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Military Auditions

Postby swillafew » Wed Sep 27, 2017 10:18 pm

My former student (high school) is very interested in getting into military music, and has enlisted on a delayed program. He figures to audition some time in the future. I would not have guessed that the USMC was doing business that way. Does anyone here have experience with the process?
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Re: Military Auditions

Postby the elephant » Wed Sep 27, 2017 11:06 pm

Um, in my day you had to audition BEFORE you enlist, getting a written contract that you would be that MOS and that you would attend the Armed Forces School of Music. The Army further would guarantee your first duty station after school, the USMC would give you a "Wish List" to fill out and they would sent you from the SOM to wherever they needed you, with some deference to your list choices.

People who enlisted before auditioning were sent to the infantry school and had to be a grunt for a couple of years until that unit would be willing to pay from the training budget for the SOM and your MOS change from a Combat Arms MOS to one in the Band field. Since the SOM was six months long at that time this was a lot of money and many simply never got to be in the band.

All this stuff is written down in a binding contract BEFORE enlistment. I auditioned, went through MEPS, had my physical, my background check, my training and duty assignment meeting with a counsellor, etc. THEN I signed the papers. THEN I was in the DEP. In my case, I auditioned fight before Thanksgiving in 1984, went through MEPS that evening and enlisted the next day with all my guarantees in a nine page legal contract guaranteeing where I would go for BCT, AIT, and my Permanent Party station, along with proposed dates. I did not report for BCT until July 29, 1985. Then I went back through all of it: background check, drug tests, physical, and a full review of all my contract paperwork. Then I was sworn in and went to the airport.

I hope your student did not just commit a grievous error. The Marines have always had their own way of doing stuff, but this does not sound correct to me. He might have been bamboozled by the recruiter. He needs to call a Marine band and speak with their Auditions NCO and see what is up and how things normally proceed. If an error (or a swindle) has happened to your student perhaps the Auditions NCO could help him get into a band for certain before he heads off to Pendleton or Parris Island.

I will hope for the best for your student. One of the drummers in my band was an infantryman for ten years before they finally allowed him to attend the SOM. He was good, too. He had spent years playing with the band on his post in a sort of TDY status while the grunt commander fought with the band over who would be saddled with a six month long training bill. Eventually the band paid, I think, but regardless of which unit paid his way he did not serve with them in Colorado. He ended up in NYC with us.
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Re: Military Auditions

Postby Ace » Thu Sep 28, 2017 1:58 am

In 1956, I lived in southern California and gave consideration to enlisting in a military band. The Sixth Army Band at the Presidio of San Francisco was arguably the best military band on the west coast so I made an appointment with the band's commanding officer, flew up for an audition conducted by that officer, and was offered a written guarantee for assignment to the band upon successful completion of basic combat training. The CO wanted me to go immediately to an Army recruiters office and sign the enlistment papers. I said I wanted to think about it for a few weeks, and he put a 30 day expiration date on the cover letter. I let it expire. In 1959, I got a draft notice signed by Dwight Eisenhower. At that time I was married and had a job teaching in a local public school district. The school superintendent appealed but was denied by the hard *** draft board. I entered service on July 20, 1959 and was sent from Los Angeles to Fort Ord near Monterey CA for BCT. There were two bands at Ft. Ord---the 52nd and 28th Army Bands. Upon completion of basic combat training I was scheduled to be assigned to an advanced infantry battalion. Previously however, in off hours, I had been going to the bands area and playing in informal ensemble groups; so the 28th Army Band called upon Classification and Assignment (C&A) to change my orders and I was sent to the 28th with an MOS of trumpet player. In February 1960, I was ordered to Ft. Lewis WA near Tacoma where I completed my two years' draftee service as a trumpet player in the 21st Army Band after quietly engineering with C&A to change my original orders that would have assigned me to the other band on post, the Fourth Infantry Division Band. The Fourth was a dirt-and-grime, crawl-in-the mud band expected to support the Division troops when out in the field in combat training. I missed all that by arranging my transfer to the smaller post band (the 21st). Moral of these stories: Be aggressive in finding friends in bands who can arrange an alteration of orders with C&A.

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Re: Military Auditions

Postby Casca Grossa » Thu Sep 28, 2017 9:34 am

My experience was similar to Wade. I was an Air Force bandsman. I had to submit an audition tape to the specific band I was auditioning for. Once that was accepted, I went on to a live audition. Once I won the position, the paperwork, physicals, etc. were set in motion. I had contract in hand and knew exactly where I was going after basic training. The recruiters even scratched their heads a bit when I showed up with all of the info I had in hand. Luckily, one of the recruiters had processed through a trumpeter for the Airmen of Note a few years earlier so it was a fairly easy process. This was pretty much the case for all military bands when I went in during the 90's. The only difference being that Air Force bandsmen did not need to attend the Armed Forces School of Music. We went straight to our duty assignment after basic training. If your student did not audition in advance, I am afraid he will probably end up in some sort of combat unit. Maybe a current military member could chime in but I know in my experience, you were assigned to your band before you even went to a recruiter.
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Marine Band Re: Military Auditions

Postby tokuno » Thu Sep 28, 2017 11:14 am

My son enlisted at 17, straight out of high school. He graduated the Naval School of Music this July and deployed to the fleet at Camp LeJeune, NC (Division's Own) as a Marine clarinetist in August.
His process was as Wade describes. He initiated the relationship at the recruiting office, but did not sign a commit until after he'd:
1) uploaded a youtube audition
2) passed a live audition (the Marines flew the auditor in from San Diego)

Of course, he also had to pass a physical and take the asvab (scored well over a hundred - no brainer, apparently) somewhere in the process, but he did not commit until he already had a musician's MOS in contract (contingent upon graduating boot, finishing MCT, and graduating the music school, of course - he had some musician peers who flunked and/or quit out of the music program and took a different MOS).

The recruiter was open and, as circumstances proved, honest and ingenuous throughout the process, and my son was direct and open about his intentions.

Btw, my son is ~thrilled~ with his experience so far, even including boot camp (he's an Eagle Scout and had no issues with the physical demands or the emotional/mental duress - his goal was to finish boot with no one knowing he's a "soft" musician).
He'd originally considering pursuing the ROTC program into the Navy in the area of nuclear engineering, but really wanted to scratch the musician's itch, and has zero reservations so far. In his short time, he's already spent a week in Colorado performing at the Scottish Games, several days up in DC learning from the clarinetists of the President's Own, and expects to perform in France next year for the events around the Belleau Wood centennial. He also had two weeks of machine gun training that was apparently a hoot. He says it's not for everyone, but he's all in.
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Re: Marine Band Re: Military Auditions

Postby Three Valves » Thu Sep 28, 2017 11:30 am

tokuno wrote:He also had two weeks of machine gun training...


That's what I call "making music!!"
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Re: Marine Band Re: Military Auditions

Postby bloke » Thu Sep 28, 2017 12:34 pm

Three Valves wrote:
tokuno wrote:He also had two weeks of machine gun training...


That's what I call "making music!!"


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Re: Military Auditions

Postby cktuba » Thu Sep 28, 2017 12:47 pm

I had a student go into the Marine music program about a year ago. He auditioned and was accepted before he enlisted. He then went through basic and finally the SOM before being assigned to his unit. If your student has enlisted but not auditioned yet... I would say that it is highly likely they will be carrying a rifle instead of a tuba.
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Re: Military Auditions

Postby johnhadden » Thu Sep 28, 2017 1:36 pm

Some of the "fleet bands" (non-premiere bands) are still doing audition by appointment, but if anyone has seen the recent Navy situation, they have 4 openings and are actually doing a centralized audition at a location on a specific date and time. It's not for a premier gig (although there's one of those open too, right now) but it's sort of set up the same way.

However, other branches still do the "by appointment" model for their fleet bands. In general, the idea is that you audition and get qualified to go into the branch for music so that they can send you to music school when you're done with basic. I would not just enter with the hopes of being able to do music later. I would definitely recommend auditioning first. This is the way I've had to do it the 8 total times I've auditioned for premier and non-premier spots...almost got some of those too...darn it...
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Re: Military Auditions

Postby swillafew » Fri Sep 29, 2017 12:06 am

I would say that it is highly likely they will be carrying a rifle instead of a tuba.


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Re: Military Auditions

Postby Ace » Fri Sep 29, 2017 12:57 am

swillafew wrote:
I would say that it is highly likely they will be carrying a rifle instead of a tuba.


:tuba:


During my service as an Army bandsman, we all knew that we were soldiers in the armed forces. There was an ominous, heavily-locked room in our band barracks that contained racks of rifles, bayonets, gas masks, etc. I'm grateful we never were called upon to use them.

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Re: Military Auditions

Postby swillafew » Fri Sep 29, 2017 8:50 am

My dad's cousin served in Korea as a clarinetist. Part of his job was guarding a camp perimeter at night.
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Re: Military Auditions

Postby Leland » Sat Sep 30, 2017 11:47 am

swillafew wrote:My former student (high school) is very interested in getting into military music, and has enlisted on a delayed program. He figures to audition some time in the future. I would not have guessed that the USMC was doing business that way. Does anyone here have experience with the process?

He did it the wrong way to be guaranteed a music MOS.

That being said, we had a kid who was in an administrative MOS audition, and be accepted, as a drummer in the USMC D&B. He did a lateral move and performed with us until he EAS'd.

One of the guys who entered the same time I did was slated to be in tanks as he entered boot camp. A music recruiter (MTA) came by and spoke with his drill instructor, who then yelled to the platoon, "Any of you recruits have any band experience?" My friend raised his hand, "This recruit, sir!" "Get in here!" said the drill instructor. The MTA asked what he played, he said trumpet, the MTA asked if he'd like to go to 8th & I to march in the Commandant's Own, he said sure -- and they changed his MOS before he left boot camp.

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Re: Military Auditions

Postby Radar » Sun Oct 01, 2017 7:29 pm

Way back when I did it you auditioned before enlisting (even in the delayed entry program). Then it was on your contract what your MOS would be. Enlisting before the audition could definately backfire if you don't pass the audition, or if you get assigned a critical MOS they may not let you transfer to a band MOS later on. Sounds like they got a recruiter who didn't understand how the band process works.
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Re: Military Auditions

Postby brattom » Thu Oct 05, 2017 6:19 am

Your student really should talk to a band liaison. I'm assuming the Marines have something like that. Not to suggest that he was misled, but there have been instances where recruiters have had the wrong information. We had a horn player who recently retired who enlisted in the late '80s to join a USMC reserve band, only to find out when he finished boot camp that there is no such thing. He was eventually released from the reserves but it took a while.

I'd have him check this out ASAP and call the GySgt listed at the bottom. If he wanted to join first and audition later, it's sometimes more difficult to reclass to a new MOS than join doing what you want to do from the get go.

http://www.mcrc.marines.mil/1stmcd/Unit-Home/Music/

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Re: Military Auditions

Postby swillafew » Mon Oct 09, 2017 7:27 pm

Update: saw the young wants-to-be-Marine today. He has some excerpts from band and orchestra to play this month. Audition is being done with Skype. According to auditionee, no scales and no sight reading.
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Re: Military Auditions

Postby Leland » Wed Oct 11, 2017 8:50 pm

swillafew wrote:According to auditionee, no scales and no sight reading.

.....??? Really? I didn't even play any prepared stuff when I did my audition. A few scales, a couple technical exercises, and sightreading.

(but this was for USMC D&B, so they had me do scales on a contra bugle, too)
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Re: Military Auditions

Postby Michael Bush » Wed Oct 11, 2017 9:50 pm

Radar wrote:Way back when I did it you auditioned before enlisting (even in the delayed entry program). Then it was on your contract what your MOS would be. Enlisting before the audition could definately backfire if you don't pass the audition, or if you get assigned a critical MOS they may not let you transfer to a band MOS later on. Sounds like they got a recruiter who didn't understand how the band process works.

I know a guy who spent four years (ending fairly recently) doing a human resources desk job in the Navy because for whatever reason (a recruiter?) he thought he could enlist and then get in a band. Nope.
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Re: Military Auditions

Postby goldenmoose » Mon Oct 16, 2017 10:13 pm

The audition should've been done before signing any contract. This is most likely a case where the recruiter had no idea what they were doing. I am a Navy musician and have seen/heard this scenario countless times. Never believe a recruiter when they say the best way to be a military musician is to join now and transfer/crossrate later.
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Re: Military Auditions

Postby swillafew » Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:47 pm

I have reconnected with the student. He told me his document was only a provisional one, and he hasn't actually enlisted (so far). I have heard tales just like some of the ones above regarding assignments.
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