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The Social Media Contributor Comments: January 11, 2013

Going Back to the School of Music


If you are a (former) military musician, then there is a better-than-even-chance that you
attended the Armed Forces School of Music (S.O.M.). I passed through those hallowed halls
back in 1977. Call it what you will, but many of us alumni were sweating that IF we
didn’t graduate, our destiny would have been Combat Arms…

My understanding is that Air Force and Coast Guard Bandsmen, did not attend the
school…opting instead to OJT (on the job). Nevertheless, I really enjoyed my S.O.M. time.
Admittedly, I had an unfair advantage over the other Trainees. Because I grew up less than 50
miles from S.O.M., I was able to secure a brass instructor who was a retired [Army Element]
S.O.M. instructor. I knew the deal…

Practicing and Lovin it!

Oh yeah, I practiced. Two, three, four, and sometimes five hours per day…SIX days per week.
Trombone solos, duets, trios, brass choirs…so much practice. But again, I loved the
atmosphere, the music, and the dedication. Upon graduation, I was FIRED UP!

Fast forward to year 2013, and I’m amazed with the disciplined behavior that I gained as a result
of my six month S.O.M. attendance. The gray drab concrete building; the (non-musician)
Marines (jarheads) and the Navy (squids) fighting in the billets. The over-priced (yet ice-cold)
beer machines; the bowling alley…the WATCH duty. All so much fun; alas, all but too soon-

Sometimes…scratch that—Many times I pine for a youthful return to S.O.M. My pay grade E-3
pay; and the sense that my practicing and performance was contributing to the strength, fidelity,
patriotism, and military might of the greatest military force in the universe…That of the United States

How about you all…do you ever miss the S.O.M.? Ever felt that turning the clock back would be
ever so wonderful? If the answer is yes, then post a comment on the site or via Facebook. Have
a cool S.O.M. story (rated P.G.), then pop me an email to publish your story


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