ABRSM Diplomas (Performance)

ABRSM diplomas (performance) consist of 3 sections:

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

1. Recital

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

The pieces are usually picked from repertoire lists given by the exam board.  Less commonly, it is also possible to play other pieces or play as an accompanist up to a certain time limit.

Recital Lengths

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

DipABRSM 35 mins ±10%      ATCL Performance 23-27 mins
ATCL Recital 30-35 mins
LRSM 40 mins ±10% LTCL Recital 38-43 mins
FRSM 50 mins ±10% FTCL Performance 43-48 mins

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 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.

For more details on ABRSM diploma exams, please see www.abrsm.org/exams/diplomas.

Click here to see differences between ABRSM diplomas and Trinity Guildhall Diplomas.