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Royal Marines School of Music

Portsmouth Royal Marines BandPortsmouth Royal Marines Band The Royal Marines Band Service (RMBS) is the professional music service of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines and as such has an international reputation for the quality and variety of music performed.

The versatility of musicians within the Band Service is of the highest order and each musician is required to perform with the Symphonic Wind Band, Marching Band, Big Band, Dance Band, Symphonic and Salon Orchestra and various chamber groups.

Musicians and Buglers join the RMSoM age 16+ and, after the initial 15 weeks military training, start specialist qualification study. This is 2 years and 8 months for Musicians and 24 Months for Buglers.

Training for all musicians and buglers, both male and female, takes place at the School. Each musician or bugler has their own practice room and some practice rooms have been combined to form larger rooms for ensemble rehearsals. Other facilities include a resource centre, with Internet access and a CD library, computers for music and essay work, a bar/rest area, a large new concert hall and, of course, a parade area for Parade Band practices.

There are also Higher Training Courses at RMSoM. These are the Musician 2 Course, a two week course for qualification to Band Corporal, Musician 1, a 12 week course for qualification to Band Sergeant, and the Bandmasters Course, a years intensive study which for RM musicians following the degree study would gain them an externally validated M (Mus).

Audition Time

Portsmouth Royal Marines Band 2Portsmouth Royal Marines Band This guide is intended to give a step-by-step guide through the five days you will spend at your Audition at the RMSoM.

The RMBS prides itself on being probably the most versatile group of musicians in the world. To achieve this it demands a lot from its musicians. You will have a military as well as a musical role to play, and you must be physically fit and work in a disciplined environment. We're looking for the mental strength and determination to hang on when the going gets tough. Your musical ability and potential will be thoroughly tested during the Audition, as well as your strength, stamina, determination and character. The Audition is a two-way process. It's a chance for you to see if you like it just as much as it's a chance for us to look at you.

On Arrival

Normally you will arrive during a Monday afternoon. You will be given your individual travelling instructions and a free travel warrant. You will be shown your accommodation and have a chance to meet your fellow candidates. Almost certainly you will be facing the most hectic five days of your life. After supper you will meet the Chief Instructor who will outline briefly your programme. It will probably follow this guide closely, but may vary in details.

The Aural Test

This will last for forty minutes and will be the kind of test where you write down the answer on paper. There will be two or three questions on each of the following:

  • Describing 6 intervals
  • Writing the second of two pitches (6 examples)
  • A simple 4 bar melodic dictation.
  • A 4 bar rhythmic dictation (simple or compound)
  • Describing two cadences.
  • Describing 6 triads as major or minor.

If you have studied music at GCSE or at A level then the Aural Test will present little problem. Even if you have never sat an Aural Test before do not despair, just try-we're looking for the potential for training your ear, not a sixteen-year old fully trained bandmaster!