A Career in the Military? The choice is yours

Hi my name is Nichole and I am a 24 year old looking to making a career out of music by playing the clarinet in the military. However, I have gotten many advice as to stay clear from the military as its not a good way of making a career out of playing the clarinet. I am confused and wonder what your advice would be, should I ignore everyone ideas and just go with the military as I can’t really afford private music lessons or go to college.
Sincerely,Nichole
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Hello Nichole:
Thank you for your question about playing in the military as a career for a clarinetist.
I was in the same position as you are now, at least somewhat the same. I had joined the Army to play in the 4th Army Band in San Antonio, Texas, had really a very good time there and met many friends and learned a lot as well.
When my enlistment ended, I was presented with the opportunity to re-enlist, an opportunity which I turned down.
There were many reasons for my decision, however it was made because the reputation of the Army at the time was not that good and the atmosphere around the band was that re enlisting was for idiots.
It certainly was not, however I had plans to play in an orchestra and wanted to go back to University, both of which I did.
But I frequently wonder what would have happened had I stayed in the Army. Certainly my life would have been different than it has, however I am not terribly unhappy with the choices I made.
You are young enough to have choices and that makes you in a good position. It all depends on the kind of person you are.
If it is an attractive thing for you, to play in the military situation?
Would you be happy to be part of an organization which can be quite regimented and follows a strict schedule?
Are you interested in total personal care? Food, lodging, medical and dental care, and uniforms for the life of your enlistment?
Are you a good player? Are you satisfied with your playing?
What all of this says is that this kind of choice is really a personal choice. Take all of the considerations in mind. You must make your own decision.
It is my understanding that the benefits of enlistment are currently extensive. It is far from the worst thing a musician could do.
I have known many young people who joined the service as musicians and are currently playing in service organizations quite happily. Consider all of the advantages and the disadvantages. Make your choice.

If you decide on the military it will not be a bad choice, simply the choice that you have made. Good luck to you.

most sincerely, Sherman

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