A diploma recognizes that a student has completed with satisfaction all the courses required to obtain the title of “graduate”. As such, the acquisition of a diploma is not an achievement in and of itself but rather a major “step” in a chosen direction. A diploma is a “permission” to move on from the status of student to that of apprentice where we prove to seasoned professionals that our abilities match our capacity to learn. For all intents and purposes, until an approved level of competence and achievement is arrived at, the title on the diploma remains the title “of” the diploma – and not of the individual.
A piano player is a hobbyist. A student of the piano is an apprentice. A professional is a trained technician. A pianist is a trained technician good enough to dazzle an audience with borrowed imagery. An artist is a professional who not only dazzles with imagery but does so even when playing a piano with only three working keys.