In 1993, ME5 Tan joined the RSN Band and was later appointed as the Concertmaster and Drum Major of the SAF Central Band. In 1998, he was selected to attend the Drum Major Course at the Defence Force School of Music in Melbourne, Australia. In that same year, he choreographed and arranged the music of the marching performance by the SAF Central Band and the SAF Silent Precision Drill Squad for the National Day Parade. In recognition of his dedication, he was awarded the 'Excellent Award' by the Defence Administrative Group, MINDEF.
As a clarinettist, ME5 Tan was admitted as an Associate of the Trinity College of London and a Licentiate of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in 1997 and 1998 respectively.
In 2001, ME5 Tan received a scholarship to pursue the Bandmaster Course at the Royal Military School of Music (RMSM), Kneller Hall, in London, United Kingdom. During this period, ME5 Tan learnt conducting from Major (Retired) Roger Swift and Professor Robin Page, studied Harmony and Composition under Professor Mark Uglow, Music History and Analysis with Dr Tom Czepiel, Orchestration with Professor Stephen Roberts and Major Dennis Burton, keyboard works with Professor Berendina Cook as well as the clarinet with Captain (Retired) Frank Slack.
Under the sponsorship of the British Army, ME5 Tan participated in the United Kingdom 2004 National Association of Brass Bands Young Conductors Competition and won the semi-finals in London and the Southern Counties. He went on to win the third prize at the national finals.
Upon his graduation from RMSM, he won 'The Besson Cup' for gaining the highest marks in the academic examinations; 'Besson Graham Wallace Award' for being the best overseas student bandmaster; 'The Choral Prize' for being the best in a choral setting; 'The Fred Mortimer Memorial Prize' for being the best in brass band arrangement; 'The Jaeger Trophy' for gaining the highest marks in secondary instrumental studies; and 'The Principal Director of Music Prize' for being the best in conducting. ME5 Tan graduated and attained a Bachelor's Degree in Music with First Class Honours from Kingston University, London in 2004.
ME5 Tan was commissioned as an officer of the Singapore Armed Forces on 1 Aug 2004, and is currently the Director of Music for the SAF Ceremonial Band and Head Operations Support Branch. In 2015, ME5 Tan attended the 5th Command and Staff Course (Executive) and graduated from the prestigious Goh Keng Swee Command and Staff College.