Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 20

Thread: Which branch is the best to go into?

  1. Which branch is the best to go into?

    Hi everybody,
    Ever since I entered college, pursuing a career in the military bands has one of my top career aspirations. I have spent a lot of time researching the different branches and band programs. I don't feel that I have to pursue a career in one of the "premiere" bands (though if my preliminary cd was accepted, and I was asked down to a live audition, I would certainly put my entire self into preparing for the audition), but I think that I would still really enjoy a career in one of the "post" (or regional) bands. I definitely don't mind having to wear a uniform, or taking orders; actually all the other careers that I had considered before I became serious about music involved some type of uniform and taking orders. After graduating with my bachelors this year, I plan on either attending grad school (masters in Euph performance), or auditioning for the military band programs (mostly dependent on whether or not I get into the grad schools that I want). I have decided that if I end up auditioning for the military bands, I will audition for the Army band program and/or the Navy band program. However, I can't decide which branch would be better. I know that both branches will offer similar pay and benefits and are similar in many ways. However, I have heard a rumor that the Navy bands play more satisfying music (from a musicians point of view), and that the Army bands play more of the "crowd pleaser" type of music. Also, the navy band program has the navy band northeast, and the Army band program doesn't have any bands in the northeast as far as I know (aside from the Military Academy Band, and they are all set with Jason Ham and Barry Morrison); and as I grew up in Massachusetts, I would like to stay as close to home as possible... though it's not a big deal if I end up being required to go somewhere else. Anyway, I am starting to stray from the point. If anybody has had any experiences with the two different branches (whether positive or negative), please feel free to share them. I would appreciate any bit of information that anyone has that will make it easier to decide between the Army and Navy programs.
    Gregory E. Lopes
    Euphonium player
    US Navy Band Great Lakes
    US Navy Music Program, 2009-Present

    Besson Prestige 2052

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    West Palm Beach, FL
    Posts
    3,123

    Which branch is the best to go into?

    Don't forget the USCG band. They're based in Connecticut. Not sure how soon they would be looking for a eupher though.
    Rick Floyd
    Miraphone 5050 - Warburton Brandon Jones sig mpc
    YEP-641S (on long-term loan to grandson)
    Doug Elliott - 102 rim; I-cup; I-9 shank


    "Always play with a good tone, never louder than lovely, never softer than supported." - author unknown.
    Symphonic Band of the Palm Beaches
    When the Saints Go Marching In (arr. Mashima) at ACB Conference Ft. Lauderdale
    Cell phone video of : El Cumbanchero:

  3. Which branch is the best to go into?

    Ya, but with Bonnie Denton, and James Jackson, I doubt that that they will be looking for a Euphonium player anytime soon... and besides, the USCG band is a premiere band, so it would be a shot in the dark. I don't intend to diminish the integrity of the Army or Navy music program with this next comment... but... I don't really have any doubts that I would be accepted into the Army or Navy bands programs after an audition with them. I have friends who have been accepted into the programs who were (again, not intended to diminish their playing abilities) at lower levels of proficiency on their instrument than me.
    Gregory E. Lopes
    Euphonium player
    US Navy Band Great Lakes
    US Navy Music Program, 2009-Present

    Besson Prestige 2052

  4. Which branch is the best to go into?

    Greg,

    I also play the euphonium. After graduating college and teaching high school for two years, I enlisted in the Navy. I was a musician assigned to Navy Band San Diego from 1982 til 1988. I had a great experience. The only down side was having to double on trombone. As an Army musician you will not have to double. If I had to do it again I would have joined the Army. There are more bands in the Army than in the Navy. This means promotion is faster in th Army. Also, upon completion of the Armed Forces School of Music, all Army musicians are promoted to E4. The key to being happy in a non-premere military band is to work to be the best euphonium player possible, enjoy your band mates and always laugh out loud at least once a day.

    Brian

  5. #5

    Which branch is the best to go into?

    It's been awhile since I retired (about 15 years), but I'm reasonably certain that the Army's "Stripes for Skills" program is still underway.

    This program isn't limited to musicians, by the way, in that I knew a person who had had some cooking experience and managed to enlist as an E-3 (as opposed to E-1), but the band field is probably the biggest participant.

    For those who pass a field audition, meaning a standardized audition administered by a trained individual within the Army, and if the person meets the other criteria associated with enlisting, they can enter the Army as an E-3.

    Following basic training and successful completion of the School of Music (which is, incidentally a school "owned" by the Navy, but is - for the time being - used by the Army), the Soldier is awarded the job title or MOS, and a promotion to E-4. The Soldier then goes to his/her first band and they quickly learn that despite the promotion, they still have to scrub toilets and pilot floor buffers and drag equipment around just as if they hadn't been promoted!

    Let me pause and say at this point that within a year or so, the Army will split off from the Navy and reestablish its own music school. I believe the school will be at Ft. Eustis, VA, which is not terribly far from its current location near Norfolk, VA.

    It's true that there are more Army bands than any other service. In my day, there were some 45 active duty bands around the world, 8 of which were in Germany alone. That number has been reduced significantly. Currently, the current active Army bands are linked here:

    http://bands.army.mil/bands/aa/

    For example, there are only 3 bands in Germany.

    About 3 years ago, I attended a presentation of an initiative that the Army is working toward - while I can't remember the "buzz word" at the moment, the upshot is that the band structure and authorized positions within each band is being altered significantly. All Army bands have an authorized personnel structure in terms of instrumentation. While balances are sometimes out of whack due to transfers, retirements, etc., the personnel system tries to keep bands within a reasonable balance. It does little good to have a division band with 8 clarinet players and two trumpet players.

    Instead of that concept, which is just about as old as Doug Yeo's serpent, bands are being reorganized around a "task force" concept which, when fully developed, will aid when the band deploys into combat zones.

    And yes, bands do go to combat zones.

    U.S. Army, Retired (built mid-Fifties)
    Adams E2 Euph (built 2017)
    Boosey & Co. Imperial Euph (built 1941)
    Edwards B454 Bass Trombone (built 2012)
    Boosey & Hawkes Imperial Eb tuba (built 1958)
    Kanstul 33-T lBBb tuba (built 2010)
    Shen 3/4 upright bass (who cares?)

  6. Which branch is the best to go into?

    Though I am a member of the Marine Corps Band, I have a lot of exposure and work closely with the Army Band, Navy Band, and the Air Force Bands stationed out here in hawaii. I have limited exposure to the Coast Gaurd Band of the Pacific as they are stationed in Alaska (poor poor souls...) All of the military bands are going to give you the same pay and benefits as they are all regulated by the Department of Defense regardless of branch of service. I will say that i believe its quite the other way around between the Navy and Army bands...at least from my perspective. The Army Band is going to put more focus on cerimonies whereas in the Navy you will still do cerimonies but half as many, and much cooler ones if i say so myself...in fact we just filled in for the Navy band at Pearl Harbor to do two changes of command on two submarines...we got to tour the boats afterwards. The Pacific Fleet band also puts more focus on small ensembles including Jazz band, Jazz combo, Brass Quintet, Woodwind Quintet, and Rock band. The Army band does as well, but all of the Army Bands also deploy. The 25th Infantry Division Band just got back in November from a one year tour in Iraq. The Navy Bands do not deploy as far as I know. Also the quality of musicians will be exponentially greater in the Navy. They have fewer musicians and therefore are much more stringient as to who they let pass the School of Music. It is also required of Navy bandsmen to be able to play up to qualifying score on two instruments of their choosing (primary and secondary). I hope this helps some.


  7. Which branch is the best to go into?

    Also, in the different branches you will graduate boot camp at different pay grades. In the Marines you graduate an E-2 and graduate the school of music as an E-3. In the Navy you graduate boot as an E-3, and the school as an E-4 with the rate MU3 (Musician Petty Officer 3rd class). In the Army you graduate boot as an E-4 and stay E-4. Because the Army band MOS is so large the time it takes to pick up rank is much slower that in the Navy or Marines. You can look up the military pay charts on google...they're everywhere. Also the Navy band does offer the opportunity for a full officer commissioning. In the Army and Marines you can only become a Warrant Officer and still remain in the band field. We do not have any full commissioned officers in our field.


  8. #8

    Which branch is the best to go into?

    Originally posted by: Piomarine Also, in the different branches you will graduate boot camp at different pay grades. In the Marines you graduate an E-2 and graduate the school of music as an E-3. In the Navy you graduate boot as an E-3, and the school as an E-4 with the rate MU3 (Musician Petty Officer 3rd class). In the Army you graduate boot as an E-4 and stay E-4. Because the Army band MOS is so large the time it takes to pick up rank is much slower that in the Navy or Marines. You can look up the military pay charts on google...they're everywhere. Also the Navy band does offer the opportunity for a full officer commissioning. In the Army and Marines you can only become a Warrant Officer and still remain in the band field. We do not have any full commissioned officers in our field.


    I can't speak at all for the Navy or Marines, despite the fact I went to school with them some years ago, but historically, the Navy and Marines were slower with promotions than the Army.

    That's not so germane these days in that a lot comes into play. Advancement beyond E4 in the Army is based on competition, just as it is in the Navy and Marines (or at least it used to be). Among other things, a soldier gets "points" for things like civilian education beyond HS, awards, decorations, marksmanship, schools, additional MOS (job specialities), and most compelling, physical fitness and the number of points awarded as the result of a board, or oral examination and physical appearance before such a board.

    A physical training test is required every six months. Obviously, the more you score (maximum 300 points), the more is awarded for the pending promotion. Each month, the Department of the Army publishes "cut-off scores" which are based on projected openings for each grade. In short, if you make the cut-off scores, you get promoted. If you don't, you wait.

    I'm not sure if that's terribly different than the Navy/Marines, but I think it's fair to say that there are a lot of variables at play here - not just one service is quicker with promotion than another (although the Air Force will swear up and down that that's the case!)

    The other item that I take exception to involves the officer ranks. Piomarine is not on target here.

    The Army does indeed have commissioned officers that are part of the band program. These officers do not command bands, except for the Major Command (MACOM) bands and the premier bands (the Army Band, the Army Field Band, and the Military Academy Band at West Point). The rest are sprinkled here and there in staff positions. Just guessing here, but I'd say there might be 15-20 commissioned officers in the Army band program - not a large number in any event.

    The line bands in the Army are commanded by warrant officers. These are officers who were once enlisted, but chose to specialize in music and undergo the requisite training for bandmaster/commanders. Up until just recently (maybe perhaps still, but not for long), those officers, indeed all Army personnel, attended the Army Element, School of Music, at the Naval Amphibious Base in Little Creek, VA. The SOM is a Navy school, but the Army has sent its bandsmen there for all musical training since 1963 or so. But in the next year or so, perhaps even sooner, the Army plans to reopen its own music school at Ft. Eustis, VA.

    I wasn't aware that the Marine Corps did not have any commissioned officers in the Marine band program. In that sense, I learned something. Thanks, Piomarine! And thank you for your service!

    U.S. Army, Retired (built mid-Fifties)
    Adams E2 Euph (built 2017)
    Boosey & Co. Imperial Euph (built 1941)
    Edwards B454 Bass Trombone (built 2012)
    Boosey & Hawkes Imperial Eb tuba (built 1958)
    Kanstul 33-T lBBb tuba (built 2010)
    Shen 3/4 upright bass (who cares?)

  9. #9

    Which branch is the best to go into?

    Originally posted by: Piomarine Though I am a member of the Marine Corps Band, I have a lot of exposure and work closely with the Army Band, Navy Band, and the Air Force Bands stationed out here in hawaii. I have limited exposure to the Coast Gaurd Band of the Pacific as they are stationed in Alaska (poor poor souls...) All of the military bands are going to give you the same pay and benefits as they are all regulated by the Department of Defense regardless of branch of service. I will say that i believe its quite the other way around between the Navy and Army bands...at least from my perspective. The Army Band is going to put more focus on cerimonies whereas in the Navy you will still do cerimonies but half as many, and much cooler ones if i say so myself...in fact we just filled in for the Navy band at Pearl Harbor to do two changes of command on two submarines...we got to tour the boats afterwards. The Pacific Fleet band also puts more focus on small ensembles including Jazz band, Jazz combo, Brass Quintet, Woodwind Quintet, and Rock band. The Army band does as well, but all of the Army Bands also deploy. The 25th Infantry Division Band just got back in November from a one year tour in Iraq. The Navy Bands do not deploy as far as I know. Also the quality of musicians will be exponentially greater in the Navy. They have fewer musicians and therefore are much more stringient as to who they let pass the School of Music. It is also required of Navy bandsmen to be able to play up to qualifying score on two instruments of their choosing (primary and secondary). I hope this helps some.


    Sorry to have to say this, but I'm afraid you're misinformed. The Coast Guard has only one band and it is located in New London, CT. There is no Coast Guard Band in Alaska, unless it is an informal one assigned on an ad hoc basis, which I think is rather doubtful.

    U.S. Army, Retired (built mid-Fifties)
    Adams E2 Euph (built 2017)
    Boosey & Co. Imperial Euph (built 1941)
    Edwards B454 Bass Trombone (built 2012)
    Boosey & Hawkes Imperial Eb tuba (built 1958)
    Kanstul 33-T lBBb tuba (built 2010)
    Shen 3/4 upright bass (who cares?)

  10. #10

    Which branch is the best to go into?

    Actually, although the Coast Guard has only one professional band, it sanctions several regional volunteer USCG auxiliary bands as well as a national Pipe Bands]http://www.uscgpipeband.org[/l].

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •