Second-year HSDC Alton A Level student James Edwards intends to combine his passion for music with a career in the Royal Marines as part of the Royal Marines Band Service.
The Royal Marines Band Service is one of the world’s most versatile military bands. It boosts morale and performs at ceremonial or state occasions but also, when necessary, members set aside their instruments to provide medical support on operations.
Before joining Alton, James studied at Horndean Technology College. At Alton, he studied A Level Biology, Chemistry and Music and a BTEC subsidiary diploma in Jazz Performance. He explained how he decided on this unique career choice:
“I became interested in the Royal Marines Band Service when I saw their adverts online. I also heard about them through a relative who worked for the Ministry of Defence. After finding out a bit more about the Band while on a ‘Look At Life’ course on HMS Collingwood and HMS Nelson, I honestly considered it an option as I really enjoyed the course.
“In September 2019, I was invited to do a week’s work experience with the Royal Marines Band Portsmouth (Royal Band). I joined them for rehearsals and then a concert later on in the week. This was a real privilege and it gave me an excellent idea of what life was like day to day in the Corps. Another major selling point for me was the opportunity to study a BMus degree free of charge and an MMus partially funded.”
And for those who wish to follow James along a similar path?
“My advice is: keep on top of your application so everything is completed before the audition; know the requirements for the fitness tests to help your training; and practice your pieces of music as much as you can.”
James is looking forward to his audition. It was postponed due to the pandemic but has now been rescheduled to happen in July via a series of video calls. We wish him all the best and look forward to following him in his career.