A Christian College of the Liberal Arts & Sciences

The Presidential Scholarship

Houghton’s most prestigious music award, the Presidential Scholarship, is awarded annually to the outstanding entering first-year student majoring in music.

This award totals $50,000 ($12,500 per year, renewable annually). In addition to being a first-year student pursuing a bachelor degree in music, eligibility for this award is based on the following criteria:

  1. High-quality academic work is expected, evidenced by high school record and SAT/ACT test scores. Continued academic excellence is expected while the Presidential Scholar is studying at Houghton.
  2. The Presidential Scholar shall exhibit evidence of outstanding talent, potential, and solid preparation.
  3. The Presidential Scholar must affirm a personal Christian commitment, undertaking to live this commitment in their daily lives and through their musical calling.

 All auditioning music students who audition prior to March 15 will be automatically considered for the Presidential Scholarship. Audition committees will make recommendations to the Presidential Scholarship committee and the award will be granted at their discretion. Finalists for the award will be notified by March 20th and the award recipient will be notified by March 30th


  1. The scholarship may be held for a maximum of four years, and will be forfeited if the recipient changes to a curriculum other than bachelor of music.
  2. A minimum grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0 in college work is required to retain the scholarship.


The Presidential Scholarship process will consist of two parts:
  1. An audition/interview with faculty in specialty, which will also serve as an entrance audition
  2. A performance of 10-15 minutes of music (composition applicants will perform at least one original piece live, and may also play recordings of other pieces, as appropriate)

Repertoire Guidelines for the Competition

Composition: Written scores (and recordings, if available) of two or three original compositions must be submitted. If invited for an audition, applicants will perform at least one original piece live, and may also play recordings of other pieces, as appropriate.

Instrumental: Three solo pieces or movements demonstrating both technical ability and legato technique. One piece should be from either the Baroque or the Classical era. At least one piece should be performed from memory.

Piano: Three selections from different style periods (Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Modern) to be performed from memory.

Organ: Two selections from different style periods (one by Bach, if possible) on the organ, and one or two selections on the piano. Music may be used for the organ pieces, but the piano compositions should be performed from memory.

Voice: Four or five selections, demonstrating both legato singing and technical ability. The selections should be made from the standard repertoire of art song and easier operatic arias, and all should be performed from memory. At least one song in Italian from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and at least one German Lied (sung in either German or English) must be performed.