Auditions, Scholarships & Lessons

Instrumental and vocal performance scholarships are available by audition to all talented musicians regardless of whether a student plans to major or minor in music.


Scholarship amounts are awarded in the following manner:

 Freshman year: $1,000
Sophomore year: $1,000
Junior year: $1,500
Senior year: $2,000
TOTAL: $5,500
If you receive a performance scholarship, you are required to participate in an ensemble every term at Alma College. Students are also encouraged to take private lessons with our studio teachers (piano students are required to study privately each term). To be considered for a performance scholarship, you need to apply to Alma College and arrange for an audition with the Music Department. Please contact Shirley Kitzmiller, music department secretary, at (989) 463-7167 or
Outstanding student performers who have already auditioned and been recommended for a performance award may also be invited to a second audition to be considered for a Distinguished Performance Scholarship.

Vocal Auditions

Vocal students interested in singing with one of our choirs should contact Dr. Will Nichols at (989) 463-7221 or

What to prepare:

  1. You should prepare two solo songs that allow you to demonstrate the quality of your voice and the level of your musicianship. It is important that you audition with solo songs and not simply your part of a choir song.
  2. You should feel free to pick any types of music that you like to sing. Students have successfully auditioned with classical songs, Broadway hits, pop songs, gospel songs, etc.
  3. If you are not sure what to sing, please contact Dr. Will Nichols at (989) 463-7221 or for more information.
  4. Mr. Anthony Patterson is available to accompany vocal auditions on weekdays after any choir rehearsal. He can play absolutely anything! Any type of music, any style, any speed and any key. Bring a copy of your music for Mr. Patterson and he will make it easy for you.

Instrumental Auditions

Band and Percussion Auditions contact Mr. David Zerbe at (989) 463-7213 or to schedule an audition.

Orchestra Auditions contact Dr. Murray Gross at (989) 463-7119 or to schedule a string instrumental audition.

What to prepare:

  1. Be prepared to tell us about your high school band or orchestra experience and if you know how to play more than one instrument.
  2. Major and minor scales of your choice.
  3. Two short and contrasting etudes or solo pieces from solo and ensemble festival or as recommended by your private lesson teacher. Auditioning by memory is not required.

Piano Auditions contact Dr. Raymond Riley at (989) 463-7295 or to schedule an audition.

What to prepare:

  1. Two contrasting works from the standard classical repertoire. Auditioning from memory is recommended, but not required.
  2. A brief biography indicating repertoire and musical experiences (i.e. competitions, camps, recitals, etc.).

Scottish Arts Scholarships: Piping

To be considered for a Scottish Arts Scholarship in Piping, you’ll need to apply for admission to Alma and arrange an audition with Andrew Duncan, Piping Director and Co-Coordinator of Highland Arts. You must be accepted to Alma College before you can apply for a scholarship. If you have questions, contact our Admissions Office at 1-800-321-ALMA or Andrew Duncan.

Distinguished Performance Scholarship

These larger awards carry with them the expectation that the recipients will quickly become student leaders in the music program and Alma College music ensembles.

These auditions, vocal and instrumental, are held in the spring, and candidates are notified by letter of invitation. For the performance, students must perform a movement from a concerto or sonata or equivalent composition from the standard repertoire. Students are encouraged to perform without music. Provisions may be made regarding an accompanist.

In addition to the awardees, alternates may be selected. Notification to the students will be made by letter during the following week. Acceptance of the scholarship requires that the student perform in an ensemble as assigned by the faculty and take studio lessons.


Receiving a performance scholarship qualifies you to take private studio lessons with one of the department’s outstanding professionals in the music faculty. You do not have to be a major or minor to enroll in lessons. Lessons are available at two levels in half-hour- and hour-long units. The private instruction fee for all levels is $165 per term.