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Thread: Which branch is the best to go into?

  1. #11

    Which branch is the best to go into?

    Originally posted by: fsung 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].
    Ah, okay, that's interesting. Thanks!

    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?)

  2. Which branch is the best to go into?

    As the most recent graduate of the Navy (armed forces) school of music on the forum I can probably provide some clarity to some of the statements that have been made. As for the differences in pay grade between the different band programs. The Army provides E-4 for everyone in their band program from day one of boot camp, not just after you graduate from the school of music. The marines get E-2 in boot camp and then after requiring the minimum time in rank and having good conduct (usually after being at the school for about 2 or 3 months) they can pick up E-3. The Navy provides a minimum of E-2 to everyone in the band program, but if you have a minimum number of college credits (I think think that it is at least 50 college credits) then you go in as an E-3. The Navy was providing automatic E-4 for their band members upon graduation from the school of music, however that policy changed about a year ago. All navy band personnel must now take the E-4 rating exam in order to get promoted. My experience was a little bit different. I was lucky enough to earn a meritorious promotion for graduating number 1 in my class of 25 musicians at the school of music, so I didn't have to take the rating exam in order to get promoted to E-4. So it is still possible to automatically make E-4 out of the school of music in the navy program, but it is usually only granted to one person per graduating class.

    As for physical requirements... The navy and army still have a required physical fitness test every 6 months, i'm not sure how frequent it is in the marines, but it might be on almost a monthly basis. I know that in the army and marines your pt score does have a decent impact on whether or not you will get promoted. In the navy there is a certain amount of emphasis placed on your pt score, but it doesn't have nearly the impact that it does in the army and marines.

    Piomarine mentioned that the level of musicians in the navy tends to be, "exponentially greater in the Navy", which is true to an extent. When I was at the school of music the navy had the smallest number of students there (about 20), followed by the marines (about 60-70 students) and finally the army had the most (well over 100 students). While each of the band programs did have their share of "3.0 musicians" (scoring a 3.0 or higher qualifies you for what is essentially the hall of fame at the school of music, and is the minimum qualifying score for the higher level bands in the army, ie. the ground forces band, tradoc band, army band europe) the navy did have the highest percentage of musicians scoring at least 3.0. Out of the 20 navy students at the school, almost all of them were 3.0 or higher, out of the 110 army students there were about 20-30 3.0 musicians, and out of the 60 marine musicians there were maybe 4 or 5 3.0 musicians. One thing that piomarine was almost correct on was mentioning that all navy musicians have to qualify on two instruments. In the navy you have to qualify on two instruments only if you euphonium, saxophone, flute, clarinet, oboe, or bassoon. HOWEVER... while this isn't completely official yet, the navy may be getting rid of instrument doubling in a short amount of times. That is only a maybe...

    As far as deployment... the army and marines do full deployments, and all of them receive full combat training, field exercises, weapons training, etc. The navy is very different in this respect. Navy musicians don't receive any required weapons or combat training and do not deploy. In the navy we do learn to fire a 9mm pistol and a M500 shotgun in boot camp, but it is not required to "qualify" on those weapons... we simply learn the proper way to shoot them. If you are stationed with one of the overseas navy bands, ie the Navy bands in italy or japan, you can occasionally get "deployed" and sent on musical tours of africa, the Mediterranean, Australia, Polynesian islands, etc... Some navy musicians consider that a deployment, others don't.
    Gregory E. Lopes
    Euphonium player
    US Navy Band Great Lakes
    US Navy Music Program, 2009-Present

    Besson Prestige 2052

  3. #13

    Which branch is the best to go into?

    Originally posted by: GregEuphoniumThe Army provides E-4 for everyone in their band program from day one of boot camp, not just after you graduate from the school of music.
    Your statement appears to be true, according to Section III, Chapter 7-11 of AR 601-210, dated 7 Jun 07.

    That's a departure from the previous practice of enlisting such soldiers as E-3, then awarded E-4 (Specialist) upon graduation from the SOM.

    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?)

  4. Which branch is the best to go into?

    I was a bit surprised to see when I got to the school of music that all of the soldiers were already E-4.
    Gregory E. Lopes
    Euphonium player
    US Navy Band Great Lakes
    US Navy Music Program, 2009-Present

    Besson Prestige 2052

  5. Which branch is the best to go into?

    Thanks for the information about the School of Music. It brings back great memories.



    Besson 767 New Standard, SM 4U
    Irondequoit Concert Band & Penfield Pops, Rochester NY area

    F-Alphorn, Hubert Hense maker, Alderwood
    Alphorn Society of Western NY

  6. #16

    Which branch is the best to go into?

    Originally posted by: GregEuphonium

    I was lucky enough to earn a meritorious promotion for graduating number 1 in my class of 25 musicians at the school of music, so I didn't have to take the rating exam in order to get promoted to E-4.
    Congratulations. That's a heckuvan accomplishment.

  7. Which branch is the best to go into?

    Greg,
    I read in Program Notes that the Navy has removed the trombone doubling requirement. Has this had any effect on your duty station choices?
    Also, I am glad that another Western MA euphonium player was 1st in the class. I did it in 1983.
    Brian

  8. Which branch is the best to go into?

    Hi Brian,
    I apologize for not responding when you originally posted your question many months ago. I'm not exactly sure how removing the doubling requirement will effect duty station choices, that is something that has yet to be seen. The way things will work now is, everyone who has already achieved qualification on a secondary instrument (ie, I am qualified on both euph and trombone) will have the option to either keep or drop their secondary instrument qualification when they change duty stations, no sooner than that.

    I will predict (this is just what I am assuming... this hasn't been proven) that for people who play euphonium, if you choose to get rid of your qualification on trombone, this will end up severely limiting your choice of duty station since you can only go to bands with an opening for euph. As opposed to having the second instrument qualification and choosing to go to a band that might not have a euphonium opening, but does have a trombone opening. I just happened to be the very last navy euphonium player to graduate from the navy school of music who was required to play both euph and trombone, and I am definitely going back and forth on whether or not I would want to drop my trombone qualification when I eventually move onto my next band... I think that whether or not I drop my trombone qual will mostly be dependent on whether or not there is a euphonium opening in one of the bands that I want to go to next. We'll see... though it sure would be nice to be able to devote 100% of my practice time to euphonium instead of having to split it between two instruments like I do now!

    -Greg

    PS, it's great to see that I'm not the only euph player from western mass to come through the military bands... I thought I was the only one! haha.
    Gregory E. Lopes
    Euphonium player
    US Navy Band Great Lakes
    US Navy Music Program, 2009-Present

    Besson Prestige 2052

  9. Which branch is the best to go into?

    Greg,
    No worries. My advice would be to keep the trombone qualification if you plan on staying in for a while. If you are only going to do one hitch then deeo six it when you transfer.
    Brian

  10. #20

    Which branch is the best to go into?

    Hi Folks:

    Just browsing ... probably ought not stick my nose in this, but here's something you might want to consider:

    First off, all of the "Premiere Bands" pull from pretty much the same audition pool - you've got to be pretty good to get in any of them.

    Having said that, I've got to say that at least when I was in the Marine Band ("The President's Own"), each band had a distinct personality and although the premiere bands do audition folks from more or less the same pool, it might be worth your time to become acquainted with the bands - their history, their structure, their function, etc., before you go down and audition.

    Some bands are more military-minded, some are more symphonic, some are more laid-back and some are amazingly intense.

    Some never march, some march a lot; some rarely do military ceremonies, some have separate units that only do ceremonies

    This all impacts on the band's personality - and on the personalities of the musicians in the band.

    You can discern a little of this by critically listening to each band live (summer concerts in DC, for instance) or by listening to CD's (try your library).

    I'd think, however, that your best bet would be to search out some of the more senior players - even former players - and take some lessons from them - not the occasional master class, but a nice series of actual lessons.

    You don't have to ask them what they think of their band or of other bands; just do the lessons and get a feel for how they approach the Euphonium and ask yourself if that's the way you yourself would want to play.

    Then, when you've figured which band fits your personality, go home and practice like you've never practiced before!

    Good luck to all!

    Glenn Call
    Marine Band: 1976-1981

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