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"The Commandant's Own"


"The Commandant's Own"

The United States Marine Drum & Bugle Corps

Marine Barracks Washington, D.C.
Become a Member

Musical requirements - Brass

Auditioning for a position in the brass section may be done on a conventional brass instrument or one of the related bugles (i.e., soprano, mellophone, baritone, euphonium or contrabass). The applicant will be required to perform the following:

  1. All major, natural minor, and chromatic scales in eighth notes.
  2. Sight-read various forms of Grade IV music to demonstrate your familiarization with all styles of music to include marches, concert, swing/jazz and ballads.
  3. Multiple excerpts that will be provided for work up prior to the audition.


Musical requirements - Percussion

Percussion applicants may audition on either snare drum or tenors (or both, if they wish). Opportunities to audition on mallets occur when positions become available. No promises are given regarding which instrument an applicant would be assigned to. Once an applicant becomes a member of "The Commandant's Own," he/she would participate in the annual placement audition to determine instrument assignment (snare drum, tenors, bass drum, cymbals, or mallets). The audition consists of rudiments and prepared etudes.



Visual Requirements

Applicants will perform a series of visual exercises in order to demonstrate proficiency in marching fundamentals. Consideration should be given to the following areas:

1. Posture: 30%

            - Vertical alignment between ankles, knees, hips, shoulders, ears

2. Instrument Carriage: 30%

            - Shoulders square to “sideline”

            - 90° triangle with arms (brass only)

            - Upper body control

3. Marching Technique: 30%

            - Feet move evenly through time

            - Feet in track

            - Even-sized steps

            - Smooth transitions on direction changes

4. Demeanor: 10%

            - Overall focus/concentration


Visual Exercises

Applicants will submit a video that clearly shows them performing the following visual exercises. Marching should be done on a flat surface with yard lines. Tape or cones may be used to simulate yard lines. A metronome should be used and audible on the video. Brass players will need a bell-front, marching instrument. Percussionists will need a marching snare, tenor or bass drum. All exercises will be performed in playing position: horns up/sticks out.

1. 8s and 4s: Forward 8, halt 4, backward 8, halt 4. One repetition at each tempo.

            - Step size: 8 to 5

- Tempos: 80, 132, 160

- Camera angle: Side

2. Half Time vs Single Time: Forward 8 @ 90 bpm, forward 8 @ 180 bpm, halt 8. Repeat backward. One repetition.

            - Step size: 8 to 5

            - Camera angle: Side

3. X Drill: Forward right 45° for 12 steps, backward left 45° 12, forward left 45° 12, backward right 45° 12, backward left 45° 12, forward right 45° 12, backward right 45° 12, forward left 45° 12, halt. One repetition.

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            - The entire exercise draws an X. Each leg of the X will travel 8 steps by 8 steps. For example: Forward right 45° will take you one yardline forward and one yardline to the right, accomplished in 12 steps.

            - Tempo: 160

            - Camera angle: Front

See videos at the following link for demonstrations of each exercise.

Audition Videos

More Information

To find out more information or to schedule an audition for the Marine Drum & Bugle Corps, please contact below.

Musician Technical Assistant  
Master Sergeant William Rulapaugh

Office: (703) 432-9663
Cell:    (540) 621-8363
Marine Corps Recruiting Command
ATTN: Drum and Bugle Corps Musician Procurement Supervisor
2nd Floor
3280 Russell Road
Quantico, VA 22134-5103
Mission: To provide music and ceremony for the Commandant of the Marine Corps and the Commanding Officer, Marine Barracks Washington, DC.
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