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Hannon 1 and pinky soreness
#3051499 12/01/20 03:36 AM
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xlider Offline OP
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Hi all,

My teacher is big on Hannon to get fingers moving... I've noticed recently some tension and soreness at the top of my (mostly left) little finger. Anything to recommend to avoid this, relax or method to avoid this?

Thanks!

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Re: Hannon 1 and pinky soreness
xlider #3051527 12/01/20 06:55 AM
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Do you move your wrist slightly to shift weight behind the active finger as you play? The wrist shouldn’t be limp but should be mobile (subtle). I am not sure if this would help with pain, but should give more control and weight to the fifth finger without undue strain. Hopefully others will correct if I am wrong. In any case, if what you are doing causes pain, you need to find a different way to avoid injury. Also explore the range of heights where your wrist can be positioned. That could cause an issue as well.

Last edited by dhull100; 12/01/20 06:59 AM.
Re: Hannon 1 and pinky soreness
xlider #3051530 12/01/20 07:02 AM
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Stop practising Hanon now and go back to your teacher and tell them the trouble you're having.
__________________________

How long have you been playing piano? How long have you been with this teacher?

I think it's dumb or irresponsible of your teacher to give you Hanon without making sure you have a good mechanism - and if you're getting tension in your little finger - or your fourth - then you do not have a good mechanism.

Using Hanon without a proper mechanism will lead to tension and soreness, especially in the outer two fingers - which really need support from the hand and arm. Continued use may cause unhealthy damage.

Our task is not to get the fingers moving - it's to get them moving properly. That means it's not about what you play or practise, it's about how you play or practise. Even Hanon can be helpful if it's done properly, though there are great composers and great compositions out there as well that can do a far, far better job.

It's easy to prescribe aspirin if you have a headache. It might mask the symptoms but it lets the cause get worse undetected. It's a lot harder to find out what's wrong and cure that. Hanon shouldn't be used like aspirin.


Richard
Re: Hannon 1 and pinky soreness
xlider #3051546 12/01/20 07:43 AM
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It's a very common problem. You need to learn to keep your 5th finger relaxed while other fingers play their keys. Slow playing is the best initial remedy for that. Just play very slowly, focusing on your 5th finger, stopping after every note and checking if your 5th finger is completely relaxed. If you feel tension in it, shake your hand freely and have a little rest, then continue. It takes several weeks to learn to relax your 5th finger when playing but it must be done. If you ignore this problem now you will still have to fix it later, but much time will be wasted and bad habits in other fingers and wrist may appear as a result.

Re: Hannon 1 and pinky soreness
Iaroslav Vasiliev #3051568 12/01/20 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
It's a very common problem. You need to learn to keep your 5th finger relaxed while other fingers play their keys. Slow playing is the best initial remedy for that. Just play very slowly, focusing on your 5th finger, stopping after every note and checking if your 5th finger is completely relaxed. If you feel tension in it, shake your hand freely and have a little rest, then continue. It takes several weeks to learn to relax your 5th finger when playing but it must be done. If you ignore this problem now you will still have to fix it later, but much time will be wasted and bad habits in other fingers and wrist may appear as a result.

I am wondering if we have the same problem in mind...
For example, this pianist plays with her pinky moving, sometimes "flying" a lot, curving etc. but she doesn´t seem to have a problem smile
Look at the left-hand pinky - it´s flying throughout the whole piece. Also the pinky on the right hand seems to be moving a lot...


Re: Hannon 1 and pinky soreness
Tom97 #3051597 12/01/20 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Tom97
Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
It's a very common problem. You need to learn to keep your 5th finger relaxed while other fingers play their keys. Slow playing is the best initial remedy for that. Just play very slowly, focusing on your 5th finger, stopping after every note and checking if your 5th finger is completely relaxed. If you feel tension in it, shake your hand freely and have a little rest, then continue. It takes several weeks to learn to relax your 5th finger when playing but it must be done. If you ignore this problem now you will still have to fix it later, but much time will be wasted and bad habits in other fingers and wrist may appear as a result.

I am wondering if we have the same problem in mind...
For example, this pianist plays with her pinky moving, sometimes "flying" a lot, curving etc. but she doesn´t seem to have a problem smile
Look at the left-hand pinky - it´s flying throughout the whole piece. Also the pinky on the right hand seems to be moving a lot...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BO7-SalUMEc
The internal sensations are the only true guide here. Indeed there are people whose playing is pain to watch but they feel absolutely ok, and there are people whose playing is apparently all right but they feel tension and pain. Internal sensations are more important than visual image.

Still I believe the pianist on the video will benefit from some relaxation exercises, too, even if she feels all right. It's known that Leonid Nikolaev, one of the greatest Russian pedagogues, payed great attention to that kind of 5th finger problem and he fixed it even if it caused no pain.

Re: Hannon 1 and pinky soreness
zrtf90 #3051625 12/01/20 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by zrtf90
Stop practising Hanon now and go back to your teacher and tell them the trouble you're having.
This could be a very simple mechanical fix your teacher can resolve quickly.

Regardless, if you keep playing in pain, you risk injury that could take longer to sort out. Plus you don't want to continue ingraining bad habits.

Re: Hannon 1 and pinky soreness
zrtf90 #3051840 12/02/20 12:55 AM
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Originally Posted by zrtf90
Stop practising Hanon now and go back to your teacher and tell them the trouble you're having.
__________________________

How long have you been playing piano? How long have you been with this teacher?

I think it's dumb or irresponsible of your teacher to give you Hanon without making sure you have a good mechanism - and if you're getting tension in your little finger - or your fourth - then you do not have a good mechanism.

Using Hanon without a proper mechanism will lead to tension and soreness, especially in the outer two fingers - which really need support from the hand and arm. Continued use may cause unhealthy damage.

Our task is not to get the fingers moving - it's to get them moving properly. That means it's not about what you play or practise, it's about how you play or practise. Even Hanon can be helpful if it's done properly, though there are great composers and great compositions out there as well that can do a far, far better job.

It's easy to prescribe aspirin if you have a headache. It might mask the symptoms but it lets the cause get worse undetected. It's a lot harder to find out what's wrong and cure that. Hanon shouldn't be used like aspirin.

Thanks for the advice. I have been playing for about 4 months now. I did the first month alone and work with a teacher since end september. Hannon 1 was the first thing he showed me, to suggest for muscling and synchronization. The idea of course is not to do many repetitions at 120 beats per minute. I played it for a while, added Hannon 3 to it, additionally to 3 pieces we are working. The teacher noticed 2 things: (i) I seemed relaxed enough in the begining; (ii) now he wants me to do Hannon by stopping at every note and relaxing even more.

I do like these exercises, and doing them very consciously and slowly from time to time makes me quite aware of how I put my fingers and if I do feel some soreness. It's how I noticed the current (limited) soreness.

Originally Posted by zrtf90
Even Hanon can be helpful if it's done properly, though there are great composers and great compositions out there as well that can do a far, far better job.


Which pieces would you recommend?

Thanks

Re: Hannon 1 and pinky soreness
xlider #3052329 12/03/20 06:50 AM
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Originally Posted by xlider
The teacher noticed 2 things: (i) I seemed relaxed enough in the begining; (ii) now he wants me to do Hannon by stopping at every note and relaxing even more.
So you looked fine in the beginning but you were doing it wrong and now you're having to make corrections. Has he now shown you how to use your hand, wrist and arm or will he have to correct you again later? Has he shown you exactly how to use each finger and align the arm behind them?

I can't suggest pieces without knowing more about where you are now and what you're currently working on.

If you're truly only four months in it's way too soon to start Hanon as it is normally practised. It was originally designed to train the fingers equally. Chopin's better idea, knowing that our anatomy made it impossible to train the fingers equally, was to train the whole mechanism to make it sound AS IF our fingers were trained equally.

Repetitive exercises like Hanon are not the best way of training the mechanism. They encourage playing without thinking and build a beginner's mechanism into muscle memory. The mechanism should be trained first and repetition then used to build muscle memory without flaws. A varied repertoire is a better start.

Your teacher will have his own ideas and has chosen three pieces for you. I would give more weight to those and less to the exercises.


Richard

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