Music can be calming. Music can be motivating. And when it brings people together at the right time and the right place, it can be utterly inspiring. A music career with America’s Navy provides you with an eager audience wherever you go and gives you the opportunity to play alongside some of the finest musicians on the planet, at some of the most renowned venues, including the finest concert halls, the White House, Arlington National Cemetery and the Pentagon.
As an Enlisted Sailor specializing in music, you may perform at elaborate productions and events such as presidential inaugurations, special ceremonies for foreign dignitaries or anything from Navy celebrations to international parades. You could find yourself making guest appearances on live TV and radio broadcasts. And whether playing for fellow servicemembers or the public at large, you’ll have the chance to see the impact your music can have on others. While most members of the U.S. Navy Band have earned undergraduate degrees, a college degree is not required to become a member.
Serving in this coveted occupational specialty, you might:
- Perform as a member of marching, concert, stage or dance bands and combos, in styles including jazz, rock, soul, pop, country/western and bluegrass
- Conduct, rehearse and perform in these groups for radio, TV and stage
- Compose, transcribe and arrange music for all types of ensembles
- Give concerts and provide music for military ceremonies, religious services, parades and social occasions
- Perform for Navy personnel and their families, for the general public and at diplomatic functions
You may be assigned to the U.S. Navy Band in Washington, D.C., the band at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, or one of the Navy Fleet bands. Wherever you land, the music field in the Navy is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Navy musicians set the standard for musical excellence, performing in various musical styles virtually anywhere in the world. Genres range from Broadway to big band, jazz to contemporary rock, country/western to baroque.
“Prior to the Navy, I spent my entire life as a classical flute player,” relates Heather Knepper, Petty Officer 3rd Class of Woodbridge, Virginia. “Now in the Navy jazz band, I’m playing saxophone and singing vocals. The people here believe in me and encourage me to try new styles of music. I probably would not get this much support in an outside music group.”
Training and Advancement
The music field in the Navy presents an ideal opportunity – the prospect of making a living as a musical artist while sharing your music with the world. Beyond travel, you’ll have the chance to fine-tune your skills among an elite group as well as through private instruction.
Following recruit training, you will be assigned to the Armed Forces School of Music in Little Creek, Va., where you will be provided with expert training at a college-accredited institution. College credit may be awarded for courses taken in music theory, conducting, and marching and concert band.
Positions in this field are very limited, and qualified applicants must demonstrate a high level of musical skill and knowledge prior to being accepted. Applicants must also pass an official audition and meet all qualifications for enlistment in the Navy.
Note that strict appearance requirements must be met in order to be considered.
After the Navy
What comes next? Career opportunities are promising with the experience and exposure you could gain in the Navy music field. The skills you acquire in the Navy as a musician, instrumentalist or vocalist are sought after in the military – and the civilian world.
Your training may well prepare you for a future career such as: