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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

2015 Music Majors Non-Music Majors Transfer Students Continuing Students
Deadline January 14, 2015 January 14, 2015 August 7, 2015 February 13, 2015
Audition type Live or recorded Recorded Live Not required
Audition date February 7, 2015 Recordings only Scheduled individually n/a
Application form Online Online Online Moodle
Awards announced by March 2, 2015 March 2, 2015 Individual basis n/a

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 January 14 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 August 1, 2015.

Recorded Audition Deadline: Monday, June 1, 2015. Recordings should be submitted in mp3 format only.

Application form

Enhance Your Stay

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.

Music Department Day – Friday, February 6, 2015

Join us for a Fridays at Calvin geared toward students interested in studying music. During Fridays at Calvin, you and your parents can visit classes, go to chapel, attend an ensemble rehearsal, tour campus, and meet with Calvin faculty. For more information and to register for Fridays at Calvin, please visit our 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.


Scholarships for First-Year Music Majors

If you are considering the study of music as your major at Calvin, we encourage you to apply for the Music Major Scholarship Program. We hope you can attend our live audition day, which includes many activities that will allow you to learn more about Music at Calvin while also letting our music faculty interact with you.

The application deadline for 2015-16 first-year music major scholarships has passed. However, you may still apply for a second stage scholarship under the "Missed The Deadline?" section above.

Scholarship Types

New for 2015-2016: Four-Year Scholarship Awards! For those students who will be majoring in music at Calvin in the fall of 2015, we are pleased to announce that your completed application materials (submitted by January 14) and live audition on Saturday, February 7 (or recorded audition submitted by January 14 if not attending the live audition day), will be considered for one of our new four-year scholarship awards. Awards range in value from $20,000-$30,000 over a period of four years.

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. First year students are required to perform a live or recorded audition to be considered for this award.

Music Scholarship Day

Please note: Pre-recorded accompaniments are not permitted.

Music Major Live Audition Day
Saturday, February 7, 2015
Calvin College Covenant Fine Arts Center

Audition Day Activities Include:
Lunch with Faculty
Theory Placement Testing
Piano Proficiency Evaluation
Tour of the Covenant Fine Arts Center
Informational Session for Parents

Recorded Audition Deadline
Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Unable to attend a live audition? Consider submitting a recorded audition which will be used for consideration for a scholarship award. Recordings should be submitted in mp3 format only to the Music Department at

Requirements and Information

Instrumental Auditions

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

Vocal Auditions

Vocal 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.

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 14, 2015):
    • Music scholarship application on-line form (below)
    • *Audition recording (mp3 format only)
    • Composition portfolio (if applying for a composition scholarship)
  3. If you are a music major, you can choose to combine your live audition with a campus visit. Register for Fridays at Calvin through the Admissions Office at or 1-800-688-0122.

*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.

All application materials (on-line application, recording and composition portfolio (if applicable)) must be received by the above listed deadlines. If you are participating in the Music Major Scholarship Day, we will notify you about the details of your audition day by February 2, 2015. Notification of the results for scholarship awards will be mailed to the applicants by March 2, 2015.