Enhance Your Musical Career Before You Retire from the Military

Careers for Military Music Majors

As an artist creating inspirational, motivational and entertaining music in the military, you can perform in front of dignitaries, colleagues, senior military officers and civilians. Furthermore, the range of military music organizations you can perform in vary from orchestras to rock bands to marching bands. If you attend accredited colleges and universities as a music major you can enhance your musical career before you retire from the military.

Specific types of careers you can work as a musician while you’re in the military include playing in:

  • Premier bands – You may be able to secure a guaranteed post, a benefit that keeps you working at one location rather than causing you to have to transfer to two or more military installations. The military has approximately 10 premier bands located in Washington, D.C. and at various military academies like West Point. Once you’re accepted into the band, you are given the rank of E-6.
  • Regional bands – Working with regional bands gives you opportunities to travel. You can also work at a variety of positions such as conductor, arranger or vocalist.
  • Individual musician – In this role you can play music as a member of a marching band, orchestra, etc. You’ll learn about musical arrangements and gain experience working with other musicians and band leaders.

Getting Started as a Military Music Major

Because you’ll be working in the military, you must complete basic training, whether you enter the military as an enlisted member or as an officer. You’ll earn basic pay while you’re in basic training. After you graduate from basic training, your pay rate will depend on your enlisted or officer rank. You can also participate in military bands and orchestras while you work other military jobs (e.g. helicopter pilot, mechanical engineer). As with other military roles, you’re responsible for completing terms of your military contract. In other words, you must complete the number of years of service stated in your contract.

If you enroll at accredited colleges and universities you can improve your chances of getting hired into senior positions. Types of college music degrees you can get are a Bachelor of Arts in Music Theory, Bachelor of Arts in Orchestra Conducting, Master of Arts in Opera Studies, Master of Arts in Historical Performance or a Doctor of Musical Arts in Jazz Studies.

When people think about music and the military, they often think about marching bands. However, musicians serving in the military play diverse types of music, much more than the music that’s limited to marching bands. Some music jobs in the military allow you to work with music on a full-time basis. For example, you can work as an orchestra conductor or a music trainer. With the right college or university degrees, you can extend your musical career after you retire from the military and work in radio, television, theatre or for major motion picture houses. You can also start your own band, work for a philharmonic orchestra in a major city or start a career as a lead singer.

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