As an RAF Musician, you will enjoy a varied life that includes performing, individual practice, rehearsals and travelling.
As a musician in the Royal Air Force, you’ll be joining an organisation with musicians who have a worldwide reputation as being second to none. You will often be called upon to perform for royalty and politicians at State occasions while also providing music support for the RAF, Ministry of Defence and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Such events include Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace to concert performances in some of the most prestigious concert halls throughout the world. All RAF Bands are capable of performing many genres of music and our musicians are expected to perform Symphonic Wind Band repertoire, Big Band, Jazz, and Chamber music as well as performing on parade.
What Will You Do?
Perform at concert halls, graduation ceremonies and military parades
Play dance music, chamber repertoire, military marches, symphonic concerts and jazz
Provide musical support for events like dinners, dances and visits by Heads of State
Training And Career
Training You’ll Receive
Your career will start with a 10-week Basic Recruit Training Course at RAF Halton in Buckinghamshire. The course is designed to help you adjust to a military environment. As well as fitness and military training, you will also learn about the RAF ethos and core values
Following on from Basic Recruit Training you will be posted to one of the Regular Bands, Central Band, and Regiment Band located at RAF Northolt and the Band of the RAF College at RAF Cranwell. We also have a Salon Orchestra that is based at RAF Northolt. Once at your Band, you will begin ‘On the Job Training’ (OJT). This training will last a maximum of twelve weeks with musicians completing studies on their primary instrument, harmony, orchestration, aural perception, and band drill. Your posting will depend on where there is a vacancy for your instrument with the initial length of your first tour being a minimum of 18 months, this may vary due to operational requirements.
Musicians who choose to enrol on the Continuing Professional Development (CPD) scheme will study instrumental performance, harmony, orchestration, history and conducting with well-respected specialists in each field working towards gaining the following diplomas:
- DipABRSM in performance
- LLCM in performance
- LTCL in performance
- DipLCM in music direction
- DipABRSM in music direction
- LRSM in music direction
Ongoing Training/development Opportunities
As well as the chances to develop your musical skills, there are countless opportunities to develop other skills through the Training and Development Section at your RAF unit. This could include academic study such as courses in management and leadership or adventurous sports training, allowing you to participate in sports like skiing, sailing and mountaineering with the possibility of becoming a qualified instructor in a sport of your choice.
Your First Tour
Following on from Basic Recruit Training you will be will be posted to one of the three Regular Bands. Central Band and Regiment Band located at RAF Northolt and the Band of the RAF College at RAFC Cranwell. Your posting will depend on where there is a vacancy for your instrument with the initial length of your first tour being a minimum of 18 months however, this may vary due to operational demands.
Your Future Career Prospects/progression
You will begin your career in a Regular Band as an SAC, from there you will be considered for promotion up to the rank of Warrant Officer after gaining the relevant qualifications through the CPD scheme. Personnel deemed suitable and qualified may elect to undertake selection for commission as a Director of Music.
As a musician in the RAF you will have many personal development opportunities and the chance to gain unique experiences whilst working around the world. Upon leaving the Service, many RAF Musicians re-enter the civilian musical world as either performers or teachers. Progression through the ranks will increase your leadership and management skills and you’ll have the opportunity to transfer these skills to civilian qualifications.