How to become a military musician

Are you in doubt if you should enter the career of an army musician?

The reality of musicians is painted as a path of suffering and a little perspective. The musicians and their own families have a troubling vision of what it’s like to live from music.

You probably hear things like “It’s impossible to live on music,” “It’s easier to become a sports player,” and “a musician goes hungry.

But what if you decide to follow your dream and become a military musician?

There are many advantages to becoming a military musician, mainly because of the fact that you become a competitive person, and therefore have a guaranteed income.

But it is still a long and demanding path. Let’s go through some important themes in this article if you think about continuing with this career.

Military career

Living from music when you love is certainly a good prospect, but a career as a military musician follows the entire military context.

It is a profession of integral dedication, where the practices and customs are extremely strict, so obviously you will deal with music all the time.

But if you have the rebellious and revolutionary spirit, you may have difficulties in adapting to a life of a lot of discipline and incontestable rules.

A good tip is to think about institutions that follow the same standards – Scouts are a good example of institution with firm rules and practices of military inspiration.

So if you have had an experience with Scouts, you have the potential to easily adapt to military rules, and if not, you can seek this activity as a test of your military aptitude.

Talking to people who have a military career is a great way to understand how the context of rules and experience of the army works, to seek advice, tips and ask questions that may be haunting you in this decision.

The competition

Usually the opening of contests for military musicians and from several government institutions takes place every twelve months.

The rules of public contest work in its entirety for this category, besides the evaluations and specific requirements of the music world.

Translation – You will do the same tests of a contest, besides the technical aptitude tests, playing the instrument in practice, among other stages, such as physical aptitude, which is a requirement of the army.

Generally the entrance exam is divided into seven stages:

  • Schooling exam (eliminatory and classification)
  • Music Practice Test (eliminatory and qualifying)
  • Verification of Biographical Data
  • Health Inspection
  • Physical Sufficiency Test
  • Psychological Evaluation
  • Verification of Documents.
  • The physical sufficiency test is composed of the stages of swimming, running, bending in the bar (only for male candidates), bending in the ground (only for female candidates) and abdominal.

All student and competition specialists rules will have to be taken seriously if you intend to devote yourself to passing these tests.

Inclusively because some tests have national validity, so you need to be willing to move, including from State, and will also compete with people from all over your country that like you also want a vacancy.

Rigid study routines and content programming, test map and other techniques will be your best friends during the test preparation time. A good indication is to take specific courses for musicians in competition.

Demanding yes, but it is the price to pay to live this profession with the endorsement of the government.

Technical skill

At the self school you usually learn to pass the test, not to walk the streets, and the focus of the practical test for the career of military musician is on scores.

It’s a common mistake for great musicians to believe they’re prepared for the tests because they play well, know how to improvise, or have decorated specific songs.

The test is based on scores, because in a military musician’s career you will play in a band, a group, and you need to walk with others, not walk alone. The ability to deal with the teamwork of a band will be a great advantage for your history in this career.

Some subjects that are usually addressed in the Specific Music Test are the following:

a) chords
b) chromatic scale
c) General scale
d) Enarmony
e) history of music
f) intervals
g) scale modes (larger and smaller)
h) modulation
i) harmonic series
j) neighboring and distant shades
k) transposition and ornaments
l) voices
m) transposition of liturgical modes
n) progress.


The military musician career still demands that you be the musician they need, so it’s no use being a great guitarist and not being the instrumentalist they need.

Usually the most available lists and vacancies are for wind instruments, which are more common for the model of military bands.

Secondly, percussion instruments and orchestra strings, such as violin and cello, and then we open rare vacancies for guitarists, bassists and drummers.

Some common vacancies are for:

  • C bassoon / C bassoon / C contrabassoon
  • flute in C / piccolo in C
  • oboe in english c/w
  • saxhorne
  • saxophone
  • tuba
  • tenor trombone/bass trombone
  • horn
  • trumpet/ bugle/ flueghorne

At each call the vacancies are separated by instrument, so you can search the calls of previous calls to confirm the practical list of most wanted instruments for military bands.

An essential requirement and job options

An essential and important requirement for a career as a military musician is that in most competitions the required age is for young people.

Always from the age of 18, some contests accept young people up to 30 years old, but in the majority the age requirement is for young people up to 26 years old, including 24 years old in some cases.

If your age is already more advanced than the required age, the opportunity has passed to you.

Another requirement is the minimum height, for males it is 1.60m and for females it is 1.57m.

The career as a military musician gives the position of instrumentalist sergeant, but there is also an option that happens in competitions for corporal instrumentalist.

It’s important to consider that the corporal instrumentalist is always a temporary contest, valid for up to 7 years of profession, so it’s practically a position where there will be no retirement – after this time of service, the dismissal from the corporation is done.

About the training course for the Army Musician

It is commonly performed in two periods, the Basic, at 34 weeks and the Qualification, at 43 weeks.

In the Adaptation Period, the students will perform several types of physical exercises, will attend lectures and will have a routine of intense activities, in which they will be required with rigor, being observed the respect to the discipline and hierarchy.

Purpose and direction of life

Most of us can say that there are two important characteristics in military musicians, the first being the dedication to go through the hard tests, and the love for music, not for the instrument.

For maybe you are already a guitarist, and if your passion is really the guitar, look for another way.

Now if you see yourself as a musician, you will know that maybe you can give up one specific instrument to learn another and conquer the desired position.

You must reflect if you are willing to pay the price of learning everything that is necessary to become a military musician, because the charge is advanced, in time of study and dedication to pass the tests and be selected.

Musical Officer

Besides the military musician, another very busy position is that of Military Police Musical Officer.

The function of the Musical Officer is the management of the Musical Body and its fractions, doing, besides the musical activities, those related to the Police-Military Administration.

The activities developed by the Musical Corps, reinforce the hierarchy and discipline, improve the reflex of command and work together, developing the sense of body spirit in all military police officers.

The career of the Military Police Musical Officer begins in the position of 2nd Lieutenant Musician, still during the specific Course.

At the end of the course and after the internship, the Musical Officer is promoted to the position of 1st Military Police Musical Lieutenant.

The promotions will take place throughout the career, according to the time of service, through the opening of vacancies, and the Musical Officer can reach the rank of Major Musician PM.

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