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#2462746 09/23/15 09:59 PM
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I am a beginner and my book has me now working on my first Hannon study. I have come across his studies on another instrument in the past but I don't understand what the benifits of his studies are. I enjoy playing this page as it is C major and straight-forward,but what is to be gained from it? And are their special ways to play his work to improve your technique. I do have a teacher but it is a week until my next lesson.

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Each Hanon study addresses a specific piano or musical technique/s. To hone that technique, many people transpose the study in all keys.


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Hanon is extremely repetitive. That means if you have a great teacher who takes care to insist on how to properly do it, you cement in some good technique. If you have a not so experienced teacher, then you cement in bad technique. Its repetitive nature is very problematic. The more you repeat something, the harder it is to change it later. I would say skip Hanon all together.

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I like many other beginners expected too much from Hanon and I was playing some of the 1-20 exercises in my first year in the hope of getting more control on my third, fourth and fifth fingers. I didn't find the exercises that good and it is hard to keep motivated by the repetitive nature of them with no or negligible improvement. I seemed to play the exercises fine but it did not seem to translate into helping me with the actual repertoire I was learning. In light of everything I have read, I would say I started them too early (many dispute they are worthwhile at all) and if the book you are referring to is the Alfred Book 1 well I am always amazed it is introduced so early.

All the benefits I wanted from an improved technique I can put down to repertoire and time. Now close to three years since starting I can see reasonable improvement in my overall technique, but it is a slow process and I give all the credit to Bach and Clementi pieces and perhaps some credit to scales for where I am today.

The thing that was on my mind in my first year was there was so much technical exercise material around. Each system had strong supporters but there were loud voices also that said simply playing repertoire was enough. With so much dissent among the more advanced players I had to ask myself was choosing one system any guarantee of improvement and would it get me to where I wanted to be any quicker. My answer then was probably not, but I can add with what I know today with even if one of those systems gave me great technique it would be useless unless I was playing repertoire that demanded it.


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What hanon does is it strengthens your fingers especially your 3rd and 4th fingers. It strengthens your left hand. Most people have weak left hands. My teacher says it's good for arthritis. I would not play it over and over again just a couple of times each. I use hanon as a warm up.

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Hanon exercises have easy to memorize 5 fingers patterns that are found in the classical repertoire.

As said:
transposition in every key ( to familiarize the hand position in different combinations of black and white keys and get a feel of the key on top of scales and arpeggios practice )
different rhythmic pattern to improve clarity
speed bursts
dynamic patterns and accents
articulation patterns

mix and match between hands.... Hanon comes handy because almost every piano students does already have the book and you can work on different issues, at different levels, using the same finger patterns... not having to "re-learn" the notes you save time and you keep the familiar work already done.

On top it helps with the neuro-plasticity and the capacity of modify quickly something that has already been learned.

For example, you can practice the first exercise with the standard (obvious) fingering OR you can study a fingering that help the passage of the thumb under the 4th finger... it helps to acquire the capacity to learn and "un-learn" something, or as better term, override or have an alternative execution for a familiar pattern.

I strongly disagree in using Hanon as published or with the suggestion of lifting the fingers high... other than that I can do any possible exercise with it.

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Originally Posted by 8 Octaves
Hanon is extremely repetitive. That means if you have a great teacher who takes care to insist on how to properly do it, you cement in some good technique. If you have a not so experienced teacher, then you cement in bad technique. Its repetitive nature is very problematic. The more you repeat something, the harder it is to change it later. I would say skip Hanon all together.


It's funny how polarizing Hanon is just among piano teachers.

I'm on my third serious teacher now. The first hated Hanon. The second built each lesson around Hanon. The third forbids me from even considering Hanon.

Go figure...


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Originally Posted by ClsscLib
I'm on my third serious teacher now. The first hated Hanon. The second built each lesson around Hanon. The third forbids me from even considering Hanon.

Go figure...


Yeah. It seems so. My teacher hates Hanon. My children's teacher used it for them extensively, asking the children to play no. 1 in all 12 major keys, then no. 2 in all 12 major keys, on and on.

Whenever I have any technical weaknesses, my teacher makes me create my own technical exercises out of the problem measures in the repertoire, then up and down the piano I repeat this exercise, maybe mirror for the other hand. It's great because it applies directly to solving my weakness in the repertoire I'm learning with 100% effectiveness, but honestly, I secretly use Hanon sometimes to solve similar problems because at the end of a long day, I'm quite exhausted, and I'm too tired to make up my own technical exercises to address specific problems, so I just use a stock exercise from Hanon instead.

Hanon is like the fast food of technical exercises. If I'm too tired to cook after a long day, I admit I sometimes say let's just have fast food. I am too ashame to admit to my teacher that I took the easy way out on occasions, feeling really guilty, so I try to avoid using Hanon, but it is quick, easy, and not necessarily harmful if taken in moderation?

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Originally Posted by 8 Octaves
but it is quick, easy, and not necessarily harmful if taken in moderation?


Well barely anything in piano is harmful in moderation.

It seems that's there's great teachers students and pianists on both sides of the debate so the logical conclusion is it doesn't really matter that much.

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Originally Posted by Ataru074
I strongly disagree in using Hanon as published or with the suggestion of lifting the fingers high... .


It's that finger independence stuff that can really hurt you. The Taubman school of thought rejects it.



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Originally Posted by JohnSprung
Originally Posted by Ataru074
I strongly disagree in using Hanon as published or with the suggestion of lifting the fingers high... .


It's that finger independence stuff that can really hurt you. The Taubman school of thought rejects it.



And yet my teacher who built lessons around Hanon was a Taubman devotee and used Hanon to teach forearm rotation.


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Originally Posted by JohnSprung
Originally Posted by Ataru074
I strongly disagree in using Hanon as published or with the suggestion of lifting the fingers high... .

It's that finger independence stuff that can really hurt you. The Taubman school of thought rejects it.

What do you mean exactly by "finger independence"?

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Originally Posted by 8 Octaves

My teacher hates Hanon....Whenever I have any technical weaknesses, my teacher makes me create my own technical exercises out of the problem measures in the repertoire, then up and down the piano I repeat this exercise, maybe mirror for the other hand. It's great because it applies directly to solving my weakness in the repertoire I'm learning with 100% effectiveness....


Then you are doing exactly what Hanon does, which is to focus upon a weakness, and strengthen the hand/fingers so it no longer is weak.

Hanon is nothing more than one note at a time, in a pattern that focuses upon a specific fingering combination, combinations which typically occur in repertoire, (and may cause problems), such as trills, thirds, etc.

ps...the instruction on lifting the fingers high is rightfully discredited, and should be ignored.


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Originally Posted by rocket88
Originally Posted by 8 Octaves

My teacher hates Hanon....Whenever I have any technical weaknesses, my teacher makes me create my own technical exercises out of the problem measures in the repertoire, then up and down the piano I repeat this exercise, maybe mirror for the other hand. It's great because it applies directly to solving my weakness in the repertoire I'm learning with 100% effectiveness....


Then you are doing exactly what Hanon does, which is to focus upon a weakness, and strengthen the hand/fingers so it no longer is weak. ...

Yes, but it also just an excerpt of an exercise and only when needed.

The way I view it is, if you are young enough and eager enough and are aiming for the top rung of performance, everything is game. Scales, exercises, lots of practice the works. For those with a more casual approach of advancing without as much pain, using repertoire to advance your technique will be sufficient.

If you want to improve technically, play classical music. It is not necessary to drill scales and technical exercises in order to play classical music. As mentioned here, you can work out the hard parts as you encounter them. For recreational purposes all these types of exercises (including tons of scales) is likely over kill for most people.

EDIT: To add ... if you enjoy playing them and see value from them, is another matter. We always need content and it is surely appropriate content.



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I'd pass on Hanon. It's far too likely to cause injuries for little benefit.

Try the Edna Burnam 'Dozen a Day' series instead. I think they're a much better warm-up and technique exercise for beginners.

http://www.amazon.com/Dozen-Day-Boo...2604&sr=8-1&keywords=dozen+a+day


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Hanon, Dozen a Day et al, all start at one note at a time...geez. If that injures you, immediately stop what you are doing, and get some help from an unbiased and expert source.


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In the past I've made many posts here that were anti-Hanon.

I find though that now as a more skilled player that it's really helpful for working on specific problems, especially evenness. I know how to do it correctly.

If done without correct knowledge of technique, I would find it damaging. So it's probably good as a second stage tool after instruction.


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Yes, you need a teacher who understands.


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Originally Posted by Ataru074
Originally Posted by JohnSprung
Originally Posted by Ataru074
I strongly disagree in using Hanon as published or with the suggestion of lifting the fingers high... .

It's that finger independence stuff that can really hurt you. The Taubman school of thought rejects it.

What do you mean exactly by "finger independence"?


It's the ability to lift one finger at a time very high from the keyboard -- an unnatural act.



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Lifting the finger high is an outmoded style of playing Hanon, but unfortunately many publishers of Hanon still keep it written into the initial instructions.

If you read much about Hanon on the web, you will find that lifting the fingers high is to be avoided.

Finger independence is not "the ability to lift one finger at a time very high", although that could be construed as a definition.

True finger independence for the pianist is quite another thing...it is the ability to move one finger without the other fingers, and the hand, being involved with involuntary and unwanted movements.

Beginning students, (and others) sometimes present with what piano teachers call "Flying Fingers", where the fingers that are not playing a note are moving about in the air, uncontrolled, all by themselves, often almost spastically.

Players with good technique have very little of that, if any, and eliminating the Flying Fingers is much of the work that technique training in the beginning is intended to overcome.


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