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#1142034 - 12/19/07 07:48 AM Hanon ... it's not that bad !!
Rob O'D Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/11/04
Posts: 116
Loc: Ireland
Hi Guys,

I've been struggling with the piano for couple of years now. I go through bouts of concentrating on scales, or reading or jazz or pop .. but my technique has always been weak.

Anyway, I've always avoided Hanon because I always associated it with mindless scales and void of melody. My most recent teacher (who likes a little jazz) suggested I give it a chance so I had a go.

What a pleasant surprise !!

My concern was that it would start programming me to mindlessly wander around the keyboard but the opposite is true; I'm more vigilent about becoming a cyborg so, when I'm practicing some improv, I concentrate on space/harmony/melody (as best I can) and the hanon exercises simply provide the technique to do these things.

Anyway, this is just a show of support for that legendary Hanon book. It's not all bad !!

Rob.

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#1142035 - 12/19/07 08:25 AM Re: Hanon ... it's not that bad !!
cruiser Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/19/07
Posts: 1172
Loc: Cornwall, England
+ 1[/b]

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#1142036 - 12/19/07 10:30 AM Re: Hanon ... it's not that bad !!
Serge88 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/27/06
Posts: 775
Loc: Canada
I got a teacher in september and she suggested Hanon 5 min. a day.

Well like you said it's fun and not bad.

Serge
_________________________

“Being able to hear recorded music freed up loads of musicians that couldn't necessarily afford to learn to read or write music. With recording, it was emancipation for the people.”
-Keith Richards


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#1142037 - 12/19/07 01:25 PM Re: Hanon ... it's not that bad !!
PianoTeacherKim Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/09/07
Posts: 255
Loc: Kailua-Kona, HI
I actually quite like Hanon, too. \:\)

I don't know what it is, but my brain likes orderly little patterns. You'd think I'd love scales, too, but not so much. But I find Hanon fun!

Kim
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Find some help for stage fright and share what helps you -- Stage Fright Tips. Let's learn from each other!

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#1142038 - 12/19/07 01:37 PM Re: Hanon ... it's not that bad !!
DDS24P&FOP87 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/18/07
Posts: 374
I so love Hanon! My piano hero William Kapell also appreciated Hanon. I always feel my hands get a nice workout after practicing those exercises (not just those at the beginning but the arpeggio/slur and scale exercises as well). Hanon greatly improved the independence and the articulation of my fingers - great for playing Bach! (This is in stark contrast to the Czerny exercises which I never felt did anything for me and in fact find a thundering bore and quit practicing them long ago!)
_________________________
She was with me even in my grave
When the last of my friends turned away,
And she sang like the first storm heaven gave.
Or as if flowers were having their say.

- Anna Akhmatova, "Music"(Dedicated to Dmitri Shostakovich)

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#1142039 - 12/19/07 03:12 PM Re: Hanon ... it's not that bad !!
Joejazzy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/14/07
Posts: 31
Loc: Atlanta
By the way, Hanon is more effective when you do the exercises in every key.
_________________________
Keep on Practicing; it'll get better soon.

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#1142040 - 12/19/07 04:03 PM Re: Hanon ... it's not that bad !!
Johnny-Boy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/06
Posts: 661
Loc: PA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Joejazzy:
By the way, Hanon is more effective when you do the exercises in every key. [/b]
Also practice Hanon using many different rhythms - very important.

Don't forget the complete version: "The Virtuoso Pianist in 60 Exercises".

Hanon exercises can also be counter-productive if you're using imperfect technique, in essence you'll be practicing faulty technique. Better to play the exercises slow and with perfection than fast and sloppy.

One last bit of cheap advice. Don't spend too much time on exercises. Work on your repertoire.

Alright, I’m done preaching – now get to work!

Best, John
_________________________
Stop analyzing; just compose the damn thing!

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#1142041 - 12/19/07 07:30 PM Re: Hanon ... it's not that bad !!
rintincop Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/11/04
Posts: 1614
\:\)
_________________________
1966 Mason & Hamlin piano.

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#1142042 - 12/19/07 09:19 PM Re: Hanon ... it's not that bad !!
Joejazzy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/14/07
Posts: 31
Loc: Atlanta
My biggest problem with Hanon is that it is diatonic transposition, avoiding all black keys, which can be a weakness for any pianist. Although Hanon helps develop agility, independence, strength, and skilled evenness in piano performance, but when it comes to playing up tempo Chords, especially those that involved black keys, Hanon might not help much.

Playing Chords is as much a part of a pianist's everyday life. And practicing Chords is strenuous; many find it difficult to conquer the world of chords in the practice room. Therefore, instead of Hanon, I'd recommend finding ways to develop those hanon skills by practicing Chords ( Major, Minor, Diminished, augmented, dominant, Sus4, Minor 7, major 6, and half diminished chords.

You can develop your own finger formulas as you practice your chords. For example, you can play 13531, 53135, 54321, or 12345..as you play your chords.

But You would need to do this chromatically until you get it in all 12 keys with both hands. I guarantee you that you will benefit more than just doing Hanon everyday
_________________________
Keep on Practicing; it'll get better soon.

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#1142043 - 12/19/07 10:20 PM Re: Hanon ... it's not that bad !!
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3191
Most people never get to the last Hanon exercise (#60)... it is cool, all chords, completely different from "regular" Hanon, an actual piece of music, and quite a workout...check it out.
_________________________
Music teacher and piano player.

Free Tune from my Blues & Boogie-Woogie Piano CD:

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#1142044 - 12/20/07 02:44 AM Re: Hanon ... it's not that bad !!
rintincop Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/11/04
Posts: 1614
In all 12 keys is the ticket, that is beneficial for improvisers. It's much better if you do it in all 12 keys instead of just C. I would rather practice other things of greater priority such as Bill Evans' arpeggios in all 12 keys and fitting the bebop and pentatonic scales across many tunes.

The scales and arpeggios in the back are the most valuable part but they are NOT a Hanon invention.
_________________________
1966 Mason & Hamlin piano.

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#1142045 - 12/20/07 08:26 AM Re: Hanon ... it's not that bad !!
Johnny-Boy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/06
Posts: 661
Loc: PA
Consider studying Czerny's "Art of Finger Dexterity" / "School of Velocity" if you're really serious (Kalmus Edition).

http://www.amazon.com/Czerny-Finger-Dexterity-Complete-Kalmus/dp/0769240429

Best, John
_________________________
Stop analyzing; just compose the damn thing!

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#1142046 - 12/20/07 09:38 AM Re: Hanon ... it's not that bad !!
JerryS88 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/15/06
Posts: 638
Loc: Ringwood, NJ
[Repeating some information and links I posted elsewhere on similar topic]

Nothing wrong with practicing Hanon, but if you really want to develop your technique in as efficient a way possible, I suggest you check out my comments regarding Hanon exercises in the middle of this thread , [Note: I posted this before I had a full understanding of the difference between STRENGTH and POWER. Everywhere that I ust the word STRENGTH, replace it with the word POWER. Read the links below for explanation] and also check out these two links:

Conversation with body-builders about building finger power.

Recent thread on Piano World about that conversation. (Don't be put off by rubber band suggestion - ignore it, it's not necessary.)

Do keep in mind - technique must be built SLOWLY over weeks, months and years. I suggest doing either Dohnanyi or Schmitt exercises, starting out SLOWLY - no more than 15 minutes each hand, 3 or 4 days a week, try playing the non-holding fingers fortissimo and staccatissimo. Read safety warnings and comments about monitoring tension in linked threads.

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#1142047 - 12/20/07 09:48 AM Re: Hanon ... it's not that bad !!
Johnny-Boy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/06
Posts: 661
Loc: PA
Jerry's absolutely correct. It will take years to build up a great technique, so don't be in a hurry (better to take it slow and be accurate).

Best, John
_________________________
Stop analyzing; just compose the damn thing!

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#1142048 - 12/20/07 02:16 PM Re: Hanon ... it's not that bad !!
rintincop Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/11/04
Posts: 1614
And with literature instead of drills.
_________________________
1966 Mason & Hamlin piano.

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#1142049 - 12/25/07 10:54 PM Re: Hanon ... it's not that bad !!
Disciple Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/27/07
Posts: 288
Loc: NYC
Hanon is superb. 95% of all technical challenges would be circumvented by the study and mastering of Hanon in every key, both with key of C fingering, placing thumbs and pinkies on black keys, and adjusted fingering (relying on thumbs and pinkies only on white keys with standard crossover 2-3-4 fingering).
Hanon doesn't cover everything that one might want in their technical arsenal to completely master any combination of fingering to execute any passage, linear or vertical that one might conceive of playing. But it will go along way, mastered in every key at tempos up to quarter = 200, towards guaranteering almost complete mastery over most normal pianistic situations.
_________________________
My expansion of Lennie Tristano's Scene & Variation:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=5C5gnAqgttY&feature=user

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#1142050 - 12/25/07 11:00 PM Re: Hanon ... it's not that bad !!
Disciple Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/27/07
Posts: 288
Loc: NYC
 Quote:
Originally posted by Johnny-Boy:
Jerry's absolutely correct. It will take years to build up a great technique, so don't be in a hurry (better to take it slow and be accurate).

Best, John [/b]
I actually believe that it doesn't take years. I've been able to get first year piano students to play certain things with the technical dexterity of a seasoned professional. I've also been able to increase the technical velocity potential of seasoned pianists by up to 100%. Increasing the potential finger speed of a pianist, tapping the potential of their reflex speed, can come very quickly at any level. It's a matter of reflex drills. Making music consistantly while using those reflexes usually takes years and being able to apply it to any pianistic situation rather than just speed-drilled practiced movements, full development and total dontrol of the the mind/body/finger link can take quite awhile.
Anyone that can routinely type 100 to 150 wpm or more has the potential for fantastic keyboard dexterity. Whether they can make music is another thing altogether.
_________________________
My expansion of Lennie Tristano's Scene & Variation:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=5C5gnAqgttY&feature=user

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#1142051 - 12/25/07 11:18 PM Re: Hanon ... it's not that bad !!
Disciple Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/27/07
Posts: 288
Loc: NYC
 Quote:
Originally posted by Joejazzy:
My biggest problem with Hanon is that it is diatonic transposition, avoiding all black keys, which can be a weakness for any pianist. Although Hanon helps develop agility, independence, strength, and skilled evenness in piano performance, but when it comes to playing up tempo Chords, especially those that involved black keys, Hanon might not help much.

Playing Chords is as much a part of a pianist's everyday life. And practicing Chords is strenuous; many find it difficult to conquer the world of chords in the practice room. Therefore, instead of Hanon, I'd recommend finding ways to develop those hanon skills by practicing Chords ( Major, Minor, Diminished, augmented, dominant, Sus4, Minor 7, major 6, and half diminished chords.

You can develop your own finger formulas as you practice your chords. For example, you can play 13531, 53135, 54321, or 12345..as you play your chords.

But You would need to do this chromatically until you get it in all 12 keys with both hands. I guarantee you that you will benefit more than just doing Hanon everyday [/b]
If playing uptempo aggregates is strenuous for you, you must rethink your playing mechanism. Hitting a golf ball 250 yards would be strenuous if you tried to do it with wrists alone. Fortunately, a pro has the well timed pendulous arc of his body, the rotation of the hips, propelling the drive of the torso and shoulders, aided by the the extension of his arms and flick of his wrists to effortlessly drive a ball 250 yards or more. It's systemic synergism, the entire mechanism involved in a highly cooridnated ballet of motion, and this ballet can change, becoming applicable to any pianistic demand once a pianist learns how to incorporate his entire body into the act for the maximum in relaxation, a condition where all stress and fatigue are removed.

If chord playing is more daunting for you than executing single notes, it's only because you're relying on the lower part of your playing mechanism. Use the weight of your arms and upper body, and the momentum they generate to depress the keys for you. Don't initiate the power to do so from the hands and fingers. This will only stiffen your mechanism, which must remain effortlessy relaxed at the keyboard for total technical command.
_________________________
My expansion of Lennie Tristano's Scene & Variation:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=5C5gnAqgttY&feature=user

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#1142052 - 12/26/07 12:21 AM Re: Hanon ... it's not that bad !!
Johnny-Boy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/06
Posts: 661
Loc: PA
I actually believe that it doesn't take years. I've been able to get first year piano students to play certain things with the technical dexterity of a seasoned professional-Disciple

I still say it takes years to build up a solid technique.

What you're describing is no more than teaching a dog a few tricks.

Yes, I've had a few students play pieces exceptionally well, but technique is something one carries from piece to piece – and it takes years to develop.

Having a couple “trick” pieces, although will impress the parents (and audience) will grow old very fast – and boring after the repetition surpasses the hundred mark.

Suzuki systematic violinists are an example of teaching a dog a few tricks. Place something new in front of them and it’s like starting all over again from scratch.

I hope you don’t mind my straightforward manner, but I think developing a realistic mindset is important to the beginning student – otherwise, the disappointment may kill his/her desire to learn in the future – and kill their appreciation of music for a lifetime.

Best, John
_________________________
Stop analyzing; just compose the damn thing!

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#1142053 - 12/26/07 01:32 AM Re: Hanon ... it's not that bad !!
Disciple Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/27/07
Posts: 288
Loc: NYC
 Quote:
Originally posted by Johnny-Boy:
[i]I still say it takes years to build up a solid technique.

What you're describing is no more than teaching a dog a few tricks.

Yes, I've had a few students play pieces exceptionally well, but technique is something one carries from piece to piece – and it takes years to develop.

[/b]
That is correct and the gist of what I wrote. A 150 wpm typist can be taught extremely virtuosic tricks at a piano keyboard as the carry over is a quite simple adaptation to single stroke, linear technique, but control of all technical parameters and musicality is something that can only be developed through the years in all but very few special cases.

I have found however that these same type of reflex "tricks" have vastly increased the velocity potential of already seasoned pianists.
_________________________
My expansion of Lennie Tristano's Scene & Variation:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=5C5gnAqgttY&feature=user

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#1142054 - 12/26/07 12:14 PM Re: Hanon ... it's not that bad !!
Johnny-Boy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/06
Posts: 661
Loc: PA
I guess we're on the same page then Disciple.

Best, John
_________________________
Stop analyzing; just compose the damn thing!

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#1142055 - 12/26/07 02:25 PM Re: Hanon ... it's not that bad !!
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3191
[/qb][/QUOTE]That is correct and the gist of what I wrote. A 150 wpm typist can be taught extremely virtuosic tricks at a piano keyboard as the carry over is a quite simple adaptation to single stroke, linear technique, but control of all technical parameters and musicality is something that can only be developed through the years in all but very few special cases. [/QB][/QUOTE]


What you say makes logical sense, but has not proven true in my (albeit limited) experience.

I have had several skilled typists as students...one was a typing teacher. None exhibited any special technical ability. In fact, the typing teacher had one of the worst technical skills at the piano of any of my students, ever.

On the other hand, (no pun intended), people who have good piano technique may type more easily. The only example I have of that is myself...I was the best typist in my eighth grade class, typing 60 wpm on old clunky manual office typewriters. The closest to me was at about 35 wpm.
_________________________
Music teacher and piano player.

Free Tune from my Blues & Boogie-Woogie Piano CD:

https://app.box.com/files/0/f/0/1/f_2665138101

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#1142056 - 12/26/07 03:53 PM Re: Hanon ... it's not that bad !!
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Johnny-Boy said......"technique is something one carries from piece to piece – and it takes years to develop."

I love Hanon in that by reading the first measure and preparing the turnaround spot, a student (any age) can do this by understanding the pattern.

Moving it into other keys, comes after knowing either: 1) all the major key signatures and scales, or, 2) by knowing the (2)tetrachord formula of a major scale.

I think Hanon is a godsend, in that when people really balk at doing his exercises, I can predict their playing future. For those who go after Hanon and pursue it faithfully, they are going to arrive at their goals sooner than most.

I attribute this comment to results in 37 years of teaching.

Hanon is POWER!

Betty

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#1142057 - 12/26/07 04:14 PM Re: Hanon ... it's not that bad !!
Riddler Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 634
Loc: Florida
rintincop,

Could you explain what Bill Evans' arpeggios are?

Thanks,
Ed
_________________________
http://edsjazzpianopage.blogspot.com/

My fingers are slow, but easily keep pace with my thoughts.


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#1142058 - 12/26/07 05:47 PM Re: Hanon ... it's not that bad !!
Riddler Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 634
Loc: Florida
 Quote:
Originally posted by Joejazzy:
... Therefore, instead of Hanon, I'd recommend finding ways to develop those hanon skills by practicing Chords ( Major, Minor, Diminished, augmented, dominant, Sus4, Minor 7, major 6, and half diminished chords.

You can develop your own finger formulas as you practice your chords. For example, you can play 13531, 53135, 54321, or 12345..as you play your chords. ... [/b]
Joejazzy,

Could you elaborate a bit on this? I'm not sure if you mean RH arpeggiates a chord while LH plays it, or is RH playing a scale that goes with the chord? For example, does 12345 mean arpeggiating each note of (say) a 7th or 9th chord in the RH?

Thanks,
Ed
_________________________
http://edsjazzpianopage.blogspot.com/

My fingers are slow, but easily keep pace with my thoughts.


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#1142059 - 12/26/07 06:33 PM Re: Hanon ... it's not that bad !!
Disciple Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/27/07
Posts: 288
Loc: NYC
 Quote:
Originally posted by Betty Patnude:
Johnny-Boy said......"technique is something one carries from piece to piece – and it takes years to develop."

I love Hanon in that by reading the first measure and preparing the turnaround spot, a student (any age) can do this by understanding the pattern.

Moving it into other keys, comes after knowing either: 1)all the major key signatures and scales, or, 2) by knowing the (2)tetrachord formula of a major scale.

I think Hanon is a godsend, in that when people really balk at doing his exercises, I can predict their playing future. For those who go after Hanon and pursue it faithfully, they are going to arrive at their goals sooner than most.

I attribute this comment to results in 37 years of teaching.

Hanon is POWER!

Betty [/b]
As a teacher specializing in developing velocity and technical command, I couldn't recommend more the following studies in this order:

Hanon, up to the recommended quarter = 120
Mozart Piano Sonatas

Hanon, up to quarter = 150
Beethoven Piano Sonatas

Hanon, key of C, up to quarter = 200
Czerny, School of Velocity, as written, up to recommended tempo

Hanon, all keys, up to quarter = 150, both types of fingering, 1) no thumbs or pinkies on black keys, 2) same fingering as the key of C

Czerny School of Velocity, all keys, up to tempo, your choice of fingering.

Chopin Etudes, as written, up to recommended tempo
Chopin Etudes, as written, left hand duplicates right hand in unison one octave to two octaves apart.
Chopin Etudes, as written, all keys, up to tempo

Godowski-Chopin Etudes
_________________________
My expansion of Lennie Tristano's Scene & Variation:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=5C5gnAqgttY&feature=user

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#1142060 - 12/27/07 12:08 PM Re: Hanon ... it's not that bad !!
dpvjazz Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/12/05
Posts: 287
Loc: phoenix az
After 30 plus years of playing I still use Hanon as a WARM up and of course in different keys and tempos plus I make up exercises based on the Hanon book. I have all the other exercise books mention here but Hanon is still the one I use more often. The most constant comment I received on my playing is how nice of a tone and touch I have and although there is so much more to accomplish and learn it was smart to invest time in the Hanon exercises. DPVJAZZ

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#1142061 - 12/27/07 12:40 PM Re: Hanon ... it's not that bad !!
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Finally, I'm hearing a topic that appreciates and approves of Hanon.

So many ignore him, not ever having found benefits to playing these exercises chiefly because they tried one or two and found it "boring". I always thought they were fun!

I'm gleeful!

Betty

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#1142062 - 12/27/07 12:54 PM Re: Hanon ... it's not that bad !!
Disciple Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/27/07
Posts: 288
Loc: NYC
 Quote:
Originally posted by Betty Patnude:
Finally, I'm hearing a topic that appreciates and approves of Hanon.

So many ignore him, not ever having found benefits to playing these exercises chiefly because they tried one or two and found it "boring". I always thought they were fun!

I'm gleeful!

Betty [/b]
Like any artistic ideas from 200 years ago, Hanon is not outmoded, but with with logical adaptation and expansion incorporated to meet the increased technical demands of the instrument and repetorie since his day, it's still very valid today.
_________________________
My expansion of Lennie Tristano's Scene & Variation:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=5C5gnAqgttY&feature=user

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#1142063 - 12/27/07 05:11 PM Re: Hanon ... it's not that bad !!
Akira Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/27/07
Posts: 1645
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
These Hanon threads often turn into train wrecks, but so far, this one's been very supportive, which I'm glad to see.

I started Hanon from my very first lesson, about four months ago. I took a leap of faith, and had no idea if all these hours of sit ups and push ups were going to pay off. I read in these forums that it has helped many. Some swear by it. Others swear they'll never go near it. So, every day, without fail, I did it. I had my doubts. I could make no connection between it and the simple 'baby' songs I was learning through method books, but persisted on with the thinking that the two will 'eventually' meet.

About 20 years ago, I took lessons for about a year, but quit. I learned Für Elise during that year and have played it occassionally throughout the year for the past 20 years. Having discontinued my piano studies, as expected, I never was able to play it any better than I had when I learned it 20 years ago. With my renewed interest in learning, I picked it up again this week and played it. There was one particular part (in the latter part) that I've always, and without fail, played terribly -- it was a 'fracture' that never quite healed. It wasn't from a lack of trying, but my fingers were never trained to go that fast.

So I focused on repairing that fracture this week - playing the 'difficult' measures over and over again. I'm pleased to say that this morning, I never played it better. The notes were crisp, even and clear and with the velocity that the composer intended. Still not perfect, mind you, but for me it was a revelation.

I thought long and hard about what was different this week than the past 20 years. I'd have to conclude that the only thing that is different now than in the past is Hanon. Coincidence? Maybe. But something tells me, there was a correlation.

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