Royal Military School of Music by Corporal Daniel Wiepen / MoD Crown

The Royal Military School of Music: Pomp & Pageantry

The Royal Military School of Music is steeped in history. We talk to the team to find out more about the links between music and the military

Tell us about the Royal Military School of Music and the history behind it.

The Royal Military School of Music, Kneller Hall in Twickenham, has been training army musicians and bandmasters since 1857. In short, back in 1854, many different army bands of the time played the national anthem for Queen Victoria in the Crimea, but it was an absolute disaster, with different instrumentations, keys and arrangements of the anthem being played at the same time. Subsequently and on the instructions of the Monarch, Prince George, The Duke of Cambridge (Commander in Chief of the army) was tasked to rectify the matter. Realising that standardisation was key, Kneller Hall, then a school for delinquent boys in Twickenham, was chosen to become the home of army music, not alongside the delinquent boys, they moved to a more salubrious location.

Since its inception, the Royal Military School of Music has trained all the army’s musicians and as part of the Corps of Army Music is the largest employer of professional musicians in the country. The Corps comprises 22 regular army bands and is predominantly wind band focused, however we recruit instrumentalists from a wide-variety of musical backgrounds; from graduates to string players, from junior entry musicians to brass band players. After being accepted into the British Army and completing basic training, musicians hone their skills at Kneller Hall – one of the main areas of instruction being marching band, which some musicians may have never taken part in before.

What events are held where I can see live music?

There is an exciting line up of army bands this summer (2019):

Wednesday 26th June 2019 – An evening of Scottish Music

Band of the Scots Guards (this is a band you will usually see on the Queen’s Birthday Parade / Trooping the Colour), and The Royal Artillery Band will perform a varied wind band concert, outside in the beautiful grounds of Kneller Hall

Saturday 6th July 2019 – Pop and Jazz

Relax with the British Army Jazz Orchestra, and then get lively with the pop bands of the British Army

Saturday 20th July 2019 – Gala Corps of Army Music 25th anniversary concert

This big celebration of one of the biggest employers of music, will see traditional military band repertoire as well as amazing performances from our most talented musicians.

Patrons are welcome to bring a blanket, chairs, a picnic and refreshments as these are outdoor concerts.

Children are welcome (unfortunately no dogs), but please remember there are fireworks at each concert. It is a military site, so please remember all patrons are subject to searches and adhering to the site code of conduct.

19th-24th August 2019 – The Summer Academy

A fantastic opportunity for anyone wishing to learn more about a career in British Army Music. Those attending will spend a week at Kneller Hall working alongside a Regular Army Band where they will learn how to be a part of a marching band and a concert band. Contact us for information about how to apply.

What are the benefits of being a musician in the British Army?

Joining the British Army gives you much more than a career in music. There are opportunities to grow as an individual, build lifelong friendships and make an impact in the world through music. A career in military music also equips you with high quality management and leadership skills that can give you all the tools to create a professional portfolio to be proud of. In addition we offer extremely competitive salaries that effectively make your hobby a career and our personal development and medical care programme is among the best in the UK.
After over 30 years of service I can say it’s the best job in the world.

The Royal Military School of Music