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  • ABRSM diploma candidates need to write a 1,100-word programme notes for their exam performance. You can achieve a wide range of qualities - from just interesting to the perceptive, well-researched, original, relevant, pertinent, and persuasive. A well-written programme note is not only an exam paper, and not only educates the audience, but the writing process becomes a learning experience, and the end result another tool of expression to complement the musical performance.

    • What is a programme note for ABRSM (Associated Board of Royal Schools of Music of UK.) or Trinity diploma music performance?
    • What are the key parts?
    • Where can I find writing guides?
    • What are the format, style, and length requirements?
    • What are the marking criteria?
    • What kind of research do I need to do?
    • Where can I find examples?
  Dishes  - Guides & Tips
  • Dish 1 : Writing Programme Notes - A guide for diploma candidates. By Nigel Scaife |

  • This is the authoritative and a well-written guide. PDF file format. This guide has 4 parts:

    • Overview
    • Research
    • Detailed advice
    • Practical help

    It contains examples in pages 12-14.

    The intro, re-formatted:

    The importance of this task should not be underestimated, as

    • informative and clearlypresented notes can significantly enhance the listening experience of your audience.
    • Many musicians find writing programme notes not just a powerful tool in increasing theiraudience’s appreciation and enjoyment of the concert,
    • but also a useful way to clarifytheir thoughts about the music that they are to perform.
    • In a similar way, music critics have often found writing them a valuable activity and it is no coincidence that some ofthe greatest writers on music have also written quantities of programme notes.

    About plagarism, page 11:

    The use of quotation and plagiarism

    Keep quotations brief and credit the author

    Literary quotations from composers or commentators can sometimes throw light onimportant aspects of a piece. However, such quotations must be brief and fully identifiedas a quotation. Short quotations should be presented in the text within single quotationmarks; longer quotations of more than two lines of prose should be indented withoutquotation marks. A full citation for the source of the quote is unnecessary, but candidatesshould refer the reader to the author’s name. It is not usually appropriate to include musicquotations in programme notes.

    Always write in your own words ...

  • Dish 4 : Writing Diploma Programme Notes |

  • After talking with diploma candidates in Hong Kong last week, I’ve come away with a strong sense that the one area in which they really are lacking in clear guidance is in the requirement to write programme notes. The ABRSM produces a booklet which doesn’t provide the kind of clear and concise information which candidates seek, while Trinity Guildhall offers nothing other than the comment in the syllabus that “A useful guide to the kind of approach looked for may be taken from professional public concert programmes”. I have to say I felt this was adequate until it dawned on me that both the standard of programme notes given at professional concerts varies widely – many do not even provide a programme booklet – and that a large number of candidates would have not experienced programme notes written in English, so would not be too sure how relevant these are to exam requirements.

  Chops  - Comparison & Discussion
  • Chop 3 : Abrsm Diploma Programme Notes - Piano Resource |

  • My 12-year-old son did his ABRSM grade 8 last fall and is planning to do a diploma in performance some time in the future. I understand that one has to come up with a recital program. His teacher will surely help him to plan the program but as his father and a piano learner (I am just a beginner), I would like to have some influence. That's why I would like to try to come up with a framework and narrow down the selection of pieces a little for discussion with him and his teacher.

    I have a few questions and wonder if you guys could give me some hints/pointers: ...

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