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January 28th 2022

A Day with Her Majesty's Royal Marines Band Service

On Wednesday, 12 January 2022, I was invited to attend an Open Day with Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Band Service in Portsmouth.

The Royal Marines Band Service (RMBS) is the musical wing of the Royal Navy and is independent to the Royal Marines. The history of the service dates back to 1664 and is the oldest branch in the Corps. The RMBS comprises of five Bands and a training wing, namely the Royal Marines School of Music based at HMS Nelson, Portsmouth. The Royal Marines Band Service is world-famous and performs at National and International events.

I was invited through my French Horn teacher, who specifically taught Horn players in the school who were preparing for exams and promotional rankings. She felt the day would help improve my musicianship skills, stamina and stretch my ability.

We started the day with an introduction to the Marines, and then toured the school. I did not realise that instrument you audition with, may not necessarily be the instrument you end up playing in band service.

After the tour I learnt to march with the musicians of the school whilst carrying my instrument and playing classical band songs. Marching was the most challenging aspect, especially when the Drum Major and Colour Sergeant called out different commands, for example, slow march, quick march, turn left and right guided by the beat of the bass drum; and when to put down your instruments. It is not an easy skill to march and play and requires hours of practice.

In the afternoon I joined rehearsals with the concert band as they prepared for their upcoming concert – The Mountbatten Festival of Music at the Royal Albert Hall. We played pieces from Star Wars, Avengers, Happy by Pharrell Williams, classical band pieces and hymns.

I found the experience very rewarding yet challenging and learnt some different skills and techniques that would help me in the future as a musician. Overall, it was an inspiring day and will be returning for 3 days in October to attend the “Look at Life” course.

- Lillia-Rose, Year 9 



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