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Topic: Developing Finger Independence  (Read 8692 times)

Offline chopinfan_22

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Developing Finger Independence
on: July 11, 2006, 07:23:11 PM
After having talked to my instructor about this, we found something out about the way I play. It seems that my 5th finger on both hands wants to follow the 4th fingers whenever they move. My 5th fingers will move up and down and all over the place based on the way the 4th fingers move. This would eventually lead to exhaustion in both hands and arms, and my teacher also concluded that this is the reason why Hanon would hurt whenever I would play it. When she told me to try the first Hanon exercise, we found that my 5th fingers would move everywhere, as if they had a mind of their own, and did not want to stay in the same place. We are currently working on a way to overcome this problem. One of her suggestions is to play the Hanon exercises very slowly, concentrating on keeping the 5th fingers on the keys they are supposed to be on, and to prevent them from moving elsewhere. So far this has worked, but I would like to know what you all think, or if you have any suggestions on developing finger independence.

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
"When I look around me, I must sigh, for what I see is contrary to my religion and I must despize the world which does not know that music is a higher revelation beyond all wisdom and philosophy."

Offline thalbergmad

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Re: Developing Finger Independence
Reply #1 on: July 11, 2006, 07:59:13 PM
You should do a search on this one as there have been about 2,000 posts on this subject.

Hanon is supposed to be very dangerous and it is impossible to achieve finger indepence without having surgery.

Check out the posts by the world famous Bernhard.

Thal
Curator/Director
Concerto Preservation Society

Offline chopinfan_22

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Re: Developing Finger Independence
Reply #2 on: July 11, 2006, 08:04:13 PM
There are those that testify against Hanon, there are also those that support it. So far in my practicing of Hanon in the manner my teachers suggests, I have felt no pain. Until I feel pain, I don't see a reason to stop.

I know what Bernhard thinks on the subject. But this is my thinking... if Hanon is a waste of time, then how else do you develop technique? Through Czerny? Pischna? Brahms? The etudes of Chopin and Liszt? What? Some think that you develop technique by expanding your repertoire, but I'm not so sure.
"When I look around me, I must sigh, for what I see is contrary to my religion and I must despize the world which does not know that music is a higher revelation beyond all wisdom and philosophy."

Offline bella musica

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Re: Developing Finger Independence
Reply #3 on: July 11, 2006, 09:26:45 PM
There are 2 basic schools of thought on Hanon (Czerny, Pischna, scales & arpeggios, exercises, etc.), these being violent opposal, or enthusiastic approval.

I think that different things work for different people.  If Hanon helps you, by all means play Hanon.  If it hinders you, don't.  That's all there is to it.  There is no use in people posting long (and oftentimes redundant) theses on whether or not you should use Hanon or not, because no single answer is going to work for all pianists. 
A and B the C of D.

Offline thorn

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Re: Developing Finger Independence
Reply #4 on: July 11, 2006, 09:57:40 PM
Liszt Technical Exercises Bk 1

Offline krenske

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Re: Developing Finger Independence
Reply #5 on: July 11, 2006, 10:15:45 PM
I agree, Liszt excercises!!!!
"Horowitz died so Krenske could live."

Offline chopinfan_22

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Re: Developing Finger Independence
Reply #6 on: July 11, 2006, 11:29:08 PM
Don't you think that Liszt's compositions are a little advanced for me?
"When I look around me, I must sigh, for what I see is contrary to my religion and I must despize the world which does not know that music is a higher revelation beyond all wisdom and philosophy."

Offline ramseytheii

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Re: Developing Finger Independence
Reply #7 on: July 12, 2006, 12:11:07 AM
I've read with fascination Bernhard's many posts on this subject, but I want to ask, if there is no such thing as finger independence, what should we call it when we experience something that feels like finger independence? 

Walter Ramsey

Offline debussy symbolism

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Re: Developing Finger Independence
Reply #8 on: July 12, 2006, 01:12:02 AM
"Finger Independance" is when you can consciously control the movement of each finger. When you can play patterns with fingers whilst holding down one or more fingers. Although I do not like Hanon, I do love Czerny. I think that the biggest danger in these excercises, especially Hanon in my opinion, is that it build up tension, and their repetitive(Hanon) nature doesn't allow the tension to release. Czerny gives you more chance to relax, however on Hanon, I think that you need to play the excercises so slow, that after each repetition you make sure that both the arm, the wrist, the fingers, the feet, the facial features, etc are completely relaxed, otherwise you are hurting yourself. I think that the reason Hanon proves to be so "dangerous" is that it is boring. The excercise just flies through without the mind focusing on it. With Czerny it is much easier to comprehend the music, even enjoy it because of its beauty. To get back to finger independance, I found Schmitt much more helpful(I still do it). It involves holding from one finger to 4, whilst playing note patterns with the others. I also do diminished 7th finger independance excercises, which also includes holding down one finger while playing note patterns, chords, etc with the others.

Offline mikey6

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Re: Developing Finger Independence
Reply #9 on: July 12, 2006, 01:36:35 AM
Don't you think that Liszt's compositions are a little advanced for me?

Don't We think? It's up to you! If there too difficult, don't play them.
Never look at the trombones. You'll only encourage them.
Richard Strauss

Offline will

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Re: Developing Finger Independence
Reply #10 on: July 12, 2006, 01:41:57 AM
After having talked to my instructor about this, we found something out about the way I play. It seems that my 5th finger on both hands wants to follow the 4th fingers whenever they move. My 5th fingers will move up and down and all over the place based on the way the 4th fingers move. This would eventually lead to exhaustion in both hands and arms, and my teacher also concluded that this is the reason why Hanon would hurt whenever I would play it.
How does this eventually lead to exhaustion?

When she told me to try the first Hanon exercise, we found that my 5th fingers would move everywhere, as if they had a mind of their own, and did not want to stay in the same place. We are currently working on a way to overcome this problem.
How is this a problem? What does it interfere with?

One of her suggestions is to play the Hanon exercises very slowly, concentrating on keeping the 5th fingers on the keys they are supposed to be on, and to prevent them from moving elsewhere. So far this has worked, but I would like to know what you all think, or if you have any suggestions on developing finger independence.
Play repertoire not Hanon or similar.
I find it useful to concentrate on the sound I want to make.
If that doesn't work and I need to change the motions I make then I find it better to concentrate on the moving parts of my body rather than the parts that are not moving. Concentrating on 'keeping the 5th fingers on the keys' may interefere with your natural flow of playing and introduce unnecessary tensions.

Offline bernhard

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Re: Developing Finger Independence
Reply #11 on: July 12, 2006, 01:48:12 AM
I've read with fascination Bernhard's many posts on this subject, but I want to ask, if there is no such thing as finger independence, what should we call it when we experience something that feels like finger independence? 

Walter Ramsey


There is no finger independence as far as finger "lifting" is concerned.  Bringing the finger down, is completely different because the finger flexors do not share tendons.

So one must learn how to lift the fingers by rotation, forearm lifting, etc.  You will lift the fingers but as the final and minimal motion of a chain of co-ordinated motions that start at the shoulder girdle.

A karate master uses his fist, but does not punch with it. The punch starts at the hip level and it is transmitted to the fist as its ultimate point of contact.  People who are ignorant on the true baiscs of the matial arts start at the fist and concentrate on the fist (make the fist stronger! condition your fists!), sometimes they concentrate on the arms (1000 push ups a day!). But true martial artists know that all of this is silly and ultimately misguided. Instead of worrying about fist conditioning and arm strength, they develop deadly punches by aligning their joints and practising specific co-ordinations of movement that have the hip as its main power-generator (of course for this to happen the legs must provide good anchorage - hece the emphasis on the several leg postures in good martial art schools) - and by targetting vital points.

So, to answer your question, what we feel as "independence" is actually the very opposite: it is co-ordination between the several elements of the playing apparatus.  Faulty technique is always the result of a less than perfect co-ordination (which includes joint alignment).

Unless this problem is solved (and it will certainly not be solved by addressing it as "finger independence" - since then the efforts will be directed at the wrong diagnosis), suggestion of this or that exercise are not going to solve anything. For if you have faulty co-ordination, that is how you are going to play the exercise (or piece): with faulty co-ordination. You may even practise so much that the faulty co-ordination becames comfortable (to a point), and then you will convince yourself of the usefulness of the exercise: "Thanks to [exercise of your choice] I have acquired the technique!" when all you did was to get good at the wrong thing.

I have recently been watching a number of videos by 8 - 10 year olds in youtube.  Some of the children are playing reasonablįy difficult pieces, with good musicality and convincing interpretations. But it is painful to watch how they can manage that in spite of some or the most atrociously unco-ordinated motions. Which again goes to show that you can play well (soundwise) with terrible technique.  You can see where the wrong motions are all originating from: the main culprit if the lifting high of finger and immobile arms. Then you have - at the other end of the scale - the unnecessary arm motions and swaying, motions of such needlessness and unnaturalness, that it is obvius that they are either imitating their teacherīs way of playing, or have been taught to do so in the name of "beautiful arm choreography" or displaying emotion.  One particular 8 year old girl already has so many "use-of-the body" problems, that I wonder if she is not already injured (she certainly seemed to be in pain).

I have also had the opprotunity to watch Lang Lang playing Liebestraumm, and I had to burst out laughing. That guy is a total clown. And he has terrible technique! He made a total pastiche of the piece. >:(

Fortunately I also came across Koji Atwoodīs playing the Liadov preludes. What a wonderful technique in its true sense of the word. No wasted motions, the most difficult fingerwork done with ease and comfort , perfect posture, minimum expenditure of energy for maximum musical effects. And to top it all, Koji exudes musical integrity! :D

And if you want to see more good examples of what is meant by good technique, see (again on youtube) a young Nelson Freire playing Moskowsky etudes, and Sokolow playing Couperinīs "Le Tic Toc Chok"  (although his posture cound be improved).

(Mind you, just  like you can generate a beautiful sound with terrible technique, you can also have a very good technique -in the sense  above - with mediocre musical results.)

Chopinfanīs teacher seems to get the right idea: S/he seems to be investigating the causes of the problem by observing carefully what is going on. Of course, Hanon is not necessary for that. Any sequence of notes will do.

Finally to Chopinfan: Realise that your problem is not muscular and will not be solved by addressing it as such. Your problem is nervous (that is, nerve related). Investigate how you move a finger: Your brain must send a message through your nerves to the muscles that move your fingers. What I am telling you is that you must work on the brain-nerve section of this path. Not on the muscle part. The whole secret of co-ordinated playing (which lead to the illusion of independence) is based on the ability to inhibit nerve messages where they need to be inhibited and stimulating them where thy need to be stimulated. This is slow work at first, but soon it gets programmed into your unconscious and you will do it intuitively, without having to pay any attention to it. But this will come later. For the moment you will really need to focus on it.

Best wishes,
Bernhard.

The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline walking_encyclopedia

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Re: Developing Finger Independence
Reply #12 on: July 12, 2006, 02:19:09 AM
So far in my practicing of Hanon in the manner my teachers suggests, I have felt no pain. Until I feel pain, I don't see a reason to stop.

dude, don't risk it.

i recommend getting czerny's school of velocity and practicing the first book slow, working up to higher speed gradually. supplement that with scales and arpeggios in all the keys, and add a couple of chopin etudes. then remember, don't overdo technic practice.

spending an hour pounding endless repetitions of hanon can not only be incredibly boring and useless, but can result in a repetetive-motion injury. it's just not worth it.

practicing czerny and chopin which are full of wide arpeggios and reaches, will better develop flexibility of the wrist, as well as amazing finger facility. practicing fast tight exercises such as hanon won't do anything for you, and can possibly injure you.

good luck

danny

Offline gee

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Re: Developing Finger Independence
Reply #13 on: July 12, 2006, 05:18:31 AM
Hey chopinfan, I had the same problem as you when i first met my new teacher. My pinky would always follow the fourth. That's because the fourth finger is not independend enough right? Anyways, I did a few stretches a day where i held my fourth finger high for a bit, and all the other fingers down and it worked for me. My teacher also taught hanon to me which helped a lot. But the gerneral finger excercises must be done slowly, and does not require too much time in practise. around 15 minutes was okay for me to play a series of the excercises. They included 1 gerneral finger excercise, i thumb excercise, and 2 octave excercises. Anyways, this was just my personal experiences. Feel free to give it a shot though!

Offline repeat

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Re: Developing Finger Independence
Reply #14 on: July 12, 2006, 10:57:06 AM
I agree that Hanon is boring in their repetitiveness. But I find that the repetitiveness is just what makes them effective, just so long as you avoid the build up of tension. I play through the first part as a warm up every day, and it works wonders for strength and independence for me. I play them detacheī or semi staccato with a slightly raised wrist, and concentrate on relaxing the hand and fingers completely, except  for the finger that goes down. This state of relaxation I think is crucial. At the same time I minimize finger movement  with the help of a slight movement from the the elbow. 
A slightly pounding sensation alternating from fingertip  to fingertip is what I feel. Not too fast.   15 minutes of this, going through the first part/twenty exercises, and my fingers feel ready for anything. But boring, yes unfortunately. Still, I find it's my best spent 15 minutes of my day.

Offline chopinfan_22

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Re: Developing Finger Independence
Reply #15 on: July 12, 2006, 04:41:21 PM
I agree that Hanon is boring in their repetitiveness. But I find that the repetitiveness is just what makes them effective, just so long as you avoid the build up of tension. I play through the first part as a warm up every day, and it works wonders for strength and independence for me. I play them detacheī or semi staccato with a slightly raised wrist, and concentrate on relaxing the hand and fingers completely, except  for the finger that goes down. This state of relaxation I think is crucial. At the same time I minimize finger movement  with the help of a slight movement from the the elbow. 
A slightly pounding sensation alternating from fingertip  to fingertip is what I feel. Not too fast.   15 minutes of this, going through the first part/twenty exercises, and my fingers feel ready for anything. But boring, yes unfortunately. Still, I find it's my best spent 15 minutes of my day.



I agree fully with you, and I think I may practice them in that way.  My teacher's way of doing Hanon goes like this. Learn the patterns in the first four exercises. Now, practice those four exercises all the way through, no repeats, stopping only on the last note in exercise 4. Now, you must practice these very very slowly. Gradually, build up speed, to a metronome mark of 60 (right now, since I just started this routine, my metronome mark is set to 30). Once you've gotten the first four exercises learned, and you can perform them in the manner that I described, you learn the next four exercises. Practice the first four at a metronome mark of 60, and do not go faster than that. Practice the next four exercises at a mm. 30, build up to 60. Once you've done that, play through the first 8 exercises, mm 60. Learn the next two, do the same, so that you can now play the first 10 exercises. Once you've done that, practice the first 10, work on learning the second set of 10 in the same fashion that you learned the first. While doing this, I must ensure that my 5th fingers stay connected to the keys they are supposed to hit at all times. I think her method is actually what needs to be done, and I feel that it is working. Already, my  right 5th finger does not lift like it used to (still having trouble with the left).
"When I look around me, I must sigh, for what I see is contrary to my religion and I must despize the world which does not know that music is a higher revelation beyond all wisdom and philosophy."

Offline bradley

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Re: Developing Finger Independence
Reply #16 on: July 16, 2006, 02:27:10 PM
In my opinion, the Dohnyani excercises are the best for finger independence, especially the first two pages! they really helped me...

Offline nicco

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Re: Developing Finger Independence
Reply #17 on: July 16, 2006, 02:49:40 PM
Bernhard, I agree with you 110%, from the way you are writing one can tell you have done a lot of investigating over the years and found more or less a solution to piano playing and all its problems in general. You should write a book, or better yet an encyclopedia, wich i would definatly buy (Although just scraping together what you have written on this forum would be more then enough)
"Without music, life would be a mistake." - Friedrich Nietzsche

Offline nick

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Re: Developing Finger Independence
Reply #18 on: July 16, 2006, 02:54:19 PM
I would not worry about the fingers laying on the keys. Watch Horowitz or Goulds fifth fingers! Can you image their teachers making them keep the fingers on the keys. Well, if they did make them, they sure didn't listen.

Nick

Offline bernhard

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Re: Developing Finger Independence
Reply #19 on: July 16, 2006, 04:46:54 PM
I would not worry about the fingers laying on the keys. Watch Horowitz or Goulds fifth fingers! Can you image their teachers making them keep the fingers on the keys. Well, if they did make them, they sure didn't listen.

Nick

I donīt know about Horowitz, but Gould played in that weird manner just to spite his teacher (who apparently he hated). He wanted to show him that he could play wonderfully doing exactly the opposite of everything his teacher told him. ;D
The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline bernhard

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Re: Developing Finger Independence
Reply #20 on: July 16, 2006, 04:51:55 PM
Bernhard, I agree with you 110%, from the way you are writing one can tell you have done a lot of investigating over the years and found more or less a solution to piano playing and all its problems in general. You should write a book, or better yet an encyclopedia, wich i would definatly buy (Although just scraping together what you have written on this forum would be more then enough)

Actually these books already exist. They have been written by:

 Tobias Mathay ("The visible and invisible in piano playing") - check out videos of Myra Hess (she was his student) for examples of greatest ease of playing even in the most virtusistic passages.

Gyorgy Sandor ("On piano playing"). Check Sandor himself - one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century, who was still concertising with full power in his 90s (he may still be - I donīt know if he is still alive).

Seymour Fink ("Mastering piano technique")

Abby Whiteside ("On piano playing")

To mention just four (there are manymore).

Best wishes,
Bernhard.
The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline ivoryplayer_amf

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Re: Developing Finger Independence
Reply #21 on: July 17, 2006, 03:39:42 AM
You should do a search on this one as there have been about 2,000 posts on this subject.

Hanon is supposed to be very dangerous and it is impossible to achieve finger indepence without having surgery.

Check out the posts by the world famous Bernhard.

Thal

This is the most stupid comment I've ever read in my life.  These people who condemn Hanon amaze me.  I mean we all have our opinions and I wouldnt ever take away from that.  But I believe it shows the shallowness of the musician not to be able to adapt those type of exercises.  At first, Hanon wasa a problem for me.  It actually hurt my hand to play it.  But Instead of quiting, I looked at the situation and tried to figuare out what was going on.  Yet it took me some time, but I adapted and now Hanon and I are great.  I just really dont like a comment like that about needing to have surgury.  It makes me think that yOu have never really tried Hanon and if you did, you didnt give it the time it deserves.

I'm sorry to be rude with my comment about it being stupid.  It just angers me in general when ANYONE says something remotely close to that.  I'm not all for hanon, but I believe a great pianist (Unless there are other physical problems) can make the music work, it just takes knowing your instrument and knowing yourself.

Offline bernhard

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Re: Developing Finger Independence
Reply #22 on: July 17, 2006, 04:20:37 AM
This is the most stupid comment I've ever read in my life.  These people who condemn Hanon amaze me.  I mean we all have our opinions and I wouldnt ever take away from that.  But I believe it shows the shallowness of the musician not to be able to adapt those type of exercises.  At first, Hanon wasa a problem for me.  It actually hurt my hand to play it.  But Instead of quiting, I looked at the situation and tried to figuare out what was going on.  Yet it took me some time, but I adapted and now Hanon and I are great.  I just really dont like a comment like that about needing to have surgury.  It makes me think that yOu have never really tried Hanon and if you did, you didnt give it the time it deserves.

I'm sorry to be rude with my comment about it being stupid.  It just angers me in general when ANYONE says something remotely close to that.  I'm not all for hanon, but I believe a great pianist (Unless there are other physical problems) can make the music work, it just takes knowing your instrument and knowing yourself.

Oh, dear...

Donīt be so mad at poor Thal. He was actually making a joke (at my expense >:() ;D

He is a true and tested Hanonite that many times risked limb and face to come in his defense. Plus he does religiously three hours of Hanon every day.

And I assure you he has not had any surgery done to his hands. Although (judging from his pictures) I suspect he may have done some botox. ;D

Best wishes,
Bernhard.
The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline nightingale11

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Re: Developing Finger Independence
Reply #23 on: July 17, 2006, 08:16:01 AM
Quote
There are those that testify against Hanon, there are also those that support it. So far in my practicing of Hanon in the manner my teachers suggests, I have felt no pain. Until I feel pain, I don't see a reason to stop.

I know what Bernhard thinks on the subject. But this is my thinking... if Hanon is a waste of time, then how else do you develop technique? Through Czerny? Pischna? Brahms? The etudes of Chopin and Liszt? What? Some think that you develop technique by expanding your repertoire, but I'm not so sure.

the thing with all Hanon lovers is that they are to scary to see beyond the Hanon wall, simply because they don't know what's behind it. Technique and music are inseperable. Maximum technique development is acquired when playing musically, simply because if you can play musically you know you have the technique. If we should talk about what technique means, it means the ability to make music and that something you certainly don't do with hanon. about 80% of the technique is lost if you don't add music after the ''intial learning''!!! I found out this myself on some of the other pieces I didn't really finish musically. Hanon just wastes your pianotime....you should practice to perform and not acquire technique just because you want the technique but because you want to make music. I don't know if you are like this but I have seen others on the forum that says that Hanon is si good I finished the whole 1 book in about an hour or so(not sure). What's good in that! it means that they have wasted an hour of doing nothing. The best teacher of them all in my view that I know was Bach. In his inventions he takes you through the most fundamentals in piano practice. If you should practice for technique practice all the inventions(if you want of course, But I believe you will they are really funny) and some others of Bach. Now you can practice musically and maximum your technical development. (PS: don't use the Cerny edition --- It's simplified, simply because he's teaching wasn't good and he had to simplify them make his students able to play them. You can choose the PS edition without fingering but I recommend you to buy Alfred's masterworks edition....that can be buyed at amazon.com)

Offline chopinfan_22

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Re: Developing Finger Independence
Reply #24 on: July 17, 2006, 12:27:06 PM
the thing with all Hanon lovers is that they are to scary to see beyond the Hanon wall, simply because they don't know what's behind it. Technique and music are inseperable. Maximum technique development is acquired when playing musically, simply because if you can play musically you know you have the technique. If we should talk about what technique means, it means the ability to make music and that something you certainly don't do with hanon. about 80% of the technique is lost if you don't add music after the ''intial learning''!!! I found out this myself on some of the other pieces I didn't really finish musically. Hanon just wastes your pianotime....you should practice to perform and not acquire technique just because you want the technique but because you want to make music. I don't know if you are like this but I have seen others on the forum that says that Hanon is si good I finished the whole 1 book in about an hour or so(not sure). What's good in that! it means that they have wasted an hour of doing nothing. The best teacher of them all in my view that I know was Bach. In his inventions he takes you through the most fundamentals in piano practice. If you should practice for technique practice all the inventions(if you want of course, But I believe you will they are really funny) and some others of Bach. Now you can practice musically and maximum your technical development. (PS: don't use the Cerny edition --- It's simplified, simply because he's teaching wasn't good and he had to simplify them make his students able to play them. You can choose the PS edition without fingering but I recommend you to buy Alfred's masterworks edition....that can be buyed at amazon.com)


Ok. look. You don't like Hanon. I do. It's a matter of opinion--two schools of thought. In all honesty, I will use whatever means necessary to get to where I want to be. I believe that the journey to become a good pianist is different for everyone. If you look through each of these posts, everybody has said something different, though some of the posts may be similar. This is what has worked for them. Now I must find out what works for me, whether it be through technique like Hanon, etudes like those of Heller, Chopin, or Liszt, or through gaining repertoiry. Honestly, I feel that Hanon to this point has helped me. Don't knock it just because it didn't work for you.
"When I look around me, I must sigh, for what I see is contrary to my religion and I must despize the world which does not know that music is a higher revelation beyond all wisdom and philosophy."

Offline pianistimo

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Re: Developing Finger Independence
Reply #25 on: July 17, 2006, 02:42:15 PM
if hanon only knew the arguments he caused! 

well, i'm kind of on-the-fence.  i personally feel that it's the expense of the whole thing.  if u already bought the hanon book - don't go out tommorrow and buy the czerny until u do a few exercises.  but, if you are basically getting tired of it sooner than u thought - then - ask ur teacher if it would be ok to go through just a few exercises and not the entire book.   (sounds like u already have quite a few different technical study books).  hanon's not that hard - so getting thru the book is probably only a couple months away.  an exercise per every couple days.  hanon won't kill anyone.   

agreed that it doesn't sound 'musical.'  sometimes for people like me (with so much stress in their lives) just doing something repetitive is soothing.  i can't explain this to bernhard.  though of course, i don't practice hanon anymore - it's mozart.  i drive peope crazy from playing mozart.  u can 'chill out' vs be so on the edge. 

other times i want really difficult music.  i think it's sort of how u feel when u practice.  for me, morning practice i'm very alert.  mid-afternoon fairly alert,  evening - sort of tired.  late evening - alert again.  (i know, strange).

say, do you think this is sort of becoming a 'litmus test' for teachers.  i mean if i whipped out hanon on bernhard (if he was a pretend student)  he might suddenly curl his lip and mutter 'insanely lazy teacher.'  when, in actuality he might not realize that sometimes 'teachers know best.'  especially ones that carry a ruler.  i'd just whack him a few times on the knuckles and tell him that i'll tell his mother on him if he doesn't do exactly what i say.  (u have to make piano a sort of grueling thing for some students). 

you know, now that i think about it - what if some teachers purposely give their favorite music to some students and their most hated music to others?  i never thought to do this - and probably would be disappointed to listen to music i hated just because i didn't like the student.  but, i've never had a student i didn't like - so that solves that problem.

Offline pianistimo

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Re: Developing Finger Independence
Reply #26 on: July 17, 2006, 02:53:23 PM
try the paganini variations when ur stressing over finger independence.  it's sure to to be fulfilling in the end.

Offline thalbergmad

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Re: Developing Finger Independence
Reply #27 on: July 17, 2006, 06:04:04 PM
Oh, dear...

Donīt be so mad at poor Thal. He was actually making a joke (at my expense >:() ;D

He is a true and tested Hanonite that many times risked limb and face to come in his defense. Plus he does religiously three hours of Hanon every day.

And I assure you he has not had any surgery done to his hands. Although (judging from his pictures) I suspect he may have done some botox. ;D

Best wishes,
Bernhard.

Thanks for defending me old chap.

Thal
Curator/Director
Concerto Preservation Society

Offline richy321

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Re: Developing Finger Independence
Reply #28 on: July 17, 2006, 06:38:01 PM
It still is not clear why there is a problem of independence here.  As Will has already brought up, so what if the 5th finger follows the 4th finger around passively, why is it a problem and why should it lead to exhaustion?  It is only natural for adjacent fingers to move along with their neighbors; after all they are physically connected!  

As for the notion that 5th finger should be resting on a key (the next note to be played?), it isn't always possible, nor is it ever necessary. Have you seen videos of Horowitz, where his pinky is habitually coiled up tightly except at that exact moment when it shoots out to play a note?  One would think that that should lead to exhaustion, but it obviously doesn't.

Instead of this degenerating into another pro-and-anti-Hanon debate, I would like to see the questions that Will raised answered so that we can understand what the issue was in the first place.

The subject of the special problems of the 5th finger is a genuinely interesting, and I suspect, an important one and I, for one, would like to see a discussion of that.  Namely, this digit has unique problems, and according to a somewhat cryptic comment by Horowitz himself in the 1930's, mastering this appears to play a key role in his technique.  He refers to the 5th finger as "guideing" the hand. I have search the internet and have not found any explanation of what he meant by this comment.  Anyone out there have any thoughts on this?  
 

Offline nightingale11

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Re: Developing Finger Independence
Reply #29 on: July 17, 2006, 06:51:49 PM
Quote
I feel that Hanon to this point has helped me. Don't knock it just because it didn't work for you.


I was lucky enough not testing Hanon. Have you tested Bach?? how do you know it doesn't work better. Why will no one try new things. And why do everyone stand against the logic? well.....ok do Hanon if you want's to but explore and test something else to.

Offline xavierm

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Re: Developing Finger Independence
Reply #30 on: July 17, 2006, 07:56:47 PM
In my opinion, the Dohnyani excercises are the best for finger independence, especially the first two pages! they really helped me...

BINGO

Offline chopinfan_22

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Re: Developing Finger Independence
Reply #31 on: July 17, 2006, 10:46:22 PM
My teacher and I talked about it at my lesson today. She recommends Schumann's Album for the Young, and Bach's Inventions. She does Hanon exercises, but she picks the ones that are necessary to what I'm currently playing.
"When I look around me, I must sigh, for what I see is contrary to my religion and I must despize the world which does not know that music is a higher revelation beyond all wisdom and philosophy."

Offline bernhard

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Re: Developing Finger Independence
Reply #32 on: July 17, 2006, 10:55:22 PM
It still is not clear why there is a problem of independence here.  As Will has already brought up, so what if the 5th finger follows the 4th finger around passively, why is it a problem and why should it lead to exhaustion?  It is only natural for adjacent fingers to move along with their neighbors; after all they are physically connected! 

As for the notion that 5th finger should be resting on a key (the next note to be played?), it isn't always possible, nor is it ever necessary. Have you seen videos of Horowitz, where his pinky is habitually coiled up tightly except at that exact moment when it shoots out to play a note?  One would think that that should lead to exhaustion, but it obviously doesn't.

Instead of this degenerating into another pro-and-anti-Hanon debate, I would like to see the questions that Will raised answered so that we can understand what the issue was in the first place.

The subject of the special problems of the 5th finger is a genuinely interesting, and I suspect, an important one and I, for one, would like to see a discussion of that.  Namely, this digit has unique problems, and according to a somewhat cryptic comment by Horowitz himself in the 1930's, mastering this appears to play a key role in his technique.  He refers to the 5th finger as "guideing" the hand. I have search the internet and have not found any explanation of what he meant by this comment.  Anyone out there have any thoughts on this?   
 



Indeed. :D

Have a look here for a discussion of fifth finger:

https://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php/topic,7341.msg114168.html#msg114168
(repeated note-groups for difficult passages – correct technique is never uncomfortable – rotation as the solution to 5th finger weakness – criticism to misguided technical exercises – trusting the unconscious)

Best wishes,
Bernhard.

The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline bernhard

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Re: Developing Finger Independence
Reply #33 on: July 17, 2006, 11:05:42 PM
Thanks for defending me old chap.

Thal

You are welcome. :)
The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline debussy symbolism

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Re: Developing Finger Independence
Reply #34 on: July 18, 2006, 02:48:44 AM
My teacher and I talked about it at my lesson today. She recommends Schumann's Album for the Young, and Bach's Inventions. She does Hanon exercises, but she picks the ones that are necessary to what I'm currently playing.

Yes, I would like to commend your teacher. It is much better to do excercises that deal with the technique involved in the current pieces of playing.

Offline nightingale11

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Re: Developing Finger Independence
Reply #35 on: July 18, 2006, 08:11:17 AM
-

Offline bradley

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Re: Developing Finger Independence
Reply #36 on: July 18, 2006, 09:36:28 AM
BINGO

Glad someone agrees with me!! I really think the Dohnanyi excercises are SERIOUSLY underrated. I agree with Bernhard when he says that the 'illusion' of finger independence actually happens in the nervous aspect, but I think that in order to obtain 'finger independence', one needs to feel the sensation of it before one can imitate it, and I think the Dohnanyi excercises (like I said, esp the 1st 2 pages) are perfect for this

Offline bernhard

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Re: Developing Finger Independence
Reply #37 on: July 18, 2006, 11:26:23 AM
Glad someone agrees with me!! I really think the Dohnanyi excercises are SERIOUSLY underrated. I agree with Bernhard when he says that the 'illusion' of finger independence actually happens in the nervous aspect, but I think that in order to obtain 'finger independence', one needs to feel the sensation of it before one can imitate it, and I think the Dohnanyi excercises (like I said, esp the 1st 2 pages) are perfect for this

Have you seen this?


https://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php/topic,15701.msg171057.html#msg171057
(debunking Dohnanyi)

When I read it, it truly blew my mind! I gave up Dohnanyi exercises immediately! ;)

Best wishes,
Bernhard.
The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline xavierm

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Re: Developing Finger Independence
Reply #38 on: July 19, 2006, 12:44:44 AM
I read it and do not agree one bit.

I would make the converse statement... working CORRECTLY on Dohnanyi excercises can prove very helpful in developing finger technique and overall control. However, in the end, what works well for someone is unique to each person.

Offline bernhard

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Re: Developing Finger Independence
Reply #39 on: July 19, 2006, 02:02:16 AM
I read it and do not agree one bit.

I would make the converse statement... working CORRECTLY on Dohnanyi excercises can prove very helpful in developing finger technique and overall control. However, in the end, what works well for someone is unique to each person.

Wow! :o

You just totally and utterly convinced me with the sheer strength of your well thought out arguments.

I am going back to doing Dohnanyi.

Right now. ::)

Best wishes,
Bernhard.
The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline chopinfan_22

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Re: Developing Finger Independence
Reply #40 on: July 19, 2006, 02:36:18 AM
Ok. I stumbled upon this thread: https://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php/board,4/topic,4880.3.html . And now, I'm not quite sure what to think. What makes Hanon/Czerny/Technical Exercises so useless? Obviously they do some good, because otherwise, they wouldn't have been created, and still in use today. What do I have to do to be able to play anything I want to? What do I have to do to be good enough to get my degree in piano pedagogy? Ultimately, I'm at a loss. I mean, sure... do what's best for you, what helps you the most, right? But how am I supposed to know what helps me play that way?
"When I look around me, I must sigh, for what I see is contrary to my religion and I must despize the world which does not know that music is a higher revelation beyond all wisdom and philosophy."

Offline bernhard

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Re: Developing Finger Independence
Reply #41 on: July 19, 2006, 04:17:35 AM
What makes Hanon/Czerny/Technical Exercises so useless?

Trying to be brief.

1. Technical exercises (= pure technique).

a. They are based on false assumptions (e.g., technique can be separated from musicality), wrong anatomical information (e.g. fingers can be made independent; fingers must be strengthened) and poor ergometrics (e.g. lift fingers high , keep arms immobile).

b. They are not necessary: anything you can do with a technical exercise you can do with repertory, therefore they waste time.

c. They will lead to injury if overpractised - especially if overpractised following the guidelines set out by their authors.

2. Hanon: Since it is a set of technical exercises, it falls under the category above and everything said there applies here.

3. Czerny: It is mediocre music. If you are going to learn a piece, make sure it is of the highest quality. The piano repertoy is vast and our time on this earth is short. Donīt waste it learning rubbish - or stuff you donīt like.

Quote
Obviously they do some good, because otherwise, they wouldn't have been created, and still in use today.

Surely anyone can see the fallacy of this argument? In any field of knowledge many things have been created that now we regard as utterly absurd (try the history of medicine for some blatant examples). In spite of efforts to educate, many of these absurdities are still with us today (astrology comes to mind). Does that make them good? Besides technical exercises are a 19th century invention. How to explain the great  virtuosi of the Baroque (Bach, Handel and Scarlatti) who had no Hanon, no Czerny to practise? And at the same time, you would not put up with the treatment for diseases in vogue in the 19th century, would you? (why not? it was created, so obviously it might do some good. Bring on the leeches!)

Quote
What do I have to do to be able to play anything I want to? What do I have to do to be good enough to get my degree in piano pedagogy? Ultimately, I'm at a loss. I mean, sure... do what's best for you, what helps you the most, right? But how am I supposed to know what helps me play that way?

That is clearly your zen koan. ;)

Best wishes,
Bernhard.

The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline timothy42b

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Re: Developing Finger Independence
Reply #42 on: July 19, 2006, 07:13:32 AM
I don't do any exercises out of the technical books; though my teacher liked them I don't have time.

But am I straddling the line a bit?  Every day I spend a few minutes trying to trill with various finger combinations.  That is a specific technical exercise that is not part of a piece;  but I didn't start doing it until I had a piece with trills that seemed to require it.  So on the one hand I'm working technique in isolation;  on the other hand there is a musical purpose.  I expect the trill once mastered to transfer to the next piece, indeed to every piece, no? 

Finger indepedence.  Hmmh, I find a 4/5 trill difficult.  Well, more like impossible. <g>  But if my technique is correct, and the trill is done with the forearm rotation instead of independent fingers, there will be no difference between a 1/2, a 2/3, and a 4/5, right? 
Tim

Offline bradley

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Re: Developing Finger Independence
Reply #43 on: July 20, 2006, 05:56:38 PM
Have you seen this?


https://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php/topic,15701.msg171057.html#msg171057
(debunking Dohnanyi)

When I read it, it truly blew my mind! I gave up Dohnanyi exercises immediately! ;)

Best wishes,
Bernhard.


I think the Dohnanyi excercises are really great - they really helped me, and I have not suffered from any injuries. When used correctly (again I must emphasize that the 1st 2-5 pages are the best part), they really help with the independence of the fingers. You're right when you say you don't need to excercise the fingers - I found that these excercises excercised my BRAIN. They make your brain work, not your fingers. The brain needs to be taught how to get the fingers to move independently of eachother. I found these excercises actually worked best when played pianissimo - again the emphasis is on working the brain and not the fingers

Best,
Bradley

Offline chopinfan_22

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Re: Developing Finger Independence
Reply #44 on: July 20, 2006, 05:59:01 PM
Bradley,

When considering this, then wouldn't the Brahm's exercises also be a good tool to serve this purpose? The first few exercises alone have you learn the patterns when playing cross rhythms in both hands. Up to 6's against 7's.
"When I look around me, I must sigh, for what I see is contrary to my religion and I must despize the world which does not know that music is a higher revelation beyond all wisdom and philosophy."

Offline kriskicksass

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Re: Developing Finger Independence
Reply #45 on: July 23, 2006, 08:54:48 PM
In the words of Phiroze Mehta: "Here is my general rule for practicing technique: only practice your technique on the same days as you eat!"

I'm a crazy Hanonite who doesn't play Hanon anymore (I've moved on to Dohnanyi and other exercises), but the point remains: technical exercises are stepping stones, and if you can't bother to coordinate a pattern in Hanon, good luck playing a Chopin etude.

Offline bradley

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Re: Developing Finger Independence
Reply #46 on: July 24, 2006, 02:08:51 PM
Bradley,

When considering this, then wouldn't the Brahm's exercises also be a good tool to serve this purpose? The first few exercises alone have you learn the patterns when playing cross rhythms in both hands. Up to 6's against 7's.

The point of the Dohnanyi excercises are not to play cross rhythms though (at least the parts I'm specifically referring to). I wouldn't really care if I could play them in all sorts of rhythms - that's not the point. I'm not a lover of excercises at all, but I do recommend the Dohnanyi ones though.
 

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