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Inspired by another thread on PW: should I tackle the hanon. It got me thinking....that led to wee chat with my teacher the other day..he has always tried to work in hanon as part of practice/learning..I guess, it is me who showed a lot less enthusiasm. So I am 3.5 years of lessons on this journey ...flirted with hanon, Jumped around a bit depending on what my current score required of me...never with much commitment.

This is how my teacher boiled it down for me: practice this whole book, thereafter you have strong foundation to tackle most pieces. There are some really tough exercises. But the hanon was built around so many classical pieces.

As it sank in, I am committing myself to take hanon seriously, and as of last night, I relearnt lessons 1 and 2. As my teacher said, give yourself a generous timeline to learn the first 10, next 10...then I thought a bit more, and this is now leading down a dangerous path...it is not just the techniques, I need my ass kicked to work on the scales/apeggios as well.

...then I wonder if I could commit to learning the hanon/scales/appegios in 12 months, expected speed within range of 80 to 100? Now this is dangerous thinking as I am inspired yet again, by Alan Rusbridger's book play it again".

Life is short, I wonder how I will view the piano scores in 12 months?

Last edited by Pianoperformance; 09/17/16 07:42 AM.
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I would put scales, arpeggios, and cadences as the first priority. Learn them all, then start over. Hanon 1-10, yes. Don't make either of these a 12 month goal; it's not a race. Make playing them well--smoothly and with ease--your goal.

The problem with making all of Hanon and scales and arps a 12 month goal is that (a) it will eat up a very large chunk of your practice time, which you shouldn't let it do, and (b) at the end of 12 months, you will think you're done with them, but you won't be. smile


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Thanks Stubbie, correctomando, I agree scales, appegios should be first..😑, the 12 months was just to go through them, I am great procrastinator...I am sure it will be more like 18+ months...I tend to be too tired to practice pieces when I get home from work..so things like scales, hanon may be perfect..thanks for the pointers 😊

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I think Hanon can be good if approached correctly. Focus more on quality and quantity here. You should also be working scales, chords and arpeggios into your daily routine. Again, quality over quantity. I think at first, you would maybe be spending 10 minutes a day on these combined, but as you go along, it could work up to 15-20.

Another piece of advice: don't put a goal for this kind of thing. That may make you rush through and play too fast too soon which can be damaging. The focus has to be on being able to play these repetitive exercises with proper technique: no fatigue, tension, or pain. If any of these things are in and you persist in playing at too fast a tempo than you can manage, then expect to experience injury.

Remember, it's not a race. smile


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Thank you morodienne, good advice, I don't want the pressure either ☺, I will be asking my teacher to be my moderator, before I can move on..and thanks for affirming the scales, appegios, chords, I have been 'avoiding' them 😨 like I had with the metronome, but since I started using the metronome for bach inventions, I am playing them so much better...appreciate your thoughts and experience. ..

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Originally Posted by Pianoperformance
Thank you morodienne, good advice, I don't want the pressure either ☺, I will be asking my teacher to be my moderator, before I can move on..and thanks for affirming the scales, appegios, chords, I have been 'avoiding' them 😨 like I had with the metronome, but since I started using the metronome for bach inventions, I am playing them so much better...appreciate your thoughts and experience. ..


And they are great things to do when you don't have the energy to work on repertoire. Mindless stuff for when your'e exhausted smile


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I don't believe that learning all Hanon will give you "you have strong foundation to tackle most pieces". You will at best have a bag of technique but what about your interpretation skills, ear training, reading skills, working with eal repertoier and having fun.


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Originally Posted by Morodiene
they are great things to do when you don't have the energy to work on repertoire. Mindless stuff for when your'e exhausted


If you don't have energy for working attentively, better don't work. It will probably do more damage than good.


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Thanks wouter79...for some reason, when I started learning to play, we noticed that I hesitated a lot, or didn't really play each note with consistent tone, as if I was too afraid to touch the keys! Few rounds of Hanson seem to correct a lot of that shyness...other technicalities I seem to master quicker...so to put that comment into context, the way I played each key was severely holding me back...these exercises seem to help me a lot...and I should continue. Based on this thread and the other one on pianist, I am working on my scales today, one Hanoi exercise, and repertoire tomorrow! Yeah.

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Mindless finger exercises work - the same way that drills work for anything that's technical (tennis, ballet, gymnastics....).

I didn't use Hanon, but I did do many technical exercises to iron out weaknesses after I'd finished with the ABRSM exams, to get me to the next level to enable me to get my performance diploma.

Of course, if you're just playing the piano purely for fun, without regard for polish etc, there's not much point in all this.


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I think doing Hanon completely is overdoing it. It does get rather repetitive, doesn't it? Rather, take some of this and some of Brahms and some of Dohnanyi - at least, that's what I'd suggest.

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Originally Posted by bennevis
Mindless finger exercises work - the same way that drills work for anything that's technical (tennis, ballet, gymnastics....).

They work for some people, but not others. They require the ability to keep going consistently on autopilot. If that ability is weak, one should only do mindful exercises. Practicing messing up is not very useful.

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Originally Posted by outo
Originally Posted by bennevis
Mindless finger exercises work - the same way that drills work for anything that's technical (tennis, ballet, gymnastics....).

They work for some people, but not others. They require the ability to keep going consistently on autopilot. If that ability is weak, one should only do mindful exercises. Practicing messing up is not very useful.


This is why it's so important to go slowly. There's a certain aspect of playing piano that requires it to be mindless - or rather, be in the subconscious so we can focus on expression. But that is built in slowly over time.

Even these "mindless" activities can be mentally exhausting if you do it for too long.


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Thanks , very thoughtful comments. Very zen like, too, where every task is done with joy and focus! 😁


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