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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: 1171
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: 1520
\:\)
_________________________
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: 3158
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.

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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: 1520
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: 1520
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: 3158
[/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.
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Music teacher and piano player.

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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: 588
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: 588
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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#1142064 - 12/27/07 10:09 PM Re: Hanon ... it's not that bad !!
Johnny-Boy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/06
Posts: 661
Loc: PA
Hanon, Czerny, scales & arpeggios, etc. are good for finger dexterity, however, don't lose track of the essence of these studies – it’s all about the MUSIC![/b]

The lion's share of practice time is better spent studying actual pieces.

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

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#1142065 - 12/28/07 07:43 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:
Hanon, Czerny, scales & arpeggios, etc. are good for finger dexterity, however, don't lose track of the essence of these studies – it’s all about the MUSIC![/b]

The lion's share of practice time is better spent studying actual pieces.

Best, John [/b]
I feel the same way, which is why I use the Hanon as written conjointly with Mozart Piano Sonatas, Hanon at increased tempi with Beethoven Piano Sonatas, then introduce Czerny, and use of Hanon in all keys as preparation for and along with the study of the Chopin Etudes. Then the Etudes themselves in all keys, left hand called upon to duplicate the right hand parts as final prep work for the Godowski-Chopin Etudes.

Bear in mind that I am not a Classical teacher. I teach Piano, Jazz Piano, and Improvisation (all instruments). Interpretation of classical repetorie is secondary to my purpose of my students building a technique that can meet any technical execution challenge that their ear poses for them while remaining completely relaxed and at ease at the keyboard, the best state to be in for the conduit of inspired improvisatory expresson to flow, unimpeeded by stress and repetitive patterns.
_________________________
My expansion of Lennie Tristano's Scene & Variation:

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

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#1142066 - 02/18/09 07:36 PM Re: Hanon ... it's not that bad !!
chasy_price Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/28/09
Posts: 21
I love Hanon too. When I was little my teacher told me to practice Hanon at least 30 minutes a day and I hated it so much. But years later now I am picking piano back up again and Hanon has been such a great tutor. No matter what Hanon's exercises have been very useful.

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#1142067 - 02/18/09 08:38 PM Re: Hanon ... it's not that bad !!
BJones Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/08
Posts: 1043
Loc: Queens, NY
 Quote:
Originally posted by Joejazzy:
By the way, Hanon is more effective when you do the exercises in every key. [/b]
With both sets of fingerings.
All keys, major and minor modes including static melodic and harmonic minor (unchanging whichever direction it's played in).
Fixed fingering: key of C fingering regardless of where the thumbs and pinkies wind up on black keys.
Adjusted (classical) fingering: key of B or Dflat fingering, no thumbs or pinkies when black keys occur.

If you really want to bring the mind into play, play them in two separate keys at the same time!

Don't set the unrealistic goal of doing them in every key everytime you play them.
Pick a plan for that practice session, say Hanon 11 through 20 in the key of F# melodic minor, and work that for 10 minutes. Or you can pick an exercise and modulate through keys, say #9 in the G diminshed scale and modulate chromatically, or by 5ths, or any interval you choose.

The idea is to get away from Hanon being played on one white key plane.
_________________________
Some recent improvisations:

Cool School Chopin:

http://www.mediafire.com/?d1yc1mmitew

Improvisations:

http://www.box.net/shared/bjv6yc34oo

http://www.box.net/shared/8lmc3hzikl


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#1142068 - 02/18/09 09:27 PM Re: Hanon ... it's not that bad !!
BJones Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/08
Posts: 1043
Loc: Queens, NY
 Quote:
Originally posted by JerryS88:
[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. [/b]
You can train long at light to moderate intensity, or heavy at moderate to maximal intensity, but you can't train long and hard.
Same goes with the piano.

The pianist is an athlete, but the fingers should be trained for speed and agility, not power and strength.
A pianist sin't trying to build a grip that can hoist 900 pound deadlifts without straps.
It takes but a few ounces of pressure to sound a key.
Like myself, my mentor is also an exponent of strength training, but neither of us directly train the forearms with wrist curls, wrist rollers, Thor's Hammer holds (or leverage wrist holds) or the like, which would be madness for any pianist who is trying to build their maximal technique.
The greates velocity is acheived through subtle, very economized movements of the fingers, a ticking of the key tops as if the wings of a hummingbird were depressing the keys many times per second, with complete ease and no stress.
Furtive muscular contraction builds stress and locks these nerves down cold! Try playing with any part of your arms flexed.
The body should be strong and have stamina, but in a relaxed way, able to instantaneously "dance" the arms to where they are needed to carry the hands, and from what position. The wrists and forearms should remain supple and relaxed to allow fr instantaneous, effortless 3-dimensional rotation.
When needed, the strength of the body imparts the force to the keyboard needed for the proper dynamics, not the flex of the forearms!
The fingers should alays remain lightly hinged at the knuckle, forming a pyramid, fingers already in contact with the key tops, ready to tickle them down, whether at 30 nps, or 1 nps.
Something like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5C5gnAqgttY

My mentor's occassional lean into and away from the piano isn't by accident. he's adjusting the phrasing of the aggregates by imparting body english, added weight to the hands as his hands effortless play huge 7 to 15 note aggregates in rapid succession.
Notice, there is no lost contact with the keys.
_________________________
Some recent improvisations:

Cool School Chopin:

http://www.mediafire.com/?d1yc1mmitew

Improvisations:

http://www.box.net/shared/bjv6yc34oo

http://www.box.net/shared/8lmc3hzikl


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#1142069 - 02/19/09 12:46 AM Re: Hanon ... it's not that bad !!
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
I used to do hannon and other finger exercise but I stopped doing them because I constantly come up with new things to work on. I guess my only criteria for something is "if it's something I can't do comfortably, its something that I should work on".

Hanon can be helpful in some ways but it only deal with a very specific aspect of the playing.. it doesn't prepare you for so much of the stuff that happens in actual playing.

For example. I recently did some work on "Chamelion" where LH is playing the bass line and RH is playing the head/solo.. it takes a lot of practice, a lot of Hand independence to make sure both hands stay in time... and I doubt that doing hanon will prepare you for that kind of stuff. Nor does hanon prepare you to do a block chord solo.

I guess I'd rather steal ideals from someone and work them in different keys.. because I know its something I'd be using in my playing.

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#1142070 - 02/20/09 01:16 AM Re: Hanon ... it's not that bad !!
nitekatt2008z Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/08
Posts: 552
I have mixed feelings about using Hanon, but it helped me a great deal when I made the transition from organ to piano at Berklee. I worked on about the first 20 exercises, all in C, but my teachers were not real keen on Hanon unless you practiced in other keys, which I was too lazy to do back then.

For me Dohnanyi Essential Exercises for piano was recommended to me by a teacher and I got much better results with that book. For a beginner, just the first 2 pages of exercises were written by a "finger sadist." The whole book is difficult and not very melodic or written like Chopin Etudes. I even had some of my advanced students work with it, and some told me the exercises were "impossible" to master. It just takes time and patience, but you have to be careful because if a student practices them wrong or too much in the beginning, they risk injuries and fatigue.

Hanon is ok, but Dohnanyi played in other keys produces faster results in finger technique and strength/independence. This is only based on my personal experience with the system and other teachers will disagree, but I still use them and they really help technique

katt

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#1142071 - 02/20/09 01:25 AM Re: Hanon ... it's not that bad !!
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
Clare Fischer has a similar etude book called "Harmonic exercises".. They very difficult to play but they are quite rewarding musically. Not only is it a technical exercise, those ideas can be used in improv context too.

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#1142072 - 02/20/09 03:57 AM Re: Hanon ... it's not that bad !!
Arabesque Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/16/05
Posts: 548
Loc: Japan

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. [/b]

Disciple, this is very interesting. Could you or the other posters cast some light on these questions?

First which Hanon exercises should I practice? All of them?! Or is it up to choice?

Secondly, the Hanon reccommends the tempo between 60 - 108 and scales 60 - 120. So am I free to exceed those?

Why is it necessary to play faster anyway? IMO the technique is developed slowly with the focus on physical, rythmic and mental coordination.

If I don't develop this groundwork and sureness of technique my playing will be erratic.

I totally agree with your reccommending of Mozart and Beethoven. But I don't know what Czerny would do for me that other etudes wouldn't. Czerny is so voluminous that I wonder if it is all really up to par.

I have heard very good reports on Brahms's exercises however and as they work the playing mechanism more they might be a more effective substitute.

This would seem to represent the kind of training followed by a classical student or is it suitable for all pianists? Also how does this regimen help if the pianist wants to play occasional jazz improvisation as I do?
_________________________
It don't mean a ting if it don't have dat swing

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#1142073 - 02/20/09 07:17 AM Re: Hanon ... it's not that bad !!
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
i was thinking, for jazz pianists, instead of working on hanon (which you'll probably not use at all in your improv as ideas).. why not work the head to tunes to "Joy Spring" , "Satellite", "confirmation", "Bebop", "Milestones (old)" in all keys? I mean it's not like there is shortage of hard jazz heads that you need to commit to memory as a jazz pianist.

Or spend that time transcribing and playing the transcription in different keys by memory.. etc. For me, I realized that there is finite amount of time in which you can practice (esp with injury), and it became very important to prioritize... and I just don't see how hanon can be in the list of things I need to work on.

Whether you're working on hanon or a transcription.. you should be getting the same kind of improvements/benefits as long as you practice them right.

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#1142074 - 02/20/09 10:41 AM Re: Hanon ... it's not that bad !!
nitekatt2008z Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/08
Posts: 552
Yep, jazz heads like Donna Lee, anything in the Charlie Parker Omni Book, learn all those on both hands at the recommended tempos and you're good to go.

I think I saw a blues Hanon and a jazz Hanon book in a music store awhile back. I heard organist Brian Auger got his chops together with Hanon

katt

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#1142075 - 02/20/09 02:10 PM Re: Hanon ... it's not that bad !!
rocket88 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/06
Posts: 3158
"Blues Hanon" and "Jazz Hanon" are not Hanon...they are completely unrelated...they are instruction books in those disciples using the Hanon name to sell them, probably because the name is now in the public domain.

If Brian Auger used Hanon, it was the real Hanon, because he began playing pro long before those books appeared.

They were written by Leo Alfassy, and copyright 1980. But it was 1970 when Brian Auger formed Brian Auger's Oblivion Express, several years after he had began playing professionally.

ps...I credit Hanon more than anything else for technique development.
_________________________
Music teacher and piano player.

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#1142076 - 02/20/09 02:57 PM Re: Hanon ... it's not that bad !!
nitekatt2008z Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/08
Posts: 552
Yeah I realize Brian Auger probably used the org Hanon as many of us has. The other "Hanon" books came out later, although I haven't read through them so I don't know what they cover exactly. I still do several Hanon exercises as a warm up. I lost the book a few years ago and only remember a few of the exercises.

That is interesting they used the Hanon name to market the other methods.

katt

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#1142077 - 02/20/09 05:03 PM Re: Hanon ... it's not that bad !!
BJones Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/08
Posts: 1043
Loc: Queens, NY
 Quote:
Originally posted by Arabesque:

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. [/b]

Disciple, this is very interesting. Could you or the other posters cast some light on these questions?

First which Hanon exercises should I practice? All of them?! Or is it up to choice?

Secondly, the Hanon reccommends the tempo between 60 - 108 and scales 60 - 120. So am I free to exceed those?

Why is it necessary to play faster anyway? IMO the technique is developed slowly with the focus on physical, rythmic and mental coordination.

If I don't develop this groundwork and sureness of technique my playing will be erratic.

I totally agree with your reccommending of Mozart and Beethoven. But I don't know what Czerny would do for me that other etudes wouldn't. Czerny is so voluminous that I wonder if it is all really up to par.

I have heard very good reports on Brahms's exercises however and as they work the playing mechanism more they might be a more effective substitute.

This would seem to represent the kind of training followed by a classical student or is it suitable for all pianists? Also how does this regimen help if the pianist wants to play occasional jazz improvisation as I do? [/b]
For all of his prodigious contributions to the forum, my mentor, Disciple, is permanently banned from reading or posting here and cannot answer you, but perhaps I can.

Hanon recommends 108 as a top end, but that is quite slow by musical standards, many up-tempo jazz tunes approaching tempi almost double that, and some improvisors like Oscar, Eldar, Solal, Tatum, Tristano, Virtuosic1, and a host of others that have the capability to double recommended Hanon velocities and beyond.
In the end, the need for speed must justify the purpose for speed. If you don't hear lines in excess of Hanon suggested velocity, there's no need to surpass his tempo recommendations.
It's better to have headroom that you'll never use in other than technical practice rather than to ever play while performing at the maximum of your velocity because if you hear something faster during the creative process, you won't be able to play it.
_________________________
Some recent improvisations:

Cool School Chopin:

http://www.mediafire.com/?d1yc1mmitew

Improvisations:

http://www.box.net/shared/bjv6yc34oo

http://www.box.net/shared/8lmc3hzikl


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#1142078 - 02/21/09 05:51 AM Re: Hanon ... it's not that bad !!
Arabesque Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/16/05
Posts: 548
Loc: Japan
I have already played all the Hanon daily, to top tempo, in octaves, tenths, sixths, and in all keys, with rythymic variations, so play them faster is one thing I haven't done yet. But I think I'd be better on Dohyani now.

About the Jazz Hanon. I had it and also Boogie Woogie Hanon. The only good thing in them was the Circle of Fifths. I threw them out. House moving and stock control reasons. But also my teacher's face didn't exactly light up whenever I got them out.

I play Bach daily and as you know it is very grounded, develops finger technique and rather than "speed" per se, the emphasis is on tempo which is more productive. It is also very beautiful music that one looks forward to working on unlike Hanon where you have to push yourself.

The problem of playing jazz runs is that there aren't many scores to work from. But I have a copy of Chic Corea's Spain which has some nice fast passages. However it is so modal that it would be a major headache transposing it in all keys.

In conclusion, Dohyani offers the best scope for technique and he does reccommend transposition into certain keys. So I'll probably go with that from now on.
_________________________
It don't mean a ting if it don't have dat swing

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#1142079 - 02/21/09 06:50 AM Re: Hanon ... it's not that bad !!
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
 Quote:
Originally posted by Arabesque:

The problem of playing jazz runs is that there aren't many scores to work from. But I have a copy of Chic Corea's Spain which has some nice fast passages. However it is so modal that it would be a major headache transposing it in all keys.
[/b]
I guess that's the difference between how I work on things compared to other people i've talk to here.. the "Arguments against abersold" thread really highlighted that difference.

I usually don't work solos from written scores, I transcribe them, and if there are runs that I like, I learn them in all keys. I think it's an essential part of learning the jazz vocabulary. And if its something you can't transcribe it might not be something that your ear is ready to incoporate in the playing.

It's kind of interesting how ppl avoid the hard mental work that is involved and yet they are willing to do hours of technical exercises. it kind of shows how learning jazz is difficult in a very different way than classical music is.

I am not saying that transcribing and transposing came easier for me, it was very difficult learning solos and transposing it in different keys but it got easier over time. My main concern is that these exercise is taking time away from other areas of jazz that needs to be developed.

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#1142080 - 02/25/09 11:35 PM Re: Hanon ... it's not that bad !!
Arabesque Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/16/05
Posts: 548
Loc: Japan
For people like me and that is most people, the problem with jazz is it is very difficult to know what I am doing. Although I get main chords with riffs I am hitting approximations every time. As advocated by you and other jazz professionals I listen to stuff over many times. But do I really listen and do I know the best methods of transcription? Not really. I have to stumble in the dark. There is a lack of formative and cohesive methodology. Classical training is strict and cognisant. I am able to know my boundaries as far as technique is concerned. Most classical reporatory is very clearly just notes on the page. The supporting studies are very clearly designed to achieve the technical strength even if the methods are questioned.

With jazz the new student quickly finds himself in a liberated world where improvisation is guided by tonal choice. However, in reaching the foundational skills there are no real formative exercises. Plenty has been and continues to be published by jazz educators that is recommended such as Mr Abersold. And more is available now on the internet and through CDs. But this may only deal with a small subdivision of the theories of jazz or be encylopedic. And the learner has to go from book to book. There are so many notions on playing and we all agree what sounds good and hangs in the jazz context. Meanwhile the question remains on what is the empirical theory of jazz that a student can grasp and what are the treatises that should be used to train jazz students? Are these treatises practical? Any that have pages of superfluous anecdote enriched text instead of notes are not.
They should build the scaffolding of tonal knowledge that will aid a pianist to be more effect in listening. And anyone who says that jazz is playing by ear is correct, but you also have to be able to notate to transcribe and read in order to rationalise a jazz precept. Now I will go back to messing around on the piano or playing Hanon and scales.
_________________________
It don't mean a ting if it don't have dat swing

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#1142081 - 02/26/09 12:49 AM Re: Hanon ... it's not that bad !!
etcetra Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/08
Posts: 1446
Arabesque,

I am still learning myself..and I guess Jeff clayton's workshop shed some light on a lot of things for me. He basically said that you can learn all the theory you need to know over a 2 week course, and stressed how little those method because has to do with the actual music.

What he said about transcription is do one note at a time... it may be a really simple advice but i think its very important. What he means is that take it very slowly.. and treat transcription like a classical piece.. you may have to wrestle with it for couple of weeks.

I guess for me the jazz piano book and jazz theory book was very helpful..and it may help to get a book of licks and actually analyze what notes are being played and transpose in all keys.. that way you will be familiar with them when you hear these cliches in recordings..

I tell people to start transcribing Miles Davis' solo from Kind of Blue.. it may be simple but studying them will really give you the fundamental ideas on note choices.. the use of consonance and extension ..shelly berg talks about it in his book "goal note method".. but learing/analyzing miles solo is an more hands on approach.

After that I started transcribing chet baker, stan getz.. a lot of solos i picked where short but they were gems, and you started noticing a lot of what goes into playing jazz, like use of hemiola, bebop alteration.. etc.

Nowdays I am constantly coming up with new things to practice, in some ways I don't see the need to find a teacher since i have plenty to work on.. i think in jazz you have to be much more pro active coming up with things to work on.. and it may take some time getting used to that mindset.

BTW I had a chance to talk to kenny garret at a workshop.. he said he didn't transcribe.. I asked what he meant.. and he said he learned solos off the record but he never wrote them down on paper.

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