ABRSM Diplomas (Performance)


  • DipABRSM  -  Grade 8 practical
  • LRSM           -  DipABRSM performance
  • FRSM           -  LRSM performance

No higher grade theory qualification is needed in order to sit for the performance diplomas.  However, theory knowledge helps in the understanding of the pieces and also in the Viva Voce section.

If the student is not equipped with sufficient theory knowledge to answer Viva Voce questions, a Trinity performance diploma may be more suitable.

What sections are there in an ABRSM performance diploma exam?

ABRSM diplomas (performance) consist of 3 sections:

1.  Recital
2.  Viva Voce and
3.  Quick Study

1. Recital

The recital section of the ABRSM performance diploma usually involves performing at least 3 pieces of music; they should represent a balanced programme displaying a mixture of different musical periods, styles and moods. 

The recital pieces may be chosen from the repertoire lists starting from page 36 in the ABRSM syllabus here.  It is also possible to play other pieces up to a certain time limit (see page 7-14 of the syllabus above).

The playing standard at DipABRSM level is far higher than at grade 8 level.  A quality performance with neat fingerwork and technique, stylistic authenticity and musical finesse will help you pass the recital.

Recital Lengths

Recital lengths required for ABRSM performance diplomas and Trinity performance diplomas are:


35 min ±10%

ATCL Recital

32-38 min


40 min ±10%

LTCL Recital

37-43 min


50 min ±10%

FTCL Recital

42-48 min

Programme notes and Written Submission

Programme notes or a written submission (for FRSM) are prepared for the examiners.  These notes should give information about the pieces performed and require progressively more detailed and technical information from one level to the next. 

The written submission is handed in when registering for the exam and may not cover all the pieces performed.  It is more analytical and requires more independent thought and research on particular aspects of the performed pieces.

2. Viva Voce

Viva Voce generally involves discussing the pieces performed and the accompanying programme notes with the examiners.  Questions commonly include choice of repertoire, style, musical language, technical aspects and structure.

3. Quick Study

Quick Study involves performing a short piece of music at sight.  The candidate is given 5 min to study and try out the piece before the performance. 

Playing the piece with fundamentals like rhythm, key, general tempo and character in place as well as paying attention to details like dynamics, accents, tempo changes, key changes or time changes are important in this test.

Passing the ABRSM Performance Diploma Exam

A pass in each of the sections - Recital, Viva Voce and Quick Study is required for a pass in the overall exam.  The passing mark is 40%.  If any section is unsuccessful, a retake is allowed within 3 years of the initial attempt.

› ABRSM Performance Diplomas

› ABRSM Performance Diplomas