Being a United States Air Force band officer is a unique career opportunity that combines world-class musicianship with military leadership. Air Force bands sustain morale, render ceremonial honors, and build relationships with domestic and international communities, all through the power of music; band officers are professionally trained conductors charged with leading that mission.
Air Force band officers are among the finest musical ambassadors of the United States of America and are responsible for leading, conducting, and producing a wide variety of events and recordings in support of the mission of the Air Force. Opportunities for musical leadership are diverse, ranging from jazz, vocal and popular ensembles, to symphonic and marching bands. Through public, internet, radio, cable, and TV performances and recordings that reach millions annually, officers lead bands to tell the Air Force story at home, overseas, and in deployed locations in support of U.S. national security objectives.
This career opportunity requires officers to interact with national, civic, military and industry leaders at home and around the world. To facilitate this, the Air Force provides training in leadership, public affairs, and the operational skills required to help officers lead professional bands and realize their honorable desire to serve the United States as a professional musician.
A career as an Air Force Officer comes with many desirable features:
Symphony-level audition procedures and rigorous standards attract "the best of the best" among America's young artist-players; advanced study with world-renown teachers and an aggressive performance schedule further hone Air Force musicians into world-class professionals.
Huge, enthusiastic audiences, thrilling concert tours, exacting recording sessions, television, and radio broadcasts foster high artistic standards and result in some of the best performing ensembles in the world.
Highly diverse repertoire, world-class venues, top-notch musicians, and celebrity guest artists combine to offer Air Force conductors a uniquely exhilarating professional career.
Acoustically-designed and treated rehearsal spaces, state-of-the art office and music production workstations, outstanding musical, audio, and lighting instruments, tailored performance uniforms, excellent instrument storage and repair facilities, and extensive libraries enable Air Force bands to function on a highly professional level.
When they are not performing, Air Force band members are trained in various non-musical disciplines to provide critical administrative support, such as: computer maintenance and programming, instrument repair, tour scheduling, supply, marketing, media relations, scriptwriting, announcing, library sciences, fiscal administration and office management.
Air Force conductors are given numerous opportunities for professional development. Conducting workshops, independent study sessions, even advanced degrees are possible. Other opportunities include attending conferences such as the Midwest Clinic, Texas Bandmasters Association, Music Educators National Conference, College Band Directors National Association and the World Association of Concert Band and Wind Ensembles.
TRAVEL AND LOCATION
Travel and relocation are typical for any Air Force member. Air Force conductors may be assigned to exciting worldwide locations in Germany or Japan, or near cities such as Saint Louis, San Francisco, San Antonio, Virginia Beach, Denver, and Washington, DC.
The competition is keen, but qualified Air Force officers are promoted and advanced to positions and assignments of increasing responsibility. Typically, outstanding officers are promoted to Captain by their fifth year of service, to Major by their 12th, and to Lt. Colonel by their 16th. The "best of the best" may be promoted to full Colonel sometime after their twentieth year of active duty service.
MEDICAL AND OTHER BENEFITS
The Air Force takes care of its own. Modern military medical facilities with professional staffs, combined with Tricare specialty services assure Air Force families the best medical care possible. Outstanding on-base housing, schools, fitness and recreational facilities, family support centers, worship centers, commissaries and base exchanges offer Air Force members a high standard of living at an affordable cost.
Air Force retirement is an outstanding value. After twenty years of active duty, Air Force personnel become retirement eligible, earning an average 50% of their highest 36 months of basic pay.