Individuals Playing Instruments in Band.

Music Scholarships

Learn about the scholarships available through the Department of Music.

Music scholarships are available to music majors, music minors and music participants. Scholarships are renewable upon meeting the criteria listed in the scholarship acceptance letter and based upon funding.

All music majors must audition for entrance into the program. Students seeking a music scholarship will use that audition process as meeting the requirement. If you are not seeking a music scholarship or are applying after the scholarship process is complete, contact David Holdhusen at or the appropriate faculty member in your area of study to set up an audition. A late audition may take place during the summer months or at the beginning of the semester.

Application Process

The USD Music Department offers a variety of scholarships. To apply, you'll complete the music scholarship application form and then audition. The form can be mailed or submitted online for your convenience.


All programs, policies and procedures described are subject to change. All statements in this publication concerning requirements, dollar amounts, conditions or other matters are for informational purposes only and are subject to change without notice.


Auditions for 2023/24 scholarships were held in February of 2023. Audition dates for 2024/25 will be held on February 15 and 21, 2025.

Undergraduate Entrance & Scholarship Audition

  • Prepare two selections in contrasting styles (i.e., one slow tempo, one fast; one emphasizing sustained phrases, one emphasizing rhythmic or quick articulation).
  • You may audition in more than one area (i.e., voice and flute, trumpet and violin, etc.).
  • If you have questions about repertoire choices for the audition, contact the appropriate faculty member directly.

Select and prepare your repertoire well in advance so you have enough time to perform to the best of your abilities. In your audition, the scholarship committee is listening to and evaluating your current skills as well as your potential to grow as a musician. It is important for us to assess whether each student we admit and award scholarships to has the potential to be successful in the music profession.

The department can provide an accompanist for your audition or you may bring your own. If you would like to use our accompanist, send a copy of the score at least three weeks prior to the audition date.

On the day of the audition, arrive at least one hour prior to your scheduled audition time. Practice/warm up rooms will be available, and you will have a time scheduled to rehearse with the USD accompanist if requested.

Each student will have a 10 minute audition time – plan your repertoire accordingly. Additional time will be granted if performing on multiple instruments. After you perform, you will meet the faculty and have an opportunity to ask questions regarding the music program.


Music Competitions

In addition to applying and auditioning for scholarships, you have the opportunity to audition in competitions.

All incoming freshmen or transfer student pianists who are majoring, minoring or participating in music are eligible to compete. To audition, you must select audition materials that demonstrate two works of contrasting style from two of the following periods of music:

  • Baroque
  • Classic
  • Romantic
  • Contemporary

Audition pieces must be performed from memory. Transcriptions, arrangements and popular music styles are not allowed.

The Truran Piano Competition is open to pianists in grades eight through 12. Contestants are divided into categories by school year. One first place and one second place will be awarded for each of the five categories. The first-place cash award for each category is $200; second place, $100. Contestants must play two or three works from memory. The works must be from two of the following compositional periods:

  • Baroque
  • Romantic
  • Classic
  • Impressionistic/Contemporary

Departments & Facilities

Explore the departments, facilities and centers that contribute to your education in music.
the cello section of the USD Symphony


Develop the skills necessary to be successful in your musical career while gaining lifelong friends and mentors. Whether you are interested in teaching, music performance or music history — or some combination of the three — the Department of Music will provide you with real-world experiences and connections to help you succeed.

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