The Music Department awards a number of scholarships annually to first-year students. All scholarships are available regardless of whether a student majors in music.

From the submitted Music Scholarship Application materials, approximately 10-15 students will be selected as finalists for our large scholarships. All finalists will automatically receive a James C. Harper Scholarship to fully fund music lessons for the duration of their tenure at Davidson.

The Music Department will then perform a second review of the finalists’ music portfolios and award Donald J. Plott, J. Estes Millner, Zachary F. Long, and Vail Family Scholarships to several of the finalists, ranging from $3,000-$15,000 per year each.

Students are not required to major or minor in music in order to keep their scholarships. Our top scholarship recipients are required to take one-hour lessons for credit, while other recipients may have the option to take non-credit lessons. These lessons, funded by the Harper Scholarship, must be taken on the voice or instrument on which the applicant applied.

Music scholarships are renewable for the recipients’ remaining three years at Davidson, provided the student:

  • Meets Davidson College’s Standards of Progress
  • Participates fully each semester in the ensemble indicated on the award’s “Award Notification Letter,” including any ensemble tours and Commencement Weekend performances, and earn a positive recommendation from the ensemble director
  • Serves as an usher for a minimum of two Music Department-sponsored concerts or recitals per year
  • Take 2 MUS classes (students with only a Harper Scholarship are not required to take MUS classes)
  • Participates in Music Department events for future Music Scholarship finalists and/or serves as a contact for prospective students, if asked

Application Requirements

Students wishing to apply must submit the following by the deadline date of their chosen application plan: Early Decision I - November 15; Early Decision II - January 2; or Regular Decision - January 5. Please note that the video(s) submitted with your scholarship application will be used for both the preliminary and final determination of scholarship awards. There is no live audition on campus, and you will not be asked to provide new videos at a later time.

Recordings for the Special Application Scholarship Form

  • Please upload to your applicant portfolio unedited video recordings approximately 10 minutes in overall total length. You may submit separate videos for each piece or a single video containing all pieces, and they should not contain any exercises or scales.
  • For optimal evaluation, care should be given to the recording environment and quality.
  • Recordings of recitals or concerts are acceptable, but quality should be taken into consideration.
  • Please do not send sound files as email attachments; rather, upload your video files.
  • See the Music Selection Guidelines below to guide preparation of your audio submission.

Music Selection Guidelines: Video Submission


Three contrasting songs or arias to include the following:

  • One art song in a language other than English
  • One art song in English from any period (excluding musical theater)
  • One work of your choice, which may include musical theater

All selections must be performed from memory in their entirety, although long instrumental passages may be shortened. Unless written for unaccompanied voice, the selections should be accompanied by either a live accompanist or pre-recorded tracks, but please do not use tracks that contain recordings of any singers other than yourself.

The selections should demonstrate the singer’s musical sensitivity and technical proficiency.

Piano (Classical)

Three contrasting selections that demonstrate the student’s musical sensitivity and technical ability. These selections can include, but are not limited to, any of the periods of music as typically defined (Baroque, Classical, Romantic) and any of a whole range of more recent music (impressionist, jazz, minimalist, postwar Avant Garde, etc.).

Examples of acceptable submissions might be:

  • Movement(s) of a Baroque Suite, a Classical sonata movement or set of variations, and an Impressionist piece
  • Baroque invention or fugue, a Romantic etude, and a work by a contemporary composer

Other Instruments (Classical)

Two selections from the standard repertoire of your instrument:

  • One moderate or fast tempo piece that demonstrates technical proficiency
  • One slower piece that demonstrates musical sensitivity

Unless written for unaccompanied instrument (such as a Bach suite or a percussion solo), the selections should be accompanied by either a live accompanist or pre-recorded, accompaniment-only tracks.

Jazz Instruments

Students wanting to apply as jazz musicians will need to prepare two jazz standards. They can be recorded with a group or recorded with backing tracks. With each, play through the melody/head, then perform one or two improvised choruses.

For more information on Music Scholarships, email Tara Keith at or call 704-894-2841.