Optional Preliminary Recordings due: April 22, 2024
Live Preliminary Audition: May 16, 2024
Live Audition: May 17, 2024
Application Instructions & Repertoire:  2024 U.S. Coast Guard Band Clarinet Audition Packet.pdf

Starting salary between $65,000 and $72,500; full military benefits, paid medical, 30 days paid vacation, pension plan, no basic training, and potential $15K signing bonus with qualifying higher-ed credits. Maximum age at time of enlistment is 42. The audition winner will have to meet all military standards to enlist in the Coast Guard. Applicants must be a U.S. citizen or green card holder.


Alto Saxophone

Optional Preliminary Recordings due: May 10, 2024
Live Preliminary Audition: June 10, 2024
Live Audition: June 11, 2024
Application Instructions & Repertoire:  2024 U.S. Coast Guard Band Alto Saxophone Audition Packet.pdf

Starting salary between $65,000 and $72,500; full military benefits, paid medical, 30 days paid vacation, pension plan, no basic training, and potential $15K signing bonus with qualifying higher-ed credits. Maximum age at time of enlistment is 42. The audition winner will have to meet all military standards to enlist in the Coast Guard. Applicants must be a U.S. citizen or green card holder.


For more information contact MUC David West ( 
ph. 860.444.8467

All applicants must be able to meet the enlistment requirements for the United States Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

General Information

The United States Coast Guard Band recruits only the most highly skilled musicians, and the audition process is extremely competitive. Coast Guard Band auditions occur only in anticipation of projected vacancies. Openings are announced on the Band's website and notices are sent to college and university music departments. Auditions are held at the United States Coast Guard Academy in historic New London, Connecticut. All applicants must travel to New London, Connecticut at their own expense.

The audition process is much like that of any major symphony orchestra, with a screened preliminary round to ensure anonymity, and musical requirements that include performance of a solo, concert band and orchestral excerpts, and sight reading. Candidates are advanced to a final round based on their demonstrated musical ability; the winner of that round must complete an interview and reference check in addition to meeting Coast Guard requirements. The Director makes the final decision to award the position to the winner(s) who then enlist in the United States Coast Guard for a period of four years at the rank of Musician First Class (E-6).

The performance audition assesses only the individual’s musical qualifications. To be offered a position with the Coast Guard Band, one must also be physically qualified to enter the United States Coast Guard and be capable of being granted the required security clearance. All applicants must have U.S. citizenship or a green card, must be between 18 and 42 years old on the day of their enlistment (unless prior military service), and meet all physical and health requirements including weight standards for enlistment in the United States Coast Guard. Members of the United States Coast Guard Band must obtain a Secret Level Security Clearance. An extensive background investigation is necessary to be granted this clearance and will be done after enlistment into the United States Coast Guard.

Finalists are interviewed at the time of the audition in an effort to identify any potential problems that could affect the individual’s ability to be enlisted for duty with the Coast Guard, either with health or security clearance. For specific questions regarding these qualifications you may contact the Audition Coordinator or your local Coast Guard Recruiter.

While there are no degree requirements to become a member of The United States Coast Guard Band, current musicians are graduates of our nation's finest music schools, many holding advanced degrees from such renowned institutions as The Juilliard School, Indiana University, University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Eastman School of Music, Oberlin College, New England Conservatory, University of Michigan, University of Illinois, and University of North Texas. The playing ability and expertise required are equivalent to those of any major professional musical organization. Many band members choose to make their career in the band, often serving the Coast Guard as musicians for twenty to thirty years.

The enlistment process is completed at the applicant’s local Military Enlistment Processing Station and through the local Coast Guard Recruiter. All persons entering the Coast Guard Band enlist at the rank of Petty Officer 1st Class (pay grade E-6) for a four year enlistment. Band members receive all pay and benefits commensurate with that rank. They are also subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the rules and articles governing the discipline of the U.S. Armed Forces.

New band members are not required to undergo the eight week basic training program. The Coast Guard Band is one of only two U.S. military bands that do not require basic training. Following enlistment, new members report directly to New London, Connecticut.  After reporting to the Coast Guard Academy, new members are sent to Cape May, NJ for a two week indoctrination program. This program is set up to introduce new band members to the life and culture of the US Coast Guard. They will attend classes that focus on military history, tradition and etiquette. After returning to New London, all band members participate in an ongoing process of instruction which gives each musician essential knowledge about his or her role in the United States Coast Guard.

Military pay is divided into two categories: basic pay which is taxable, and other allowances which are not taxable. Non-taxable allowances include BAH (basic allowance for housing), BAS (basic allowance for subsistence), per diem for travel, and a clothing allowance. Members of the armed forces are allowed to claim legal residence in their home state if they so desire which may also affect their state tax status.

Current estimated annual pay for an E-6 in the Coast Guard Band with no prior service is $65,000 (without dependents) and $72,500 (with dependents).

Due to the limited amount of Coast Guard Housing, band members do not receive on-base housing but instead receive a BAH as part of their pay.

Leave (Vacation) Time
Band members receive 30 days paid leave each year plus some federal holidays. The Coast Guard Band uses a “blanket leave” policy where specific time within the year is set aside to allow members to use their leave days. Leave requests outside of the blanket leave period are considered on a case-by-case basis and may be approved depending on the performing/rehearsals schedule and mission needs of the band.

Health Care
All members of the U.S. Armed Forces are automatically enrolled in TRICARE, the Department of Defense’s health care program for active duty personnel, retirees, and their families. Through TRICARE, members receive free comprehensive medical and dental care as needed at any military health care facility or civilian TRICARE providers. Family members may also be enrolled in TRICARE and receive medical care at military or civilian facilities through various options for little or no cost. Visit for more information.
U.S. Coast Guard members may participate in the Service Members’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) program at very reasonable rates.

Pension and Retirement
The current system is a blend of a 20-year defined benefit and a defined contribution plan. Members under the modernized retirement plan will see their defined benefit multiplier (pension) reduced from 2.5 percent to two percent and will be auto-enrolled at three percent of their basic pay into a portable TSP account upon entry to military service. Following initial entry training, each member will be able to elect their own TSP contribution level.

If a member desires to opt out of the TSP contribution for a particular year, they will automatically be renewed at three percent the following year. After 60 days of service, the Coast Guard will automatically contribute one percent of a member’s basic pay (or inactive duty pay for a Selected Reserve member) to the member’s TSP account. This one percent contribution will continue until the member separates, retires or reaches 26 years of service. This contribution is automatic and does not change during a member’s career. After the completion of two years of service, the Coast Guard will match the service member’s contribution up to an additional four percent (for a maximum of five percent total) and will continue to match that contribution until the member separates, retires or reaches 26 years of service. Each member will own all government contributions to their TSP after two years of service. After 20 years of service, a Coast Guard member will be eligible to receive a defined benefit multiplier of two percent (it’s currently 2.5 percent). A member retiring may choose to receive a lump-sum payment of either 25 or 50 percent of the total retirement benefit and a reduced monthly payout. The modernized retirement plan will also include the offer of Continuation Pay to encourage retention beyond 12 years of service and provide additional income during a member’s career. The Coast Guard will offer Continuation Pay between 2.5 and 13 times one month’s basic pay for active duty and between 0.5 and 6 times one month’s IDT pay for reserve. Any member who elects to receive Continuation Pay will incur a 4 year service obligation.

Education Benefits
All members of the band are eligible for enrollment in the Montgomery GI Bill (MGIB) and the new Post-9/11 GI Bill. Full information about these programs can be found at
The Coast Guard also has several programs to assist with furthering your education and tuition assistance. For more information on these programs visit

Other Benefits
Members of the Coast Guard Band are entitled same benefits as other members of the Armed Forces. These include the use of military exchanges, commissaries, gymnasiums, exercise facilities and golf courses as well as services such as legal and financial assistance. Military MWR offices offer rentals of camping equipment, canoes, and athletic equipment at little or no cost. The Coast Guard Academy is a small military base, but the New London Submarine Base in Groton, CT offers many of these services.

The Coast Guard Band is the only full time performing organization in the United States Coast Guard and performs in a wide variety of venues and for various functions around the country. Military ceremonial performances include high profile functions for the President, Secretary of DHS, Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard and other dignitaries and military personnel around the country. In addition to frequent concert band performances at the Coast Guard Academy, the band performs concerts around Southeast New England and does two national concert tours per year, each being approximately two weeks long. The Coast Guard Band has also traveled internationally including the first concert tour of a Premier U.S. Military Band in Japan in 2008 and the first performance by a U.S. Military Band in the former Soviet Union in 1989. The Coast Guard Band also has an extensive chamber recital series that performs throughout Connecticut and has also given performances at the Midwest Conference in Chicago and Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Daily Schedule
Because of the variety of performance requirements for the Band, the work schedule can change frequently. The Band often performs on weekends and compensatory days are given off during the week where performance and rehearsal schedules allow. The Coast Guard Band is a self-supported organization meaning that members of the band perform a variety of non-musical duties to ensure the smooth day-to-day functioning of the organization. These collateral duties typically make up about 20% of the average work week. Most new members are assigned to the stage or load crew and assist with the loading of equipment of the setting up of chairs and stands before and after performances. Other collateral duties within the band include: Music Library, Public Affairs, Operations, Administration, Education Outreach, Finance and Supply, and Recruiting. As a member of the U.S. Coast Guard Band, your primary duty is as a working musician for the United States Government. While the schedule is often flexible enough to do other performance engagements and many members of the band perform in local orchestras such as The Hartford Symphony and Rhode Island Philharmonic, duties with the Coast Guard Band always take precedence.

For further information contact:

Chief Musician David West
U.S. Coast Guard Band 
U.S. Coast Guard Academy 
15 Mohegan Avenue (mb)
New London, CT 06320 

Phone: 860-444-8467 
Email: MUC David West