ABRSM diplomas taken in Cambridge UK
Posted 06 October 2019 - 11:05
Has anyone done their piano ABRSM diplomas in Cambridge UK? If so, where did it take place and what type of piano did you play on?
Posted 06 October 2019 - 17:29
Yes, I did. Last December at the Leys School Music Block. A nice airy studio on the top floor and plenty of warm-up rooms. The stewards make you tea. Parking is easy.
It was cold though, as the school had shut for Christmas and had the heating on a frost setting. The stewards had to switch it back on again, but it was still on the chilly side, particularly first thing.
The piano was an elderly Steinway A, with only two pedals and ivory keys. A nice touch, but no oomph or resonance at all, and better suited to accompanying rather than solo. Classical and Baroque music would be OK on it, but it really didn't respond to Messiaen or Debussy.
I complained hugely about it straight after my exam, so I hope they have listened and changed it now. It was completely unacceptable for a diploma-level recital.
Oddly when I did my dipABRSM at the same centre a few years ago, it was a different (and better) instrument.
It might be worth you phoning the diploma team to ask about the instrument, especially if you need a middle pedal.
Posted 06 October 2019 - 19:16
Posted 07 October 2019 - 07:37
I need the middle pedal for a Grade 7 piece I am playing! Every piano exam above Grade 5 should surely be required to have a middle pedal or be deemed unsuitable. Really scary that people pay a fortune to do diplomas and end up playing on something that can not convey everything they have been working on. The heating would be a problem for me to as I have Reynaud's so I probably wouldn't even have been able to play. Lucky I'm not aiming for a diploma in Cambridge any time soon! Good luck Andy when you do it!
Posted 07 October 2019 - 10:41
I hope the piano issue was resolved for the summer exams this year, but I think the lesson is to phone up the diploma team beforehand and get assurances that the piano has the right number of pedals, whatever centre you're using.
To be fair to ABRSM, the examiners noticed the instrument's inadequacies and took it into account when marking (this was clear from one line of questioning in the viva), and I had decided not to use the middle pedal in the performance (had it been absolutely necessary, I think I would have refused to play).
Posted 07 October 2019 - 12:52
Hi, I just did my DipABRSM a couple of months ago in Nottingham. It was in a lovely little university concert hall (Djanogly Recital Hall) with a nice Steinway. I normally get debilitating nerves but the examiners were so nice, and it was such a cool environment that I just really enjoyed the whole thing - turned out to be a really amazing experience. Not too far from Cambridge so maybe worth thinking about as a venue.