OK, just taken the ABRSM Diploma in Trombone in the UK. When I was preparing for this, there was absolutely nothing on the internet to help me, other than ABRSM's own syllabus. All the resources they provide are geared towards the piano, voice, and woodwind instruments. Hopefully I can start a thread here which will be useful to candidates in the future.
I went with the following programme:
1. Concertino for Trombone - Lars-Erik Larsson, movements 1 and 2
2. Morceau Symphonique - Alexandre Guilmant
3. Trombone Concerto - Launy Grondahl
The first thing I'll say about the recital part of the exam is TAKE YOUR TIME! You're allowed to take 5 minutes'-worth of break in the 35-minute programme. I rather rushed through my recital, and in fact, after a very energetic Guilmant, the trombone-specialist examiner strongly advised me to take a bit of a break. I wish I'd taken this advice, because by the end of the second movement, I was flagging in a major way, to such an extent that I couldn't manage the top Cs at the end of the Finale.
I had read a lot about the importance of making this a "performance", much more than treating it as an exam. So, I stood towards the audience (examiners and the rest of the largish empty room) and launched into the Larsson as though I was giving a concert, and it felt good for a while - until I needed a glance at the music, that is, when I realised that my eyes weren't quick enough to pick up where I was up to on the page, and I fluffed a couple of notes! So my second piece of advice is, if you're going to memorise the music, then DECIDE to memorise and do it completely, not like in my half-and-half approach.
Then came the Viva Voce. This is the section where the examiners look at your programme notes and cross-question you about your recital. I was asked about my choice of pieces, so I talked a lot about the late 19th and first half of the 20th century as an exciting time with the emergence of the trombone as a solo instrument. The other part of my viva focussed on the history of the instrument, and what sort of instrument would have been around at the time of the composition of my three pieces.
The final part of the Diploma is the Quick Study - you get 5 minutes to study a piece of approximately Grade 6 standard, and to perform it as accurately and musically as possible. It's widely noted that the piece of music you get for the quick study is a modern, abstract composition, but in fact, I found I got a pretty familiar-feeling maestoso piece in 4/4 time. Even so, I still found the time allotted too short to prepare very well for the performance, and I tend to think that I spent too much time on easy bars rather than focussing on the potential pitfalls such as accidentals, big intervals and key/clef changes.
Has anyone else had any experience of the ABRSM Trombone Diploma? How did you find it?