Music has been a driving, inspirational factor to human beings of all walks of life for longer than anyone can remember. Early military-centric music may go as far back as a drummer boy on a boat, keeping the tempo for everyone as they rowed. Large, organized military bands have unique histories within their respective nations, and they serve to instill a sense pride and act as a source of inspiration to the both the troops and the nation that they fight for.

Joining a military band can actually provide quite a few benefits, on top of the regular benefits — both practical and abstract — that come with being in the military in the first place. Work is not always easy to find for the aspiring musician, and though life in the military is never easy, the stability is undeniable, and it also gives musicians a chance to serve their country and play music for a living full time. This is especially true for high school musicians that perhaps don’t want to spend their youth in a walled off conservatory or a cut-throat, competitive music school. Bands within the United States military often have the opportunity to deploy and entertain the troops — boosting the morale of service members on top of travelling to interesting places, not all of which are necessarily combat zones.

Still, the musicians in the military have to be at the top of their game and it is not without competition. And each country might demand different things from their military’s musicians — be it waking up early for morning colors, playing at festivals or parades, playing during specific events or even funerals or most likely all of the above. The tempo can be demanding and it takes a special type of person that can balance the art of music with the rigor and discipline of the military.

Take a look at some of the military bands around the world:

U.S. Marine Gunnery Sgt. David Wilson, bandmaster, Parris Island Marine Band, Headquarters Company, Headquarters and Service Battalion, Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, leads the Parris Island Marine Band during the Celebrate Columbus 2012 Parade in Bridgeport, Conn., Oct. 7, 2012. | U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Esdras E. Ruano/Released
The Central Military Band of the Ministry of Defense of Russia, performing at a festival in 2014. | Wikimedia Commons
The Djiboutian Armed Forces (FAD) Marching Band performs during a parade June 5, 2013, at Camp Cheik Osman, Djibouti. | U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sergeant Kelly White
A Chinese military band conductor looks back as he leads the band when Chinese leaders enter the hall during the opening session of the annual National People’s Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Monday, March 5, 2018. | AP Photo/Andy Wong
Members of the traditional South Korean military band march at the Olympic Park ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018. | AP Photo/Jae C. Hong
A military band parades during a ceremony to mark the 71st anniversary of Union Day Friday, Feb. 12, 2016, in Naypyitaw, Myanmar (Burma), Monday, Feb. 12, 2018. | AP Photo/Aung Shine Oo
A Jordanian military band plays in front of a GROB G 120TP training aircraft during ceremony handing over equipment to Jordan, at Marka airport, Amman, Jordan, Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018. | John MacDougall/Pool Photo via AP
A member of the military band dances as they wait for Emmerson Mnangagwa’s presidential inauguration ceremony in the capital Harare, Zimbabwe Friday, Nov. 24, 2017. | AP Photo/Ben Curtis
The Swedish Army Band at a changing of the guard ceremony at the Royal Palace, Gamla Stan, Stockholm. | Wikimedia Commons
The Brasilian military band during Bastille Day in Paris on July 14, 2005. | Wikimedia Commons
The Band of The Royal Regiment of Scotland at Edinburgh Castle, celebrating the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. | Photo by Stefan Schäfer, Lich via Wikimedia Commons
Members of the United States Army Band, “Pershing’s Own” are reflected in the polished floor of Conmy Hall, at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va. Friday, Jan. 5, 2018. | AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster


Featured image: A member of the Royal Guard music band holds a double bass after playing outside the Royal Palace in Madrid, Wednesday, April 4, 2018. | AP Photo/Francisco Seco