Job Family: Arts, Communications, Media, and Design Musicians
Services Offering this Occupation
Army  | Navy  | Air Force  | Marine Corps  | Coast Guard

Supplemental Information
Profile 1 |  Profile 2 | 
Photo 1:
Sergeant plays the trumpet.
Photo 2:
Singer performs during concert.

Stephen Giove
Occupation: Musician

When I was six years old, I first played at a PTA meeting. I heard applause and knew that’s what I wanted to do for my lifetime career.…

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Erica Simmons
Occupation: Musician

Toward the end of high school, I had no clue what I wanted to do after graduation. I was pretty sure my parents didn’t have much, if an…

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Short Description
Music is an important part of military life. Service bands and vocal groups have a strong tradition of performing at ceremonies, parades, concerts, festivals, and dances. Musicians and singers perform in service bands, orchestras, and small groups. They perform many types of music, including marches, classics, jazz, and popular music.


What They Do
Musicians in the military perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Play in or lead bands, orchestras, combos, and jazz groups
  • Sing in choral groups or as soloists
  • Perform for ceremonies, parades, concerts, festivals, and dances
  • Rehearse and learn new music when not performing
  • Play brass, percussion, woodwind, or string instruments

Helpful Attributes
Helpful school subjects include band, music theory, harmony, and other music courses. Helpful attributes include:
  • Ability to play more than one instrument
  • Ability to sing
  • Poise when performing in public

Training Provided
Although musicians must be musically proficient to enter the service, music training is given to new band members. Job training consists of classroom instruction, including practice playing instruments. Training length varies depending on musical specialty. Further training occurs on the job through regular rehearsals and individual practice. Course content typically includes:
  • Music theory
  • Group instrumental techniques
  • Sight-reading musical scores
  • Dance band techniques

Work Environment
Musicians play indoors in theaters, concert halls, and at dances; outdoors at parades and open-air concerts. They also travel regularly.


Civilian Counterparts
Civilian musicians work for many types of employers, including professional orchestras, bands, and choral groups. They work in nightclubs, concert halls, theaters, and recording studios.

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