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Navy Band Audition

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by ninefingerbass, Sep 4, 2008.

  1. Well as the title says, I am in the Navy and approaching my audition here in October. I have been practicing what I need to know and almost there, though one thing is in my way. I am trying to figure out what audition piece I should choose. Any suggestions? I just need to get passed this audition and get in. From there I can figure it out. Oh if Pacman is reading this please answer. I know you are in the Air Force band and just need someone's experience. Any other military personnel feel free to answer as well. Thanks to all.

  2. onlyclave


    Oct 28, 2005
  3. mrkreuzschlitz


    Jun 30, 2008
    Dacula, GA
    honestly, i know this isn't a great question to ask, but how hard is the military band?
    i'll be playing for 7 years if and when i enlist, i can read sheet music, i know my scales, etc.
    do you think i'll be fine based on that?
  4. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    Two suggestions immediately spring to mind. A bebop head of some sort - the Navy will require you to prepare two at the school of music. One for your F1 audition (mid-terms) and one for your F2 (finals). Might as well get started on that. Ornithology, Antropology, Donna Lee - all good choices. If you need more, let me know.

    The other would be a classical one of some sort - I used the Prelude to the First Cello Suite by Bach for my AF audition. Nice piece, with plenty of room to find the music past the notes.

    Make sure you have styles down well. At a minimum be familiar with swing, bossa, samba, salsa, rock, funk, country. Swing will be the bulk of your audition, if it's still like it was when I was there.

    Reading, reading, reading! Better than half your audition will be based on your reading. Read everything you can get your hands on!

    Any other questions, let me know! And good luck! It's a great job....
  5. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    mrkreuzschlitz -

    Military bands run the gamut from pretty good musicians to some of the best musicians in the world. If you're interested in auditioning, do it BEFORE you enlist. It's much harder to get out of a career field once they've got their hooks in you.

    How hard is it? Depends on how good you are. Can you read, play all styles, use appropriate tone? Can you spell any chord at the drop of a hat? Of course, each service has their own standards, but these traits are pretty common.
  6. brivello


    Jun 27, 2008
    The military bands I've seen have been professional level bands. There are some SCARY good people in the US Army Blues Band

    Matt Niess:
  7. PocketGroove82


    Oct 18, 2006

    There are more than a few "Premier" military bands in the USA. The Army has the US Army Field Band, (which contains the Jazz Ambasadors, classical, and rock/pop groups), Pershing's Own (which boasts the Army Blues), and the army band at West Point. The Marines have The President's Own. The Navy has the Fleet Bands, while the Air Force has the Airmen of Note. These are the tried and true, pro-level, top bands (which I can remember at this time) in each service and the standards, audition requirements, and required level of ability is second to none. Really. They are extremely difficult jobs to get and once a player get a slot, they usually stick around for 20 or 30 years. It's a great gig, playing great music, touring (ALOT), and you have stability and freedom from the vast majority of military BS.

    The other side of military bands consist of the regular bands which still require a high level of versatility, ability, skill, and talent, but the military side often comes into play. I went through the Navy/Army/Marine School of Music on Little Creek Naval Base 2 years ago, and I was surprised at how many people who were there managed to pass a field audition, but really couldn't play. There were many dropouts. At that time, the recruiting numbers were at an all time low, so I imagine they pretty much putting everyone in.

    As far as the expected bass standards are concerned, to succeed you should be able to read chord changes and notation fairly well, know your maj/min(nat/harm/melo) scales/arps, and be capable of playing many different styles convincingly.

    If I were you, I would follow Pacman's advice. Do a jazz standard/blues, a rock/pop/funk tune, a latin tune, and mixing in a solo bass thing isn't a terrible idea, but they really want to see that you can function well in a rhythm section more than anything.

    Good luck with the audition! The navy has some bands in awesome locations...plus it's just the navy, so your workouts consist of yoga and pilates. :bag:


    p.s. Ninefingerbass, I know the current bass instructor at the School. If you get in, he will be the guy giving you lessons and preparing you for the F1/F2 auditions. I can get you in touch with him so you want. SFC Lambie is a great dude.
  8. Gintaras


    Dec 11, 2004
    Kent Island, Md.
    I once went to a party/jam session and retired air force rock and roll band guitarist showed up. Everybody's jaws just dropped. Also never hogged the spotlight and always shared time with all the musicians.

    I played in the Marine Drum and Bugle corp and the musicianship was pretty awsome. Everybody had serious chops and read like it was a kindergarten book.

    There is also a retired Navy bassist who posts regularly on the Double Bass side. He plays both double and electric and is a tremendous player. You might ask him for advice....

  9. That's why I had to wait almost three years before I could do anything with the Navy Band. I have a 6 year contract and had to be in my field for at least two years before I do anything else. Apparently they spent all this money on me for training and they needed to utilize me so I had to wait.
  10. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Just play the same stuff you played at the GTG, man. You'll make it.

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