ABRSM Diplomas (Piano Teaching)

ABRSM diplomas in piano teaching are gaining popularity.  Many piano teachers take the teaching diploma to refine their teaching and communicate musical concepts in an effective way.

The clear communication and flexibility needed in teaching is an art that can only be perfected with experience.  However, a teaching diploma such as the ones by ABRSM or Trinity College fast-tracks every piano teacher on the road to teaching well.

Differences between ABRSM Diplomas
in Performance and Teaching

     ABRSM Teaching Diplomas

  • Teaching Skills Viva Voce (including demonstration)
  • Written Submission
  • Quick Study

      ABRSM Performance Diplomas

  • Recital (with accompanying programme notes)
  • Viva Voce
  • Quick Study

Differences between ABRSM Performance Diplomas and Trinity Recital Diplomas

ABRSM Diplomas in Piano Teaching

ABRSM diplomas (Piano Teaching) consist of 3 sections:

1.  Teaching Skills Viva Voce
2.  Written Submission and
3.  Quick Study


For DipAB (Piano Teaching):

  • 18 years of age
  • minimum grade 8 piano and a
  • minimum grade 6 theory (1992 syllabus)

For LRSM (Piano Teaching):

  • 20 years of age
  • DipAB (Piano Teaching)

1. Teaching Skills Viva Voce (Piano)

This section lasts up to 40 minutes at DipABRSM level and includes a performance demonstration and Viva Voce. 

At LRSM level, this section lasts up to 50 minutes and additionally includes a Case Study Portfolio and Video of Teaching Practice submission.  This means that the candidate should be a piano teacher with at least a few students of varying levels.

Performance Demonstration

The Teaching Skills Viva Voce section involves performing 3 piano pieces from the current Grade 6 exam syllabus at DipABRSM level, one each from lists A, B and C.  This is a demonstration of piano skills and the pieces may or may not be heard in their entirety. 

While extracts may be selected, candidates still prepare the chosen pieces in full as the examiner will only let you know the selected passage to play (or to play the whole piece) on the exam day.

At LRSM level, 3 pieces are chosen from the currrent grade 8 exam syllabus.

Viva Voce

Related to your performance demonstration, the examiner would ask many questions about the pieces including any difficulties a student may encounter and how you would deal with those difficulties. 

Questions on your overall teaching outlook, books or material used, piano technique, repertoire, style and interpretation, piano history and background and professional practice may be asked.

In addition, questions on your written submission would be discussed and clarified.

Case Study Portfolio (LRSM level only)

A portfolio of three case studies of three pupils over a period of six months within a year of the exam entry should be submitted.  Three copies are submitted together with a Video of Teaching Practice at least three months before the time of exam entry.  This portfolio and video should be approved in time for exam entry.

2. Written Submission

A written submission on a specified teaching topic of 1,800 words (± 10%) is to be submitted when registering for the dipABRSM exam.

For LRSM, the written submission is of 4,500 words (± 10%), also to be submitted with your exam entry.

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 - Teaching Skills Viva Voce, Written Submission and Quick Study is required for a pass in the overall exam.  The passing mark is 40%.  A Diploma with Distinction is awarded for an overall 70% or more.

If any section is unsuccessful, a retake is allowed within 3 years of the initial attempt.

If you are interested in exploring piano teaching lessons with Clara, please contact her using the form below.

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