About the Job

A musician in the Army is a soldier who performs as a professional musician in an Army Band. Within an Army Band you have the opportunity to work in ensembles such as Concert Band, Marching Band, Big Band, Rock Band, Quintets and Jazz Ensemble. These groups perform music that covers the full spectrum of musical genres from Classical to Jazz, Popular and Contemporary.

Army Bands perform at Defence and Government ceremonial occasions, entertain soldiers both here in Australia and deployed overseas, and are a key component of the Army's public relations program by supporting community events, educational programs and charity organisations.

In the Australian Army Band (AAB) there are opportunities for full-time musicians in Sydney, Canberra, Brisbane, Townsville and Wagga Wagga. Part-time opportunities are available in all the above locations, as well as Melbourne, Adelaide, Hobart, Perth, Newcastle and Darwin.

The Army Band enlists musicians who are proficient on the following instruments:

  • Flute/Piccolo
  • Oboe
  • Clarinet
  • Bassoon
  • Saxophones
  • French Horn
  • Trumpet
  • Trombone
  • Euphonium
  • Tuba
  • Percussion (tuned and un-tuned)
  • Drum Kit
  • Guitar
  • Bass Guitar
  • Keyboard
  • Vocals (male and female)

Please contact Australian Army Band Headquarters on 02 6127 6687 or AABand.Recruiting@defence.gov.au for information on current full time and part time vacancies.

Key Information

Preparing for Your Recruitment Process

This document provides information that will assist applicants for roles in the Navy, Army and Air Force, including details about the recruitment process, how to prepare yourself for assessment, and what to expect if you are successful in joining the Australian Defence Force.


National Qualifications

Aspects of your training may result in the award of civil qualifications - something you can check with your Instructional Staff when you conduct your Initial Employment Training.

Salary & Allowances

In the Army you'll get paid a good salary from day one regardless of your age, experience or qualifications; and your pay increases as you progress through training.

In addition to base pay you'll receive a variety of allowances, extra pay for relevant qualifications – plus 16.4% superannuation, a far higher rate than you're likely to find in the civilian world.

For more details download our Salary Scales.

Read our Conditions of Service.


Postings as a permanent Army Musician can be to any of the following locations:

  • QLD - Townsville, Brisbane
  • ACT - Canberra
  • NSW - Sydney, Wagga Wagga



Applicants must be aged between 17 and 55 years (inclusive) on day of enlistment.

Applicants will not normally be allowed to enter the ADF until they achieve a minimum of 17 years of age, however they may be able to initiate the application process from 16 years and six months of age, depending upon the capacity of their local recruiting centre.

Education & Experience

The educational standard required is completion of Australian Year 10 education (or equivalent) with passes in English and Mathematics.

Although there are no formal musical qualifications required to enter the Australian Army Band Corps (AABC), all applicants must be able to read music fluently and perform their instrument to a high standard. Applicants will be required to sit an audition with an AABC Employment Category Testing Officer.

Medical & Fitness

To be enlisted or appointed, you must be medically and physically fit for entry to your chosen occupation. This is partially assessed from the completion of an extensive questionnaire covering your medical history, followed by a physical examination.

You will also be required to successfully pass a physical fitness test before appointment.

For further details on medical and physical fitness standards refer to Physical Fitness Standards for Entry into the ADF and Medical Process for Entry into the ADF.

Period of Service

The Initial Minimum Period of Service (IMPS) for qualified entry to the AABC is four years. Subsequent periods of service may be offered subject to the requirements of the ADF and your suitability for further service. You may request discharge at any time provided you have completed your IMPS obligation.

Your Careers Coach can advise on how IMPS will relate to your chosen occupation.

Additional Requirements

The Army Musician has three different performance levels. These levels are called Musician Grade One, Musician Grade Two and Musician Grade Three. Prior to your audition, you should choose, in consultation with your local area band’s Music Director the level at which you wish to be assessed against. The repertoire lists containing the requirements for these levels should also be supplied to you.

Should you be applying for entry as an Army Reserve Musician, the minimum standard is Musician Grade 1, whilst the minimum standard for a Regular Army Musician is Musician Grade 2. You can be accepted into both the Army Reserve and Regular Army at one level lower, but you will be required to attain the minimum standard within 24 months for the Army Reserve and 12 months for the Regular Army. There is one exception to this standard – a vocalist will only be recruited at job standard.

Most applicants can also choose to be assessed against either a classical or a commercial stream. Classical stream does not refer to what is termed the classical period, but rather refers to art music produced in, or rooted in, the traditions of Western liturgical and secular music, encompassing a broad period from roughly the 11th century to present times. Commercial stream includes styles from all areas of contemporary popular music. This term encompasses jazz, pop, blues, soul, country, folk, and rock styles.

Audition Requirements

Applicants will be assessed at an audition with an AABC Employment Category Testing Officer to ensure the applicant meets the minimum standard required for entry to AABC Bands.

Although there are no formal musical qualifications required to enter the AABC, all applicants must be able to read music fluently and perform on their instrument to a high standard.

The standard of performance at the audition will determine the avenue of entry to Qualified Entry 1,2 or 3.

The audition process is made up of a number of stages. These stages are:

  • An interview with the Music Director of your local band

  • The individual performance recital, where you will be required to perform a recital, sight reading and common band excerpts

  • An ensemble rehearsal audition, where you will rehearse with smaller groups within the band, including your instrumental section or group, jazz group of varying sizes or rock band, and

Further Information

The Australian Army Band Corps Guide to Audition and Recitals has been published by the Defence Force School of Music, and is an invaluable source of information on all aspects of the audition process. It is essential that applicants contact HQ Australian Army Band on 02 61276687 to discuss their interest or email AABand.Recruiting@defence.gov.au


The application process to join the Australian Defence Force requires you to complete a series of aptitude tests which may include verbal, spatial and numerical ability and a general maths test. Some jobs may also require you to complete additional testing at a later date.

Psychology support staff will explain what is involved with each test.

The aptitude tests provide information about your suitability for the Defence Force and for particular jobs. Defence Force Recruiting can then help you identify jobs that best match your abilities.

Further information on the aptitude testing requirements can be found here.


Only Australian Citizens are permitted to serve in the ADF.

If you are a permanent resident of Australia, the ADF may consider a temporary deferral of the citizenship requirement if the position for which you are applying cannot be filled by an applicant who meets all the citizenship requirements, and then only in exceptional circumstances. You will be required to obtain Australian Citizenship as early as possible following enlistment or appointment.

Find out more in our Citizenship page or ask your local Defence Force Recruiting Centre.

Security Requirements

The Department of Defence requires ADF employees to have security clearances appropriate to their employment.

A process of background checks, collection of relevant information and, as required, interviews, enables the Australian Government Security Vetting Agency to make an informed assessment of an applicant's suitability for a security clearance.

The minimum security clearance level required is Negative Vetting Level 1, and current policy requires applicants to have a checkable background for the previous 10 years. Required information includes:

  • Residence
  • Employment
  • Education
  • Credit

Australian Citizenship is a requirement for a security clearance and a clearance will only be granted to a non-citizen in exceptional circumstances.

NOTE: The security clearance is critical to an applicants successful progression through the Army training system. If an applicant is unable to obtain the required security clearance in time, they will not be allowed to continue their training and may need to be re-allocated to another employment category. As such, it is strongly recommended that all applicants obtain the required documentation as soon as possible to provide the best opportunity to be employed in their preferred employment category.


Military Training

All General Entry recruits into the Australian Regular Army are required to complete the Recruit Course.

Total Duration: 80 days.

Location: Kapooka, Wagga Wagga, NSW.

Recruit training is the same for male and female entrants. During the 80 day Army Recruit Course you will be required to take part in physical training, weapon handling and shooting, first aid, drill and field craft. The training is deliberately challenging and has been designed to prepare you to be a soldier in today's Army. Recruits gain a sense of achievement, purpose and confidence during basic training, and on completion of the course feel justifiably proud of what they have achieved.

Further information is also available at the Army Recruit Training Centre website.

During Military (Initial Recruit) Training and (Initial) Employment Training, members may be required to pay a contribution towards meals, accommodation and utilities.

Employment Training

Following recruit training, qualified entry applicants attend an Initial Employment Training (IET) course for approximately seven weeks at the Defence Force School of Music (DFSM) located at Watsonia in Melbourne.

Musicians will learn specific skills required of military musicians. This includes identification of marching band signals, marching band performance, familiarity of ceremonial music and an introduction to the history and mission of the Australian Army Band Corps as well as general theory and musicianship skills.

Further Training

You will graduate from recruit training with the rank of Musician (Private) and could progress to Lance Corporal within two years following completion of all IET. Further promotion to Corporal (Section Leader), Sergeant (Group Leader) and Warrant Officer (Band Manager) is based on performance, time in rank and vacancies, and will require the successful completion of courses in advanced music studies.

Commissioned band officers are selected from within the bands with a minimum rank of Sergeant required before selection. All members of the AABC have the opportunity to career advance from Musician (Private Soldier) to commissioned officer ranks within the Australian Army Band Corps. Band officers are trained at the Defence Force School of Music.