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Hanon and frustration (Read 6360 times)

Offline 8426

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Hanon and frustration
« on: May 27, 2008, 05:08:34 AM »
concerning hanon, am i supposed to only practice it slow? or should i play it at tempo? also,  i get super mad and frustrated at myself...i can't get the dexterity required in the sonata of mozar k 545 in the first movement...and then when i see people younger than i am playing it better it all goes down....i hate myself...i practice from four to six hours a day and still...i just don't seem to be advancing. also i'm learning violin. does violin impede piano? can someone give me some advice? how should i practice piano? scales, hanon, czerny, in what order? should i concentrate on one piece each day?

piano sheet music of The Virtuoso Pianist Part 1 (1-20)


Offline faulty_damper

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Re: Hanon and frustration
«Reply #1 on: May 27, 2008, 05:16:42 AM »
Ha! I pity you because you just described me a couple of years ago.  I should've been my teacher when I was you. ;D

Short chase: Don't Hanon, don't scales, don't arpeggios. Just don't!

There's an easier path that doesn't require 4-6 hours a day (I've been there with the TV turned on to pass the boredom).

Let's see how you figure this out.  Here's a hint.  Only practice 1 hour per day.  And good luck. (Luck is a naive man's wish.)

Offline piano_ant

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Re: Hanon and frustration
«Reply #2 on: May 27, 2008, 05:35:11 AM »
Yup, the best way to get that Mozart faster is to practice the Mozart. Hannon will only get you so much, and unless you're doing it when you're six, it won't get you the benefits you seek. What you need is a practice technique produces results. Be strict. Break down the passages that give you trouble into sections, even groups of notes, and master them this way and put it all together slowly.  This is just one method. Experiment with ways of practicing. Obviously what you're doing now isn't working. If you get stressed, you will quickly undo any progress.

Offline gyzzzmo

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Re: Hanon and frustration
«Reply #3 on: May 27, 2008, 08:13:07 AM »
I dont agree with the previous replies.
You definitely shouldnt practise his excersises as Hanon intended, instead you should use it like a database. Find out what your weakness is and pick out the excersise from that database wich deals with it.
For example, if you have problems getting certain scales fluently, pick that scale from your Hanon book and practise it. Or, if you have bad developed 4 and 5 fingering, do thrils or whatever for excersise for those fingers.

gyzzzmo
1+1=11

Offline slobone

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Re: Hanon and frustration
«Reply #4 on: May 27, 2008, 10:43:21 AM »
When oh when will these devastating Hanon wars end? Oh the humanity!  :P

I'm definitely in the pro-Hanon camp, up to a point. I just think of it as exercises to build up strength, dexterity, and for various specific problems like trills and finger extension. But I don't recommend doing it more than about 20 minutes a day.

There's no reason to practice Hanon slowly. You should do it as fast as you comfortably can, as long as you're not making a lot of mistakes and your hands don't get too tense or sore. Always use a metronome.

If you find it boring you can always do them in different keys, or in triplets (my favorite), or in fours but accenting a different note, or staccato (thanks to whoever it was here who recommended that one).

And when you play them, really dig in. Don't be shy. Fast and loud. Otherwise there's not much point.

But I agree, no general exercises are going to help you with specific problems in the Mozart.

Offline oscarr111111

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Re: Hanon and frustration
«Reply #5 on: May 27, 2008, 10:46:34 AM »
The only way to get better at music is to play music, got to practice all the scales/arpeggios etc. and got to work on technique at some point but really, just do your scale/arpeggio exercises as a warm up then just work on music addressing technique in a case by case fashion.  Also a good deal of musical progress is confidence based, if you tell yourself you can't play something well or at all, you can't.

Offline 8426

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Re: Hanon and frustration
«Reply #6 on: May 27, 2008, 01:25:26 PM »
When oh when will these devastating Hanon wars end? Oh the humanity!  :P

I'm definitely in the pro-Hanon camp, up to a point. I just think of it as exercises to build up strength, dexterity, and for various specific problems like trills and finger extension. But I don't recommend doing it more than about 20 minutes a day.

There's no reason to practice Hanon slowly. You should do it as fast as you comfortably can, as long as you're not making a lot of mistakes and your hands don't get too tense or sore. Always use a metronome.

If you find it boring you can always do them in different keys, or in triplets (my favorite), or in fours but accenting a different note, or staccato (thanks to whoever it was here who recommended that one).

And when you play them, really dig in. Don't be shy. Fast and loud. Otherwise there's not much point.

But I agree, no general exercises are going to help you with specific problems in the Mozart.

so...hanon will help me do what? is it just to warm up before playing a piece, or is it to help me gain more dexterity in the overall scheme of things. does it help be able to play scales better? which would be the hanon for scales? and the one for trills? or just the one to help me play mozart. also i disagree with you faulty damper. if i only practice one hour day it's...well horrible. i enjoy practicing and would rather do that than watch tv. besides isn't that required in a conservatory?

Offline slobone

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Re: Hanon and frustration
«Reply #7 on: May 27, 2008, 07:08:38 PM »
Hanon will definitely help you with scales, in fact if you look through the book you'll see that he has you doing those (annoying? but I love them...) exercises 1-30 as a prerequisite for the scales that come later in the book. It's often hard to develop evenness in scales if you haven't previously done a lot of Hanon. (Although you can also use the dotted-note technique.)

Advantages of Hanon, in addition to the ones I mentioned, would be a good strengthening workout for 3-4-5 of both hands, and especially for the left hand, which aren't used in the same way in most pieces. And to give you the experience of playing something really fast, without having to worry about what note is coming next. Think of them as sprints, like an athlete might do before working on their particular sport.

Offline healdie

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Re: Hanon and frustration
«Reply #8 on: May 27, 2008, 07:43:51 PM »
I do the Hanon excercises most days and i do them the way Hanon instructs but some days i find myself completly unmotivated to do them, so i don't. my teacher syas i only need to do one or two of them a day and not for long, at present i am only doing up to no 12 of part 1, and this takes me about 40 minutes to do, i don't think it has advanced my techinique as much as the book prmoises though, i think alot of the techinique can be devloped through pieces but scales and arpegios are a must
"Talent is hitting a target no one else can hit, Genius is hitting a target no one else can see"

A. Schopenhauer

Florestan

Offline faulty_damper

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Re: Hanon and frustration
«Reply #9 on: May 27, 2008, 09:46:50 PM »
so...hanon will help me do what? is it just to warm up before playing a piece, or is it to help me gain more dexterity in the overall scheme of things. does it help be able to play scales better? which would be the hanon for scales? and the one for trills? or just the one to help me play mozart. also i disagree with you faulty damper. if i only practice one hour day it's...well horrible. i enjoy practicing and would rather do that than watch tv. besides isn't that required in a conservatory?

Speaking as a well-accomplished pianist - I can play anything, including Hanon exercises, as long as I want to make music playing it - I have learned that playing the piano is either ridiculously easy or impossible.  Impossible means I have to practice even when I've "learned" it.  Easy means I never have to practice because I've learned it.  I can take days to weeks from not playing the piano and still be able to sit down after such a long absence and play as before.  In terms of my ability, I've surpassed all of my teachers, some who were/are famous concert pianists, and I make them nervous when they play.

I once practiced Hanon, scales and arpeggios for hours a day.  4-6 hours was not uncommon every day of the week.  I started Hanon by myself, without instruction from a teacher (as I didn't have a teacher when I started) because Hanon gauranteed virtuosity in 60 easy exercises.  It wasn't long before I started to doubt.  Pain in my left hand occured every time I exercised my fingers yet curiously my right hand was fine.  The television was almost always on during my finger exercise routine.

In fact, playing the piano required me to "warm up" in order to play at what I thought was a decent ability.  So I did what you probably do to warm up: use Hanon.  In fact, after about 15 minutes of those exercises, my fingers felt more nimble and controlled and I could play actual repertoire much easier than if I had played cold, without warming up.  There is a physiological reason why this is the case but that's a tangent for a different thread; I'll just say that warming up is only necessary to get the circulation going and Hanon is a poor way to do it.

I haven't used Hanon in years and I never will again.  I don't practice isolated scales or arpeggios, either.  I don't need to warm up because I've learned how to play the piano; I just sit down and play.  How contrary this is to then.

One skill that I've learned that has helped me accomplish what I've accomplished is the skill of non-stupidity.  Stupidity is trying to push open a door that has a sign that reads "PULL TO OPEN".  But piano playing never has that sign; you have to figure out how to open it by yourself.  The fact that you came to this forum looking for help is your non-stupidity skill (caused by frustration, no doubt) telling you something is wrong.

One of my former teachers practices every day with a metronome set out on the piano.  He used to be a well-known concert pianist appearing on television and in concert halls around Asia, Europe and the Americas.  Now he's old.  He doesn't do Hanon anymore (for reasons very obvious to me) but he practices Czerny etudes.  He says he has to practice or else his fingers don't work as well.  He does this every morning for 45 minutes slowly ramping up the metronome and then works on repertoire.  With all that practice he puts in, he doesn't play well, either.  And he's also limited to what he can play; he can't play certain repertoire because they are out of his reach.  I pity him dearly.

But understand that he's from a different era.  He came from an era where in order to play the piano, one must do Hanon.  One must do scales.  One must do arpeggios.  One must to Czerny.  One must do... for 4-6 hours a day.  Where's the music one must do?  And yet now, in his late years he still must do.  The pianist is judged not on his ability to make music but on his ability to play difficult music.  When he sees a score that I'm learning, he doesn't ask what the music is or how it sounds like.  He says "that looks difficult".  And yet "difficult" never occurs to me.  I learn music because I want to make music, not because I want to play the piano.  And therein lies the difference between what I've achieved.

What you achieve is dependent on your desires.  I have fellow pianist who practice 30-40 hours per week and they are the ones who cause me to leave the concert hall.  They sound terrible: they bang, they struggle, they panic, they make no music.  And yet these pianists practice the most.  How can that be when they practice so much?  And they say to me, "I never see you practicing."

You enjoy practicing?  I don't enjoy practicing.  My goal has been to practice the least I can get away with.  Good luck on your 6 hours per day.  Let us know how you are doing when you are in your 70s in your basement slowly ramping up the metronome on your Czerny etudes because you've realized Hanon just doesn't do it anymore.

Offline mike_lang

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Re: Hanon and frustration
«Reply #10 on: May 27, 2008, 10:20:09 PM »
What's wrong with Hanon?  It is a nice way, in the beginning, of getting certain common fingering patterns ingrained, especially if they are practiced in all of the keys, and voiced (otherwise, how hideous are those incessant parallel octaves!).  Of course, we mustn't lift the fingers high, because it is impossible attain speed and a legato touch this way (though legato is not the only way to practice Hanon exercises).  Now, we may not need M. Hanon's double thirds, scales, and octaves, since there are certainly much better fingerings, but under the guidance of a teacher who will see that the goals are correct, I see no reason why a beginning-intermediate student should not learn the first twenty to thirty exercises.

Offline 8426

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Re: Hanon and frustration
«Reply #11 on: May 29, 2008, 01:36:33 AM »
Speaking as a well-accomplished pianist - I can play anything, including Hanon exercises, as long as I want to make music playing it - I have learned that playing the piano is either ridiculously easy or impossible.  Impossible means I have to practice even when I've "learned" it.  Easy means I never have to practice because I've learned it.  I can take days to weeks from not playing the piano and still be able to sit down after such a long absence and play as before.  In terms of my ability, I've surpassed all of my teachers, some who were/are famous concert pianists, and I make them nervous when they play.

I once practiced Hanon, scales and arpeggios for hours a day.  4-6 hours was not uncommon every day of the week.  I started Hanon by myself, without instruction from a teacher (as I didn't have a teacher when I started) because Hanon gauranteed virtuosity in 60 easy exercises.  It wasn't long before I started to doubt.  Pain in my left hand occured every time I exercised my fingers yet curiously my right hand was fine.  The television was almost always on during my finger exercise routine.

In fact, playing the piano required me to "warm up" in order to play at what I thought was a decent ability.  So I did what you probably do to warm up: use Hanon.  In fact, after about 15 minutes of those exercises, my fingers felt more nimble and controlled and I could play actual repertoire much easier than if I had played cold, without warming up.  There is a physiological reason why this is the case but that's a tangent for a different thread; I'll just say that warming up is only necessary to get the circulation going and Hanon is a poor way to do it.

I haven't used Hanon in years and I never will again.  I don't practice isolated scales or arpeggios, either.  I don't need to warm up because I've learned how to play the piano; I just sit down and play.  How contrary this is to then.

One skill that I've learned that has helped me accomplish what I've accomplished is the skill of non-stupidity.  Stupidity is trying to push open a door that has a sign that reads "PULL TO OPEN".  But piano playing never has that sign; you have to figure out how to open it by yourself.  The fact that you came to this forum looking for help is your non-stupidity skill (caused by frustration, no doubt) telling you something is wrong.

One of my former teachers practices every day with a metronome set out on the piano.  He used to be a well-known concert pianist appearing on television and in concert halls around Asia, Europe and the Americas.  Now he's old.  He doesn't do Hanon anymore (for reasons very obvious to me) but he practices Czerny etudes.  He says he has to practice or else his fingers don't work as well.  He does this every morning for 45 minutes slowly ramping up the metronome and then works on repertoire.  With all that practice he puts in, he doesn't play well, either.  And he's also limited to what he can play; he can't play certain repertoire because they are out of his reach.  I pity him dearly.

But understand that he's from a different era.  He came from an era where in order to play the piano, one must do Hanon.  One must do scales.  One must do arpeggios.  One must to Czerny.  One must do... for 4-6 hours a day.  Where's the music one must do?  And yet now, in his late years he still must do.  The pianist is judged not on his ability to make music but on his ability to play difficult music.  When he sees a score that I'm learning, he doesn't ask what the music is or how it sounds like.  He says "that looks difficult".  And yet "difficult" never occurs to me.  I learn music because I want to make music, not because I want to play the piano.  And therein lies the difference between what I've achieved.

What you achieve is dependent on your desires.  I have fellow pianist who practice 30-40 hours per week and they are the ones who cause me to leave the concert hall.  They sound terrible: they bang, they struggle, they panic, they make no music.  And yet these pianists practice the most.  How can that be when they practice so much?  And they say to me, "I never see you practicing."

You enjoy practicing?  I don't enjoy practicing.  My goal has been to practice the least I can get away with.  Good luck on your 6 hours per day.  Let us know how you are doing when you are in your 70s in your basement slowly ramping up the metronome on your Czerny etudes because you've realized Hanon just doesn't do it anymore.

You unlike the others have given a very mature reply. You're right.  I know what i have to do. And your point of view is amazing, I like it. I am guessing you can obviously play much more than I will ever give you credit. I'll hold you in reverence. However, to gain dexterity. What do you suggest? From what you've said it sounds like you've always had dexterity. I like hanon. Maybe just because like so many things in piano, I had never heard of it before my teacher told me about it. And I think I will follow up on it regardless . I still feel frustrated, because I feel that whatever I have gained from when I started at 11 till now when I'm 13 is all just because I practiced. Like I have 0 talent. Thank you for sharing your indisputable wisdom. Also I don't think this topic needs to be answered. I  know what to do. Thank you

Offline oscarr111111

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Re: Hanon and frustration
«Reply #12 on: May 29, 2008, 04:22:21 AM »
Talent is a myth.

Offline staccato1975

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Re: Hanon and frustration
«Reply #13 on: May 29, 2008, 11:50:10 AM »
Speaking as a well-accomplished pianist - I can play anything, including Hanon exercises, as long as I want to make music playing it - I have learned that playing the piano is either ridiculously easy or impossible.  Impossible means I have to practice even when I've "learned" it.  Easy means I never have to practice because I've learned it.  I can take days to weeks from not playing the piano and still be able to sit down after such a long absence and play as before.  In terms of my ability, I've surpassed all of my teachers, some who were/are famous concert pianists, and I make them nervous when they play.

I once practiced Hanon, scales and arpeggios for hours a day.  4-6 hours was not uncommon every day of the week.  I started Hanon by myself, without instruction from a teacher (as I didn't have a teacher when I started) because Hanon gauranteed virtuosity in 60 easy exercises.  It wasn't long before I started to doubt.  Pain in my left hand occured every time I exercised my fingers yet curiously my right hand was fine.  The television was almost always on during my finger exercise routine.

In fact, playing the piano required me to "warm up" in order to play at what I thought was a decent ability.  So I did what you probably do to warm up: use Hanon.  In fact, after about 15 minutes of those exercises, my fingers felt more nimble and controlled and I could play actual repertoire much easier than if I had played cold, without warming up.  There is a physiological reason why this is the case but that's a tangent for a different thread; I'll just say that warming up is only necessary to get the circulation going and Hanon is a poor way to do it.

I haven't used Hanon in years and I never will again.  I don't practice isolated scales or arpeggios, either.  I don't need to warm up because I've learned how to play the piano; I just sit down and play.  How contrary this is to then.

One skill that I've learned that has helped me accomplish what I've accomplished is the skill of non-stupidity.  Stupidity is trying to push open a door that has a sign that reads "PULL TO OPEN".  But piano playing never has that sign; you have to figure out how to open it by yourself.  The fact that you came to this forum looking for help is your non-stupidity skill (caused by frustration, no doubt) telling you something is wrong.

One of my former teachers practices every day with a metronome set out on the piano.  He used to be a well-known concert pianist appearing on television and in concert halls around Asia, Europe and the Americas.  Now he's old.  He doesn't do Hanon anymore (for reasons very obvious to me) but he practices Czerny etudes.  He says he has to practice or else his fingers don't work as well.  He does this every morning for 45 minutes slowly ramping up the metronome and then works on repertoire.  With all that practice he puts in, he doesn't play well, either.  And he's also limited to what he can play; he can't play certain repertoire because they are out of his reach.  I pity him dearly.

But understand that he's from a different era.  He came from an era where in order to play the piano, one must do Hanon.  One must do scales.  One must do arpeggios.  One must to Czerny.  One must do... for 4-6 hours a day.  Where's the music one must do?  And yet now, in his late years he still must do.  The pianist is judged not on his ability to make music but on his ability to play difficult music.  When he sees a score that I'm learning, he doesn't ask what the music is or how it sounds like.  He says "that looks difficult".  And yet "difficult" never occurs to me.  I learn music because I want to make music, not because I want to play the piano.  And therein lies the difference between what I've achieved.

What you achieve is dependent on your desires.  I have fellow pianist who practice 30-40 hours per week and they are the ones who cause me to leave the concert hall.  They sound terrible: they bang, they struggle, they panic, they make no music.  And yet these pianists practice the most.  How can that be when they practice so much?  And they say to me, "I never see you practicing."

You enjoy practicing?  I don't enjoy practicing.  My goal has been to practice the least I can get away with.  Good luck on your 6 hours per day.  Let us know how you are doing when you are in your 70s in your basement slowly ramping up the metronome on your Czerny etudes because you've realized Hanon just doesn't do it anymore.

Very interesting reply. However, I think you need a very good natural talent to be able to ignore practice. See, you admit yourself other fellow pianists, teachers, etc. do it the other way.  Maybe it's not that they're wrong, it's just that your way is different beacuse your abilities are different.

Offline nyonyo

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Re: Hanon and frustration
«Reply #14 on: May 30, 2008, 06:06:17 PM »
Talent is a myth.

Talent is every thing!!!  You start with certain talent level. One can only develop his or her ability up to the level of talent that they have. People who have no talent to play piano at all will take forever to learn.

Oscar, what are you smoking these days? You sound so unrealistic person.

Offline slobone

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Re: Hanon and frustration
«Reply #15 on: May 30, 2008, 06:11:55 PM »
I agree with Oscar if he's saying that talent is something you create, not something you're born with. If you're not willing to work hard at the piano, no one will ever say you're talented.

Of course, two people can work the same amount and one will be much better than the other. Then you can say the first person is more talented. You can only judge by results.

Offline oscarr111111

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Re: Hanon and frustration
«Reply #16 on: May 30, 2008, 06:29:15 PM »
Talent is every thing!!!  You start with certain talent level. One can only develop his or her ability up to the level of talent that they have. People who have no talent to play piano at all will take forever to learn.

Oscar, what are you smoking these days? You sound so unrealistic person.

IMO, talent is a concept invented by proud parents/fans and jealous competitors.

I agree with Oscar if he's saying that talent is something you create, not something you're born with. If you're not willing to work hard at the piano, no one will ever say you're talented.

Yup, thats what I meant, I should have been more specific really.

Of course, two people can work the same amount and one will be much better than the other. Then you can say the first person is more talented. You can only judge by results.

I'd say the first person had better practice methods.



Offline nyonyo

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Re: Hanon and frustration
«Reply #17 on: May 30, 2008, 06:44:48 PM »
IMO, talent is a concept invented by proud parents/fans and jealous competitors.

Yup, thats what I meant, I should have been more specific really.

I'd say the first person had better practice methods.

A jealos competitor will never say that his or her opponent is more talented. They will just say that the other person is having more resources. Talent is what everybody wants to have but, unfortunately, we were not born with the same talent. Therefore, those people who are not talented will say" if we work hard enough, we also can be that good".

Good luck with your hard work, I'd rather be talented than working hard for something that not sure that can be achieved. If your statement were true, everybody could become Van Gogh, if they worked day and night or become like Richter if they practiced correctly all day long.

Offline oscarr111111

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Re: Hanon and frustration
«Reply #18 on: May 30, 2008, 06:50:21 PM »
A jealos competitor will never say that his or her opponent is more talented. They will just say that the other person is having more resources. Talent is what everybody wants to have but, unfortunately, we were not born with the same talent. Therefore, those people who are not talented will say" if we work hard enough, we also can be that good".

Good luck with your hard work, I'd rather be talented than working hard for something that not sure that can be achieved. If your statement were true, everybody could become Van Gogh, if they worked day and night or become like Richter if they practiced correctly all day long.

You do what you want and I'll do what I want.  I'd rather work hard to achieve my goals and be proud of my accomplishments than be lazy and slack off any hard work relying on old wives tales and superstition to get me where I want to be, then blame those same old wives tales and superstitions when I never arrive so as not to have to assume any personal responsibility for my lack of effort.

Offline nyonyo

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Re: Hanon and frustration
«Reply #19 on: May 30, 2008, 07:34:30 PM »
You do what you want and I'll do what I want.  I'd rather work hard to achieve my goals and be proud of my accomplishments than be lazy and slack off any hard work relying on old wives tales and superstition to get me where I want to be, then blame those same old wives tales and superstitions when I never arrive so as not to have to assume any personal responsibility for my lack of effort.

You may know the different between vector and constant. Vecto has direction and constant has no direction. People who have the ability to asses their ability will have direction from the beginning of the journey that they undertake. However, those who are lacking of this ability will try to work hard without any direction, they try really hard without knowing that it is not achievable.

Offline oscarr111111

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Re: Hanon and frustration
«Reply #20 on: May 30, 2008, 07:41:12 PM »
And a human knows that he or she can achieve practically anything within his or her physical constraints, whether he knows how to or has the means to achieve it or not is another matter.

Offline nyonyo

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Re: Hanon and frustration
«Reply #21 on: May 30, 2008, 07:51:58 PM »
And a human knows that he or she can achieve practically anything within his or her physical constraints, whether he knows how to or has the means to achieve it or not is another matter.

SO you are negating whatever you argue for awhile then....

Offline oscarr111111

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Re: Hanon and frustration
«Reply #22 on: May 30, 2008, 07:59:12 PM »
Elaborate.

Offline nyonyo

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Re: Hanon and frustration
«Reply #23 on: May 30, 2008, 08:25:08 PM »
Elaborate.

Read what you have written and then compare to your last statement.

Offline oscarr111111

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Re: Hanon and frustration
«Reply #24 on: May 30, 2008, 08:48:08 PM »
I read it, still need you to elaborate.

Offline gyzzzmo

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Re: Hanon and frustration
«Reply #25 on: May 30, 2008, 09:06:14 PM »
even 'talented' readers have to learn the alphabet. To maintain your talent and to grow to become a great pianist, you have to work hard.
1+1=11

Offline faulty_damper

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Re: Hanon and frustration
«Reply #26 on: May 30, 2008, 09:23:23 PM »
Very interesting reply. However, I think you need a very good natural talent to be able to ignore practice. See, you admit yourself other fellow pianists, teachers, etc. do it the other way.  Maybe it's not that they're wrong, it's just that your way is different because your abilities are different.

I used to think that you either had it or you didn't.  I thought this way because I didn't.  It was so much easier to think the problem lies not in me but that others are just gifted or talented.

No one thought I was gifted or talented.  Nor I.  I thought you had to rely on hard work, dedication, etc. because these are valued attributes.  Who wants to say they do things the easy way, that they aren't dedicated, that they don’t put in the time and effort?  No one will honestly admit it because there are consequences for such thoughts.  No one will honestly admit it because these attributes work.  Even a lumberjack can cut down a tree with a spoon if given enough time.  But that's not a lumberjack - that's an idiot.  In our culture, idiots are valued and we value what these idiots do and take their advice to heart.  After all, it worked for them so why not for us?

Then let us join idiocy.  Let’s take out a spoon and head for the woods!

I was not an idiot.  I saw that the spoon didn’t work for some of my classmates.  And I looked down at my hands and realized I, too, was holding a spoon.   Yet at the time, I couldn’t put down the spoon.  The institution, the teachers had a system that wouldn’t allow you to do so without punishment.  I got off the trunk and came back with a butter knife.  That butter knife changed everything.

My abilities are no less or more capable than anyone with eight fingers and two prehensile thumbs attached to the body with arms.  It was my non-stupidity that led me to look for a better tool.  There are pianists who clearly could cut down trees with great ease as evidenced by the destructive amounts of deforestation.  

Why couldn’t I do the same?  I wanted to do the same.  But why was I holding a spoon?  I turned the spoon over and “stainless steel” was embossed on it.  “Made in Japan.”  I was hungry and decided to eat cereal.  I grabbed a bowl, cereal and milk.  The cereal went into the bowl, then the milk.  But I didn’t have to grab a spoon.  Made in Japan was already in my hand.

There is a purpose for every tool.  Those without a purpose get tossed out unless it can be useful for another purpose.  I needed a tool to help me deforest acres of land.  A spoon excelled at transporting cereal and milk into my mouth.  A butter knife in the kitchen was usurped because it could cut butter extremely well.  Cut butter!  Maybe I needed to cut the tree down instead of spooning it down!

Then I needed a bigger butter knife.
The steak knife worked better.
And the axe!
Chainsaw…

They looked at me in amazement not because of the tools I was using but because I was destroying precious habitat.  No one ever looked at the tools.  No one ever thought the tools are what make the lumberjack.  They just knew he’s able to do the job and were in awe.

My teachers have said to me that I’m “gifted” and “talented”.  They’ve even perpetuated this myth to their colleagues and students.  There was some apprehension about what they said because they could never have said it before.  I was an oddity, a strange oddity that seemingly disappeared and then came back from the brink of extinction and turned their notions into a jumble.

I don’t know what they really think of me.  I know they think I could be so much more and could accomplish so much more.  They’ve subtly expressed desires that I were still their student because I was “gifted” and “talented”.  What teacher wouldn’t want a one of those?  It doesn’t take any work for them.   And they’ll get the credit for any accomplishments I achieve.

I wish that my classmates would join me for breakfast.  I’ll even provide the bowls, cereal, and milk.  

Offline nyonyo

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Re: Hanon and frustration
«Reply #27 on: May 30, 2008, 10:50:58 PM »
even 'talented' readers have to learn the alphabet. To maintain your talent and to grow to become a great pianist, you have to work hard.

The fundamental needs to be learned, but talented people will be able to progress beyond normal people. That is why there are prodigies. You know and I know that not everybody can play piano well, regardless how much they practice. So the notion that everybody can learn everything if they put their mind is incomprehensible to me.

Offline gyzzzmo

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Re: Hanon and frustration
«Reply #28 on: May 30, 2008, 11:02:36 PM »
The fundamental needs to be learned, but talented people will be able to progress beyond normal people. That is why there are prodigies. You know and I know that not everybody can play piano well, regardless how much they practice. So the notion that everybody can learn everything if they put their mind is incomprehensible to me.

I dont really believe in talent. Being great at pianoplaying is (to my opinion) mainly a blend of the right circumstances. Its like bodybuilding, but for pianoplaying you do need brains.
1+1=11

Offline nyonyo

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Re: Hanon and frustration
«Reply #29 on: May 30, 2008, 11:10:30 PM »
I dont really believe in talent. Being great at pianoplaying is (to my opinion) mainly a blend of the right circumstances. Its like bodybuilding, but for pianoplaying you do need brains.

I agree with you that piano playing needs a lot of brain power. That is why many of those Asian kids are thriving in piano playing. But, isn't brain equals talent?

I have never known dumb person plays piano well. Look at the Van Cliburn Amateur competition, many of them have very high education, many doctors and PhD. However, I know several good pianists do not have high education, not because they are dumb, they are just living in a dream. They think they can become a famous pianist so they spent all their time to practice piano hoping to become a concert pianist. Unfortunately, their talent is not enough to achieve that level.

Offline gyzzzmo

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Re: Hanon and frustration
«Reply #30 on: May 31, 2008, 07:33:11 AM »
I agree with you that piano playing needs a lot of brain power. That is why many of those Asian kids are thriving in piano playing. But, isn't brain equals talent?

I have never known dumb person plays piano well. Look at the Van Cliburn Amateur competition, many of them have very high education, many doctors and PhD. However, I know several good pianists do not have high education, not because they are dumb, they are just living in a dream. They think they can become a famous pianist so they spent all their time to practice piano hoping to become a concert pianist. Unfortunately, their talent is not enough to achieve that level.

I dont agree here either. It doesnt need brain 'power' at all, it just needs a way of thinking and the ability to critically listen to yourself, to recognize problems and deal with them. Conservatory isnt a hard study at all, you only have to work for it alot.
1+1=11

Offline mike_lang

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Re: Hanon and frustration
«Reply #31 on: May 31, 2008, 12:49:35 PM »
It doesnt need brain 'power' at all, it just needs a way of thinking and the ability to critically listen to yourself, to recognize problems and deal with them.

Pardon my obtuse question, but what, then, do you consider to be functions of the brain?

Offline general disarray

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Re: Hanon and frustration
«Reply #32 on: May 31, 2008, 04:10:03 PM »
When oh when will these devastating Hanon wars end? Oh the humanity!  :P

Truly.  Hanon sacrificed and suffered for our technical sins by producing his pedagogical tome of anal-retentive exercises. 

They have their undisputed value, but shouldn't become the centerpiece of practicing.

If you want to polish your Mozart, practice your Mozart.  And, need I add, practice it slowly?  Analyze every finger stroke, thumb crossing and hand shift to make sure your movements are economical, clean, effortless and musical. Make every movement fluid and tension-free.  Then, up the tempo to see if you need to make any mid-course corrections:  a change in fingering here, a change there.  Up the tempo again.  If it gels, you've got aspic. 
" . . . cross the ocean in a silver plane . . . see the jungle when it's wet with rain . . . "

Offline mike_lang

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Re: Hanon and frustration
«Reply #33 on: May 31, 2008, 05:19:00 PM »
They have their undisputed value, but shouldn't become the centerpiece of practicing.

Moderation, at last!

Offline faulty_damper

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Re: Hanon and frustration
«Reply #34 on: May 31, 2008, 09:49:32 PM »
I agree with you that piano playing needs a lot of brain power. That is why many of those Asian kids are thriving in piano playing. But, isn't brain equals talent?

I have never known dumb person plays piano well. Look at the Van Cliburn Amateur competition, many of them have very high education, many doctors and PhD. However, I know several good pianists do not have high education, not because they are dumb, they are just living in a dream. They think they can become a famous pianist so they spent all their time to practice piano hoping to become a concert pianist. Unfortunately, their talent is not enough to achieve that level.

These are some of the most naive (to put it kindly) statements that can ever be made under the pretense of ignorance.

Offline mike_lang

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Re: Hanon and frustration
«Reply #35 on: May 31, 2008, 10:12:55 PM »
These are some of the most naive (to put it kindly) statements that can ever be made under the pretense of ignorance.

Perhaps the language is a little coarse, but could you elaborate on your objections, for my sake?  :-)

Thanks!

Offline faulty_damper

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Re: Hanon and frustration
«Reply #36 on: May 31, 2008, 10:49:53 PM »
Perhaps the language is a little coarse, but could you elaborate on your objections, for my sake?  :-)

Thanks!

I can understand why many basketball players are tall: they are able to reach the hoop easier than someone who is short.  But to make blanket statements that blacks are good at basketball...

... and not at hockey or soccer or golf...

... because you have to be white to be good at these "white" sports...

... because whites can't play table tennis (ping pong)...

... because only Asians are good at table tennis...
... and playing piano...

... because Asians are "smart".  "That's why many of those Asian kids are thriving in piano playing."  "[Because] piano playing needs a lot of brain power."

Offline mike_lang

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Re: Hanon and frustration
«Reply #37 on: May 31, 2008, 11:23:23 PM »
I can understand why many basketball players are tall: they are able to reach the hoop easier than someone who is short.  But to make blanket statements that blacks are good at basketball...

... and not at hockey or soccer or golf...

... because you have to be white to be good at these "white" sports...

... because whites can't play table tennis (ping pong)...

... because only Asians are good at table tennis...
... and playing piano...

... because Asians are "smart".  "That's why many of those Asian kids are thriving in piano playing."  "[Because] piano playing needs a lot of brain power."

I see, I suspected it was primarily the racial generalization.  Certainly, (good) piano playing does require a great deal of mental effort, though...

Offline faulty_damper

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Re: Hanon and frustration
«Reply #38 on: June 01, 2008, 02:13:40 AM »
I see, I suspected it was primarily the racial generalization.  Certainly, (good) piano playing does require a great deal of mental effort, though...

Mental effort should be expended on making music, not playing the piano.  However, learning how to play requires much mental effort but once learned, mental effort becomes very minimal.  The majority of the effort should then go toward making music.

Offline daniel patschan

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Re: Hanon and frustration
«Reply #39 on: June 01, 2008, 06:51:18 AM »
Mental effort should be expended on making music, not playing the piano.  However, learning how to play requires much mental effort but once learned, mental effort becomes very minimal.  The majority of the effort should then go toward making music.

So tell me please, what Krystian Zimerman is doing while he sits in front of the piano for 10 hours a day ? Nobody will tell that he didn´t find the right way to play/practise.  ???

Offline general disarray

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Re: Hanon and frustration
«Reply #40 on: June 01, 2008, 02:56:46 PM »
Well, "making music" while playing the piano (or any other instrument) is the result of intelligence applied, constantly and consistently, to technical issues that arise within each and every bar.  When the technical issues are finally surmounted, the music manifests itself. 

Intelligence is nothing you can surrender once you've learned to play the piano.  Each new piece presents you with new technical challenges that must be overcome to get at the music.  And the refining of technique just frees you up that much more to reach greater levels of musicality.

But is musicality learned?  I don't think so.  I think it is innate.  I've noticed, however, many students who lacked the technical proficiency to bring out the music they were feeling.  So, here again, we need that intelligence to analyze the technical impediment and remove it -- to release the music.

Conversely, many students don't have a musical bone in their body but are technical wizards.  What you hear is not musical, but a machine-fashioned version of the composer's intent.

(See what Hanon has inspired us to write about?  On your knees to him, and give thanks.  ;D)   
" . . . cross the ocean in a silver plane . . . see the jungle when it's wet with rain . . . "

Offline gyzzzmo

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Re: Hanon and frustration
«Reply #41 on: June 01, 2008, 04:22:02 PM »
Pardon my obtuse question, but what, then, do you consider to be functions of the brain?

Just saying that alot of 'brainpower'/high IQ isnt the trigger for being able to play very well. I might have a high IQ, but i would be a terrible politician since i dont have that way of thinking.
1+1=11

Offline chopinfan_22

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Re: Hanon and frustration
«Reply #42 on: June 03, 2008, 09:42:24 PM »
Isn't it maybe a little bit of both? I've been reading this thread intently for a while. I think Faulty_Damper has many good points. He has found what works for him, and what works for him may work for others, it may not. Just like what Rubinstein, Horowitz, or any of the other greats have done. They can perform remarkable feats, and throughout their lives played pieces magnificently.

As far as "brain-power" or a high IQ, I could get into the psychology of it, but my thoughts are this: It does require a certain mental capacity not necessarily to play the piano, but to make music. You have to understand not only the written music but also what the composer intended. As far as actually playing the piano, I think the only "brain-power" that is necessary is the understanding of how your body moves and positions itself, how the hands and arms interact with the keys to achieve the desired outcome without injury. Technically difficult pieces to me are just like puzzles. You have to know how the pieces fit and how to properly connect each piece to solve it. The same can be said of technically difficult pieces of music, such as Liszt's demanding works.
"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 staccato1975

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Re: Hanon and frustration
«Reply #43 on: June 04, 2008, 11:05:16 AM »
I could read Faulty_Damper replies all day long, he's full of wisdom and writes it down artistically too.

However at the end of the day, after listening to him, I still play poorly.

Faulty_Damper, if you ever write a book about how to create your own chainsaw and use it, I will be the first one to buy it. Meanwhile, back to the spoon, because I honestly can't find another tool around me.

Offline nyonyo

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Re: Hanon and frustration
«Reply #44 on: June 04, 2008, 11:08:29 AM »
Isn't it maybe a little bit of both? I've been reading this thread intently for a while. I think Faulty_Damper has many good points. He has found what works for him, and what works for him may work for others, it may not. Just like what Rubinstein, Horowitz, or any of the other greats have done. They can perform remarkable feats, and throughout their lives played pieces magnificently.

As far as "brain-power" or a high IQ, I could get into the psychology of it, but my thoughts are this: It does require a certain mental capacity not necessarily to play the piano, but to make music. You have to understand not only the written music but also what the composer intended. As far as actually playing the piano, I think the only "brain-power" that is necessary is the understanding of how your body moves and positions itself, how the hands and arms interact with the keys to achieve the desired outcome without injury. Technically difficult pieces to me are just like puzzles. You have to know how the pieces fit and how to properly connect each piece to solve it. The same can be said of technically difficult pieces of music, such as Liszt's demanding works.

So don't you thinnk it boils down to talent again. People who have talent will be able to figure out all of these aspects so that they can play piano beautifully. Those who have no talent in playing piano will not be able to listen to their playing and improve their playing. How hard a person work, if the talent of playing piano does not exist, I really believe they will not become a good pianist. They just can play mechanically but not musically.

Offline 8426

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Re: Hanon and frustration
«Reply #45 on: June 04, 2008, 02:45:03 PM »
So don't you thinnk it boils down to talent again. People who have talent will be able to figure out all of these aspects so that they can play piano beautifully. Those who have no talent in playing piano will not be able to listen to their playing and improve their playing. How hard a person work, if the talent of playing piano does not exist, I really believe they will not become a good pianist. They just can play mechanically but not musically.

Describe talent. What is talent? Talent does not make the pianist. The pianist wanting very much to make music will be a better pianist than the supposedly talented pianist. Willpower will most often beat talent. Also if you believe that talent is what you need to make music, then fine. I respect what everyone thinks and knows.

Offline chopinfan_22

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Re: Hanon and frustration
«Reply #46 on: June 04, 2008, 10:22:14 PM »
So don't you thinnk it boils down to talent again. People who have talent will be able to figure out all of these aspects so that they can play piano beautifully. Those who have no talent in playing piano will not be able to listen to their playing and improve their playing. How hard a person work, if the talent of playing piano does not exist, I really believe they will not become a good pianist. They just can play mechanically but not musically.

Not necessarily. Does a mathematician, a scientist.. heck, anybody... need a specific "talent" to do problem solving? No. That's what figuring out the aspects entails. As far as listening to themselves play, once they have learned properly how to listen, and once they have been trained to listen musically and to pay attention to what they hear while they are playing, then they will be able to make changes to the way that they approach the instrument and the music. Talent, assuming it does exist, speeds this process along. Someone who has a natural inclination to music, someone who naturally possesses a "musical ear" will excel at a faster rate than one who doesn't, just like a mathematician will be able to find the square root of 387 faster than say... an author?
"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 faulty_damper

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Re: Hanon and frustration
«Reply #47 on: June 04, 2008, 11:03:37 PM »
I could read Faulty_Damper replies all day long, he's full of wisdom and writes it down artistically too.

However at the end of the day, after listening to him, I still play poorly.

Faulty_Damper, if you ever write a book about how to create your own chainsaw and use it, I will be the first one to buy it. Meanwhile, back to the spoon, because I honestly can't find another tool around me.

I have said nothing here about how to become better.  I have only digressed to saying simply that if something doesn't work, try something that will.  The biggest hurdle to overcome is the mindset.  Know that something will work, it’s just not what you’re doing.

Even if I were to write a book, it would only be a "feel good" book.  Nothing will actually happen except you'll feel better and perhaps understand some abstract concepts that you'd not be able to apply to your own situation.  But if a book must be had, I believe C.C. Chang has already written a very good book, Fundamentals of Piano Practice, that can be purchased on Amazon or downloaded online for free.

What most people are seeking is not how to improve their disposition with the piano but are seeking emotional support.  Misery loves company.  And there you have it, a group of miserable people in good company holding a bunch of spoons in the woods.

It's also an addiction.  People are addicted to their spoons even though they want to quit.  How un-willing they are.  But isn't that's what SA is for? ;)

Offline 8426

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Re: Hanon and frustration
«Reply #48 on: June 05, 2008, 05:10:08 AM »
I have said nothing here about how to become better.  I have only digressed to saying simply that if something doesn't work, try something that will.  The biggest hurdle to overcome is the mindset.  Know that something will work, it’s just not what you’re doing.

Even if I were to write a book, it would only be a "feel good" book.  Nothing will actually happen except you'll feel better and perhaps understand some abstract concepts that you'd not be able to apply to your own situation.  But if a book must be had, I believe C.C. Chang has already written a very good book, Fundamentals of Piano Practice, that can be purchased on Amazon or downloaded online for free.

What most people are seeking is not how to improve their disposition with the piano but are seeking emotional support.  Misery loves company.  And there you have it, a group of miserable people in good company holding a bunch of spoons in the woods.

It's also an addiction.  People are addicted to their spoons even though they want to quit.  How un-willing they are.  But isn't that's what SA is for? ;)


Thank you thank you. i saw the c. c. chang book. it's true. i admit i'm doing exactly what i'm not supposed to do.  thank you so much. hopefully i will be a better musician. thanks a lot for telling me about that book.

Offline nyonyo

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Re: Hanon and frustration
«Reply #49 on: June 05, 2008, 05:51:49 PM »
Not necessarily. Does a mathematician, a scientist.. heck, anybody... need a specific "talent" to do problem solving? No. That's what figuring out the aspects entails. As far as listening to themselves play, once they have learned properly how to listen, and once they have been trained to listen musically and to pay attention to what they hear while they are playing, then they will be able to make changes to the way that they approach the instrument and the music. Talent, assuming it does exist, speeds this process along. Someone who has a natural inclination to music, someone who naturally possesses a "musical ear" will excel at a faster rate than one who doesn't, just like a mathematician will be able to find the square root of 387 faster than say... an author?

There are many stages. If you are talking simple problem solving yes, no talent is needed. But to progress, talent is needed that is why there are excellent pianists who play totally different from regular people.