Canadian Forces Music Branch

The Music Branch supports all aspects of the Canadian Armed Forces music operations and personnel.

About us

Our Navy, Army and Air Force musicians play in brass/reed and pipes & drums bands. Our military bands consist of:

  • 6 full-time regular force bands
  • 53 part-time reserve force bands
  • 15 voluntary bands

Our role

The role of the Music Branch is to provide quality music to:

  • support Canadian Forces operations
  • foster morale and esprit de corps
  • promote Canadian aesthetics and values both nationally and abroad

The Music Branch promotes the Canadian Forces as a career choice for Canadian musicians.

What we do

The Music Branch performs a wide array of domestic and international engagements:

  • military engagements, such as:
    • recruiting drives
    • personnel and their guests
    • military parades and ceremonies
    • colour presentations and trooping the colour
    • official military functions attended by military
    • functions organized for the benefit of patients of military hospitals and their guests
    • other functions for the benefit of military
  • government (federal, provincial and municipal) engagements, such as:
    • functions, such as state dinners, organized in honour of:
      • members of the Royal family
      • heads of state of foreign countries
      • distinguished personages
    • engagements in the public service when there are no commercial implications
  • civilian engagements, such as:
    • charity drives
    • school concerts
    • award ceremonies
    • community events
    • music festivals, including Highland games
    • commercial recordings, radio broadcasts and telecasts
    • functions organized or sponsored by commercial enterprises

The role of groups and soloists varies by event. They may perform:

  • to add ambiance at a social function
  • to embellish the significance of a ceremony
  • as headliners to a captive audience at an international concert

Canadian Forces music performances are often broadcast on radio and television, and bands from the Music Branch regularly release recordings.

Given the diversity of its audiences and engagements, the Music Branch deploys numerous ensemble configurations:

  • rock bands
  • jazz combos
  • chamber groups
  • stage and show bands
  • parade and concert bands

These come from both brass/reed and pipes & drums cadres. Though military music is a mainstay, the various groups also perform a vast array of other music styles:

  • pop
  • rock
  • jazz
  • traditional and folk music
  • classical and wind ensemble

If you want the services of a military band, contact the local band directly.

DHH Music

The Directorate of History and Heritage - Music (DHH Music) reports to the Chief of Military Personnel through the DHH Director. They provide personnel and technical advice on the Canadian Armed Forces Music Branch. Also, they advise all Canadian Armed Forces organizations on music issues.

More specifically, the role of DHH Music is to:

  • develop and manage Music Branch policy
  • advise on Music Branch matters to Commands
  • conduct annual Staff Assistance Visits of all bands
  • evaluate and recommend official music, including marches and calls
  • evaluate (adjudicate) musician qualification level testing within the policies set by current needs
  • advise on human resources, including relocation of personnel, recruitment and auditioning for the Music Branch

Our personnel

  • Supervisor of Music & CAF Music Branch Advisor: Commander Patrice Arsenault
  • Music Branch Chief Warrant Officer: Chief Petty Officer 1st Class Chris Webster
  • Music Standards Advisor: Major Vincent Roy
  • Music Policy Advisor: Major Chris Embree
  • National Reserve Advisor: Major Christian Richer
  • Pipes and Drums Advisor: Master Warrant Officer Katie Buckland
  • Senior Standards & Training Manager: Master Warrant Officer Bruno Godère

Contact us

Directorate of History and Heritage – Music
National Defence Headquarters
101 Colonel By Dr
Ottawa ON  K1A 0K2


Or submit your music questions using our online form.

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