Army Reserve
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A time-honored tradition with a rich history…

A profession deeply rooted in Military culture… and the pride of our Nation…

An opportunity to do what you love every day… while earning a steady paycheck… and serving your country.

Army Musicians serve as musical ambassadors, entertaining and boosting morale, enhancing ceremonies and special events, and providing community and International outreach.

Becoming an Army Musician is a selective and competitive process.

Candidates for this MOS must be accomplished musicians with performance experience; have the versatility to play in any style in multiple ensembles; and be able to work as part of a team.

While not required, those selected often have college degrees in music, and professional playing experience.  Additional skills such as writing, arranging, improvising, and conducting are valued and rewarded.

Army bands feature more than a dozen types of instruments, including brass, woodwind, rhythm, and percussion, as well as vocalists and support technicians.

To be considered, you must perform a live audition which will consist of your prepared solos and excerpts, and provided selections demonstrating multiple styles of music.

Once selected as an Army Musician, you will complete your enlistment process and attend Basic Combat Training, followed by 10 weeks of Advanced Individual Training at the U.S. Army School of Music in Virginia Beach, Virginia, where you will learn to incorporate your existing musical skills into the duties of an Army Musician.

Upon graduation, you will be assigned to one of the many Army Bands in the United States, or overseas…

Where you will have the opportunity to perform in a variety of ensembles at many types of events such as Army ceremonies, parades, concerts, and festivals, playing all styles of music.

As an Army Musician, you may have the opportunity to travel, collaborating with bands from different countries around the world, and helping to build bonds between heads of state with diplomatic concert performances.

You will also perform in local communities, getting the chance to inspire and impact young lives by working with or performing for school children.

When you aren’t performing, you will be learning and rehearsing new music, with time for individual practice.

Since this is an Army Civilian Acquired Skills Program designated MOS, your talent and preexisting skills allow you to enter the Army at the advanced rank of Specialist, or E-4.

You will also have the opportunity to continue your musical studies, and to lead and conduct ensembles as you advance in rank.

The skills and performance experience gained as an Army Musician can prepare you for a future in a variety of musical pursuits. You may find a civilian career working with professional orchestras, bands, choral groups, in recording studios, or as a teacher.

Whether your style is traditional or more modern, the Army offers a unique opportunity to turn your musical talent into a stable career, performing alongside other skilled musicians on a daily basis.

Pursue your passion while serving your country…

Military Occupational Specialty: Musician

The gig you’ve been waiting for.


Musician (42R)

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


Musicians specialize in one (or more) of the following instruments/specialties: tuba, trombone, euphonium, bassoon, electric bass guitar, saxophone, flute or piccolo, oboe, clarinet, French horn, percussion, cornet or trumpet, guitar, keyboard, vocalist, and music production.

Musicians perform in a variety of ensembles ranging from ceremonial band to jazz band to small ensembles, playing all styles of music. They are primarily responsible for performing and rehearsing as a professional musician within different ensembles of an Army band.

Job Duties

  • Perform in all musical styles on your instruments, including (but not limited to): marching band, ceremonial band, concert band, classical, jazz, ethnic and popular music compositions
  • Perform on a musical instrument in a variety of ensembles, ranging from solo performance to full concert band
  • Tune an instrument to a given pitch
  • Transpose moderately easy music


In order to qualify for a position with the Army band, you must pass one or more auditions.

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 Musician requires 10 weeks of Basic Combat Training and 10 weeks of Advanced Individual Training at the Armed Forces School of Music in Norfolk, Va.

Some of the training includes:

  • Private instrumental instruction
  • Music theory
  • Sight singing and ear training
  • Group instrumental techniques
  • Percussion techniques

Helpful Skills

  • Being an accomplished instrumentalist
  • Understanding music theory and harmony
  • Ability to exhibit poise when performing
  • Ability to play more than one instrument


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 career 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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