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Academic Overview

The Naval School of Music provides basic and advanced levels of instruction to military musicians of the Navy and Marine Corps. Following basic training, Sailors and Marines attend musician "A" school to enhance their musical and military knowledge preparing them to receive the musician designator (NEC/MOS) and ultimate assignment to a fleet band. During their career, military musicians can apply for advanced training at the Naval School of Music to develop skills in live sound production, rehearsal techniques, music arranging, conducting, drum majoring, theory and ear training. The Naval School of Music plays a vital role in developing the military musician and its graduates go on to become musical ambassadors on ships and stations throughout the world.

Basic Course (MU "A" School)
The Music Basic Course provides fleet-relevant training for Sailors and Marines to prepare them for careers as military musicians in their respective services. Upon completion, graduates receive the musician NEC/MOS and are assigned to their first fleet band in locations throughout the United States and abroad. During this 21-week period, emphasis is placed on instrumental, vocal, and ensemble performance. Students train in wind ensemble, parade band, popular music group, jazz ensemble, and various small chamber ensembles to fine-tune their skills.

Advanced Courses (MU "C" School)
The Naval School of Music provides specific instruction in the rehearsing and conducting of ceremonial band, concert band, popular music group, and jazz ensemble. Students also practice advanced music analysis, writing musical arrangements, performing the duties of drum major for parade bands, and performing as skilled live production audio technicians. Additionally, students manage non-musical support and evaluate capabilities and operations of all units of a Navy or Marine Corps band. Personal computer workstations, industry-standard musical notation software, MIDI keyboards for input, and an LCD projection system help students and instructors interact in this creative learning environment. For specific information on each course, please select the appropriate tab above.

Image of Classroom Instructor Image of student. Image of Marching Band

As the first of several courses of instruction currently offered at the school, the 21 week Music Basic Course encompasses the fundamentals of music theory and ear training as well as instrumental performance.

The schedule is rigorous. During an average school day, which begins at 7:30 a.m., students attend academic classes, perform in a variety of ensembles, hone their marching skills and, as time permits, get a head start on the 15 hours of individual practice required weekly.

Student progress is carefully monitored and each musician must pass several auditions over the course of training. Special emphasis, therefore, is placed on private instruction.

The more than 20 instrumental instructors on staff are carefully screened and chosen from top performers in Navy and Marine Corps ensembles worldwide. In addition to having completed advanced levels of training at the Naval School of Music, most hold degrees from universities and music conservatories.

Extra assistance is also available for students in all academic areas.

Image of wind players Image of trumpet players Image of Stage Band rehearsal
Unit Leader

Image of student rehearsal Course Mission
The Unit Leader Course is designed to prepare military musician personnel (E5-E6) to perform the duties of the ceremonial conductor, drum major, and small ensemble leader. This course trains aspiring bandleaders in the art of ceremonial band leadership (conducting/drum majoring), along with experience leading smaller ensembles, to include contemporary groups such as jazz combos and popular music groups.

Course Overview
Advanced training includes rehearsing and conducting ceremonial bands, performing the duties of drum major for ceremonial bands, rehearsing popular music groups, analyzing and writing advanced music, and performing technical and non-musical support for performances. Student to teacher ratio is limited to 12:1, allowing for more personalized instruction. Students also maintain a computer workstation at their desk, enabling them to take advantage of the most current music education software available. Navy personnel completing this course are awarded the secondary NEC 3853 (Unit Leader).

Prerequisites
E5 or E6 graduate of the Music Basic Course (A-450-0010), meet individual service and physical readiness requirements, and have a recommendation from their current Bandmaster.

Senior Musician

Senior Musician Course Mission
The Senior Musician Course (30 weeks) is designed to prepare personnel (E6-E7) to perform the duties of the Senior Enlisted /Assistant Director/Enlisted Bandmaster in Navy and Marine Corps fleet and field bands around the word.

Course Overview

The course content includes conducting/rehearsal techniques, instrumental performance, ear training, theory, counterpoint, history, form and analysis, and band scoring. This course prepares the student for the highest levels of responsibility through advanced score study, ear training, and rehearsal techniques. In addition to advanced “core” academic subjects, emphasis in this course focuses on conducting and rehearsing the concert band and large jazz ensemble. Student to teacher ratio is limited to 12:1, allowing for more personalized instruction. Students also maintain a computer workstation at their desk, enabling them to take advantage of the most current music education software available. Navy personnel completing this course earn a new primary NEC (3851).

Prerequisites
E6 or E7 graduates of one of the following courses: Ceremonial Conductor/Drum Major Course (A-450-0016) (no longer available), Unit Leader Course (A-450-0012). Recommendation of current Bandmaster. All students must have completed the Music Basic Course (A-450-0010) and meet individual service and physical readiness requirements.

Sound Reinforcement Technician

Sound Reinforcement Course Mission
The Sound Reinforcement Technician Course is to provide military musician personnel (E4 through E6) with the necessary training to perform as skilled Sound Reinforcement Technicians capable of operating intricate sound reinforcement equipment in various acoustical environments as encountered by Navy, Marine and Army mission requirements.

Course Overview
The content of this six-week course includes theoretical knowledge of electricity, sound system setup, optimization, and sound system design. The second part will focus on equipment operation, troubleshooting and the development of performance skills. Personnel will also be taught to test, evaluate, and maintain sound reinforcement equipment in a safe operating condition. Navy personnel completing this course are awarded the secondary NEC 3855 (Sound Reinforcement Technician).


    Equipment
    Some of the equipment utilized in training and bands throughout the Navy will include the following:

  • - Yamaha digital mixing consoles
  • - JBL, Danley & RCF loudspeaker systems
  • - Shure, Sennheiser, DPA & AEA microphones

Prerequisites
All candidates must have completed the Music Basic Course (A-450-0010) as an instrumentalist or vocalist, completed at least one tour of duty in a band, have a recommendation from their current Bandmaster and meet individual service and physical readiness requirements.

Transcripts

Naval School of Music graduates may request their transcripts in writing from the Office of the Registrar.

  • A request should include:
  • the full name of the graduate
  • branch of service of the graduate
  • instrument
  • month/year graduated (if known)
  • type of request (official or unofficial)
  • name/address of the institution to send the transcript
  • your contact information (Email, phone, mailing address)
  • the signature of the graduate
  • Submit completed, signed request:
  • By Email to NAVSOM_Info@navy.mil
  • Fax to (757) 462-7294
  • Mail to:
    Commanding Officer
    Attn: Office of the Registrar
    Naval School of Music
    1420 Gator Blvd
    Virginia Beach, VA 23462-2617

The American Council on Education (ACE) recognizes all our courses. Military personnel and veterans can download their transcripts directly from the Joint Service Transcript website.