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Thread: Marine Band

  1. Marine Band

    Hello everyone, I am starting to look into the Marine Band. Can you guys help me with advice on what to play and what is required? Thanks.

    William McAndrews
    Besson BE-2052-2
    Steven Mead Ultra 4

  2. Are you speaking of "The President's Own" or just a band in the Marine Corps? If you're looking for a position in "The President's Own", you typically have to wait for an opening. These don't usually occur very often and the audition materials will be made public when/if the position is up for audition. If you are looking to join a band in the Marine Corps, you will want to talk to a recruiter about setting up an audition. Most areas have a regional music recruiter who will make a trip to hear an audition or even possibly set up an audition through some other means. The audition consists of major/minor scales and prepared pieces of varying styles that you select which can show your ability. The recruiter will rate you on a scale from 0.0 to 4.0 (or at least that's what it was when I joined) and then make you aware of your options from there. Hopefully this helps.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    West Palm Beach, FL
    I just read an interesting post on the TubeNet forum by Tom McGrady (of Mack Brass in VA). Tom was tuba instructor at the Armed Forces School of Music for awhile. It's about his experience auditioning for one of the DC bands and pretty interesting:

    United States Military Academy Band

    By Tom McGrady: Here is my take on preparing for these jobs. First time I auditioned was for the Army band in DC in '92. Tapes were used for the first round. I did make it and actually made it to the finals. One thing I was not prepared for was the flute and bassoon music they pulled out as well as the tenor clef brass band music for the finals where they wanted us to play thinking BBb tuba while playing CC. Needless to say i did not win. Although I was on a plane 17 days later headed for the Army I was fortunate enough to win the job as the tubas instructor at the armed forces school of music after i graduated their basic course after basic training.

    During my time teaching there i compiled 3 massive books on the DC band literature and studied my ass off. Too bad I never took another audition after that. Well not exactly, I did take the President's
    Own audition a few years later and was well prepared but I screwed up Stars and Stripes. I can tell you that as many times as I have played it I have never messed it up the way I did during the audition, no advance there. That is one piece you will see and you better play that and all marches great.

    Making it past the first round for the tapes is only the start. Second round will be mostly sight reading and the finals will be he hardest with stuff you probably have never seen before and no, it probably wont be written for tuba.

    Each audition can be different like when the Navy Academy band had an opening with first round tapes. I played Jabba the Hutt and a Bach flute sonata for the audition but Because I was in the middle of my Army contract I did not get invited. I will say that I knew a few of the guys there and after speaking to them I was told they wanted me but couldn't touch me. Talks between the Navy commander at the school of music and my commander did take place to let me go but a contract is a contract.

    Don't be set on just the tape round, anyone can make a good one if the time and effort is put forth. Its preparing for the next rounds that most are not ready for. During my first audition, the Army band accepted over 60 tapes, only 5 advanced and two were actually selected.

    The most difficult auditions I have ever had to prepare for were the military special bands. One thing i tell everyone, don't knock the regular field band positions as you will make more money in your first year playing tuba than most will ever make in their entire careers.

    Best advice, be a sight reading machine, even if you cant play it, fake and get the rhythms perfect. If the tempo on Russian Ladmillia (spelliing?) says 160 then you better be in the ball park. They are not looking for the right notes on that one as they just want to see if you can hang. If they give you something in treble clef just add 3 flats and make believe its in bass clef. Lastly, know your scales to include all three minors, they have asked them before. Leave no stone unturned.

    When it comes to prepared pieces, forget about working on just the required stuff, be prepared to play anything on the piece as they will ask you anything. The winner doesn't win because of the tape, the winner wins because of how they handle the next rounds.

    Good luck to all.
    Rick Floyd
    Miraphone 5050 - Warburton Brandon Jones sig mpc
    YEP-641S (on long-term loan to grandson)
    Doug Elliott - 102 rim; I-cup; I-9 shank

    "Always play with a good tone, never louder than lovely, never softer than supported." - author unknown.
    Symphonic Band of the Palm Beaches
    Russian Christmas Music (Alfred Reed)
    El Cumbanchero (Rafael Hernández) cell phone video

  4. #4
    You might look into the mock service band audition that they do every year at the TUSABTEW. Might give you some experience with the audition process in advance of an opening happening.

  5. #5
    I auditioned for the Marine Corps in '86 and got into the program. I played major scales. I had a couple of etudes that I had prepared. They had me sight read a piece from Handel's Water music. I made it on Euphonium using a Yamaha 321 non-compensator. I was the only one of seven people who auditioned that day who was chosen. The others were on different instruments. This is just the regular music program not the President's Own. Be aware that even if you make it you still have regular boot camp with everyone else. Only after graduating boot camp do you go to music school. You have to meet all the physical and school requirements including a good ASVAB score.

    If you make the President's Own there are different requirements.

    You talk to a recruiter who will set it up. The recruiters love bandsmen or at least it was on the 80s. Unfortunately I had an injury in boot camp that meant I could not continue in the Marines.

    Good luck!
    John Packer JP274L Euphonium
    “Don’t only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets, for it and knowledge can raise men to the divine.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Rodgeman View Post
    Unfortunately I had an injury in boot camp that meant I could not continue in the Marines.
    Unfortunately, there's not a lot of discussion going on here about the physical requirements and grooming standards involved with the job. Don't have any financial issues, or unpaid fines. There's a lot of people who have won an audtion, only to not get the job, because of other issues. And there's also a lot of people that switch services for a better job. Regardless, do your homework on the job. Good luck!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    San Diego, California
    Another good person to reach-out to is Brandon Jones. He's a member of this forum and also is on Facebook. He recently obtained one of the euphonium slots of the The United States Air Force Band in DC and went through the entire audition and recruitment process. He might be able to provide some insight.
    Miraphone 5050 Ambassador
    Mp: Wick SM4 Ultra X
    The San Diego Concert Band
    Big Brass Quartet- tuba ensemble (EETT)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Dumfries, VA (Potomac Shores)
    I would be happy to help! Feel free to shoot me an email at and I'll do my best to answer any questions you have.


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