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Hanon and Other Excerises are VERY IMPORTANT (Read 68915 times)

Offline klavieronin

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Re: Hanon and Other Excerises are VERY IMPORTANT
«Reply #100 on: February 01, 2016, 04:36:00 AM »
Man, this is one serious thread! I've never seen such an in depth discussion on such a specific topic in a forum before. Well, for what it is worth, here are my two cents;

I think exercises have their place but I personally feel like the closer the exercise is to real music the more useful it will be. I did practice Hanon for a time as a student as well a Joseffy, Pischna, Liszt, and Cortot. I was never able to get very far with any of these, partly because they were boring as hell (some more so that others), impossibly exhaustive (I don't know how anyone would ever get through all of Cortot's exercises with all the variations he prescribes), or I just didn't feel like they were doing any good.

On the other hand, I always felt I was making tremendous progress when studying real music that was just beyond my reach.

I think Brahms struck a nice balance between exercise and music in his 51 Exercises but I've never studied them personally.

When it comes to beginners I think that a good program of scales and arpeggios is more than enough in terms of technical work. Not only do they exercise the fingers/wrists/arms/etc. but the also teach students about fingering and about the building blocks of music which is incredibly useful when learning new music.


Offline anamnesis

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Re: Hanon and Other Excerises are VERY IMPORTANT
«Reply #101 on: February 01, 2016, 05:26:16 PM »
Man, this is one serious thread! I've never seen such an in depth discussion on such a specific topic in a forum before. Well, for what it is worth, here are my two cents;

I think exercises have their place but I personally feel like the closer the exercise is to real music the more useful it will be. I did practice Hanon for a time as a student as well a Joseffy, Pischna, Liszt, and Cortot. I was never able to get very far with any of these, partly because they were boring as hell (some more so that others), impossibly exhaustive (I don't know how anyone would ever get through all of Cortot's exercises with all the variations he prescribes), or I just didn't feel like they were doing any good.

On the other hand, I always felt I was making tremendous progress when studying real music that was just beyond my reach.

I think Brahms struck a nice balance between exercise and music in his 51 Exercises but I've never studied them personally.

When it comes to beginners I think that a good program of scales and arpeggios is more than enough in terms of technical work. Not only do they exercise the fingers/wrists/arms/etc. but the also teach students about fingering and about the building blocks of music which is incredibly useful when learning new music.



Apparently, it seems to be a French pedagogical thing to exhaust every single possibility, but I don't think it is supposed to be done in a "checklist" sort of manner.  Discipline and rigor yes, but creative at the same time. 

I've been looking through a musicianship method by a student based on the methodologies of Nadia Boulanger, and it is impossibly exhaustive to same extent that Cortot's manual is. Months could be spend just on the rhythmic cells, solfege, and sequential melodic/harmonic formulas in the first workbook and still not really exhaust the material.  Students are expected to participate and composer their own exercises from modules or cells that can be strung together.  The exercises in essence are more creative in nature, and not prescriptive. 

I think the same approach is needed to understand and use Cortot's manual (as well as studying how he approaches the study of repertoire using his editions such as his famous one dealing with the Chopin etudes).

Offline klavieronin

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Re: Hanon and Other Excerises are VERY IMPORTANT
«Reply #102 on: February 02, 2016, 02:32:22 AM »
Apparently, it seems to be a French pedagogical thing to exhaust every single possibility, but I don't think it is supposed to be done in a "checklist" sort of manner.  Discipline and rigor yes, but creative at the same time. 

I've been looking through a musicianship method by a student based on the methodologies of Nadia Boulanger, and it is impossibly exhaustive to same extent that Cortot's manual is. Months could be spend just on the rhythmic cells, solfege, and sequential melodic/harmonic formulas in the first workbook and still not really exhaust the material.  Students are expected to participate and composer their own exercises from modules or cells that can be strung together.  The exercises in essence are more creative in nature, and not prescriptive. 

I think the same approach is needed to understand and use Cortot's manual (as well as studying how he approaches the study of repertoire using his editions such as his famous one dealing with the Chopin etudes).
That would make more sense in that case.

Offline scientificpianopractise

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Hanon in 60 seconds - just as good as Hanon in an hour?
«Reply #103 on: March 28, 2016, 01:01:51 AM »
I wrote "Hanon in 60 seconds" and contend it is just as good as Hanon in one hour.  You can get it from Amazon or from SheetMusicPlus.

Offline perfect_pitch

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Re: Hanon in 60 seconds - just as good as Hanon in an hour?
«Reply #104 on: March 28, 2016, 03:21:49 AM »
I wrote "Hanon in 60 seconds" and contend it is just as good as Hanon in one hour.  You can get it from Amazon or from SheetMusicPlus.

Given how much you've spammed this web-site, I don't think anyone should give any credit to your links. I've already reported it... hopefully this will be the last we ever hear of you.

Offline jstudio

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Re: Hanon and Other Excerises are VERY IMPORTANT
«Reply #105 on: March 31, 2016, 05:17:59 PM »
Just my two cents on the topic - I've been teaching piano for almost 10 years and have had the opportunity to study many different types of technique from many teachers including Sheila Paige. Here is what I have learned over the years regarding technique studies: I don't believe every single student should play Hanon or any other type of similar books. I generally teach technique through music, etudes, 5 finger patterns, scales, arpeggios, and chords. I find these are more practical, and not only are you teaching the students technique, but you're also teaching them that technique is to be applied to ALL playing instead of just Hanon or some technique book.  ;)

I have only put a very small number of students in Hanon or other technique books IF that particular student needed that kind of "drill" work. However, most of my students have always done much better and enjoyed working out of an etude book and using 5 finger patterns over using Hanon. But each student has different needs and different ways of learning, and for some, Hanon may be the best route.

At the end of the day, some kind of technique exercises are very necessary, but you MUST treat every student as an individual and only give them what they need. You have to be willing and able to come up with a "method" that works for that individual and not expect every student to go through the same steps and books as the last one. I find it helpful to ask myself "Is this really going to help this particular student? What will be the end result? Is this necessary?" - those three questions have really helped me make each of my students the best THEY can be. Hope this helps some and best wishes to all. :)

Offline klavieronin

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Re: Hanon and Other Excerises are VERY IMPORTANT
«Reply #106 on: April 02, 2016, 09:20:21 AM »
On a related note (probably not worth starting a new thread) if you had to study a book of exercises from cover to cover, which one would you pick and why?

For me it would be between Czerny's "Daily Studies", Op.337 or Joseffy's "Advance School of Piano Playing".

The Czerny set have the typical Czerny charm while exercising each hand more or less equally and have a good range of exercises.

Joseffy's exercises are a monster if you include all the directions to play "Through all the keys" but for the most part seem like the kind of things you could expect to find in real music.

Offline chopinlover01

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Re: Hanon and Other Excerises are VERY IMPORTANT
«Reply #107 on: May 03, 2016, 09:37:58 PM »
Brahms 51 exercises. Great technique building there.
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Offline ahinton

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Re: Hanon and Other Excerises are VERY IMPORTANT
«Reply #108 on: May 03, 2016, 09:56:17 PM »
Just try playing such studies as Alkan Op. 39/1 or 11 or 12 a semitone lower or some of the Chopin/Godowsky studies in different keys as well as in the original keys (I could cite many similar examples) - without first writing them out in those other keys - and then question the value of Hanon!

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Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Hanon and Other Excerises are VERY IMPORTANT
«Reply #109 on: May 05, 2016, 05:44:09 AM »
Important for the beginners of course, more experienced might simply use it if they haven't encountered it before to see if they can achieve the patterns efficiently. It might be useful to know which patterns challenge the hand more than others.

In terms of material to gain experience from when initially learning the piano Hanon is a good source for many beginners, intermediate and advanced students might not find it as important except as a test to see if they can do it or not. There is much other material one can study of course and many pieces but why forgo the use of exercises early on in technical development, it certainly should be used so long it offers useful experience.
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Offline reiyza

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Re: Hanon and Other Excerises are VERY IMPORTANT
«Reply #110 on: May 07, 2016, 05:43:14 AM »
One question, does one have to follow every fingering of the scales in this book?
My teacher is pro hanon, he really sticks to the original fingering, and he isn't open to suggestions.

He immediately noticed that I used an alternative fingering for the L.H F-Maj scale. 3214321 etc.
Although I can deliver maximum speed(as my left hand allow), my teacher stuck with the 54321321, which is uneven as hell.
Yup.. still a beginner. Up til now..

When will a teacher accept me? :/

Online brogers70

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Re: Hanon and Other Excerises are VERY IMPORTANT
«Reply #111 on: May 07, 2016, 06:12:11 PM »
One question, does one have to follow every fingering of the scales in this book?
My teacher is pro hanon, he really sticks to the original fingering, and he isn't open to suggestions.

He immediately noticed that I used an alternative fingering for the L.H F-Maj scale. 3214321 etc.
Although I can deliver maximum speed(as my left hand allow), my teacher stuck with the 54321321, which is uneven as hell.

I also use alternative LH fingerings for scales, probably the same ones you use. My teacher thinks they are crazy, but she does not force me to use the Hanon fingerings. Then the last time we were talking about it we compared hands. Her LH 2 is about the same length as 3, whereas for me 3 is longer than 4 which is longer than 2, so it seems to make sense that the alternative fingerings, which mostly avoid using 2 for black keys, are easier for me. And she stopped bugging me about the alternate fingerings.

Offline outin

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Re: Hanon and Other Excerises are VERY IMPORTANT
«Reply #112 on: May 08, 2016, 05:20:22 AM »
It might be useful to know which patterns challenge the hand more than others.


I have to say that for me the challenges in Hanon were always for the brain rather than hand. Whatever my mind wants my hands will eagerly follow. I just cannot learn and remember the finger combinations and looking at the pages gives me a headache. I could learn hours of repertoire in the time it would take me to memorize the first set. I have the same problem with scales but those I can at least build from scratch using theory when needed. I wish I wouldn't have to start from scratch every time, but that's how my brain works (or doesn't).

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Hanon and Other Excerises are VERY IMPORTANT
«Reply #113 on: May 08, 2016, 10:59:30 AM »
I have to say that for me the challenges in Hanon were always for the brain rather than hand. Whatever my mind wants my hands will eagerly follow. I just cannot learn and remember the finger combinations and looking at the pages gives me a headache. I could learn hours of repertoire in the time it would take me to memorize the first set. I have the same problem with scales but those I can at least build from scratch using theory when needed. I wish I wouldn't have to start from scratch every time, but that's how my brain works (or doesn't).
Well pinpointing what challenges your brain is just as useful I guess if that is what is more of a determinant for you. Hanon has some quite repetitive pattern to it so one would hope it doesn't confuse your brain too much. Compared to playing pieces which does all sorts of various things, Hanon I'd think is much more plain (musically and technically) for the majority of us. You certainly could memorize a hanon in quick time to avoid having to sight the page though because the patterns are so repetitive you can infer what will come next so much easier than you would with pieces and thus don't have to really read much at all.
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Offline outin

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Re: Hanon and Other Excerises are VERY IMPORTANT
«Reply #114 on: May 08, 2016, 01:16:27 PM »
Well pinpointing what challenges your brain is just as useful I guess if that is what is more of a determinant for you. Hanon has some quite repetitive pattern to it so one would hope it doesn't confuse your brain too much. Compared to playing pieces which does all sorts of various things, Hanon I'd think is much more plain (musically and technically) for the majority of us. You certainly could memorize a hanon in quick time to avoid having to sight the page though because the patterns are so repetitive you can infer what will come next so much easier than you would with pieces and thus don't have to really read much at all.

In my case it's the opposite, the more repetitive the more difficult to memorize. The thing about things like Hanon is that trying to memorize such repetitive simple patterns stress my brain to the level that I will soon be too tired to actually gain anything from the session. But I guess it's just my unique personal challenge to  have a black hole in the parts of the brain where such simple things are normally retained :)

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Hanon and Other Excerises are VERY IMPORTANT
«Reply #115 on: May 09, 2016, 01:59:53 AM »
In my case it's the opposite, the more repetitive the more difficult to memorize. The thing about things like Hanon is that trying to memorize such repetitive simple patterns stress my brain to the level that I will soon be too tired to actually gain anything from the session.
Well you are a freak case then lol.
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Offline scientificpianopractise

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Re: Hanon and Other Excerises are VERY IMPORTANT
«Reply #116 on: July 24, 2016, 06:40:32 PM »
This is how I see it.  Hanon makes you practice all the possible permutations of the notes.  However, most of these permutations you will never see in a real piece.  In effect, his fragments are much too long to be useful (and, yes, a waste of time).

The shortest fragment is the trill (and you can think of anything as being built up by trills) so that needs to be practiced the most (Liszt also considered the trill the most important I believe). 

I am not sure you need any other practice for one-note-at-a-time play (but I don't have any great arguments about it either).  Two notes at the same time would be octaves and trills of thirds but they are rarely found in pieces.  Fourths you will never see. 

I created "Hanon in 60 seconds" to practice just the minimum length fragments.

https://www.amazon.com/Become-Virtuoso-Pianist-Quickly-Repetition-ebook/dp/B015ZNFG5U/ref=sr_1_sc_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1469385382&sr=8-1-spell&keywords=hanon+in+60+secodns

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Hanon and Other Excerises are VERY IMPORTANT
«Reply #117 on: July 25, 2016, 02:47:43 AM »
This is how I see it.  Hanon makes you practice all the possible permutations of the notes.  However, most of these permutations you will never see in a real piece. 
What? Maybe not the entire exercise in a piece but certainly you will find movements which relate to them.

In effect, his fragments are much too long to be useful (and, yes, a waste of time).
I guess we just have to believe you? Where is your supporting statements for this?

The shortest fragment is the trill (and you can think of anything as being built up by trills) so that needs to be practiced the most (Liszt also considered the trill the most important I believe). 
What is "fragment" and no Liszt would not consider a trill the most important thing to practice.

I am not sure you need any other practice for one-note-at-a-time play (but I don't have any great arguments about it either).  Two notes at the same time would be octaves and trills of thirds but they are rarely found in pieces.  Fourths you will never see. 
I'm not sure what you trying to say here at all.

I created "Hanon in 60 seconds" to practice just the minimum length fragments.

https://www.amazon.com/Become-Virtuoso-Pianist-Quickly-Repetition-ebook/dp/B015ZNFG5U/ref=sr_1_sc_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1469385382&sr=8-1-spell&keywords=hanon+in+60+secodns
Boring why don't you share some knowledge for free.
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Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Hanon and Other Excerises are VERY IMPORTANT
«Reply #118 on: November 30, 2016, 12:18:55 AM »
I don't want to email to argue with you I'd much rather a discussion on here so we can see what you really know. It seems sad you are just peddling your wares without sharing any knowledge at all.
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Offline adodd81802

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Re: Hanon and Other Excerises are VERY IMPORTANT
«Reply #119 on: November 30, 2016, 09:35:20 AM »
It seems you are also correct.
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Offline samdm93

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Re: Hanon and Other Excerises are VERY IMPORTANT
«Reply #120 on: December 20, 2016, 09:36:38 AM »
I agree 50/50 with what you're saying. :) Exercises are important (scales and arpeggios) but there are far more valuable and rewarding exercise books than Hanon. I brought Hanon last year after seeing so many people talk about it online; I finished the first part and gave up if I'm being honest. The entire first chapter was just variations on the ascending and descending C-major scale. I found it dull and uninspiring.

I'd recommend Burgmuller and Czerny for exercises in technique, as they provide short pieces of music which focus on building finger strength/agility, whilst being melodious and musically interesting to play. 

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Hanon and Other Excerises are VERY IMPORTANT
«Reply #121 on: December 21, 2016, 01:17:00 AM »
Though in regards to beginners I can't see any argument that should forbid or avoid the use of Hanon which is the main aim of this thread. Any material you use needs good instruction and the danger with piano is that you can get away with inefficient technical movements and think it is fine unlike many other instruments.
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Offline pianoplayerstar

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Re: Hanon and Other Excerises are VERY IMPORTANT
«Reply #122 on: January 05, 2017, 06:14:30 PM »
lostinidlewonder:  this is a nice post.

How about young pianists who have TALENT & FEEL who can acquire Hanon-type fingerings and dexterity and technique THROUGH SHEER PRACTICE OF PIECES?

AND THEN THERE IS ARTHRITIS:  In other words, those who practice Hanon at an early age, I'm wondering if when they're 60, 80, or 90.. or even 40 or 50 (?!), whether or not they MORE EASILY ARE PRONE TO ARTHRITIS?

as opposed to.....

THE KID WHO IS TALENTED, AND CAN 'FEEL' THE MUSIC, and really doesn't like Hanon or other technique pieces (Horowitz would be mad about this, of course), and simply plays pieces he or she like over and over again, even difficult Liszt or Chopin type of pieces incorporating all of the Hanon-esque technique in there ---> Will Arthritis be delayed?

In other words, would gnarled fingers and Arthritis delay its onset for those who DO NOT PRACTICE HANON, vs. those who DO?

Offline dogperson

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Re: Hanon and Other Excerises are VERY IMPORTANT
«Reply #123 on: January 06, 2017, 01:28:19 AM »
lostinidlewonder:  this is a nice post.

How about young pianists who have TALENT & FEEL who can acquire Hanon-type fingerings and dexterity and technique THROUGH SHEER PRACTICE OF PIECES?

AND THEN THERE IS ARTHRITIS:  In other words, those who practice Hanon at an early age, I'm wondering if when they're 60, 80, or 90.. or even 40 or 50 (?!), whether or not they MORE EASILY ARE PRONE TO ARTHRITIS?

as opposed to.....

THE KID WHO IS TALENTED, AND CAN 'FEEL' THE MUSIC, and really doesn't like Hanon or other technique pieces (Horowitz would be mad about this, of course), and simply plays pieces he or she like over and over again, even difficult Liszt or Chopin type of pieces incorporating all of the Hanon-esque technique in there ---> Will Arthritis be delayed?

In other words, would gnarled fingers and Arthritis delay its onset for those who DO NOT PRACTICE HANON, vs. those who DO?

Not sure where you get these questions.  There is no medical relationship between practicing Hanon or not-practicing Hanon in the development of arthritis nor the delay of arthritis.  .. this includes child-hood or adult practice of Hanon.

You might want to do a little reading on the causes and types of arthritis.

Offline georgey

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Re: Hanon and Other Excerises are VERY IMPORTANT
«Reply #124 on: January 06, 2017, 02:32:38 AM »
Not sure where you get these questions.  There is no medical relationship between practicing Hanon or not-practicing Hanon in the development of arthritis nor the delay of arthritis.  .. this includes child-hood or adult practice of Hanon.

You might want to do a little reading on the causes and types of arthritis.

I developed osteoarthritis (OA) of the hands about 1 year ago and in my case the disease has progressed rapidly in my right index finger (went from being straight to looking like a crooked claw of an old witch in about 8 months) with my right middle finger and left index finger also showing symptoms.  Based on my research and intuition, I developed hand osteoarthritis due to the following reasons listed in order of importance.

Age and genetics – I am age 58 and my mother had bad hand osteoarthritis.  There is a strong genetic component to hand osteoarthritis.  Also, the chances of developing osteoarthritis increases with age.

Hand activity. - Heavy usage and traumatic injuries can result in later development of OA.  I played classical guitar from about ages 12 to 25 and then typed at my job for 30 years using only my index fingers.  These activities may have played a role in the development of my OA.

Imo: Practicing Hanon won’t increase the chances of developing osteoarthritis any more than playing Beethoven or Bach.

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Hanon and Other Excerises are VERY IMPORTANT
«Reply #125 on: January 06, 2017, 08:10:19 AM »
How about young pianists who have TALENT & FEEL who can acquire Hanon-type fingerings and dexterity and technique THROUGH SHEER PRACTICE OF PIECES?
How about? I'm not sure what you are trying to ask. I can guess you are saying, that why bother with hanon if these pianists can learn from pieces. If you read through many of the previous posts this question has been answered already so nothing I add here would be anything new. I would question what is the reason to ignore playing hanon in early development, just because you can experience a movement in pieces doesn't make experiencing them in exercises of no value.

AND THEN THERE IS ARTHRITIS:  In other words, those who practice Hanon at an early age, I'm wondering if when they're 60, 80, or 90.. or even 40 or 50 (?!), whether or not they MORE EASILY ARE PRONE TO ARTHRITIS?
Nope.


THE KID WHO IS TALENTED, AND CAN 'FEEL' THE MUSIC, and really doesn't like Hanon or other technique pieces ... and simply plays pieces ... over and over again, even difficult Liszt or Chopin type of pieces incorporating all of the Hanon-esque technique in there
Someone who can feel the music also must push themselves to be interested in the physical feeling of producing the desired sound. If not then you will be a half baked pianist.

---> Will Arthritis be delayed?
NO ARTHRITIS WITH PIANO LOL. If a study comes out which highlights the fact that pianists have more chance of arthritis then I would question which pianists they are looking at and what is the history of arthritis in each of those pianists family blood line. Arthritis from piano playing you must have really terrible technique and/or push yourself to pain over many years and learn to ignore that pain or consider it normal! I guess that does happen occasionally I've met some frightfully tense pianists who play at quite a high level.


In other words, would gnarled fingers and Arthritis delay its onset for those who DO NOT PRACTICE HANON, vs. those who DO?
I've played hanon and much worse technical finger breaking exercises and my playing mechanism is stronger than when I was in the prime of my physical health. A master pianist becomes physically gentler at the piano and still produce the same product, you become more and more efficient with your actions, you become very good at conserving energy, you will notice that when you see video of top technical players, they don't look like they are doing much at all as opposed to a lesser pianist who looks like a wild whirlwind (though some purposefully do it for showmanship though I don't think it's not demonstrating high level of technical mastery imho!).
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Offline timothy42b

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Re: Hanon and Other Excerises are VERY IMPORTANT
«Reply #126 on: January 06, 2017, 01:31:43 PM »
NO ARTHRITIS WITH PIANO LOL. If a study comes out which highlights the fact that pianists have more chance of arthritis then I would question which pianists they are looking at and what is the history of arthritis in each of those pianists family blood line. Arthritis from piano playing you must have really terrible technique and push yourself to pain over many years and learn to ignore that pain or consider it normal! I guess that does happen occasionally I've met some frightfully tense pianists who play at quite a high level.

In focusing too narrowly on arthritis you may be missing the bigger picture.

Pianists do get injured at very high rates.  Serious pianists have injury rates above 90%.  Most pianists report overuse injuries that have forced them to limit practice or lay off for periods of time. 

It is easy to blame this on bad technique, but in fact the human body was not designed to sit and make small repetitive motions for hours on end. 
Tim

Offline rmbarbosa

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Re: Hanon and Other Excerises are VERY IMPORTANT
«Reply #127 on: January 06, 2017, 07:41:34 PM »
Ok! When I was a kid (4 years old) and my mother gave me the first notions about piano playing, she gave me a book: Schmoll.
Schmoll does not propose exercises. Since the 2º lesson, only music. "Nini et bebe´" was the first piece of music: do - mi - sol - mi - do -mi fa-fa-re-re-mi - do -mi - sol -mi- do- mi- fa -fa -re-re-do-mi-do  :D
the 2º piece was a valse: mi - mi- mi - re -do -sol - fa- fa - re-re-do-do- mi... each lesson had also some musical theory. No runs, no harps, only music.
Schmoll has 5 books, each one with 30 pieces of music. He wrote also another book: " les etrennes du jeune pianiste". After each group of five lessons, there was a piece of Music in "les etrennes". It was suposed to play "les etrennes" with a great care about the musicality.
Schmoll wrote also a book of sonatines. Each of them adapted to the level of the student.
No Hanon, no Czerny... only music.
After the 5 books, we could play grade 7 musics. With scales, harps, thirds (he introduced thirds in the 4º or 5º lesson), octaves, etc...
So, it is possible to teach the beginners without Hanon ...
You may wish to have a look to Schmoll, if you wish to teach your kids...

Offline rmbarbosa

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Re: Hanon and Other Excerises are VERY IMPORTANT
«Reply #128 on: January 06, 2017, 08:20:02 PM »
there`s another thing: first, Our God made us with 10 fingers, 2 hands, 2 arms and 2 feet. After that, we made the piano. So, the piano is adapted to our body. My mother told me that to play is to  "talk" without words but with sounds. And she said that the piano has a "soul" and gives to us what we give to "him".
So everything must be natural, "human", simple. Sometimes, I feel that there is a lot of "theory", "technic", "complications" - but since my 4 years old I allways feel that piano playing is so natural as to speak. I dont need exercices to speak... all is natural, spontaneous...
Of course, when we reach grade 8 or 8+, all is different. But I`m talking about kids. Let them play like they talk. Let them feel the piano as a "friend", not as a monster. Let them enjoy the Music...

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Hanon and Other Excerises are VERY IMPORTANT
«Reply #129 on: January 07, 2017, 06:47:35 AM »
In focusing too narrowly on arthritis you may be missing the bigger picture.
Only focused on it because it's what he was talking about.

Pianists do get injured at very high rates.  Serious pianists have injury rates above 90%.  Most pianists report overuse injuries that have forced them to limit practice or lay off for periods of time. 

It is easy to blame this on bad technique, but in fact the human body was not designed to sit and make small repetitive motions for hours on end. 
I just don't see this in my music circles. I have never had injury except from a glissando where I cut my finger. Practicing wrong well then it's your own fault, who pushes themselves to injury must be insane lol.
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Offline keypeg

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Re: Hanon and Other Excerises are VERY IMPORTANT
«Reply #130 on: January 07, 2017, 02:38:55 PM »
Only focused on it because it's what he was talking about.
I just don't see this in my music circles. I have never had injury except from a glissando where I cut my finger. Practicing wrong well then it's your own fault, who pushes themselves to injury must be insane lol.
This being the teacher forum (I think you'll agree with what I will say):

Injury tends to be due to poor movement, i.e. a "technique" that is harmful.  Now, if a student is being properly guided, but chooses to ignore that guidance and maybe chooses to rush ahead to things he hasn't been taught to do, then yes, that is the student's fault.  But if he is not being guided, or worse, is mistaught in regards to efficient movement, then it is that teacher's fault, not the student's.  In other words, the teaching and thus learning of efficient movement is important.  I think from all that I've read in the past, that you stress doing this as a teacher - am I correct?

Those in your music circles are probably professional musicians, not poorly taught or wilful students - they have learned how to move properly in their development on their way to becoming professional pianists.

The whole "issue" with Hanon is probably due to how it is done physically, rather than those series of notes.  For example, if someone does Hanon in an old fashioned outdated way, keeping the hands so still that you could balance a pencil on it, lifting individual fingers high and slamming them down while keeping the wrist rigid, focusing on "strong" fingers - injury is likely.  If a student has learned to sit ramrod straight gets into being fixed that way immobile, ditto.  Because it's all repetitive, injury is more likely than in a fleeting passage.  If that student then ends up with those habits he has been trained into, they will go to other things he plays.  That's where the injury comes.

Meanwhile the question you were trying to answer tends to always come from the same place, I'm thinking.

Offline timothy42b

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Re: Hanon and Other Excerises are VERY IMPORTANT
«Reply #131 on: January 07, 2017, 06:06:49 PM »
This being the teacher forum (I think you'll agree with what I will say):

Injury tends to be due to poor movement, i.e. a "technique" that is harmful. 

He will agree but I do not.

Poor movement is highly likely to lead to injury, yes.

However the results of musical injuries across various instruments shows the incidence of injury is far too high to be caused only by poor movement.  Correct movement can do it too.

I think the reason for this is mostly in several factors:  most of what we do is inherently prone to produce cumulative trauma disorders, and our personal physiques vary widely (how our tendons attach, how our joints flex, etc)in how vulnerable we are and in how rapidly our bodies repair microtrauma. 
Tim

Offline keypeg

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Re: Hanon and Other Excerises are VERY IMPORTANT
«Reply #132 on: January 07, 2017, 07:49:03 PM »
He will agree but I do not.

Poor movement is highly likely to lead to injury, yes.

However the results of musical injuries across various instruments shows the incidence of injury is far too high to be caused only by poor movement. 
I have studied two instruments as an adult: piano and violin.  What I encountered in my total experience during the violin time caused me to look carefully at piano.  I am recovering on both instruments at present, since on piano I was self-taught.  I discovered that some same poor concepts existed in both instruments, and conversely, certain core principles applied equally to both instruments (including to some other disciplines).  Therefore, if there is injury across instruments, it may still be due to poor movement.
Quote
Correct movement can do it too.
Can you give an example of a correct movement that will cause injury?  Conversely, if it is causing injury, is it in fact a correct movement?  ;)

Offline timothy42b

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Re: Hanon and Other Excerises are VERY IMPORTANT
«Reply #133 on: January 07, 2017, 11:38:03 PM »
.Can you give an example of a correct movement that will cause injury?  Conversely, if it is causing injury, is it in fact a correct movement?  ;)

Let me turn that question around.

Can you give me an example of any instrument that is so well designed ergonomically that it doesn't require some awkward positions? 

We have to adapt ourselves to the instrument, rather than the other way around.  We try to keep correct posture, relaxed motions, but there is only so much you can do. 
Tim

Offline georgey

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Re: Hanon and Other Excerises are VERY IMPORTANT
«Reply #134 on: January 08, 2017, 12:58:26 AM »
Let me turn that question around.

Can you give me an example of any instrument that is so well designed ergonomically that it doesn't require some awkward positions? 

We have to adapt ourselves to the instrument, rather than the other way around.  We try to keep correct posture, relaxed motions, but there is only so much you can do. 

Good point.  Also, many/most composers probably give little thought about what fits well to the average hand and so we also have to try to adapt to the composers wishes.  I would say that in general playing the piano is safe if you happen to have healthy hands (good genetics), learn good technique (good instruction) and practice with care (good common sense).  Even if you have all 3, there is still a chance of injury.   

Offline georgey

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Re: Hanon and Other Excerises are VERY IMPORTANT
«Reply #135 on: January 08, 2017, 02:17:17 AM »
I have studied two instruments as an adult: piano and violin.  What I encountered in my total experience during the violin time caused me to look carefully at piano.  I am recovering on both instruments at present, since on piano I was self-taught.  I discovered that some same poor concepts existed in both instruments, and conversely, certain core principles applied equally to both instruments (including to some other disciplines).  Therefore, if there is injury across instruments, it may still be due to poor movement.Can you give an example of a correct movement that will cause injury?  Conversely, if it is causing injury, is it in fact a correct movement?  ;)

Great questions.  If you define a correct movement as one that does not cause injury, then there will be no such examples.  Unfortunately, imo, not everyone is able to do correct movements in all passages of music that they play (even with great instruction) due to the structure or inherent weaknesses of their hands.  Hopefully they have good common sense to abandon or postpose playing a piece if there are problems.  I agree that the first step is to rule out faulty technique as the cause of the problem.

Offline vaniii

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Re: Hanon and Other Excerises are VERY IMPORTANT
«Reply #136 on: January 08, 2017, 02:36:21 AM »
... um.

When you pick up a tomato, you do not feel pain, or for that matter squelch the fruit to oblivion.

The only way this will happen is if you are trying too hard, that is clenching you hands disproportionately.

Many other examples and analogies could be made.

Immediately, I can hear people saying "pfff, yeah right ... playing music is different", to which I will reply, no it is not, unless you build up an image in your mind that is different to the reality.  Finger depresses key (in regards to piano, the most basic form of technique should cover this).

It does not take much to create good movements, however, if the person fundamentally paid this area no attention at the start, or, furthermore, was not instructed in what good movement is, they will ultimately  set up a flawed technique that will then need to be remedied over months, if not years.

Sorry to chime in, but the discussion was making my fingers itchy (no pun intended).

Offline georgey

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Re: Hanon and Other Excerises are VERY IMPORTANT
«Reply #137 on: January 08, 2017, 03:15:39 AM »
... um.

When you pick up a tomato, you do not feel pain, or for that matter squelch the fruit to oblivion.

The only way this will happen is if you are trying too hard, that is clenching you hands disproportionately.


The only way…?  What if you have a broken thumb?  ;) I agree picking up a tomato does not usually hurt, assuming the person does not have one of several diseases that cause hand/wrist/forearm pain where the disease was not caused by inappropriate use of the hand/wrist/forearm.  I agree that the starting point is to rule out poor technique as the cause of injuries or discomfort.

Offline ted

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Re: Hanon and Other Excerises are VERY IMPORTANT
«Reply #138 on: January 08, 2017, 05:21:20 AM »
I had to read the whole thread first to make sure I had not been rash enough to post in it. Nice to see all those old names again - bernhard, xvimbi and dear old Susan with her delightful non sequiturs. Most of it has been pretty intelligent and informed though, with some posters taking much time and trouble.
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Offline georgey

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Re: Hanon and Other Excerises are VERY IMPORTANT
«Reply #139 on: January 08, 2017, 06:10:34 AM »
... um.

When you pick up a tomato, you do not feel pain, or for that matter squelch the fruit to oblivion.

The only way this will happen is if you are trying too hard, that is clenching you hands disproportionately.



A little off topic perhaps.  Sorry for 2nd post. Permit me to be a little silly.  This may relate to the tomato analogy.  Try telling Rhonda that it does not hurt to pick up a tomato.  ;) ;)

Rhonda worked as a tomato picker in North Queensland for 16 years spending up to 60 hours a week in the fields at the height of the season. By 1983 she had developed symptoms of pesticide poisoning; headaches, a swollen face, skin rashes, hair loss, blood blisters on the mouth, brittle hair, hair loss and bad nerves. Her condition worsened and she contracted a blood disorder. There is no doubt in Rhonda’s mind about her exposure. She recalls direct contact with pesticides on the actual plants as well as contact with contaminated spray equipment and clothing. She also recalls being covered with spray from planes, and breathing in the fumes as she worked. Most of her workmates had allergies and headaches in the picking season and she knows of six other Bowen residents with the same blood disorder as hers.

Offline timothy42b

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Re: Hanon and Other Excerises are VERY IMPORTANT
«Reply #140 on: January 08, 2017, 02:48:44 PM »
... um.

When you pick up a tomato, you do not feel pain, or for that matter squelch the fruit to oblivion.



No of course not.  Most of us will pick up a tomato for about 10 seconds once a week.

If you squatted and picked one out of the field, hour after hour, day after day, year after year, like the poorly paid worker who does that, it might be a different story.  I would bet 100% of them have chronic pain in the back and other joints.

That might be more similar to piano practice than we think.

Then, step two.  When a farm worker supporting a family on minimum wage DOES get injured, what do they do?  They keep working and make it worse, because they have no choice.

What does a pianist do when they develop a minor injury?  Lay off for a couple weeks and let it heal?  Or are they just as driven, though with different motivation, and continue playing until they make it worse, even permanent?

Most of the time it takes a significant amount of repetitive motions to create that injury.  Occasionally though we do see that kind of freak one time injury, when picking up the tomato exposes some unsuspected propensity to injury, caused by the unique nature of that person's physiology.  I've seen that at work, where somebody lifts an object that the next guy could have picked up hundreds of times, and his back goes out the first time due to some structural problem he didn't know about. 

For piano, we might practice a mere 3 hours a day.  But our day job might require us to type on a computer 6 or 8 hours a day, and then we pick up a guitar and twist the hand yet another way, and that's more than it can stand. 
Tim

Offline georgey

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Re: Hanon and Other Excerises are VERY IMPORTANT
«Reply #141 on: January 08, 2017, 04:24:12 PM »
No of course not.  Most of us will pick up a tomato for about 10 seconds once a week.

If you squatted and picked one out of the field, hour after hour, day after day, year after year, like the poorly paid worker who does that, it might be a different story.  I would bet 100% of them have chronic pain in the back and other joints.

That might be more similar to piano practice than we think.

Then, step two.  When a farm worker supporting a family on minimum wage DOES get injured, what do they do?  They keep working and make it worse, because they have no choice.

What does a pianist do when they develop a minor injury?  Lay off for a couple weeks and let it heal?  Or are they just as driven, though with different motivation, and continue playing until they make it worse, even permanent?

Most of the time it takes a significant amount of repetitive motions to create that injury.  Occasionally though we do see that kind of freak one time injury, when picking up the tomato exposes some unsuspected propensity to injury, caused by the unique nature of that person's physiology.  I've seen that at work, where somebody lifts an object that the next guy could have picked up hundreds of times, and his back goes out the first time due to some structural problem he didn't know about.  

For piano, we might practice a mere 3 hours a day.  But our day job might require us to type on a computer 6 or 8 hours a day, and then we pick up a guitar and twist the hand yet another way, and that's more than it can stand.  

All good points.  I tried finding an example of tomato pickers that had symptoms of repetitive motion disorders (RMD’s) but could only find after a very quick search cases like Rhonda involving pesticides.  3 points:  1)  I would guess that Rhonda also had symptoms of RMD but they were not listed because the story was on the effects of pesticides, 2) If Rhonda only picked tomatoes for a few minutes a week and washed her hands after doing so,  my guess is she would not have developed her symptoms from pesticide exposure.  The body can’t adapt to over exposure to certain substances or certain repetitive motions, etc.  The line between acceptable exposure and over exposure can often be a grey area and difficult to see.  3) Be sure to locate your piano in a non-toxic environment if you have the ability to do so.

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Hanon and Other Excerises are VERY IMPORTANT
«Reply #142 on: January 09, 2017, 02:52:47 AM »
Doing exercise generally will not increase risk of damage to your body. http://www.abc.net.au/health/talkinghealth/factbuster/stories/2012/06/12/3523522.htm

Staying completely at rest is detrimental to our health, why coma patients require exercise done for them? https://easyphamax2u.wordpress.com/tag/physiotherapy-for-comatose-patients/


Playing the piano should not be hand in hand with pain imho. I experienced discomfort when playing early on as a child, my hands were small I had to expand much more than adult hands, physically weaker, going through the many stages of learning how to play comfortably with less effort etc etc. Even in those early days I didn't push myself into the pain zone for extended periods of time, a small amount of lactic acid burn in the muscles was ok but it was always followed by recovery period. My hands now are quite strong compared to my childhood, i have developed muscles on my entire arms, forearm and fingers which all help the efficiency of my playing. I disagree that muscles do not help your playing mechanism, otheriwse a 90 year old could play piano at full force, the more efficient your muscles are the more this can help you playing mechanism too and help you avoid injury.

If something hurts you must stop and reassess your approach. I still may experience some discomfort when practicing difficult technical passages I am trying to solve but I won't be stupid and do the inefficient movements for hours on end in hope that it will solve itself. This is another reason why brute force mindless repetition is silly, extra physical exertion (often with bad technical control) which can increase the chance of injury. I have a good enough practice method to train it without experiencing pain, there is simply no need to hurt yourself, in this case "no pain is much gain!"  If you experience pain that is because you are going about training yourself in an unhealthy manner, it may produce results yes but if you are going to push yourself into pain then you may indeed have to pay the consequences some time later down the track. If you have the appropriate technique what you play should feel predominantly soft and easy on your hands if not you need a strategy to acquire it not just repeat repeat repeat.

Injury tends to be due to poor movement, i.e. a "technique" that is harmful.  
Yes and this also extends to practice method, a student who is used to brute force repetitive practice risks injury also because they do not have the tools to learn a passage without playing it a billion times.

Now, if a student is being properly guided, but chooses to ignore that guidance and maybe chooses to rush ahead to things he hasn't been taught to do, then yes, that is the student's fault.
Yes. It is a good experience to play not so well then compare it to a better methodology. If a student hurts themselves then perhaps they should treat this as a lesson into listening to their body a bit more carefully and perhaps listening to some of their teachers advice! Though you will find many teachers simply don't tell their students how to practice but rather what to practice. So these students end up practicing inefficiently and hurting themselves, that is the teachers fault.



But if he is not being guided, or worse, is mistaught in regards to efficient movement, then it is that teacher's fault, not the student's.  In other words, the teaching and thus learning of efficient movement is important.  I think from all that I've read in the past, that you stress doing this as a teacher - am I correct?
A students cannot magically do the correct movements just because they understand how to do it and demonstrate it in a lesson with a teacher. When alone of course they are not always going to be able to reproduce it exactly during their practice sessions. This is where practice methodology needs to come under the microscope and a real reason why many mediocre teachers fail at helping their students. They tell them "what" to practice but not "how" to do it on their own. Also if a teacher gives them a piece which causes them injury then they probably have overstepped the mark in terms of piece difficulty! I'm sure my students practice wrong all the time (as well as correct when they put their minds to it and read our lesson notes!) without me guiding them but they don't injure themselves!! You need a special type of student, one who practice stubbornly a whole lot every day AND practices until they are in pain.



Those in your music circles are probably professional musicians, not poorly taught or wilful students - they have learned how to move properly in their development on their way to becoming professional pianists.
Many students of all levels in my music circle it's not just my professional circle. Injury is a very rare thing to see because of piano playing, I just can't remember off the top of my head of anyone I know personally who has injury from piano playing. Those with injury I know have acquired it from other activities. If it hurts stop, it's pretty simple, if you follow this rule you can't hurt yourself playing piano. When I teach early beginners yes I see tension in their playing but we don't let them hurt themselves, always ask how they feel and when they say they feel tired we give them a break and let them know that is ok to stop and rest. Beginners will play with tension its unavoidable but that doesn't cause them injury when playing piano, you simply don't choose to hurt yourself by pushing past pain barrier stupidly.



The whole "issue" with Hanon is probably due to how it is done physically, rather than those series of notes.  For example, if someone does Hanon in an old fashioned outdated way, keeping the hands so still that you could balance a pencil on it, lifting individual fingers high and slamming them down while keeping the wrist rigid, focusing on "strong" fingers - injury is likely.
Maybe its just because I taught a lot of Aussies and we are a tough breed hahaha. Injury is not likely if you play with terrible technique only if you really start to feel pain while doing it and put up with the pain while playing for long periods of time. An early beginner will play with poor technique that is fine, you can't copy paste ideas of mastery into their hands it must form over time. I don't want to explain the process as it would be pages long but just because you play with poor technique doesn't mean that you will injure yourself. I rarely see perfect technique anyway even at the higher levels, everyone has some kind of inefficiency to their playing we are not perfect beings, but you don't see injury from this because imperfect technique does not always cause pain that will lead to injury.  


Poor movement is highly likely to lead to injury, yes.

.... Correct movement can do it too.


Any movement can cause injury if you are stupid enough to repeat so many times that you wear yourself down and start feeling pain. Though even the most technically demanding movements on the piano can be made somewhat soft and efficient in the hands, there are really difficult fingerings which cause some type of tension but they exist only for a small fraction of time, some obsessed pianist might focus in on this difficult point and repeat upon it desperate for solution. This may cause damage I am sure, but it is a poor practice method, relying on brute force, this is their downfall, they might have great technique but their approach is failing.

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Offline keypeg

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Re: Hanon and Other Excerises are VERY IMPORTANT
«Reply #143 on: January 10, 2017, 04:10:44 PM »
One thing about listening to a teacher's advice - If it is harmful advice, then ignoring it would be better.  The same holds true if self-teaching and using the wrong books.  I had the experience twice.  One involved teacher instruction on another instrument.  The other was an old fashioned book advising that for scales you rapidly jerk the thumb under the hand and do some kind of preparatory calisthenics.  If you pair that with a stiff wrist, immobile forearm and arm, it can lead to injury and this is not just related to doing it for a long time.  I stopped doing scales when my hands started going numb.  Right now in another forum there is a student under a doctor's (specialist) care because of an identified thumb-related injury which came from a similar thing.

Your advice to listen to the body is a good one.  That said, I was told recently by someone that his or her childhood teacher had forced unnatural things while stating that discomfort was a necessary "growing pains" on the way to "strong fingers".  There were old schools that advocated "still hands" on which you can rest a pencil, and even mechanical devices attached to pianos at one time to keep the forearms from moving so that only the fingers would move.  Unfortunately vestiges of that mentality still remain here and there. 

I am with a good teacher these days.  One thing I'm told repeatedly is to seek at the same time comfort and good sound.  That should also bring you toward more efficient technique as you experiment along with guidance.

Offline keypeg

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Re: Hanon and Other Excerises are VERY IMPORTANT
«Reply #144 on: January 10, 2017, 04:18:07 PM »
Tim, I suppose that doing something over and over for a long time can cause injury.  Muscles get tight and so on, and something that has become rigid can get injured.  But then also, at that point, are you still moving efficiently?
However, I was writing about Hanon, since that is the topic of the thread.  There is a big controversy about Hanon with statements about injury on the "against" camp.  But there are also instructions that are injurious, like hammering down with high fingers while keeping motionless arms (and thus probably stiff wrists), compounded by a repetitive action.  It would not be the method itself, but all these things combined.  If it is approached differently, it would have a different effect.  That's what I'm saying.

Offline timothy42b

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Re: Hanon and Other Excerises are VERY IMPORTANT
«Reply #145 on: January 10, 2017, 04:38:24 PM »


Many students of all levels in my music circle it's not just my professional circle. Injury is a very rare thing to see because of piano playing, I just can't remember off the top of my head of anyone I know personally who has injury from piano playing.

You are very unusual then.  Other musicians know many people with injuries.  I know people with injuries.

http://www.wellbalancedpianist.com/pianoinjury.htm

Or from this one:
http://www.peabody.jhu.edu/past_issues/fall09/musician_heal_thyself.html

Quote
Consider that a recent survey of 330 incoming freshman students at a Midwestern school of music showed 79 percent with a history of “playing-related pain.”

“In a population of…young people presumably in otherwise good health and with a ‘clean slate,’” noted the study published in the journal Medical Problems of Performing Artists (MPPA), “the majority had already encountered music-induced pain as high school students or younger.”

You say it's rare, Peabody says "the majority." 
Tim

Offline stevensk

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Re: Hanon and Other Excerises are VERY IMPORTANT
«Reply #146 on: January 10, 2017, 05:29:18 PM »
You are very unusual then.  Other musicians know many people with injuries.  I know people with injuries.


-I haven seen or heard pianists who had injuries from piano playing, exept back problems. But all kind of injuries are a common problem for string players and woodwind players (and brass).

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Hanon and Other Excerises are VERY IMPORTANT
«Reply #147 on: January 11, 2017, 12:31:23 AM »
You are very unusual then.  Other musicians know many people with injuries.  I know people with injuries.

http://www.wellbalancedpianist.com/pianoinjury.htm

Or from this one:
http://www.peabody.jhu.edu/past_issues/fall09/musician_heal_thyself.html

You say it's rare, Peabody says "the majority."  



Its a stupid statistic you are reading, i had a quick skim of the page and read this:

"1980's showing the prevalence of injury ranging from 5% to 80% of musicians."

now 5% to 80%?? That to me seem very large bounds and not very accurate.

I am only speaking from my experience of teaching 20+ years and hundreds of students as individuals, I just don't see students hurting themselves from piano. It is NOT normal in my circles, I am not blind to what happens in my country so like I said, probably us Aussies are just a tougher breed lol.
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Offline georgey

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Re: Hanon and Other Excerises are VERY IMPORTANT
«Reply #148 on: January 11, 2017, 01:12:10 AM »
I’m hoping most of us can agree on all of the following statements:

1) For most people, piano is a safe pursuit.

2) It is possible to injure yourself while playing the piano with improper practice techniques.

http://pianomap.com/injuries/

3) Not everyone is able to pursue piano because of health issues that may or may not be related to improper practicing.

4) For those who are able to practice piano, practicing Hanon may or may not be productive, but it can generally be done in a safe way if done with proper technique and in moderate amounts.

5) It is best to locate your piano in a toxic-free environment.

This is my last post until summer.  Happy practicing!

Offline timothy42b

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Re: Hanon and Other Excerises are VERY IMPORTANT
«Reply #149 on: January 11, 2017, 03:16:21 AM »

Its a stupid statistic you are reading, i had a quick skim of the page and read this:

"1980's showing the prevalence of injury ranging from 5% to 80% of musicians."


You're deliberately being obtuse, which is not unusual for you.

The article explains clearly why statistics can differ.

The Peabody article is definitive.  79% of their incoming freshman have been injured.  Of course you wouldn't know what Peabody is, but it is a prestigious US musical conservatory.  Everybody entering is not only talented but has had the best instruction, or they wouldn't be there.  And they're still hurt. 

I don't believe Australians are any different.  I just believe you're blind to what goes on. 
Tim