Hanon exercises feature in households all around the globe, and for good reason. These piano exercises, which have been in existence for over years, are proven to massively improve THREE key areas of your piano playing. What are Hanon exercises? Created by French piano pedagogue and composer Charles Louis-Hanon, Hanon exercises consist of independent finger practice. The finger exercises train the pianist in speed, agility, strength and precision of all the fingers, as well as training wrist flexibility.
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Practicing Hanon exercises has many benefits. They are focused on improving finger agility, muscle memory, and flexibility when playing. And like most good works, they have stood the test of time and are still widely used by teachers and professionals today. For starters, they make for a great warm up exercise. Even with all questions of efficacy and technique put to one side, the Hanon Exercises are technically challenging enough to limber up fingers and hands without being too taxing physically or mentally.
Rather than flipping through old music books or finding an old piece to warm up with, Hanon Exercises provide a no nonsense way to ease into practice while refreshing muscle memory on valuable techniques.
They are designed in a way that encourages the use of proper technique, and laid out in a sensible pattern to train your muscles and digit flexibility for difficult pieces and chord progressions. It may sound a bit fanciful the first time you hear it, but there is a reason that a singular method has persisted in force for nearly 15 decades! It simply has tangible benefits. And that brings us to one of the strongest arguments in favor of the Hanon exercises - they build technique.
Technique is a collection of actions taken, the accumulation of skill and practice. But I digress! The Hanon exercises focus on the bodily health and longevity of the pianist, through the development of beneficial habits and practice.
A lot of students agree that the Hanon exercises can be dull - but taking on the exercises with the right mindset is incredibly helpful - some of the more simplistic drills allow the mind to focus more on technique and posture.
They are as useful as you want to make them, and approaching them with the right goal in mind is one of the most important aspects. Remember, nothing worth doing is easy! Hanon Exercises Are Not Music This is a common point of contention among opponents of the Hanon exercises - the core of the statement being that repetition of short drills learned by rote is not beneficial to students because it is not what a pianist typically plays or will play.
The crux of the argument is that the Hanon exercises are mechanical, clinical, and utterly unmusical. I can certainly see the mindset behind this stance as a whole, but I disagree for a few simple reasons. For one, I wholeheartedly agree and respect that pianists are, by and large, drawn to the art to recreate beautiful pieces and express their unique voice in musical rendition.
The reality of the situation is clear cut: the path to mastery of an instrument is not easy, nor is every step along the way brimming with the flames of musical passion. Developing serious talent takes serious work. In a way, I agree - of course the Hanon Exercises are not music; in the same way that doing cardio and jogging daily are not equivalent to running a marathon.
The meat and potatoes of this point are that practicing a piece provides just as much finger strength and independence as running through Hanon Exercises as a practice routine. I am of the opinion that this position comes from a flawed understanding. Firstly, when learning a new piece, there are a lot more moving parts for a student to track on a mental level - dynamics, time signature, tone, expression - that is the entire point of the Hanon exercises.
I think that the biggest flaw in this argument is that it misses the mark on what exactly the Hanon exercises are for. Hanon Exercises Can Cause Injury This is a rather serious point, relative to the others - the main point made here is that repetition of the same movements repeatedly without breaks can cause damage, accelerating the onset of conditions like tendonitis or RSI Repetitive Strain Injury. Practicing anything repeatedly with poor posture and physical form will invariably cause damage to the wrists and hands.
It should go without saying that the purpose of the Hanon exercises is not to injure yourself. The bottom line is simple - if you are experiencing any pain or discomfort, you should stop and take a break. By far, the most accessible way to start with the Hanon exercises is hanon-online. They are a free online resource that offers sheets of exercises from The Virtuoso Pianist in several keys. However, the site is a bit dated in design, so navigating it on a tablet or phone might not be as easy as acquiring a print edition of the book.
A third option is one I always like to throw out for readers, and that is to check out your local brick and mortar music store. What To Take Away From This Article Personally, I think that the Hanon exercises are an effective and time tested method to help students practice good fundamentals and technique.
Piano technique exercise N°7 in C
Those practice tips can help you use Hanon exercises to overcome various pianistic challenges. Pros and cons of practising Hanon exercises Advantages: Both hands are treated equally left hand is not neglected ; No musical problems — you can focus exclusively on technique and sound quality; Made up of simple structures so it can be taught to or learned by absolute beginners; They can be used to teach endurance; They isolate various technical problems finger speed, thumb shifts, double notes, octaves so each of them can be addressed on its own terms; They can be used to develop a good singing sound from the piano as well as evenness and sound control. Disadvantages: Can be boring and pointless if no clear goal has been set; Can cause injuries if practised incorrectly; Do not develop musical aspects of playing. Practising Hanon exercises in ways described in this article can be very useful, but without the help of a professional piano teacher, issues regarding the hand position and movement, as well as sound and rhythm inaccuracies can often remain unnoticed. Practising Hanon without proper guidance addressing those issues is often a complete waste of time. Please practice the exercises below at comfortable speeds, always observing the physical well-being of your hands and body.
How to practice Hanon exercises?
He then builds from there, giving you many of his favorite tools that he uses in his own practice sessions to help you strengthen your technique, as well as your artistry. Join him in this course as he teaches you unique ways to take your skills to the next level! Your Instructor Dr. Josh Wright Billboard 1 artist Dr.