The Life

Versatility meets variety

They say it takes 10,000 hours of practice to perfect a musical skill. It’s that kind of dedication that will make you famous for precision marching and musical excellence – the reason why large, cheering crowds will love you. The best part of this job? Lifting civilian and military spirits. It’s the ultimate pay off for all your hard work. You won’t just do it at home either. You’ll travel right around the world.



As a child I watched the Royal Marines Band Service in total awe. It inspired me to join and make this my career.

What’s the biggest crowd you’ve played to?

The Edinburgh Tattoo probably takes the biscuit. 217,000 people come to watch us perform. The event sells out months in advance and about 70,000 people even travel from abroad to attend!


A military and musical transformation

The first step? Prove yourself in basic military training. The next step? Up to two years, eight months of immersion in musical performance, theory and rehearsal, rehearsal, rehearsal. You’ll be learning from top civilian professors. It’s not easy shifting gears between the military march, the toe-tapping big band tunes and the orchestral melodies. When you succeed, and this becomes second nature, you’ll know that this really is one of the greatest achievements you could wish for.

If it’s the Royal Marines Band Service, does that mean you need to go through the full Commando training? I hear that’s pretty gruelling!

Good question! No, you don’t, as we are not Commandos. We undergo 15 weeks of initial training at CTCRM to prepare us for our military support roles.


Top billing, around the world

The novelty never wears off. The butterflies in your stomach, the roar of the crowd, the electric atmosphere. From Switzerland to Australia, no matter how many times you play, how many times you march perfectly in sync, or how many times you deliver an impeccable performance, it always feels just like the first time: incredible.



I wanted to play music for a living, travel and enjoy the military lifestyle.

How often do you get to perform abroad? And do you get time to see the sights?

We regularly go abroad to perform at foreign engagements. What’s great, of course, is that we have loads of opportunities to see the sights as well.

Skills & qualifications

The best learn from the best

Audition. Basic training. The Royal Marines School of Music. Learning another instrument. Before you join us fully, before you get to show the world you’ve got the musical prowess to stand shoulder to shoulder with some of the best military musicians, you’ll first have to learn from the best. Then, and only then, will you take your place on the stage.



Standing at the front of the Royal Marines Band fills me with pride. I couldn’t imagine doing any other job.

So who do you get to study with?

We have the huge privilege of studying with some of the best military instructors and civilian musical professors recruited from some of the finest orchestras and bands in the country.

Sports & recreation

Musical talent meets adventure

The reasons why we joined the Royal Marines Band Service? How much time have you got? A life of excelling at music. A life of adventure. Having a laugh with your mates. Playing for fun. Playing to win. Then back to playing to captivated audiences.

Sports include:

  • Canoeing
  • Hockey
  • Martial arts
  • Motor sports
  • Rugby league
  • Shooting
  • Triathlon
  • Tennis



I joined because I wanted a career in music while staying fit.

Is it true you can compete at a higher level if you want?

Yes it is. There are leagues you can join and if you’re good enough, you could go on to compete at national, international or Olympic level. They’re great at supporting you, whether you want to play just for fun or compete seriously.

Equal opportunities

Listen here

Man or woman? Black or white? Christian or Muslim? Could you tell who played the most sublime melody? The most intricate beat? Thankfully, the integrity of our profession doesn’t depend on such things. All it depends on is the nimbleness of fingers, the power of lungs and the commitment of minds.



We stand out for all the right reasons and we blend in for all the right ones too.

What is career progression like in the Band Service?

Everyone, including the Principal Director of Music, starts out as either a Musician or Bugler. If you show the right qualities and ambition, you can rise through the ranks to positions like Bandmaster or Drum Major. As a Musician, you could even be selected as a commissioned Officer and go even higher! It’s all about skill and dedication.


Good to go

It’s the Royal Albert Hall.

Hundreds of eyes converge on the stage. Voices are hushed. Lights are dimmed. A single spotlight shines on you. This is your cue and you could hear the proverbial pin drop.

You’ll value your training and the way you’ve been looked after when you can block it all out and produce the captivating music you trained so hard for.



We train pretty hard to become some of the world’s best musicians – and be able to serve effectively alongside the Royal Marines Commandos in vital support roles. We can only do that because we’re in great mental and physical shape.

What kind of benefits do you get?

It’s a pretty good package. Free medical and dental care, a generous pension scheme, maternity and paternity benefits and above all a fantastic musical education – for free.