Royal Marines Bugler

Service:Royal Marines
Branch:Royal Marines Band Service
Royal Marines Band Service
A Royal Marine Bugler.

The role at a glance

What you’ll do

As a Bugler in the Royal Marines Band Service, you’ll be front and centre at some of our most important ceremonial occasions, and lead your band when on parade. As a key part of the Corps of Drums, you’ll learn to play the Bugle, Herald Fanfare Trumpet, and Military Side Drum. In your distinctive white helmets, you’ll be representing the Royal Marines at all times, wherever you are in the world. It’s an honour that goes beyond music, as you perform vital military duties in support of 3 Commando Brigade.

If you have questions, talk to us

Your role

  • Spend time at the Royal Marines School of Music (RMSoM), learning to play the Bb Bugle and Military Side Drum.
  • Perform as an individual, in small groups, as a Corps of Drums or marching in front of a Royal Marines Band whenever on parade.
  • Make a vital contribution to our nation’s defence diplomacy strategy, performing at military, ceremonial and corporate events on the world’s biggest stages.
  • Play an important role in the Royal Marines Band Service’s vital medical and logistical function, supporting the Royal Navy Medical Services and 3 Commando Brigade all over the world.



What you’ll get

Skills for life

Qualifications you'll gain

  • Opportunity to gain civilian qualification such as Guildhall/ABRSM grades/Diplomas
  • DAO Level 3 Diploma in Military Music
  • Professional examinations at key career landmarks often accredited or recognised by civilian industry

Skills you'll develop

  • The ability to perform in a team or as an individual, in a variety of musical venues
  • An eye for detail in both your musical performance and personal uniform and kit
  • A flexible and adaptable mindset
  • Pride in yourself and the service

Career progression

What you'll need


  • Aged 16 to 32 when you start Basic Training
  • No qualifications are required for this role
  • You ideally need to be able to read music, and be either a competent drummer or bugle/brass player
  • Your ability and potential will be assessed during your audition
  • A National of the United Kingdom, a Commonwealth citizen or Dual National
  • Minimum height of 145cm
  • A BMI between 18 and 28 (17 and 27 if under 18)
  • Be a competent swimmer

Skills and interests

  • Playing a musical instrument 
  • Performing in public
  • Working as part of a team
  • A real sense of adventure 
Check Eligibility

Starting your career

Joining process

Once you’ve confirmed your eligibility, the joining process is as follows:

  • Submit an application

    Once you’ve registered your interest and have satisfied the basic eligibility criteria, you will be sent an online application form

  • Defence Aptitude Assessment (DAA)

    You’ll be tested on: Verbal Reasoning, Numerical Reasoning, Work Rate, Spatial Reasoning, Electrical Comprehension and Mechanical Comprehension.
    To prepare, you can practise the DAA

  • Interview

    A formal interview to talk through your suitability for the role

  • Medical and eye tests

    These are quite comprehensive and must be completed by one of our Ministry of Defence-approved doctors

  • Audition and Test

    The audition process includes being evaluated by world-class civilian Professors, interviewed by the Director of Music Training and assessed for your level of physical fitness as well as musical potential. Post-audition you may be given the opportunity to learn a new instrument.

Initial training

First and foremost, the Royal Marines Band Service is military unit, so you’ll spend your first few months learning all of the practical skills you need to be an effective member of the wider Royal Marines team.

This phase of training concentrates on physical fitness and basic soldiering. You’ll need to have a high level of fitness to cope with your performance workload, as well as your military role.

Our immaculate drill is something that makes us unique, so you’ll also spend plenty of time learning how to march correctly and play your instrument at the same time. 

There's also a swimming test, so if you can't swim, make sure you learn by the time you join us.

Professional training

After your initial military training you’ll spend time at the RMSoM developing your skills and mastering one or more instruments.

You’ll have a civilian professor of music, who will have considerable musical experience, for each instrument you’re learning. You’ll have individual weekly lessons with them, and your own practice room to work on your technique.

You’ll also be in the capable hands of a Band Service Instructor. They’ll be an experienced player of the instrument you’re learning, and will keep an eye on your progress, advising on technique and helping to sort out any problems.

It’s intensive training, but it’s also a fantastic way to develop your musical skills quickly and correctly. By the end of it, you’ll be ready to join one of the five bands as a fully trained Bugler.