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Fundamentals of Technique #1654500
04/04/11 04:44 PM
04/04/11 04:44 PM
Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 7
M
MMIConducting77 Offline OP
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MMIConducting77  Offline OP
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Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 7
I am new to this forum, But I would like to get your opinion of the fundamentals of building technique. I have "Hanon The Virtuoso Pianist". I was wandering If I should study the following separate from hanon (with or without them being in repertoire;e.g. like a Chopin Etude), to just maintain a familiarity with the techniques, and they are: Scales, Arpeggios, Trills, Tremolos, Legato Thirds, Sustained Octaves, and Repeated Notes. I do realize that these are taken from Hanon's Book, but is there a need to do every single exercise in the book or just practice the ones that are essential (the one's I listed above) for the sake of familiarity in hand coordination when you do arrive at such a thing in repertoire?

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Re: Fundamentals of Technique [Re: MMIConducting77] #1654544
04/04/11 06:10 PM
04/04/11 06:10 PM
Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 201
Seattle, Washington
Josh_P Offline
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Josh_P  Offline
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Well speaking evily, you are supposed to be able to do the entire Hannon in one hour. It hurts!!! I did it with my old russian teacher. One lesson of heck!!!

But seriously, hanon, is kindof bad for you if you have the wrong technique, and I got really bad tendonitis for a while.

On other note, just practice scales, 4 note chords, arpeggios, and scale chords, and you will proabably have a pretty good technique. For octaves, they are kindof boring, so learn the first of the papillons by schumann in every key. Not too hard. It took me about a month. wink Total lie. Seriously though, just learn the technique for the octaves then play papillons no.1 every other day or something. That will help you maintain you technique among other things. ANd when you actually start learning it, you can be like whbamm and your teacher or whoever will be like oh my lord you are the best.

Just saying...


Working On:
Beethoven-32 Variations in C minor
Beethoven- Opus 109
Re: Fundamentals of Technique [Re: Josh_P] #1654620
04/04/11 07:51 PM
04/04/11 07:51 PM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 4,038
rocket88 Offline
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Originally Posted by Josh_P

But seriously, hanon, is kindof bad for you if you have the wrong technique...


Just about anything you play is bad for you if you have the wrong technique.

Take Hanon real real slow, with a quiet and relaxed hand. Move each finger independently of the others. And forget about speed. It is for training the mind/body to move each finger independently, w/o unwanted jerkiness from other fingers. Nobody goes slow enough...Been teaching it for decades, everyone thinks it is a race, it is not.


Piano teacher.
Re: Fundamentals of Technique [Re: MMIConducting77] #1654669
04/04/11 09:07 PM
04/04/11 09:07 PM
Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 201
Seattle, Washington
Josh_P Offline
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Josh_P  Offline
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Seattle, Washington
Oh my lord. Finger individualization!!! That is one of the worst things you can do for your hands. Your hand and arm work as a unit. And what about the 4th and 5th. They share a tendon or ligament. If you individualize them enough, the ligament will tear. Oh the horror!!!


Working On:
Beethoven-32 Variations in C minor
Beethoven- Opus 109
Re: Fundamentals of Technique [Re: MMIConducting77] #1654682
04/04/11 09:25 PM
04/04/11 09:25 PM
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 1,702
CA
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Minniemay Offline
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Minniemay  Offline
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Technique is not learned by playing an exercise. It can be learned by playing an exercise correctly. Find a teacher who specializes in technique.


B.A., Piano, Piano Pegagogy, Music Ed.
M.M., Piano
Re: Fundamentals of Technique [Re: MMIConducting77] #1654702
04/04/11 09:52 PM
04/04/11 09:52 PM
Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 7
M
MMIConducting77 Offline OP
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MMIConducting77  Offline OP
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Joined: Apr 2011
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So should I practice scales, arpeggios, trills, tremolos, legato thirds, repeated notes, and sustained octaves for precision (whether of not in repertoire) apart from Hanon.

Last edited by MMIConducting77; 04/04/11 10:02 PM.
Re: Fundamentals of Technique [Re: MMIConducting77] #1654740
04/04/11 11:10 PM
04/04/11 11:10 PM
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 347
Massachusetts
danshure Offline
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danshure  Offline
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Massachusetts
Hi MMI

I think what people are saying, and what I would say is, don't worry about WHAT to study. worry about HOW either by;

1. Taking a lesson or two with a teacher who can give you direct, personal feedback.

2. Take the economical route and post either on the public forum or private message a video of you playing a few things, maybe a few scales, anything you're working on, etc - and get some direct personal feedback.

There's no cookie-cutter answer to what you should practice - it's all very unique to you. I'd be happy to give you feedback via video. But I am a fan of focusing first on the essentials (or at least figuring out what they are). We can't tell you what they are unless we had some more information.


Go here ---> Piano Teaching Blog
Re: Fundamentals of Technique [Re: MMIConducting77] #1655348
04/05/11 08:10 PM
04/05/11 08:10 PM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 412
LA CA
Rob Mullins Offline
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Rob Mullins  Offline
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Hi MMI,
Here is my answer to your question.
Building your technique at the piano is something you should do with a teacher. That will greatly reduce the possibility of you injuring yourself.
Basic elements you should practice are scales, arpeggios, five fingered exercises and sections of repertoire. I'm not fond of Hanon in my teaching studio and I've written several hundred exercises which are more useful IMO. I've been using many of these exercises now more than 20 years and many teachers and students come here now just to study technique.
By far the most important thing to have while practicing is patience....it takes time and can be tedious. Correct practice does yield great benefit over time though. Your muscles need enough repetition to memorize the movements and you'll need to be diligent as well. Take breaks when you feel pain. Your teacher will assess what can be done with your size hand, finger length and condition. Good luck!


Rob Mullins
www.planetmullins.com
Recording Artist and Jazz Piano Instructor
Re: Fundamentals of Technique [Re: Rob Mullins] #1655888
04/06/11 04:39 PM
04/06/11 04:39 PM
Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 190
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Jose Hidalgo Offline
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Originally Posted by Rob Mullins

Basic elements you should practice are scales, arpeggios, five fingered exercises and sections of repertoire. ....

I've written several hundred exercises which are more useful IMO.

Do you have those exercises in digital format ?, PDFs ?

If your exercises are less boring and more effective than Hanon you may do a lot of money ! smile

I am always looking for a nice entertained way of practicing technique

Re: Fundamentals of Technique [Re: MMIConducting77] #1656474
04/07/11 04:43 PM
04/07/11 04:43 PM
Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 7
M
MMIConducting77 Offline OP
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MMIConducting77  Offline OP
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Joined: Apr 2011
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First off, I did study under a teacher for eleven years but I had to stop taking lessons due to financial reasons. Now I just want to know if I should continue doing scales, arpeggios, trills, and etcetera, just to keep up with them and whether I should just continue with them apart from Hanon? That's all I want to know.

Re: Fundamentals of Technique [Re: Minniemay] #1656521
04/07/11 06:24 PM
04/07/11 06:24 PM
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 4,840
*sigh* Salt Lake City
malkin Offline
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malkin  Offline
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Originally Posted by Minniemay
Technique is not learned by playing an exercise. It can be learned by playing an exercise correctly. Find a teacher who specializes in technique.


I like this idea, but I'm not sure how I (as an almost complete numpty) could identify a teacher who specializes in technique.


I've been trying to change my signature quote for weeks.

Re: Fundamentals of Technique [Re: MMIConducting77] #1656571
04/07/11 08:48 PM
04/07/11 08:48 PM
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 1,702
CA
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Minniemay Offline
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You ask around. Who has students are known for great technique?


B.A., Piano, Piano Pegagogy, Music Ed.
M.M., Piano
Re: Fundamentals of Technique [Re: malkin] #1656577
04/07/11 09:13 PM
04/07/11 09:13 PM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 4,038
rocket88 Offline
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rocket88  Offline
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Originally Posted by malkin

I like this idea, but I'm not sure how I (as an almost complete numpty) could identify a teacher who specializes in technique.


Ask them.

Ask them how they would define technique. Then ask them how one acquires it, and how they were taught it, and how they developed and continue to maintain their personal technique. Then ask them how they teach technique, and specifically what resources they use.

This is no different than asking a contractor to explain how they would remodel your kitchen or paint your house...these are valid questions.

Keep in mind that many teachers do not focus upon, or even teach, technique.

The overwhelming majority of students that I have taught over the years who transferred from other teachers had poor technique, never heard the "T" word, and never were taught it.

(This is according to them, they may very well have been taught it, but it went in one ear and out the other...I know that what I teach often takes that path with some students). laugh

At the most, their teachers depended upon their technique to develop by itself by playing repertoire.


Piano teacher.
Re: Fundamentals of Technique [Re: Minniemay] #1656659
04/08/11 01:14 AM
04/08/11 01:14 AM
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 7,761
Orange County, CA
AZNpiano Offline
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AZNpiano  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 7,761
Orange County, CA
Originally Posted by Minniemay
You ask around. Who has students are known for great technique?
Who's going to be even remotely qualified to answer that question?

Also, you do realize there are different schools of thought on piano technique. I was trained one way in college. Later, when I played at a master class, the teacher tried to change my technique on the spot. It didn't go well.


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
Re: Fundamentals of Technique [Re: rocket88] #1656662
04/08/11 01:18 AM
04/08/11 01:18 AM
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 7,761
Orange County, CA
AZNpiano Offline
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AZNpiano  Offline
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Orange County, CA
Originally Posted by rocket88
The overwhelming majority of students that I have taught over the years who transferred from other teachers had poor technique, never heard the "T" word, and never were taught it.
I have to agree with you on that one. However, I've also had transfer students who are so entrenched in one technique, that it was virtually impossible to fix.

My philosophy has become "don't fix what ain't broken."


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
Re: Fundamentals of Technique [Re: rocket88] #1656865
04/08/11 12:33 PM
04/08/11 12:33 PM
Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 34
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calis Offline
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Originally Posted by rocket88
Originally Posted by Josh_P

But seriously, hanon, is kindof bad for you if you have the wrong technique...


Just about anything you play is bad for you if you have the wrong technique.

Take Hanon real real slow, with a quiet and relaxed hand. Move each finger independently of the others. And forget about speed. It is for training the mind/body to move each finger independently, w/o unwanted jerkiness from other fingers. Nobody goes slow enough...Been teaching it for decades, everyone thinks it is a race, it is not.


In general, what would you say is a reasonable rate to progress through Hanon? I understand that individual progress is going to vary and that taking it slow and relaxed and progressing at your own pace is the most important thing. With that said, would you say that it is reasonable to increase your speed by 1 bpm per week? Or is that too slow/fast?

Thank you.

Justin

Re: Fundamentals of Technique [Re: calis] #1656910
04/08/11 02:19 PM
04/08/11 02:19 PM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 4,038
rocket88 Offline
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rocket88  Offline
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Originally Posted by calis
Originally Posted by rocket88
Originally Posted by Josh_P

But seriously, hanon, is kindof bad for you if you have the wrong technique...


Just about anything you play is bad for you if you have the wrong technique.

Take Hanon real real slow, with a quiet and relaxed hand. Move each finger independently of the others. And forget about speed. It is for training the mind/body to move each finger independently, w/o unwanted jerkiness from other fingers. Nobody goes slow enough...Been teaching it for decades, everyone thinks it is a race, it is not.


In general, what would you say is a reasonable rate to progress through Hanon? I understand that individual progress is going to vary and that taking it slow and relaxed and progressing at your own pace is the most important thing. With that said, would you say that it is reasonable to increase your speed by 1 bpm per week? Or is that too slow/fast?

Thank you.

Justin


I never look at speed as the primary benchmark for improvement with Hanon, or with many but not all other technique builders.. My fierce Russian piano teacher always used it, and other technique books, as first and foremost a means to achieving a "quiet hand" i.e. minimal tension, and finger independence.

It is unfortunate that the Hanon books have a BPM indication, (and a high one at that, especially for beginners), so people focus upon increasing speed as an indication of progress rather than the development of a hand that can play a note with, for example, any finger without the rest of the hand tensing.

Last edited by rocket88; 04/08/11 05:34 PM.

Piano teacher.
Re: Fundamentals of Technique [Re: MMIConducting77] #1657117
04/09/11 12:52 AM
04/09/11 12:52 AM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 412
LA CA
Rob Mullins Offline
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Rob Mullins  Offline
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Posts: 412
LA CA
Hello thread,
I'm happy to see this thread continuing and being advanced by the bright minds of this fabulous forum.
In response to the person asking about my methods and exercises let me say that I do have several hundred pages of exercises that I have written for my students but I have regretfully not been able to make them available to the world because of the widespread theft of my material throughout my careers as a teacher and recording artist. At this point I also have little time to devote to finding a solution to preventing theft of my material as I am really busy (and thankful) to have a fully booked teaching studio and touring schedule at this time. I will be continuing to look for ways to make my educational material more available in the future and I hope to have the time to explain about how to use the material properly so as to avoid the scourge of the web that has become known as "web 2.0."


Rob Mullins
www.planetmullins.com
Recording Artist and Jazz Piano Instructor

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