Military Band

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by erd402, Mar 31, 2011.

  1. erd402

    erd402 Pianissimo User

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    He is actually in college now and just joined the NG band the summer after his senior year in high school. This was the first military band he's been part of.
     
  2. entrancing1

    entrancing1 Mezzo Piano User

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    Buffalo, NY
    The director of the a community band I played with was Army National Guard playing in the governors band. He was deployed for combat duty in Iraq. He came back, but wasn't the same person. At risk of stating the obvious, war changes people. Our all volunteer forces are stretched pretty thinly, the risk of being deployed in a combat role is great.
     
  3. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    For what it's worth, during my time in the Army, had I ever been asked to pick up a rifle and go fight on the front line, I would have gladly done it - I swore an oath that I would do it and I meant it, regardless of the price. Even if it had been in my final years of service, I still would have done it. If you can't say say that, then don't do it. If you are afraid to step up, then step back. If you think you'll have issues if you do get deployed, then don't sign the line - it's that simple. I left service after 14 years - getting out because I didn't want to be deployed at that time does not make me a coward - 14 years of service says otherwise - I paid my dues and served my time, and then some.

    However, if you want to take advantage of the benefits of service and you aren't afraid of a little sacrifice - if you think you can give of yourself and not be selfish in your own self-interests, then military service might be for you.

    EDIT: Last thing and then I'll get off of my soap box. The US Military bears the distinction of being all-volunteer. While the military has done the stop-loss thing where they won't let people get out at the end of an enlistment, (see my comment above about inactive reserve, as well as the small print of the contract service members sign) there isn't a draft or mandatory service. Boiled down to its basics, the job of the US military is to engage in warfare activities. I have heard a lot of belly-aching in this thread about people getting killed, or coming back from wartime activity changed. Ok - I can acknowledge that. However, every single one of those people voluntarily signed the line and took the oath, and if they didn't understand what they were getting involved in or weren't willing to give the ultimate sacrifice in the service of their countries, then that's on them.

    I said it before and I'll say it again, I have no regrets about my military band service, and I'd do it again today if I was a young man facing the same decisions and opportunities.
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2011
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    I went into the Army band program in 1974. Back then they had a program where if you volunteered for three years and could audition for a specific duty station. Two years or the draft meant that you got sent where the Army wanted. The recruiter said to pick a band in Europe because when you had one overseas duty station, the next one was ALWAYS in the US and by the time another deployment came up, my time would be up if I didn't like what I was doing. Well, I auditioned at West Point and knew this was my future. I qualified for a headquarters band in Germany. I ended up there the whole time and really liked what we did. I would do the same thing again.

    I will say one thing though. Joining the military is joining the military - band or not. There is no "conditional membership". If you are not tuned in to the goals and purpose of the military, you can have a really miserable time. If the decision is a mature one, and you stand behind the fact that YOU signed YOUR NAME to the contract, there are wonderful opportunities - also career chances.

    This is not a posh job with a major symphony orchestra. There is no union and your purpose in life is not in the studio. The bands are there for troop morale and I see a change in the way that they do business. I see more stress on easy to deploy smaller ensembles and if you had arranging skills, that would be of tremendous benefit.


    Oh, yeah, one more thing. I think that YOU can control your nutritional fate - even when working at Arbys. You will need the same skills when making music in the military where music does not always come first. You have a great boss. They are very hard to come by. If you were my child, I would ask you to think about what a relationship like yours with the boss is worth. And then probably say, well now you know what to do - grow up nutrionally, learn to say NO to fat and sweet and be the best employee Arbys ever had until your next gig - hopefully a musical one!
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2011
  5. erd402

    erd402 Pianissimo User

    Age:
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    West Virginia
    I'm not going to completely blame working there for my choices. It's my decisionand I know that. The thing is, my boss is allowing me to work only weekends because of school work (again she doesn't do this for the other students) so when I do work she has me work for around 9 hours a day. Today I'm going in from 11-9. I don't have a car so when they let me go on break I'm starving and eating there is my only choice, so it does cause some problems. I also can't expect her to treat me this way all through high school. O feel like I put a lot of stress on her because of my screwed up scheduling so I'd also like to quit just to get her out of it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2011
  6. flugelgirl

    flugelgirl Forte User

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    Seattle, WA
    The local Army National Guard band tried to recruit me when I was a junior in high school. It was a really good band and I knew a lot of the people in it from music camps and festivals, and it didn't seem like a bad way to make some extra money while I was in school. I ultimately decided against it because I was hoping to go to college out of state and didn't want anything forcing me to go back to Maine on a regular basis. I also decided that the only way it would be worth it to go to boot camp would be if I was going to be active duty, and at that point had no desire to join the military at all. Plans change, though, and I found myself starving my way through college without enough money to live on, and I joined the Navy at 25 yrs old with 3 years of college under my belt, as well as 10 yrs of gigging experience and a few more than that of private lessons and tons of practice. In todays economy, the majority of the players we have auditioning are 25-35 yrs old, and usually have a bachelors if not a masters degree. trumpets are manned at about 104% currently, so you can imagine there's some competition to join. While I have deployed once in my career, my only weapons training was at boot camp, so I would be pretty useless in a combat situation. I have enjoyed being a Navy Musician, and will be happy to retire at 20 yrs ( 5 1/2 years to go).
    With any branch of the military, you won't be able to join until you are 18 without a parent's signature, so be prepared to wait if your parents don't approve. I'm lucky that my family has supported my decision, but I was well beyond the age that they could have any part in my decision. You have some time to think, so weigh your decision carefully, learn all you can about it, and in the meantime practice! Your family might not understand what it takes to be a musician, but they ultimately won't be the ones who have control over the kind of musician you turn out to be. Take every opportunity you can to make yourself a better player.
     
  7. erd402

    erd402 Pianissimo User

    Age:
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    190
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    Mar 21, 2009
    West Virginia
    So when I came home today, my parents immediately started asking about it. I thought it was a good sign that they were coming to me about, like they realized that this is what I'm going to do so they might as well try to see what my plans were. At first they were loud and didn't listen much so I just called them out on it. I just stopped talking to them about it and told them that it was a useless conversation and that they were being stubborn and ignorant. They kind of cooled down there and let me talk and I think hey became a little more accepting of my plans. Now me and my dad are planning on going down to talk to the them about that unit and how the National Guard band program works. I feel like this was a major step and while they still don't want me to sign up at 17 I think I still have plenty of time to persuade them. I know music is what I want to do in college and this is a great way to start me down that path. One o the ways I'm sure this is what I want to do is my enthusiasm. I'm not an enthusiastic kind of guy but I've been talking to college professors the past couple of months, signing up for any learning opportunity available, and now I'm trying to get myself in a position to get paid to play. I'd consider myself to be a dedicated person. When I take part in things I finish what I start and I understand that sacrifices have to be made to get what you want out of life. This just seems right for me.
     
  8. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    There's an old saying that says something to the effect of, "I wish I was 18 years old again - when I was 18, I knew EVERYTHING!" Keep in mind that your parents really are trying to do right by you and that they might know a few things about life that you don't. I'm not saying that they are right in this case, but don't discount the wisdom they could provide to you simply because they are your parents.

    Now, back to the subject of the thread, I still think it's a good idea and for a lot of reasons, but I agree that it's good to be cautious and know exactly what you are getting into before you sign the contract and take the oath. It was a bit different for me. I turned 18 in August right before my senior year of HS, so when I enlisted, it was my choice, whether they liked it or not. The truth is, the military gave structure to my life that looking back I'm quite certain I needed. I would have crashed and burned in a glorious way had I just gone straight to college - I was just wasn't prepared for it.

    In my case, I think my parents probably breathed a sigh of relief - again, hindsight being what it is, they were probably worried about what I was going to do with myself after I graduated from high school because my grades were not good due to a lack of academic discipline at that time, and the only thing I was interested in was playing trumpet. Being a parent of a couple of teenagers myself, I can see why they might have been concerned that my main interest in life wasn't something where they could foresee me being able to make a living on my own. When I wrapped music up with the military, it was probably the smartest decision I could have made, never mind the fact that I just sort of stumbled into it, following my nose into what seemed like an ok idea at the time. Little did I know how it was going to profoundly affect the rest of my life. My whole life - wife, kids, where I live, where I work, etc - is all due to being stationed here as an Army Bandsman.

    Good luck with whatever decision you wind up making and keep us posted as this continues to develop.
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2011

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