Careers & Jobs
ARMY Band trumpets

Special Band Musician (42S)

  • Enlisted
  • Officer
  • Active Duty
  • Army Reserve
  • National Guard
  • Entry Level


The special band musician performs as a musician or in direct support of the mission of the U.S. Army Band, U.S. Army Field Band, U.S. Military Academy Band or the 3rd Infantry (The Old Guard) Fife and Drum Corps.

Job Duties

  • Play in or lead bands, orchestras, combos and jazz groups
  • Perform in military and civilian ceremonies, street parades, concerts, festivals and dances
  • Perform all applicable styles of music
  • Transpose music by sight as required
  • Supervise and perform organizational maintenance of equipment


In order to qualify for a position with the Army band, you must pass one or more auditions. You must be an accomplished musician and have good music sight-reading ability.

Those who want to serve must first take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, a series of tests that helps you better understand your strengths and identify which Army jobs are best for you.


Job training for a special band musician requires 10 weeks of Basic Combat Training, where you’ll learn basic Soldiering skills. Although special band members do not attend Advanced Individual Training, they will have continuous training to maintain their instrumental proficiency.

Helpful Skills

  • Mastery of musical instrument, as well as music theory, harmony and other musical areas
  • Poise and presence while performing in public
  • Multi-instrumental abilities

For more information about the U.S. Army Bands

Learn more about the specfics of being a member of the U.S. Army Bands by visiting the Army Band section at


Total compensation includes housing, medical, food, special pay, and vacation time. Learn more about total compensation.

Earn Cash For In Demand Jobs

You could earn up to $40,000 in cash bonuses just for enlisting under certain Military Occupational Specialties. Visit Jobs in Demand to see if this job qualifies for an enlistment bonus.

Education Benefits

In the Army, qualified students can earn full-tuition, merit-based scholarships, allowances for books and fees, plus an annual stipend for living expenses. Learn more about education benefits.

Future Civilian Careers

The skills you learn will help prepare you for a future with professional orchestras, bands and choral groups. You might also work in nightclubs, concert halls, theaters and recording studios.


Those interested in this job may be eligible for civilian employment, after the Army, by enrolling in the Army PaYS program. The PaYS program is a recruitment option that guarantees a job interview with military friendly employers that are looking for experienced and trained Veterans to join their organization. Find out more about the Army PaYS Program at


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