Candidates for the Colonel Finley R. Hamilton Outstanding Military Musician Award must:
- be in the U.S. Armed Forces serving in a military band.
- be in the grade of E-4 to E-6 at the time of nomination.
- be an outstanding musician demonstrating excellence in both solo and ensemble performance. Or, be in a music-support role demonstrating outstanding technical skill and value to the unit and mission.
- display exceptional leadership qualities.
- display great potential for future outstanding