Category: Piano Diploma Exams

[:zh]Here you can find useful resources on piano diploma exams (ABRSM & TCL, UK).[:]

Piano Technique Transformation Course

This course is designed to drastically transform your piano technique forever for the better. With the aid of videos and exercise book, you will be able to not only learn at your pace but also practice efficiently to improve your piano playing in a short period of time

Course includes:

My technique exercise book (pdf copy): “Technique Transformation Piano Exercise Book” (USD$25 value)

Section 1: Demonstration videos on various techniques with reference to Gyorgy Sandor’s “On Piano Playing” (USD$150 value);

Section 2: Demonstration videos on ALL exercises from technique book (30 exercises) (USD$250 value).

References for Specific Topic – Bach

For those who are preparing for their piano performance diploma exams (ABRSM/TCL- dipABRSM/ATCL/LTCL/LRSM), here are some excellent examples for your reference on programme notes writing:

I know a lot of you are preparing for the Toccata in E minor BWV 914, and so here is one of analysis you can find online.

Books

Title: Oxford Composer Companion: J.S. Bach (Oxford Composer Companions)

Publisher: Oxford University Press

Editor: Malcolm Boyd

Title: The Cambridge Companion to Bach (Cambridge Companions to Music) 

Editor: John Butt

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

Title: The New Bach Reader: A Life of Johann Sebastian Bach in Letters and Documents

Author: Christoph Wolff

Publisher: W.W. Norton & Company

Title: J. S. Bach’s Well-tempered clavier : in-depth analysis and interpretation 

Author:  Siglind Bruhn

Publisher: Edition Gorz

Scores

Title: J.S. Bach : An introduction to his Keyboard Music (Alfred Masterwork Edition)

Author: Willard A. Palmer

Publisher: Alfred Music

Title: The Well-Tempered Clavier – Revised Edition

Publisher: Henle Verlag

Want to learn more about our online consultation sessions for your piano diploma exams?

Sound (CD etc)

Title: Well-Tempered Clavier

Pianist: Andras Schiff

Title: Glenn Gould plays Bach: The Well-Tempered Clavier Books I & II, BWV 846-893

Pianist: Glenn Gould

Title: The Well-Tempered Clavier, Books 1 & 2 [4 CD]

Pianist: Roselyn Tureck

Title: Bach, J.S.: Keyboard Works

Pianist: Angela Hewitt

Reference Books For Specific Topic: Chopin

For those who are preparing for their piano performance diploma exams (ABRSM/TCL- dipABRSM/ATCL/LTCL/LRSM), here are some references on programme notes writing:

Title: Chopin: The Reluctant Romantic
Author: Jim Samson
(background/analysis (not structural) of works like Ballade and Scherzos)

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Title: Chopin, the four ballades‎
Author: Jim Samson

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Title: Chopin’s Letters 
Author: Frederic Chopin
Editor: E. L. Voynich 
Publisher: Dover Books on Music

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Title: Chopin: The Man and His Music
Publisher: Dover Books on Music
Author: James Huneker

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Title: In Search of Chopin
Publisher: Dover Books on Music
Author: Alfred Cortot

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Chopin: The Piano Concertos
Publisher: Cambridge Music Handbooks
Author: John Rink
Editor: Julian Rushton 

Title: The Chopin Companion : Profiles of the Man and the Musician
Publisher: Norton Library, N668
Author: Alan Walker 

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5 Tips to Prepare for Your Piano Diploma Exam (ATCL/dipABRSM)

Here are 5 tips to help you prepare for your piano diploma exam:

1. Read the Official Syllabus

Read the syllabus carefully: everything is written out very clearly in the syllabus provided by the music exam board you’re taking exam with, from the repertoire list, to time limit, writing format and word count. Go to the relevant link for your piano diploma:

ABRSM

Trinity College of Music

2. Choose a Well-balanced Program

It is advised to choose a program that includes pieces of not only from different musical periods but also varieties in musical styles and technical command. So think tempo contrast, different genres and structures (sonata/character piece/technical piece/fugue).

3. Show Your Strength and Hide Your Weakness

The recital program is for you to SHINE, to show your performance ability and musical understanding, rather than displaying your shortcomings in commanding a piece or two. Know your strength – usually your teacher (if you have one) would know quite well what that would be. Explore your ability and learn to perform pieces of higher level of difficulties is commendable, but knowing your limit is worth noting especially for exam purpose.

4. Combine Interest and Mastery in Your Exam Pieces

Choosing pieces you would like to learn is very important – but so is choosing pieces you CAN perform them technically and musically to the level of the diploma exam required. Do not choose pieces just because they are popular or technically demanding, but at the same time do not choose some music simply because they are obscure thinking the examiners have never heard and do not know how to mark them (think “new music”) – if that ever happens I suppose you as the candidate would not understand how to play it either! And don’t forget you have to talk about them if you’re taking any diploma exams with the ABRSM!

5. Understand the Difficulty when Preparing for a Diploma Exam

Preparing for a performance exam at a diploma level (whether ATCL/dipABRSM or higher) is a huge step up from grade 8 level – you have to not only learn how to play the piece but also really present the pieces at the performance level that a diploma requires. It’s a PERFORMANCE not just an exam.

Give time to prepare for it. Listen to a lot of performances, read a lot about the music, the history and the composer (you can find a lot of information online or at your local library). Find a great teacher to help you: even if it’s not regular lessons, take some lessons from a teacher or two to get advice and suggestions on your performance would really help you improve and be prepared for the exam.

Good luck to all of you who are preparing for your upcoming piano diploma. Enjoy the process and have fun with it!

More on My Online Piano Consultation Lessons

Teresa Wong

DipABRSM: Examples of Viva-Voce Questions(2)

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