Diploma Day 2021 – notes

Frances Wilson (AKA The Cross-Eyed Pianist) has written detailed notes on all aspects of taking a diploma, from choosing a syllabus and constructing a programme to writing programme notes and presentation skills. The document includes live links to selected resources, including all the main exam board performance diploma websites.

The PDF document is available to download here

If you have any questions about performance diplomas or would like specific help or advice, please feel free to contact Frances Wilson


  1. I found this very helpful because I am preparing for a Trinity performance diploma. I do wonder how to deal with repetitions in the program? For example I am including a French Suite from Bach, playing this with or without repetitions has quite an impact on the total length of the performance.

    • Hello Daniel – I’m pleased you found the notes helpful. There are other articles about preparing for a diploma on the site (put Diploma into the search box) as I charted my own progress through the ATCL and LTCL diplomas and reflected on the experience. With regard to repeats, the Trinity regulations state that “All da capo and dal segno instructions
      should be observed. Repeats of the exposition/recapitulation sections and other long repeats, as well as those within
      variations, should not be played. If the examiner feels that the overall performing time of the recital has been compromised, for instance by the inclusion of repeats in other areas that are not justified musically, the exam may be referred and/or invalidated.”

      I agree that this does present a problem with regard to a Bach Suite, but I think you have to make a musical/stylistic judgement in this case – i.e. that it is usual performance practice to include the repeats in a Bach suite. Obviously, one would also aim to add interest in the repeats, with, for example, additional ornamentation.

      For absolute clarification, I would drop Trinity an email to check this with them. I have found them to be very helpful with queries such as this.

      Good luck with your diploma preparations.

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