Showing posts with label Military Band. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Military Band. Show all posts

Friday, March 23, 2018


Marching band parading in the streets of Vienn...
A marching band parading in the streets of Vienna, Austria (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Marching bands have been around for hundreds of years, and in the UK they were usually connected to the Military. Troops would be led into battle by drummers, buglers or pipers, and these instruments were used to give signals for retreating, etc. Indeed, even during WWII platoons of fighting troops were led off the landing craft and up the beaches of France by a piper. Military bands still have an important role in today's armed forces, but mainly for ceremonial purposes, as often seen on Beating Retreat, Trooping the Colour or the Edinburgh Tattoo.

Various styles of marching bands are now in existence. In the UK we tend to have traditional marching bands, consisting of snare drums (with either bottom snares or both top and bottom snares such as the Premier 1049-S), bass drum, tenor drums, cymbals and then tuned instruments such as bell lyres, bugles, valve trumpets and other brass and woodwind. Such bands are often used by organizations including the scouts, air training corps, sea cadet corps etc and are a familiar sight at parades and festivals in British towns.

Another big part of marching music comes from Pipebands, which of course originated in Scotland but are now popular all over the world with many top bands coming from Canada and the USA. Whilst the melodies are played by bagpipes, the drum corps has a very important role to play, often with 6 or more snare drummers playing extremely complex rudimental phrases on High Tension snare drums (such as the Pearl FFXP or Premier HTS800). These drums have kevlar drumheads tuned up to an incredibly high pitch, so the drums have to be extremely strong to withstand the huge forces put upon them.These drums also have snare wires under both the top and bottom heads, giving a very crisp and clean tone which will pick up even the softest of grace notes. A bass drum of around 28" is used to keep the pulse of the band, whilst tenor drums add intricate mid-range tones, often using 3 or more tenor drums of different sizes and pitches. Some tenor players such as Tyler Fry have taken tenor drumming to a whole new level.

A huge growth area in the world marching scene comes from the American style Drum Corps or showbands.The drum corps usually have not only snare drums and a selection of various sized bass drums, but also multi - tenors/quads, cymbals, and a pit at the front featuring a range of tuned percussion such as marimbas, xylophones, bells etc. The rest of the band is made up of brass players. These bands tend to play some extremely complex musical arrangements and are a big part of the music education system in the USA.

Marching snare drums have changed dramatically over the last 100 years or so, from crude drums with rope tuned calf heads to today's high tension models made from the finest birch, maple, or even carbon fiber, with kevlar or mylar drumheads and hardware manufactured from lightweight aircraft-grade aluminum.

The British Military Bands of HM Forces still have huge popularity both at home and abroad. Tourists in London will often see the bearskins and red tunics of the bands of the Guards divisions on duty around Buckingham Palace, whilst the Drummers of the Royal Marines continue to wow audiences worldwide with their incredible skills and drumming displays. The musicians of Her Majestys bands tend to be extremely talented and versatile players capable of performing many different styles of music... indeed as an example, a member of the Central Band of the Royal Air Force may find themselves performing with a full military band one day, a fanfare team the next day, and swinging with the RAF Squadronaires dance band in the evening! Despite their musical skills, however, these men and women are soldiers first and undergo the same military training as everyone else.

For drummers looking to start playing with a marching band, there are a few avenues... Youths can apply to their local Air Cadets, Army Cadets, Boys brigade or Sea Cadet band who will provide an instrument and tuition, with the possibility of performing too many varied audiences. For adults, most towns have either a pipe band or drum corps, and they will always welcome new members. Most Bands have a website, and these can be found under headings such as British Youth Band Association (BYBA) and Traditional Youth Marching Band Association (TYMBA) or for pipe bands the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association (RSPBA).

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Basic Training in the US ARMY BAND

United States Army Band COA.
United States Army Band COA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
You have likely seen the US Army band "Pershing's Own" at various occasions or playing taps, the beautiful and stirring music played as a final tribute to fallen soldiers. Started in 1922, the US Army Band has played a significant role in major US events and happenings.

The band plays at the White House and events such as the visit of a leader of a foreign country. The band also performs on official occasions as the need arises. The main mission of the Army band is to provide "musical support to the US troops both at home and abroad as well as for the citizens of the USA."

There are four special army bands that have the honor of performing at special functions. These are Pershing's Own, Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, US Army Field Band and US Military Academy Band. These special units are comprised of the best musicians in the US Army.
There are several other musical units in the US Army Band. The jazz group called the US Army Blues plays original American jazz music. The US Army Chorus is an all-male group, which as the name suggests, is the vocalist arm of the band. Other support units within the main band are the Brass Quintet, Rock and Pop Band, and Stage Band.

How to Join the Band
Before being accepted into the US Army Band, you have to meet regular army enlistment requirements. As such, if you are considering joining the US Army Band, get in touch with the recruiting office in your area. Once you meet the standard enlistment criteria, you will need to audition. Only proficient musicians are accepted. So what does being proficient mean? You must sight read music and have an understanding of scales, tone, rhythm and other related areas. The audition is generally administered by a band recruiting officer or a band commander.

The US Army website provides valuable information on what's expected in your audition based on your musical instrument of choice. For instance, to pass the audition for the keyboard, the following requirement must be met:

* Prepare selections from each of the following: swing, pop/rock, ballad and Latin and classical (optional). This is valued at 40 percent.
* Sight read representative literature and chord changes, for another 50 percent
* Play major scales with arpeggios, three octaves, memorized, use both hands for 10 percent.
* Should be able to demonstrate knowledge of the following chords: Maj 7, Min 7, Dom 7 and the ii-V7-I chord progression.
In order to be accepted, you have to audition with a specific instrument. You must be able to play one or more of the following:
* Bassoon
* Clarinet
* Electric bass
* Electric guitar
* Euphonium
* Flute
* French horn
* Keyboard
* Percussion
* Saxophone
* Trombone
* Trumpet
* Tuba
According to Jeremiah Keillor, Director of the Fort Knox's 113th Army Band known as the Dragoons, "Band soldiers come in at a higher rank as part of the Army Civilian Acquired Skills Program." The reason for obtaining a higher ranking when you join the U.S. Army Band is to acknowledge your years of training and experience in music.

Once a musician is accepted into the US Army Band, they are required to learn the basics of being a soldier in the US Army. This means that they have to complete a total of nine weeks of Basic Compact Training.

There are 30 U.S army bands spread across the USA and internationally. So, do you have what it takes to play in the US Army Band?

    By Duane Shinn
    A free email newsletter on exciting piano chords and chord progressions from Duane Shinn is available free at "Pianos"
    Article Source: EzineArticles