Your career will start with a 10 week Basic Recruit Training Course (BRTC) at Royal Air Force Halton in Buckinghamshire. The course is designed to help you adjust to a military environment. As well as fitness and military training, you’ll also learn about the ethos and heritage of the Royal Air Force.
The next step is a period of specialist familiarization training at Royal Air Force Northolt. If you already play to the standards of a performance diploma, you’ll spend approximately 4 weeks at Headquarters Music Services (HQMS), studying your primary instrument, learning band drill and completing academic work, prior to your first posting to a Regular band. If you don’t yet play to the standards of a performance diploma, you’ll spend approximately 12 weeks at HQMS studying your primary instrument, learning band drill and academic work. You will then be detached or posted to one of the three Regular bands, depending on the rate of your progress in training.
Additional Qualification Opportunities
Musicians who complete the Continuous Professional Development (CPD) scheme have the opportunity to gain the following diplomas in music performance and music direction: LLCM, LTCL, Dip ABRSM, LRSM.
Ongoing Training/Development Opportunities
As a Musician, you’ll have extensive opportunities for further professional development throughout your career through the CPD scheme and the Force Development Flight at the Royal Air Force unit you are stationed at.
Your First Tour
On completion of your familiarization training at Royal Air Force Northolt you will be posted to one of the three Regular Bands located at either Royal Air Force Northolt or Royal Air Force College Cranwell. Initial tour length is normally for a period of 18 months but may vary due to operational demand.
You will initially join the RAF for a period of twelve years on a Notice Engagement with effect from 1 April 2015. Musicians have the opportunity to be considered for promotion up to the rank of Warrant Officer with qualification via the CPD scheme and with the requisite seniority. Suitable and qualified personnel may elect to undertake selection for commission as a Director of Music through the Internal Commissioning Scheme.
As a Musician in the RAF, you will have all the personal development opportunities and career prospects of your civilian counterparts, together with the chance to gain unique experiences whilst working around the world. When they decide to leave the Service, many Royal Air Force Musicians re-enter the civilian musical world as either teachers or performers.