The life of a military musician

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Myshilohmy, Apr 17, 2012.

  1. Myshilohmy

    Myshilohmy Pianissimo User

    Jan 6, 2009
    At the University I'm at my band director is leaving after this semester, and today he gave out some CD's. I grabbed the President's Own CD called Feste. This is the first time I've heard them and they are damn near flawless. I knew they had to be GOOD but holy cow. My trumpet teacher knows someone who played trumpet in there but doesn't anymore. I expected them to be a little better than some world class corps but they are just way ahead of even that level of players.

    Does anyone know anything about what it takes to get in any Marine Corps bands? Not the presidents own, I don't think I'll be ready for that within the next 20 years haha. I figure the presidents own is the hardest ensemble to get in in the country, correct me if I am misinformed on this but it just seems logical since you represent our country and our leader.

    I am in Carolina Crown on second trumpet, this is my second year with them. So far I plan on marching with them one more summer after this coming one, and finishing my degree in music performance, then joining the Marine Corps and trying to get in a band there. I hear it's a great life and I'd be set for life. Does anyone have any advice on this or what I should expect? In other words, is EVERY Marine Corps band light years ahead of Crown? Or are some at the same level and I should be able to get into?
  2. acarcido

    acarcido Forte User

    Dec 28, 2009
    Ontario, Ca
    I have no idea as to what KT takes to get into any of the Marine Corp bands, but I have heard the presidents own live back in the 80's at the Claremont Mckenna Colleges. I was blown away by their sound and perfect of performance. I was in marching band at the time and they are flawless in every aspect of their performance. If you take on this challenge, I cheer you on my fellow brother in arms. I was formerly US Army myself and being an artilleryman I did many ceremonies with our 18th Airborne Corp Division Band. God speed and never ever give up.
  3. Pete Anderson

    Pete Anderson Pianissimo User

    Feb 27, 2008
    Let me google that for you
    Let me google that for you

    I think it varies from service to service in terms of lifestyle and musicianship. I've heard that typically, supposedly, Air Force > Navy > Army > Marines. However, with budget cuts and hiring freezes and whatnot who knows. I would do a lot of research first because a spot in an Air Force band might not be as safe as one in a Navy band, etc.

    It will also depend a lot on your personality - would a military lifestyle work for you?

    And also keep in mind that if you sign up for a military band there's always the chance that you end up in the sandbox with a gun in your hand. You signed up for the band but the military OWNS you for the next x years. If the band gets cut or somebody hits you in the lip with a brick or something, you're still stuck in the military for a while and will end up doing a different job.

    Just know what you're getting yourself into and know the risks.

    Some people love playing in the service bands. They give people who might not be major symphony-level players a chance to play for a living, which is awesome. Some people can't handle the lifestyle or the music or whatever and hate their time there. All depends.
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2012
  4. kehaulani

    kehaulani Fortissimo User

    May 14, 2011
    Hawaian homey
    Read the links provided above.

    Also, know that there is a world of difference between a Marine Corp band and THE Marine Band in DC. All Marines (save the bandsmen in DC) are riflemen first. A Marine bandsman is tied to his unit and to ground forces more than any of the other forces. The Army has a stratified structure, with one strata of bands pretty much serving similarly like Marine bands, and another strata serving at higher command levels and their duties are primarily musical. Navy and Air Force musicians do that full time.

    We just had a full discussion of this only a few weeks ago, so please read the provided links. When you have more specific questions, I'm sure that we will be more than happy to answer what we can.
  5. jiarby

    jiarby Fortissimo User

    May 7, 2011
  6. harveyhassanator

    harveyhassanator Pianissimo User

    Sep 5, 2010
    I just got in to the British Army bands so if the American system is anything like ours you do all the entry requirements for an ordinary soldier and then have a music audition. Here they like you to be or have the potential to be grade 8 and have a good attitude. The audition is pretty standard. Two contrasting pieces of the highest standard you can play well, grade 7 scales, sight reading, aural and a Grade 5 theory paper. I don't know if America has the same system but I hope this helps in some way.
    Good luck! :)
  7. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    Saw these guys last week and all I can say is WOW!!! These are the best of the best of the best! EVEN the singer was excellent! Yeah, you gonna have to practice!! BTW, they are touring the Southeast right now and the concerts are free. You just have to get a free ticket. They're in Burlington, NC tonight.
  8. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    Got my ticket for the USAF Airmen of Note Jazz Ensemble performing at Halifax Community College's Centre this Saturday April 21, 2012 at 7:00 PM. Halifax Community College is in Weldon NC on U.S. 158 about 14 miles from our Jackson home in adjacent Northampton County. I've twice seen USAF bands here before.

    Many many times I've seen and heard all our armed forces bands perform in DC, moreso than just the Celebration of the 4th of July and Presidential Inaugurations. I would propose that they sell their CDs to augment the defense budget as I'm certain many more would enjoy such. They do record and distribute FREE CDs to schools and for other recruitment and public relations, but the recipients are selective. Too, they provide them as entertainment for our service members serving worldwide. IMO their performances equal or exceed the best of any others and present all genres.
  9. Ed Kennedy

    Ed Kennedy Forte User

    Nov 18, 2006
    Talk to a recruiter and set up an audition BEFORE you step over the line. And don't limit yourself to only the Marines.

    ex SP4 Kennedy, 6th US Army Band
  10. Pat S

    Pat S Piano User

    Jan 28, 2012
    San Antonio
    I'm lucky enough to have heard many of the different AF Band ensembles, large and small, in person. The musicianship is incredible. You will need to be on top of your craft to have a chance. Good news as an AF band member... zero chance of the sand box/rifle scenario described above! Aim High!! (and, of course,... Fly, Fight, and Win).

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