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Careers :: Bass Drum Musician

Perform with The United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps as a Bass Drum Musician. The position requires the exclusive use of a rope tensioned rudimental bass drum. The Fife and Drum Corps is comprised of 70 musicians whose main duty is the ceremonial support of military functions within the National Capital region. Ceremonial duties are largely conducted outdoors and involve prolonged periods of standing and marching. The typical work schedule varies, but mainly involves daytime work hours with intermittent night or weekend commitments. The total travel time for the Corps may average a few weeks each year.

Audition Portfolio Requirements

Please submit an electronic audition portfolio that includes the following:

1 page resume

  • Height and weight
  • Date and place of birth
  • A current list of references (1 professional, 1 personal)
  • Education
  • Performance / occupational experience
  • All prior marching experience
  • Additional information pertaining to this position

Cover Letter

  • The cover letter element is an opportunity to portray your personality; it should compliment, not duplicate, your attached resume.
  • Address to the Commander of The United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps
  • Detail what you, as an individual, can offer the organization
  • Mention specifically how your qualifications meet the requirements of the position
  • Include musical and non-musical experiences associated with teaching, mentorship, leadership,
    and other skills such as: arranging, recording, marketing, graphic design, etc.

A recent full-length photograph

  • Professional appearance/quality recommended
  • Please ensure entire body is visible—top of head, all limbs, hands, and feet

Letters of Reference

  • Two professional letters of reference included with your audition portfolio

High quality recording

Submit an unlisted YouTube videorecording adhering to the following requirements:

  • The video image should only contain a view of the performer from head to toe.
  • The camera should be level with the performance surface.  Do not include extreme angles.
  • Professional appearance is highly recommended.
  • Ensure that your video functions and loads properly.       

Include the following selections performed on a bass drum:

  • The required piece to be found here.  Do not execute visuals. 
  • A solo of your choice not to exceed 2 minutes in length. 

On the snare drum, play the following rudiments:

  • The long roll – broken down from slow to fast to slow. Approximately 2 minutes in length (60 seconds in, 60 seconds out)
  • The following rudiments broken down from slow to fast to slow. Each rudiment should be approximately 1 minute in length (20 to 30 seconds in, 20 to 30 seconds out):
- flam
- paradiddle
- flamacue

- seven stroke roll - left hand lead
- fifteen stroke roll
- drag (ruff)

Military applicants please also include the following:

  • All required material listed above
  • A copy of your ERB or service-equivalent
  • A letter of release from your Commander
  • Official Military photo—DA photo or service-equivalent
  • In addition to the DA photo, a full-length photo in uniform—professional appearance/quality recommended.  Please ensure entire body is visible—top of head, all limbs, hands, and feet.

For additional general audition requirements, please click here.

Audition Portfolios must be submitted electronically, by email, prior to the deadline (11:59pm on due date).
All file names must include your first and last name.

In summary, all electronic portfolios will contain: 
1 page resume
cover letter
full length photo
2 letters of reference
1 link to unlisted YouTube audition video

Military applicants will also include:
DA Photo
Signed Letter of Release

All files should be emailed to at one time.  (Please do not submit files individually over a period of time.) You will receive an email confirming receipt of your audition portfolio.  If you do not receive this email within a few days of submission, please contact the audition coordinator. 


A select number of candidates will be invited to attend a live audition at Fort Myer. Due to U.S. Army regulations, your local recruiter will arrange to have all travel expenses for the audition paid for by the U.S. Army. [USAREC Reg. 11-1 Appendix B - 2 (d)6 and USAREC Reg. 37-17 Section 3-8 (b)1]

Due to the high visibility and unique requirements of the position, the audition itself will be a two-day process.


On the first day, candidates will observe the Fife and Drum Corps during a Department of the Army retirement ceremony. 

Candidates may be dismissed from the audition based on their performance after any of the following assessments:

Marching Assessment:

  • Consists of fundamental instruction in the unit's specific marching and maneuvering techniques and an assessment of the candidate’s marching skills/adaptability. 

30-minute Standing Assessment:

  • The Fife and Drum Corps' ceremonial missions require standing in formation for extended periods of time. There will be a 30-minute standing assessment to determine if a candidate is physically capable of this task.


Performance Assessment I:

  • Candidates should be prepared to play any of the rudiments from slow to fast to slow
  • The memorized and prepared selections which will be provided

Performance Assessment II:

  • The memorized and prepared selections which will be provided
  • Sight reading
  • Personal interview
  • Performing with a section


For the video audition round, do I need to play on a rope bass drum?
No. Play on a bass drum that you are comfortable playing on.

What equipment do I need to bring for the live audition?
We will supply all drums needed for the live audition rounds. Be prepared to bring practice pad, music, sticks, etc.

How big are the drums you play?
Our bass drums are 18 inches wide by 26 inches in diameter.

Should I play with the same grip that the Old Guard uses?
We suggest that you play with the grip that is the most comfortable for you and will allow you to perform at your best.

For further information regarding bass drum auditions for the Fife and Drum Corps please contact:

Staff Sergeant Michael Dillman
Audition Coordinator NCOIC


Contact UsFrequently Asked QuestionsFamily ReadinessWeb Use PoliciesThe United States ArmyJoint Base Myer - Henderson Hall3rd United States Infantry Regiment The Old GuardMilitary District of Washington Army Music The United States Army