On the Job

What They Do

Musicians provide musical support for all aspects of military life, including ceremonial parades, military graduations, and ship ceremonies. They provide quality music designed to support Forces operations, foster morale and esprit de corps, and to promote Canadian aesthetics and values, both nationally and abroad.

The primary responsibilities of Musicians are to:

  • Perform for a wide array of domestic and international engagements including:
    • Government and military parades and ceremonies
    • Public concerts, shows and festivals, public events
    • Military and state dinners
  • Perform as instrumentalists and conductors in various musical:
    • Concert Bands
    • Parade Band
    • Stage Bands
    • Dance Bands
    • Pipe and Drum Bands
    • Brass Quintets
    • Woodwind Quintets
    • String Quartets
    • Jazz Combos
    • Small Chamber Groups

Working Environment

As ambassadors of goodwill, Musicians will perform throughout the world representing the Forces and the citizens of Canada.While on duty with a Regular Force band, personnel could find themselves in a wide variety of performing environments and venues, from performances in concert halls to providing musical support at ceremonial parades, all of which are integral parts of the military Musician’s life.

The Regular Force bands are:

  • The Stadacona Band of the Maritime Forces Atlantic, Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • The Naden Band of the Maritime Forces Pacific, Victoria, British Columbia
  • The Royal Canadian Artillery Band, Edmonton, Alberta
  • The Royal 22e Régiment Band, Courcelette, Quebec
  • The Central Band of the Canadian Forces, Ottawa, Ontario
  • The Air Command Band, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Career Development

The starting salary for a fully-trained Musician is $57,000 per year; however, depending on previous experience and training the starting salary may be higher. This military occupation offers many unique opportunities for qualified professional musicians. Excellent musical training or experience is provided in the six professional Forces bands. In addition, military Musicians enjoy many exciting travel experiences.

Forces bands are administered, managed and directed by Forces' musicians. Opportunities to explore and expand on a music career are practically limitless. Musicians who demonstrate the required ability, dedication and potential are selected for opportunities for career progression, promotion and advanced training.

Related Civilian Occupations

  • Instrumental Musician
  • Band or Orchestra Leader
  • Singer
  • Arranger or Composer


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Basic Military Qualification

The first stage of training is the Basic Military Qualification course, or Basic Training, held at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. This training provides the basic core skills and knowledge common to all trades. A goal of this course is to ensure that all recruits maintain the Forces physical fitness standard; as a result, the training is physically demanding.

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Specialty Training

Musicians may be offered the opportunity to develop specialized skills through formal courses and on-the-job training, including:

  • Voluntary Band Instructor
  • Pipe Major Course
  • Pipe Drum Instructor Course
  • Drum Major Course
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Advanced Training

As they progress in their career, Musicians who demonstrate the required ability and potential will be offered advanced training. Available courses include:

  • Basic scoring and conducting
  • Intermediate scoring and conducting
  • Advanced scoring and conducting

Entry Plans

Now Hiring: We are now accepting applications for this job through Direct Entry.

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Required Education

The Forces enrols skilled Musicians through a competitive blind audition process to fill periodic vacancies.  Competitions are held periodically for available positions in the six Regular Force bands. Successful applicants have typically been experienced, professional musicians, many of them having a degree in Music Performance, Conservatory or University Certification, or equivalent professional musical experience.

Musicians must be multi-talented performers with experience in several musical styles, and must be able to adapt to all types of performance situations and to diverse audiences.

For more information about the application process or the audition procedure, please contact the Musician Branch at:

1-705-424-1200, ext. 1388

Part-time Option

This occupation is available part-time within the following environments: Air Force, Navy, Army.

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Serve with the Reserve Force

This position is available for part-time employment with the Primary Reserve at certain locations across Canada. Reserve Force members usually serve part time at an Air Force Wing in their community, and may serve while going to school or working at a civilian job. They are paid during their training. They are not posted or required to do a military move. However, they can volunteer to move to another base. They may also volunteer for deployment on a military mission within or outside Canada.

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Part-time Employment

Musicians may serve with the Royal Canadian Navy, Canadian Army or Royal Canadian Air Force. They are employed to provide musical support for Forces events and operations. Musicians employed on a part-time or casual full-time basis usually serve at a military base, wing, home port or ship located within Canada.

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Reserve Force Training

Reserve Force members are trained to the same level as their Regular Force counterparts. They usually begin training with their home unit to ensure that they meet the required basic professional military standards. Following basic military training, qualified professional musicians who demonstrate the required ability, dedication and potential may be offered the opportunity to develop specialized skills and advanced training through formal courses and on-the-job training.

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Working Environment

Reserve Force members usually serve part-time with their home unit for scheduled evenings and weekends, although they may also serve in full-time positions at some units for fixed terms, depending on the type of work that they do. They are paid 85% of Regular Force rates of pay, receive a reasonable benefits package and may qualify to contribute to a pension plan.

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Get Started!

Find a unit in your area and start the application process for part-time employment now.


The Canadian Armed Forces Music Branch announces a national audition competition for full time-time positions in the Regular Force military bands:

General Application Information

  • Applicant must be a Canadian Citizen.
  • Skilled and experienced on primary instrument.
  • Skilled and experienced in playing various styles of music is a valuable asset.
  • Secondary instrument skill unrelated to primary instrument family (eg. A Clarinetist demonstrating skills on guitar or popular voice) is a valuable asset
  • Musicians rate of pay
  • Benefits to include paid vacation, health and dental coverage, pension plan, group insurance, parental leave and family support services.

Important dates

  • Phase I audio recordings must be received by 6 September 2016; and
  • Phase II “Live Audition” is tentatively scheduled from 14 to 25 November 2016.
  • For audition requirements and details, please consult our website, or contact us at: 1-866-991-0422 or by email.