Assuming I'm going into the Air Force in another career field, can I audition for a regional band while in basic training? Yes. Occasionally, people do audition for the band while in basic training. One of our active duty bands, The USAF Band of the West, is stationed at Lackland AFB and can assist in the audition. We recommend, however, that you audition before you go into basic training because, while there, you'll have very little free time to prepare for an audition.
A basic trainee must first request to audition through either (1) their TI, (2) a Drum & Bugle TI (if they are in that flight), or (3) someone at the Classification office when they go for job assignments. Some recent trainees supposedly were informed by their recruiters that the Band would contact them in basic training and set up an audition for them. This is false! The Band does not go to basic training flights to see if anyone wants to audition. You must get one of the three people listed above to call the Band to help set up an audition. Do not wait until the 4th or 5th week of basic training to schedule an audition. If you wait this late in your training, it may been impossible to arrange an audition because the Band may be unavailable. Schedule the audition early in your training.
At the audition, you are given a list of skills pertinent to your instrument of which you must demonstrate specific required masteries. If you want to proceed, you are given an instrument and allowed approximately 30 minutes of warm-up time. If the trainee is still in the early weeks of training, the Band may give them music (not an instrument) and set up an appointment a few days to a week later to do the official audition. We suggest you bring your own prepared pieces with you. Don't count on the Band having the exact music you need. Otherwise, the audition may be based solely on sight reading and scales/rudiments.
Again, we recommend that you audition before you go into basic training because, while there, you'll have very little free time to prepare for an audition. The odds decrease that you'll pass an audition successfully while in basic training.
Do Air Force musicians have a technical school to attend after basic training? No. While in basic training, all enlisted musicians are assigned to the drum and bugle corps flight for initial skills training. After basic, musicians go directly to their assigned band.
Does every regional band musician have to go through basic training? Yes, basic training is a requirement for every Air Force musician, enlisted or officer.
How and when will I know which band I'm assigned to? As a general rule, you'll know to which band you'll be assigned before you enlist, usually the same day as your audition. Musicians are rarely diverted from that initial assignment.
What is basic training like? How long is it? Basic Training is an initial 8-week course at Lackland AFB, TX (San Antonio). While in basic, you'll learn standard military drill and ceremonies, Air Force history, customs and courtesies, and participate in daily physical fitness exercises. Visit the Basic Training web site for more details: http://www.basictraining.af.mil/