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Topic Options
#2249571 - 03/20/14 04:44 PM I love Hanon. I hate Hanon. Which are you?
LS35A Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/31/09
Posts: 139
Loc: Hayden, ID

I'm thinking of going back to it but worry about repetitive stress injuries.

What's your story on Hanon?

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#2249578 - 03/20/14 04:58 PM Re: I love Hanon. I hate Hanon. Which are you? [Re: LS35A]
briansaddleback Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/27/14
Posts: 220
Loc: Irvine CA
I like Hanon for what it is. Done right it is useful for a few things. If you swear by it, then you should reconsider. Like all things there are good and bad ways to use or overuse. The key is your judgment, experience, and capacity to be flexible to new ideas and old.
_________________________

Cloches a travers les feuilles
Minstrels

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#2249581 - 03/20/14 05:04 PM Re: I love Hanon. I hate Hanon. Which are you? [Re: LS35A]
woodog Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/21/12
Posts: 405
Loc: Bowling Green, KY
I ignore Hanon, preferring to learn technique from what I practice.

That's my belief.

However, the plural of anecdote isn't data.

Totally unrelated... your handle LS35A wouldn't have anything to do with those wonderful loudspeakers?

Forrest (audiophile, or audio-fool, depending on your perspective)
_________________________
-------------------
current studies:
Debussy: Suite Bergamasque
Bach 848, 866
Schumann Op. 15

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#2249602 - 03/20/14 05:47 PM Re: I love Hanon. I hate Hanon. Which are you? [Re: LS35A]
joonsang Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/24/13
Posts: 66
When I returned to playing piano I started on Hanon and completed the first book. I did notice a considerable improvement in my playing. But after a few months playing them daily, and increasing the tempo, I started to feel my hands would be super worn out after only playing 4 or 5.

Thankfully I discovered about playing with arm-weight and now I don't really see how Hanon would benefit in helping with technique since it is a finger isolated exercise.

I do find it useful to play a couple as a warm-up though.

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#2249632 - 03/20/14 06:40 PM Re: I love Hanon. I hate Hanon. Which are you? [Re: LS35A]
earlofmar Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/21/13
Posts: 1635
Loc: Australia
Originally Posted By: LS35A

I'm thinking of going back to it but worry about repetitive stress injuries.

What's your story on Hanon?



I would say don't even risk it then.
_________________________
I thought I understood endurance sport; then I took up piano
XXXV-6-XXX

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#2249635 - 03/20/14 06:44 PM Re: I love Hanon. I hate Hanon. Which are you? [Re: LS35A]
Music Me Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/23/12
Posts: 221
Loc: New York
I still do Hanon. It works for me. It never gets old and helps me with dexterity.


Do what works for you.
_________________________
Barbara
...without music, no life...

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#2249637 - 03/20/14 06:46 PM Re: I love Hanon. I hate Hanon. Which are you? [Re: woodog]
JohnSprung Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/02/11
Posts: 1441
Loc: Reseda, California
Originally Posted By: woodog
I ignore Hanon, preferring to learn technique from what I practice.


+1
_________________________
-- J.S.

Knabe Grand # 10927
Yamaha CP33
Kawai FS690

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#2249653 - 03/20/14 07:11 PM Re: I love Hanon. I hate Hanon. Which are you? [Re: LS35A]
Miguel Rey Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 340
Scales , Arpeggios & Bach.
_________________________
Bechstein B c1905


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#2249659 - 03/20/14 07:21 PM Re: I love Hanon. I hate Hanon. Which are you? [Re: LS35A]
zrtf90 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/29/12
Posts: 2409
Loc: Ireland (ex England)
Book I is based on the false premise that the fingers should be equally strong and well trained. They are not built with the same anatomy or musculature and are not designed to be used the same way, nor are they in good piano playing. Training them to be equals is not dissimilar to expecting a town car to be equally competitive with a purpose built race car.

The exercises are mind-numbingly repetitive which does nothing to develop a musical touch or musical brain.

Playing piano doesn't need strong fingers. Young children can play piano.

Book II is largely more of the same until scales are introduced. There are better ways of learning, playing and fingering the scales and arpeggios without the need for such repetitive constriction.

Book III has some very advanced stuff mixed with some fundamentals that should be developed more appropriately and over long time frames. Some of the techniques no longer apply since the advent of the double escapement of modern pianos. Others are ill advised. Trills, for example, should not be played with the 4th and 5th fingers working as quickly as the 2nd and 3rd. They are not equally capable. Technical difficulties such as these should be learnt in the context of good music not as tedious technical exercises where musical expression isn't required.

Regular scale and arpeggio practise along with Bach's Inventions is miles ahead of Hanon for music, technique and facility without any of the monotony or drudgery.

If you want an exercise for all five fingers do scales in legato thirds.

Repetitive stress injuries? Not a problem with good technique but I believe Hanon risks worse stress on the brain.
_________________________
Richard

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#2249724 - 03/20/14 09:31 PM Re: I love Hanon. I hate Hanon. Which are you? [Re: woodog]
LS35A Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/31/09
Posts: 139
Loc: Hayden, ID
Originally Posted By: woodog
I ignore Hanon, preferring to learn technique from what I practice.

Totally unrelated... your handle LS35A wouldn't have anything to do with those wonderful loudspeakers?

Forrest (audiophile, or audio-fool, depending on your perspective)


Oh yes, I'm quite the anglophile when it comes to stereo systems. My present setup is original Quads, Croft electronics and Rega TT.

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#2249750 - 03/20/14 10:33 PM Re: I love Hanon. I hate Hanon. Which are you? [Re: LS35A]
scorpio Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/12
Posts: 525
Loc: Connecticut, USA
Just like anything, you have to be smart when you practice - that goes for Hanon or any other exercise. You can develop repetitive stress issues by overplaying any piece (including scales and arpeggios) and over using a group of muscles. The issue is not the Hanon exercises.

With my teacher, I am using Hanon. I have completed the first twenty exercises. For me, as a beginner, my technique and dexterity has improved. And I am happy to report that I have no repetitive stress issues.
_________________________
Kawai MP11 :: JBL LSR305 :: Focusrite 2i4 :: Pianoteq Standard

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#2249774 - 03/20/14 11:42 PM Re: I love Hanon. I hate Hanon. Which are you? [Re: LS35A]
montysmith Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 03/20/14
Posts: 16
Well, It's a Love-Hate relationship in the end!

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#2249802 - 03/21/14 02:29 AM Re: I love Hanon. I hate Hanon. Which are you? [Re: LS35A]
rnaple Offline

Silver Supporter until April 24 2014


Registered: 12/23/10
Posts: 2107
Loc: Rocky Mountains
Just a thought. With exercises, whether Hannon or other...

Why not consider treating them like other exercise.
Use cycles in your training. This is a big deal. Can change your exercises greatly. Any exercise done the same, everyday, will lead to failure. Whether that failure is injury, or burnout. The result is the same; failure. Remember that injury is a warning to you to stop. You're doing something wrong. Do it differently. Much of the time it is the lack of using cycles. Cycles can increase your gains significantly.
What is called a 4x7 cycle has shown exceptional. Day 1-nothing, Day-2 low stress, Day-3 moderate stress, Day-4 high stress. Then repeat the 4 day cycle. Just treat the exercises this way. Not practicing piano.

Use joint mobility, or dynamic stretching before.

After...some compensatory movement is desired. Move the opposite of what you are doing in the exercise. In other words. Lift fingers, lift arms, move body, etc.

Practicers of yoga can easily relate to all this.

EDIT: One really good compensatory movement is the same as has been described to treat carpal tunnel syndrome from computer typing a lot. This is to take a rubbery shaft of some type. Twist it with your hands. The hand that is being pulled on is pulling the muscles that you use to push with in your playing.


Edited by rnaple (03/21/14 02:34 AM)
_________________________
Ron
Your brain is a sponge. Keep it wet. Mary Gae George
The focus of your personal practice is discipline. Not numbers. Scott Sonnon

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#2249806 - 03/21/14 03:01 AM Re: I love Hanon. I hate Hanon. Which are you? [Re: LS35A]
4evrBeginR Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/27/09
Posts: 1607
Loc: California
I'm not really sure. Since my teacher hates Hanon, I never experienced it. I even bought a copy, and is as brand new as the day I got it 5 years ago. As my teacher is a world-class pianist and graduated from the Ivy Leagues in piano performance, she is proof that Hanon is not mandatory.

My kids who have their own teacher do Hanon everyday. He even asked them to transpose the exercises in different keys. If you think exercise no. 1 is easy, try it in E major or Bb major. When the kids complain, I put up the best parental face and encourage them to soldier on thinking the whole time that's so tough. I guess I lucked out.
_________________________
Art is never finished, only abandoned. - da Vinci

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#2249829 - 03/21/14 06:12 AM Re: I love Hanon. I hate Hanon. Which are you? [Re: LS35A]
Mark Polishook Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/29/12
Posts: 690
Loc: Leicester, UK
Here are the best reasons I've read on why Hanon is useless.

http://contentspiano.blogspot.co.uk/2006/02/problems-with-hanon-exercises.html

In other words why not just find music with whatever the technical challenge is? Or given 10 minutes for a technical exercise why not just work with Bach for 10 minutes?

Another other big problem is after doing Hanon exercises hands can easily feel like they've gotten a "workout." But that kind of strength building isn't necessary for the piano - in the same way strength isn't necessary for Taichi.

BUT. There's always another side and other points of view. With Hanon and really with any exercise it's definitely a "mileage may vary" kind of thing for sure. If we learn something in the moment from Hanon then indeed it is a worthwhile resource.

Walter Norris used to recommend Hanon for certain things.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDgsbeMeSS8

He was a top-tier jazz pianist. And Hanon is one of the books John Coltrane used to practice (saxophone) from it. No need to post a John Coltrane video? ! smile

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#2249832 - 03/21/14 06:30 AM Re: I love Hanon. I hate Hanon. Which are you? [Re: Mark Polishook]
rnaple Offline

Silver Supporter until April 24 2014


Registered: 12/23/10
Posts: 2107
Loc: Rocky Mountains
Originally Posted By: Mark Polishook

BUT. There's always another side and other points of view. With Hanon and really with any exercise it's definitely a "mileage may vary" kind of thing for sure. If we learn something in the moment from Hanon then indeed it is a worthwhile resource.


I would like to discuss this. Not an argument.
What I have been taught. Exercises like Hannon are good for training the autonomic mind/nervous system. People will argue oh gee...he's into that again. I ask.. How do you walk? That is the same autonomic mind/nervous system that controls walking. If you've ever seen a study of walking. How much control there is and information being reacted to. It's rather amazing we actually can walk. We couldn't do it if we had to think about it.
So with exercises like Hannon. I've learned to view them in the same way. To give us a mastery of the keyboard. To be as at home playing on the keyboard as we are in walking. Treat them as such and nothing more.
I've posted it before. I have a teacher now who's wish is that I do exercises like Hannon to the point of paying attention to something else while doing them perfectly. Kinda like walking while paying attention to something else. smile (besides..... they're boring smile )
_________________________
Ron
Your brain is a sponge. Keep it wet. Mary Gae George
The focus of your personal practice is discipline. Not numbers. Scott Sonnon

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#2249900 - 03/21/14 10:56 AM Re: I love Hanon. I hate Hanon. Which are you? [Re: LS35A]
Ataru074 Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 06/22/11
Posts: 339
Loc: Houston, TX
Hanon, like any other finger / motor exercise has it's place and it's time...
It's a tool to achieve a certain technical expertise.. once the expertise is acquired, it's time to move on.

Would I suggest to start with certain preludes from the WTC to acquire certain skills? probably not... but I'd absolutely suggest to move there as soon as you can perform certain hanon exercise at a decent speed and with a decent sound.

The same for moving to Fugues after you acquire a good finger independence from Pishna or Brahms exercises...
_________________________
===============================================
working on:
Bach: BWV 871
Mozart: Kv310
Beethoven: Op 14 #2
===============================================

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#2249906 - 03/21/14 11:12 AM Re: I love Hanon. I hate Hanon. Which are you? [Re: rnaple]
Mark Polishook Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/29/12
Posts: 690
Loc: Leicester, UK
Originally Posted By: rnaple
Originally Posted By: Mark Polishook

BUT. There's always another side and other points of view. With Hanon and really with any exercise it's definitely a "mileage may vary" kind of thing for sure. If we learn something in the moment from Hanon then indeed it is a worthwhile resource.


I would like to discuss this. Not an argument.


Believe me. No arguments wanted here! And you've made good points. Which is why I said there are other sides and other points of view!

To bring Bach to the table there's much much simpler stuff out there than WTC ....

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#2249993 - 03/21/14 02:26 PM Re: I love Hanon. I hate Hanon. Which are you? [Re: scorpio]
Miguel Rey Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 340
Originally Posted By: scorpio
Just like anything, you have to be smart when you practice - that goes for Hanon or any other exercise. You can develop repetitive stress issues by overplaying any piece (including scales and arpeggios) and over using a group of muscles. The issue is not the Hanon exercises.

With my teacher, I am using Hanon. I have completed the first twenty exercises. For me, as a beginner, my technique and dexterity has improved. And I am happy to report that I have no repetitive stress issues.



As a beginner your technique will "improve" with any exercise and injury may take a long time to set in.
_________________________
Bechstein B c1905


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#2249997 - 03/21/14 02:38 PM Re: I love Hanon. I hate Hanon. Which are you? [Re: LS35A]
Miguel Rey Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 340
Only read a few piano books from well known piano teachers of the early 20 century and all stress the importance of scales, arpeggios but in many different rhythms, touches, dynamics or anyway that relates to actual repertoire you will actually face in the real world. I have yet to see any mention about Hannon nor have a seen how the exercises relate to actual music . Be interesting to know of any prominent instructors current or past at the university level who promote Hannon.
_________________________
Bechstein B c1905


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#2250005 - 03/21/14 02:56 PM Re: I love Hanon. I hate Hanon. Which are you? [Re: Miguel Rey]
scorpio Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/12
Posts: 525
Loc: Connecticut, USA
Originally Posted By: Miguel Rey
Originally Posted By: scorpio
Just like anything, you have to be smart when you practice - that goes for Hanon or any other exercise. You can develop repetitive stress issues by overplaying any piece (including scales and arpeggios) and over using a group of muscles. The issue is not the Hanon exercises.

With my teacher, I am using Hanon. I have completed the first twenty exercises. For me, as a beginner, my technique and dexterity has improved. And I am happy to report that I have no repetitive stress issues.



As a beginner your technique will "improve" with any exercise and injury may take a long time to set in.

Of course. Tautologies.

Additionally, I take my lessons at a private liberal arts college.
_________________________
Kawai MP11 :: JBL LSR305 :: Focusrite 2i4 :: Pianoteq Standard

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#2250010 - 03/21/14 03:04 PM Re: I love Hanon. I hate Hanon. Which are you? [Re: LS35A]
scorpio Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/30/12
Posts: 525
Loc: Connecticut, USA
For the amount of discussion that goes on about Hanon it would seem that hours of practice are spent on these exercises and very little time on actual pieces. Goodness, I hope that is not the case. I spend no more than ten minutes per day (and that is probably on the long side) on Hanon.
_________________________
Kawai MP11 :: JBL LSR305 :: Focusrite 2i4 :: Pianoteq Standard

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#2250379 - 03/22/14 08:55 AM Re: I love Hanon. I hate Hanon. Which are you? [Re: LS35A]
WiseBuff Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/03/05
Posts: 807
Loc: Brighton Colorado
Both. It was helpful years ago to build flexibility and strength in the fingers but now that can be done in the music. Never experienced an injury from Hanon but I understand that's a possibility. Moderation on all things...
_________________________



Love to learn

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#2250421 - 03/22/14 10:55 AM Re: I love Hanon. I hate Hanon. Which are you? [Re: Miguel Rey]
Mark Polishook Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/29/12
Posts: 690
Loc: Leicester, UK
Originally Posted By: Miguel Rey
Only read a few piano books from well known piano teachers of the early 20 century and all stress the importance of scales, arpeggios but in many different rhythms, touches, dynamics or anyway that relates to actual repertoire you will actually face in the real world. I have yet to see any mention about Hannon nor have a seen how the exercises relate to actual music .


Miguel's pointed out something that's very true and worth considering. In fact go through all piano books by all well-known teachers. Hanon will receive almost no mention. Why is that? Is it possible that all of those fabulous teachers somehow missed Hanon? Or there's the book "Famous Pianists & Their Technique" - all 600 pages of it. There's on sentence in the book (only one) that mentions Hanon. It's not complementary.

The devil of it as some are pointing out in the discussion comes with the exercises themselves. If you're doing them and if you're doing them moderately - or even immoderately - then the benefits seem obvious.

Really ... Miguel's point is, well, right to the centre of it all. Did all those great piano teachers across the years in all of those books overlook Hanon? Or did they teach other stuff because they believe it to be of greater benefit?


Edited by Mark Polishook (03/22/14 10:55 AM)

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#2250456 - 03/22/14 12:22 PM Re: I love Hanon. I hate Hanon. Which are you? [Re: LS35A]
BB Player Offline


Registered: 11/17/06
Posts: 2625
Loc: Not in Texas
A long time ago I worked through Books 1 and 2 and used to play the drills for 20 to 30 minutes daily. Now, I use them as a small part of my warmup routine, 3-4 in a few different keys followed by some scales and arpeggios and then on to something else.

I agree with the general sentiment that spending hours each day developing "equal" strength in all of the fingers is both mind numbingly boring and time better spent elsewhere.
_________________________
Greg

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#2250471 - 03/22/14 12:51 PM Re: I love Hanon. I hate Hanon. Which are you? [Re: LS35A]
hreichgott Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/13
Posts: 1092
Loc: western MA, USA
Hanon has so many dangers with so little redeeming value. And it teaches so little. (Are there even any rhythmic changes or rests in Hanon? I don't remember any but then I haven't looked in some time.)

Czerny, Burgmuller and Bartok (Mikrokosmos) are all better choices. They are much closer to real music and involve a nice assortment of physical and musical challenges.
_________________________
Heather W. Reichgott, piano http://heatherwreichgott.blogspot.com
Sometimes a bagatelle is just a bagatelle. Beethoven Op. 33
Daily 16th notes: Chopin Op. 10 no. 2, Pischna
Loving Fauré/Barcarolles and Ravel/Tombeau de Couperin
Always a fan of Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven and new music

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