordings should be submitted in mp3 format only.


Scholarships for First-Year Music Majors

For those students who will be majoring in music at Calvin in the fall of 2016, you are eligible for all scholarship awards including a limited number of four-year scholarship awards. Awards range in value from $20,000–$30,000 over a period of four years. Make sure to mark “Music Major” on your application.

The application deadline for first-year music major scholarships is Wednesday, January 13, 2016.

Music Department Day – Friday, February 5, 2016

Join us for a Fridays at Calvin geared toward students interested in studying music. During Fridays at Calvin-Music Department Day, you and your parents can visit classes, go to chapel, attend an ensemble rehearsal, hear a short recital by current majors, participate in an informative breakout session and meet with Calvin music faculty. We will also be holding live scholarship auditions for any prospective music major who would like to be heard by a faculty member. This audition will not take the place of your recorded audition. If you would like a live audition, make sure to complete that portion of the application An audition time will be assigned to you on February 5. To register for Fridays at Calvin-Music Department Day, please visit the Admissions Office.

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. Contact the Prince Conference Center directly to make a reservation at (616) 526-7200 or 1-866-526-7200 or online at the Prince Conference Center.

Scholarship Types

First-Year Instrumental/Vocal 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) and percussion. 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.

Recorded Audition Requirements and Information

Recordings should be submitted in mp3 format only to the Music Department at by the above deadline. Below are the requirements for your recorded audition.


Length — 10 minutes
Repertoire — choose two (2) selections from the following (music must be memorized for live auditions):

  • 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


Length — 10 minutes
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)


Length — 10 minutes
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


Snare drum (rudimental or concert style)
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)
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

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


Length — 10 minutes
Repertoire (music must be memorized for a live audition) — 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

Composition Scholarship Requirements

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 Process

  1. Complete your application for admission to Calvin College at
  2. Submit application materials to the Calvin music department.
    All items must be received by January 13, 2016:
    • Music scholarship application on-line form (link below)
    • Audition recording (mp3 format only) to the music department at
    • Composition portfolio (if applying for a composition scholarship)
  3. If you are a music major, 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.

Application form