FAQ on Piano Diploma Exams (Performance) (Part I)

Here are some commonly asked questions and answers I compile for your reference:

Q1. Which are the music boards that provide diploma exams in Hong Kong?
The most two common music exam boards in Hong Kong are: the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) and the Trinity College London.

Q2. What kinds of diplomas are available for examination purpose?
There are three kinds of music diplomas:
ABRSM: Music Performance, Music Direction, and Instrumental/Vocal Teaching.
Trinity College: Performance, Teaching, and Theory and Composition.

Q3. How many levels of music diplomas are there for each board?
There are three levels of every kind of music diplomas for each board.
For performance diplomas, there are:

Trinity: ATCL, LTCL and FTCL.

In a performance diploma, candidates perform with their own choice of instruments in the manner of a recital, in the limited time frame, 3-4 pieces of contrasting styles and periods, selected from the official syllabus provided by the perspective board (each board has a different time limitation and a different set of repertoire list to be chosen pieces from).

Q4. What is the duration of the whole recital program for each performance diploma?
dipABRSM: 35 minutes (+/- 10%: meaning somewhere between 32 and 38 minutes)
LRSM: 40 minutes (+/- 10%): meaning somewhere between 36 and 44 minutes)
FRSM: 50 minutes (+/- 10%): meaning somewhere between 45 and 55 minutes)

Trinity –
ATCL: 32–38 minutes
LTCL: 37–43 minutes
FTCL: 42–48 minutes

Q5. What are the various parts of each performance diploma?
Four Parts:

During exam –
1. Recital
2. Viva Voce
3. Quick Study

Written in advance and submitted on the day of exam –
4. Programme Notes (or Written Submission in the case of FRSM)

ATCL (Recital Diplomas)-
Two parts:

During exam –
1. Recital

Written in advance and submitted on the day of exam –
2. Programme Notes

Q6. What is the time distribution of each section in each performance diploma exam of ABRSM?
dipABRSM: 60 minutes: Recital – 35 minutes (+/- 10%), Viva Voce: up to 12 minutes, Quick Study: up to 10 minutes
LRSM: 75 minutes: Recital – 40 minutes (+/- 10%), Viva Voce: up to 15 minutes, Quick Study: up to 10 minutes.
FRSM: 90 minutes: Recital – 50 minutes (+/- 10%), Viva Voce: up to 20 minutes, Quick Study: up to 10 minutes.

Q7. What is the word count limitation for the programme note of each performance diploma exam?
dipABRSM (programme notes) : 1,100 words (+_ 10%)
LRSM (programme notes): 1,800 words (+_ 10%)
FRSM (written submission): 4,500 words (+_ 10%)
*Candidates should be prepared to discuss the programme notes/written submission in the Viva Voce session.

Trinity –
ATCL: 400–700 words
LTCL: 800–1,100 words
FTCL: 1,200–1,600 words
*all word counts not including translations of song texts

Teresa Wong


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *