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Re: Hanon exercises - to completion? [Re: WhoDwaldi] #2843789 04/30/19 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by WhoDwaldi
Originally Posted by Hatchestron
I am very sceptical about the value of Hanon. The one thing they don't tell you is how to do them, which means you need a teacher (or if you are very very lucky, stumble on the correct approach yourself), in which case, why not cut out the middle man, so to speak, and practice the technical solutions on proper music?


Pianists can injure themselves by playing literature without warming up, but warm-up exercises can cause injuries, themselves. 🙄

Devoting so much time to exercises takes away from time for pieces (causing more memory lapses). But, never drilling technique makes pieces sound sloppy, however well learned.

So, moderation is the key, and finding that is elusive. 😁




If the pieces are sloppy or inconsistently performed, they aren't actually well learned.

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Re: Hanon exercises - to completion? [Re: Nadia] #2843810 04/30/19 01:46 PM
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I think Hanon's exercises are just perfect for beginning of a warm up, for hands relaxation. I have a very pleasant feeling in the hands after playing them. When I'm away from the piano for some time and there begins sort of an itch in the hands I understand that the first thing that my hands are dreaming of is Hanon.

They are also good for finding proper touch on a new instrument.

Re: Hanon exercises - to completion? [Re: Nadia] #2843815 04/30/19 02:01 PM
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According to my wife, the 60 Hanon exercises were a staple of Russian piano pedagogy when she herself was a piano pupil, many years ago.


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Re: Hanon exercises - to completion? [Re: anamnesis] #2843822 04/30/19 02:11 PM
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Originally Posted by anamnesis


If the pieces are sloppy or inconsistently performed, they aren't actually well learned.



Relatively speaking. I've heard great performances of Chopin's Ballade No. 1 with embarrassing scales at the end (like the player never works on scales outside of pieces), for example.


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Re: Hanon exercises - to completion? [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2843838 04/30/19 02:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
According to my wife, the 60 Hanon exercises were a staple of Russian piano pedagogy when she herself was a piano pupil, many years ago.

According to Rachmaninoff the Hanon's exercises transposed to all keys were a staple of Russian piano technical training when he was learning back in 19th century!

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During the first five years the student gets most of his technical instruction from a book of studies by Hanon, which is used very extensively in the conservatories. In fact, this is practically the only book of strictly technical studies employed. [...] They include scales, arpeggios, and other forms of exercises in special technical designs.

At the end of the fifth year an examination takes place. This examination is twofold. The pupil is examined first for proficiency in technic, and later for proficiency in artistic playing - pieces, studies, etc. However, if the pupil fails to pass the technical examination he is not permitted to go ahead.

Re: Hanon exercises - to completion? [Re: Flair] #2843841 04/30/19 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Flair
Just out of curiosity, what level of pianist is Hanon for?


For those who think/believe that Hanon can benefit the development of one's technique, the exercises can be used at almost any level, providing the student can read the notation. To "benefit" from them, one does not have to play them at Hanon's recommended tempi.

Regards,


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Re: Hanon exercises - to completion? [Re: Nadia] #2843911 04/30/19 08:07 PM
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I stopped Hanon years ago. Before I would play a few just for warm-up. Book 1 was mandatory in my early years, then half of Book 2. The rest, scales and arpeggios, I could do on my own. Now I take Andras Schiff's approach: forget these exercises and just go directly to the Bach Inventions, or WTC 1 and 2. Don't waste practice time everyday with repetitive scales, unless it's for a specific purpose (like runs in a Mozart piano concerto)

Quid pro kuo, has anyone played entirely through Czerny's "The School of Velocity", or worse yet Clementi's "Gradus ad Parnassum"?


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Re: Hanon exercises - to completion? [Re: BeeZee4] #2843913 04/30/19 08:33 PM
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Originally Posted by BeeZee4

Quid pro kuo, has anyone played entirely through Czerny's "The School of Velocity", or worse yet Clementi's "Gradus ad Parnassum"?


I did a few Velocities, not a fan. I looked at Tausig's selections from "Gradus" years ago, didn't seem helpful. Some say the others in Clementi's original, complete set are more valuable.


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Re: Hanon exercises - to completion? [Re: BeeZee4] #2843916 04/30/19 08:44 PM
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Originally Posted by BeeZee4
Don't waste practice time everyday with repetitive scales, unless it's for a specific purpose (like runs in a Mozart piano concerto)


Forgive me for stating the obvious, but doesn't almost all of the Romantic and post romantic repertoire involve generous quantities of scales and arpeggio based runs all over the place in order to achieve musical and sonic effects?

Re: Hanon exercises - to completion? [Re: Zaphod] #2843926 04/30/19 09:16 PM
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Of course. For instance, in playing "Une Barque sur la Ocean", rather than spending time practicing g# minor arpeggios individually, I practice the passage that Ravel wrote specifically using said arpeggio. Ditto the f# minor diminished arpeggio, the a minor arpeggio, etc.

Granted, I spent years playing scales, major and minor, and arpeggios as part of practice. No longer.


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Re: Hanon exercises - to completion? [Re: Nadia] #2843995 05/01/19 04:04 AM
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I find that using occasionally Hanon (I am talking about the first 20 exercices only) on the white key (C major) is an ok exercice for warm up. Though for me of the 20, only 4 or 5 are really different; the other ones are just minor variations; certainly there is no point waisting time on all 20. The main benefit of Hanon though is using it on the black keys scales. From a strict point of view of finger dexterity only a subset of the first 20 is usefull and a subset of the keys (for example, A flat major, F sharp major, ...); after that I find it becomes redundant. It also helps to learn the scales from another angle, so one can vary the scale from time to time. There are equivalent exercices for example playing the scales with the C major fingering is leading to more or less the same result.

But the Hanon address only a small subset of finger dexterity. and If one wants to improve finger dexterity, there are much more efficient exercices dedicated to particular areas. Most of the rest of Hanon 60 exercices then is standard scales, arpeggios, ....

Re: Hanon exercises - to completion? [Re: Sidokar] #2844000 05/01/19 04:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Sidokar


But the Hanon address only a small subset of finger dexterity. and If one wants to improve finger dexterity, there are much more efficient exercices dedicated to particular areas. Most of the rest of Hanon 60 exercices then is standard scales, arpeggios, ....

For finger, wrist and arm dexterity which encompasses a large variety of patterns one would encounter in real music from the likes of Bach through to Chopin & Liszt through to Prokofiev & beyond, I'd use the book which my last teacher gave me to iron out my remaining technical deficiencies to prepare me for the performance diploma. Each exercise in the slim book is just 1-2 measures, and you repeat it through the different keys, and they don't pretend to be music, so you can focus on the technical aspect:

https://www.amazon.com/Pianoforte-T...;qid=1556703592&s=gateway&sr=8-1

N.B. Most of the exercises are only suitable for pianists who already have some finger independence and control - definitely not for beginners!





"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Hanon exercises - to completion? [Re: Nadia] #2844023 05/01/19 05:51 AM
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I've always found the instructions given in Hanon quite confusing. It states that exercises need to be repeated a number of times. How one could ever get through the sixty exercises in an hour, with all those repetitions, seems impossible to me but then, it's not stated that those repeats should be ignored.

I've known many injuries caused by over-playing Hanon exercises as I think they do encourage tension. I also think the lack of musicality (which one could always impress on, if desired) makes me steer clear of it more than I used too.

Re: Hanon exercises - to completion? [Re: Nadia] #2844037 05/01/19 07:10 AM
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I like Hanon to warm up. But the instructions I think not so much. No point to repeat the patterns once if you have under your fingers. I think they can build endurance but be careful and relax, if tension builds stop. I would imagine pianos back when he wrote this had lighter actions than our modern day. Wasn't he an organist also?
Too much bottoming out on key will result in fatique. So a good lesson in that respect these patterns can be. And I'd play soft legato when first learning. I had a teacher who had me play them what he called hammer technique. Striking each note hard and loud with a single finger. This caused much tension due to bottoming out and took me awhile to unlearn.

I still find no 26 in the left hand decending can be tricky playing fast over the weak fingers.
I like to alternate playing the patterns. Playing them parallel one day contrary the next.

Last edited by joggerjazz; 05/01/19 07:17 AM.
Re: Hanon exercises - to completion? [Re: fatar760] #2844040 05/01/19 07:20 AM
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Originally Posted by fatar760
I also think the lack of musicality (which one could always impress on, if desired) makes me steer clear of it more than I used too.

I don't see any problem with playing exercises as exercises (just like one might play tennis drills as drills), simply to get the fingers/wrists/arms used to executing the particular (sequence of) movements, and keep reproducing it accurately & effortlessly. Richter did the same with difficult measures from pieces, as well as any number of concert pianists who dissect pieces to practise the difficult sections in isolation (especially one well-known blogger, who uses his digital for such a purpose to save wear & tear on his acoustic).

The book I referenced earlier consists purely of drills, and IMO it has done much more to iron out technical problems than anything else I ever did as a student. It makes such a difference when one can pick up a difficult new score to learn (or just sight-read) and find that there's nothing in it that poses any specific technical difficulty, which means one can start making music with it immediately.

And there's the rub: trying to impart "musicality" to studies/exercises which are meant purely for technical development only serves to dilute the purpose of them, which require perfectly fluent, smooth, even execution in both rhythm & dynamics, so that one doesn't have to think or worry about the mechanical aspect of such figuration when learning real pieces that use similar patterns of notes. One can immediately get to work on the musical aspects. Whereas to play a piece with musicality implies that there's ebb & flow, phrasing, dynamic variation, even tempo variation - not perfectly smooth tone & tempo.

One doesn't want to be the pianist whose playing elicits the caustic assessment of "____ plays all the wrong notes with the greatest expression smirk .


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Hanon exercises - to completion? [Re: joggerjazz] #2844041 05/01/19 07:21 AM
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Originally Posted by joggerjazz
I like Hanon to warm up. But the instructions I think not so much. No point to repeat the patterns once if you have under your fingers. I think they can build endurance but be careful and relax, if tension builds stop. I would imagine pianos back when he wrote this had lighter actions than our modern day. Wasn't he an organist also?
Too much bottoming out on key will result in fatique. So a good lesson in that respect these patterns can be. And I'd play soft legato when first learning. I had a teacher who had me play them what he called hammer technique. Striking each note hard and loud with a single finger. This caused much tension due to bottoming out and took me awhile to unlearn.

I still find no 26 in the left hand decending can be tricky playing fast over the weak fingers.
I like to alternate playing the patterns. Playing them parallel one day contrary the next.


Yes, and isn't that another thing that the book encourages? That each finger should be lifted to a height to help increase independence? The problem with this is that the hand isn't designed to work like that and that this approach is what causes injury.

Re: Hanon exercises - to completion? [Re: bennevis] #2844044 05/01/19 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by fatar760
I also think the lack of musicality (which one could always impress on, if desired) makes me steer clear of it more than I used too.

I don't see any problem with playing exercises as exercises (just like one might play tennis drills as drills), simply to get the fingers/wrists/arms used to executing the particular (sequence of) movements, and keep reproducing it accurately & effortlessly. Richter did the same with difficult measures from pieces, as well as any number of concert pianists who dissect pieces to practise the difficult sections in isolation (especially one well-known blogger, who uses his digital for such a purpose to save wear & tear on his acoustic).

The book I referenced earlier consists purely of drills, and IMO it has done much more to iron out technical problems than anything else I ever did as a student. It makes such a difference when one can pick up a difficult new score to learn (or just sight-read) and find that there's nothing in it that poses any specific technical difficulty, which means one can start making music with it immediately.

And there's the rub: trying to impart "musicality" to studies/exercises which are meant purely for technical development only serves to dilute the purpose of them, which require perfectly fluent, smooth, even execution in both rhythm & dynamics, so that one doesn't have to think or worry about the mechanical aspect of such figuration when learning real pieces that use similar patterns of notes. One can immediately get to work on the musical aspects. Whereas to play a piece with musicality implies that there's ebb & flow, phrasing, dynamic variation, even tempo variation - not perfectly smooth tone & tempo.

One doesn't want to be the pianist whose playing elicits the caustic assessment of "____ plays all the wrong notes with the greatest expression smirk .


But, of course, the counter to this (and forgive me for forgetting who said it) is that we play as we practise.

If we practise without being musical then this is how we play.

I often work with MT singers and, as a bit of an aside, I find it quite frustrating when some ask "do you think I should do a bit more acting here", like it's something that gets 'added' after the technique is learnt when actually, it should inform how we perform.

I also think that practising in a robotic way, disengages the ear, which is surely the last thing any musician should want to do....

Re: Hanon exercises - to completion? [Re: fatar760] #2844060 05/01/19 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by fatar760

If we practise without being musical then this is how we play.

Actually, no - practising 'drills' is different from practising pieces.

Pieces should be practiced (and sight-read) musically, always. Drills & exercises are just that - drills, exercises to develop technique (so that it can all be forgotten when practising pieces), nothing more.

So often I see students making all sorts of (shall we say) 'tempo adjustments in the name of expediency' when playing Hanon and the like, because they justify them along the lines of 'it's more musical that way'.....and they end up playing pieces the same way, speeding up in easy bits and slowing down in difficult ones. Because they never learnt to play with complete evenness of speed and dynamics, which surely are what exercises are for.
Quote
I often work with MT singers and, as a bit of an aside, I find it quite frustrating when some ask "do you think I should do a bit more acting here", like it's something that gets 'added' after the technique is learnt when actually, it should inform how we perform.

Singers are a completely different kettle of fish.

They have breath control to contend with, as well as facial expressions - they don't want to grimace (à la Uchida) when singing something beautiful which should appear effortless even while trying not to run out of breath. Whereas the likes of Uchida can look like they are being tortured even when playing the most sublimely beautiful stuff, and we don't think any less of them.

Quote
I also think that practising in a robotic way, disengages the ear, which is surely the last thing any musician should want to do....

Charles Rosen advocates practising technical passages while reading a good book on the music stand, to disengage the brain and treat the passage as a mechanical drill to develop total mechanical fluency. It works, as does another advice from some others to practice tricky passages with 'deliberation', meaning playing every note in it slowly, fairly loudly and perfectly evenly.

From time to time, those have been some of the 'tricks' I've used over the years to develop complete fluency in highly technical passages within some pieces (including the likes of Gaspard) so that eventually, I can forget that those difficulties ever existed and just concentrate on their music aspects.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Hanon exercises - to completion? [Re: bennevis] #2844101 05/01/19 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
Pieces should be practiced (and sight-read) musically, always. Drills & exercises are just that - drills, exercises to develop technique (so that it can all be forgotten when practising pieces), nothing more.

I can't agree with that. There is no technique by itself. Technique exists only in the context of music, being the way to create music. If someone 'drills' notes robotically without any musical goal that's what he will learn to do. Only the musical goal creates technique as the means to achieve it.
I can agree that this kind of goalless drilling might improve some general physiological abilities of the fingers, but it's not a technique by definition.

Re: Hanon exercises - to completion? [Re: Iaroslav Vasiliev] #2844109 05/01/19 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
Originally Posted by bennevis
Pieces should be practiced (and sight-read) musically, always. Drills & exercises are just that - drills, exercises to develop technique (so that it can all be forgotten when practising pieces), nothing more.

I can't agree with that. There is no technique by itself. Technique exists only in the context of music, being the way to create music. If someone 'drills' notes robotically without any musical goal that's what he will learn to do. Only the musical goal creates technique as the means to achieve it.


You harping on the same thing in several threads.

In which case, I suggest you read the blogs of some very well-known pianists (who are certainly not 'mere mechanicus') and read about what someone once observed of Richter practicing.........

Is Richter's playing mechanical?

(Is Federer's playing mechanical - or artistic?)


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
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