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pro-hanon vs anti-hanon (Read 49322 times)

Offline thalbergmad

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #100 on: March 26, 2009, 09:59:01 PM »
Hanon is fine for simple mechanical development if not taken out of perspective, but it can do no more than just that - and, in doing no more than that, it can surely be somewhat dangerous for the would-be pianist...


Oh, we have had a few posts of the Hanon is dangerous variety.

If you use Hanon, your arms will drop off, or you could be crippled, or you will not be able to pick your own nose by the time you are 20.

Hanon could be dangerous if you covered it in rat poison and then ate it for your supper, but apart from that i fail to see the danger.

I have been using it for years and amazingly i appear to have suffered no muscular seizures.

That is my 2 cents worth

Thal
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Offline thalbergmad

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #101 on: March 26, 2009, 10:06:32 PM »
Musically, Hanon is rubbish.

If you refer to his exercises, i would have to agree.

If however you refer to his fantaisie brillante sur des airs populaires Bretons, I do not.

Thal 
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Offline electrodoc

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #102 on: March 27, 2009, 01:27:04 AM »
I wonder why Hanon exercises engender so much passion between the pro and anti- Hanon schools. Reading through the various points of view I begin to wonder how many contributors have worked through all of the exercises exactly as instructed. There are not 20 exercises (which some contributors seem to think) but 60 divided into 3 books. The instructions state that each exercise is to be followed at speeds of crotchet = 60 to crotchet = 108. Furthermore most of the exercises are to be completed in every major key. Book 2 covers all major and minor scales and arppegios. Book 3 covers more advanced techniques such as repeated notes, trills (with varied fingering), double thirds and sixths, legato thirds, scales in octaves, broken octaves, scales in thirds, trills in double thirds, broken aprs in octaves, and the tremolo.

I suspect that even the most hardened critic has studied some of these latter techniques.

Has anyone subscribing to this board completed the whole of these exercises in all keys?

For those that wish to advances technique further there is an excellent publication: "Hanon, The Virtuoso Pianist"  edited by  Otto Weinreich. (Pub. Edition Peters No 7357). This volume provides up to 10 supplementary exercises for each of the Hanon studies including scales in double thirds, sixths, contrary motion, whole tone scales, etc., etc.

I calculate that to work conscientiosly through the whole of Hanon plus all of these supplementary exercises and get them all up to speed would take in the region of ten years!!! Anyone up to the challenge?

Obviously one is not meant to work through every supplementary exercise but to choose the appropriate exercise to complement and improve specific weaknesses. For the younger student the guidance of a teacher would be the most useful. To suggest that these exercises, if properly undertaken, are dangerous seems to me to somewhat extreme. Any exercise if overdone to the point of creating strain is potentially dangerous but if wisely used can only lead to improved technique.

I would like to hear if anyone has used the Peters edition mentioned above.

Best wishes

electrodoc.

Offline quasimodo

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #103 on: March 30, 2009, 10:01:10 AM »
Focusing the debate on Hanon is misleading. I think the question is about “exercises” in general: the very philosophy that’s entangled in the concept of piano exercises (or any instrument).
Regarding exercises, and the ongoing debate about them in this forum, there’s something that we should agree upon, in the first place: “What is the question?”; is it:

a)   “Are exercises necessary?”
or
b)   “Are exercises useless?”

To the question a), the answer is clearly a big “NO”. It can be demonstrated scientifically that any given book of exercises is NOT necessary to reach a very high level of proficiency in playing a music instrument. This demonstration is very simple to do, and I’ll use a Bernhard’s quote for that:

It is easy to show how unimportant Hanon is: Hanon first published his exercises in 1873. There are plenty of keyboard virtuosos (Handel, Bach and his sons, Scarlatti, Liszt, Chopin, etc. etc. etc.) who acquired their technique well before Hanon published his book. I rest my case. :D

The same logic can apply to any other book of exercises.

To the question b), the answer is going to be “Perhaps, or not.” Most professional pianists (maybe all?) have been drilled with exercises ad nauseam and it would be fallacious to say that exercises didn’t contribute at all to make them reach a professional level, however, it is very likely that alternate learning paths, other than torture-like drilling with Hanon or Pischna etc. could achieve the same goal.

At the end of the day, it all comes to each individual’s psychology. Personally, I wouldn’t bother hanging on with a teacher that bases the tuition on exercises, or whose first reaction to a technical problem would be to assign me an exercise, no matter how “appropriate” it is. In my humble opinion, exercises are the last resort to fix a problem after all other tactics have been tested unsuccessfully. What I’m referring to as “exercise” here is what we find in “exercises books”.
" On ne joue pas du piano avec deux mains : on joue avec dix doigts. Chaque doigt doit être une voix qui chante"

Samson François

Offline thalbergmad

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #104 on: March 30, 2009, 11:11:58 AM »
a)   “Are exercises necessary?”

To the question a), the answer is clearly a big “NO”.

Liszt might well have acquired his technique before Hanon was published, but it is well documented that he did exercises.

There is no CLEARLY about it and the quote you posted from Bernhard is hardly a scientific demonstration.

Thal
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Concerto Preservation Society

Offline scottmcc

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #105 on: March 30, 2009, 12:00:15 PM »
Liszt might well have acquired his technique before Hanon was published, but it is well documented that he did exercises.

There is no CLEARLY about it and the quote you posted from Bernhard is hardly a scientific demonstration.

Thal

yes, he's CLEARLY showing that benjamin franklin was right when he said (paraphrasing) that the hallmark of a reasonable creature is the ability to use reason to defend any conclusion.

anyway, I'm pretty sure that bach, faced with the lack of exercises in his day, would have invented something, some kind of musical invention for teaching composition.  now chopin would have done something different, because piano technique had already been invented...he would have studied it in depth with some kind of etude, maybe even a few sets of etudes.  liszt, well, he wouldn't be satisfied with that--he would have to not only get a set of technical exercises, but also devise some kind of study to prove that his technique was truly transcendent of the old limits of pianism.  yep, that's what he woulda done.  but they definitely wouldn't have played hanon.  :)

back to the real question, are exercises useful?  the question is not whether you can acquire technique without them, but rather if technique can be gained more efficiently with them.  I think the answer is yes, at least for me.

oh yeah...since antibiotics weren't invented during chopin's life, it's clear that he had no need for them.  after all, he created great music despite his little bout of tuberculosis...   ::)

Offline thalbergmad

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #106 on: March 30, 2009, 12:54:21 PM »

I think the answer is yes, at least for me.


The anti hanonists would not accept your personal experience. They would claim you actually gained your technique more effeciently via repetiore without knowing it.

Dunno if Liszt would have played Hanon if it were published 50 years earlier. I do however recall that he recommended it to one of his pupils.

Anyway, that proves nothing. What the bloody hell did Liszt know about piano playing?

I think there is a Hanon for banjos now, so i am gonna try and find a copy.

Thal
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Offline thalberg

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #107 on: March 30, 2009, 03:09:11 PM »
Very early in piano training, scales are very hard to teach students--they can never remember the fingerings.  Bach Inventions are out of the question at this early stage. The early Hanon exercises (1-20) are easier than scales for the students because of the short repeating patterns.  Therefore, Hanon is a great way to get the fingers moving and build coordination very early in piano training.

Once they are mastered, it is important to move on to other things.  Technique can be maintained with far more interesting and effective things once the student's other pianistic abilities have developed further. 

Offline db05

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #108 on: March 30, 2009, 03:19:29 PM »
The early Hanon exercises (1-20) are easier than scales for the students because of the short repeating patterns.  Therefore, Hanon is a great way to get the fingers moving and build coordination very early in piano training.

Get the fingers moving? Coordination? Unless the student is really clumsy, like me, exercises just for that are a waste of time. The usual stumbling block to playing is not the hands, but reading notes and hearing music. And Hanon is very poor training for both. You can play and memorize it by rote, barely reading, and there is no interesting music for the ears.
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Offline thalberg

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #109 on: March 30, 2009, 04:23:10 PM »
Get the fingers moving? Coordination? Unless the student is really clumsy, like me, exercises just for that are a waste of time. The usual stumbling block to playing is not the hands, but reading notes and hearing music. And Hanon is very poor training for both. You can play and memorize it by rote, barely reading, and there is no interesting music for the ears.

You must be thinking of those people who say it's good to do Hanon for an hour a day.  I don't do that.

Many, many children have hands that are entirely ill-suited for playing the piano.  Exercises just for coordination benefit these students tremendously. 

I prescribe ten minutes per day.  If you play the exercises at 108, you can get through all 20 of the first exercises in 10 minutes and 30 seconds without repeats. 

Offline go12_3

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #110 on: March 30, 2009, 04:51:10 PM »
I do Hanon  everyday for 10 mintues, fast tempo, and get exercises 1 through 15 or somewhere there, depending upon how my fingers go.  We don't need to work our fingers to the bone with exercises.  The pieces we are learning is good enough for technique and mechanical purposes also.

best wishes,
go12_3
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Offline Karli

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #111 on: March 30, 2009, 07:40:13 PM »
.

Offline ahinton

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #112 on: March 30, 2009, 08:49:59 PM »
It strikes me that the problem over these "Hanon wars" (and one could equally well cite "Pischna wars") is that of getting what are supposed to be purely physical exercises out of perspective; these things have their (albeit rather limited) purpose but, taken alongside such things as the Busoni Klavierubung, the études of Chopin, Liszt, Alkan, Lyapunov, etc. and the Chopin/Godowsky études, they can perhaps find their obviously very minor but not entirely useless level; the principal difference (notwithstanding the rare example quoted by Thal) is that Hanon hardly gave us any real piano music - mostly just exercises...

Best,

Alistair
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Offline thalbergmad

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #113 on: March 30, 2009, 09:00:15 PM »
the études of Chopin, Liszt, Alkan, Lyapunov, etc. and the Chopin/Godowsky études

You cite works that a lot of people wil never be able to play.

If you can already play the above, i understand why hanon would appear to be trivial and valueless.

To the learner who cannot attain such pieces, i can see value in hanon.

Thal
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Offline claude_debussy

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #114 on: March 31, 2009, 03:00:17 AM »
Since many posters, apparently, have neglected to read the previous posts in this thread - preferring instead to inflict their views without bothering to listen, a rather unmusical approach - I humbly offer a brief quotation of my own words from earlier on, which actually close this topic if you read them carefully and understand what they are saying.

QUOTE ON   

"Hanon, no.  Absolutely not.  First twenty = finger wiggling.  Total waste of time.

"Hanon Bk1 is useless because there is no turning of the hand and passing of the thumb - *the* crucial gesture to master in both scales and arpeggios.

"Here's the tiresome, boring truth that you always knew without asking: to gain virtuosity, you must practice nearly to infinity, scales, arpeggios, octaves. "

End of quote.

These few words say WHY, exactly and precisely why, Hanon is useless. 

No one has addressed that overwhelming and embarrassing fact.

Finger-wiggling is not practicing, nor does it lead to keyboard virtuosity. 

Hanon=finger wiggling.   

Hanon=useless.

The earlier post also goes on to offer a few valuable bits of advice, born from years of hard labor, but I won't quote everything here.  Those who are interested will have a look.

If you want to build pianistic technique, there are a lot of ways to waste years of your life doing it wrong.  Why not do it right, and get the results you are working so hard to gain?

Peace, your humble servant, Claude


ps - and when you do get good at playing the piano, don't forget to have a crack at my beautiful Etudes - my final work for the keyboard and, some have said, the greatest piano masterpiece of the 20th century ... CD


Offline jhallam1

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #115 on: March 31, 2009, 06:46:41 AM »
I tend to be pro-Hanon, provided that some of my other favorites, such as The School of Virtuosity, and The Art of Finger Dexterity, are included.   

My approach is to play the Hanon in all keys, and playing slow, and then fast in impulses.  Also I like to vary the dymanics, playing hard, soft, and in between--also playing them staccato and legato..

Also I have been finding that I can accerlate my progress by playing Hanon,  Czerny, or any piano piece that I might be working on with added Sixths, and with a few added 4ths or 3rds included to maintain harmony.  This seems to produce an immediate and noticeable--but temporary--increase in performance of the original.  And greater progress seems to result over a shorter period of time.  For example, I struggled and played the Liszt Consolation No. 3 with added Sixths in the arpeggio obligato ifor about 4 weeks.  During that time I spent very little time playing it in its original form.  After a few weeks, when I played the Consolation in its original form, I was surprised at the good results.  Extending my Left Hand over the keyboard, I allowed the Left Hand to play the obligato, which it did, as I looked on at it as something distant, almost as if I was out of my body, watching as my fingers executed the obligatos almost perfectly and almost effortlessly.  Moreover I was able to control the speed and the dynamics with great facility.   Based on this, I think maybe I'll just start practicing everything with added Sixths, etc. wherever physically possible.  Currently I have been doing the Hanon Number one in various keys with added Thirds.  But, at some point, I will probably shift to added Sixths. 

I am also finding that added Sixths also sound interesting in the fast theme in the Hungarian Fantasia--based on my modeling efforts.  So I am practicing the latter theme with the added Sixths to get the enriched effect that should result once I have it practiced up sufficiently.

Summing up, I like Hanon, and numerous other exercises, with added Sixths, Fourths, and Thirds, played slow-fast in all keys.

Offline thalbergmad

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #116 on: March 31, 2009, 07:25:28 AM »
Since many posters, apparently, have neglected to read the previous posts in this thread - preferring instead to inflict their views without bothering to listen, a rather unmusical approach - I humbly offer a brief quotation of my own words from earlier on, which actually close this topic if you read them carefully and understand what they are saying.

QUOTE ON   

"Hanon, no.  Absolutely not.  First twenty = finger wiggling.  Total waste of time.

"Hanon Bk1 is useless because there is no turning of the hand and passing of the thumb - *the* crucial gesture to master in both scales and arpeggios.

"Here's the tiresome, boring truth that you always knew without asking: to gain virtuosity, you must practice nearly to infinity, scales, arpeggios, octaves. "

End of quote.

These few words say WHY, exactly and precisely why, Hanon is useless. 

No one has addressed that overwhelming and embarrassing fact.

Finger-wiggling is not practicing, nor does it lead to keyboard virtuosity. 

Hanon=finger wiggling.   

Hanon=useless.

The earlier post also goes on to offer a few valuable bits of advice, born from years of hard labor, but I won't quote everything here.  Those who are interested will have a look.

If you want to build pianistic technique, there are a lot of ways to waste years of your life doing it wrong.  Why not do it right, and get the results you are working so hard to gain?

Peace, your humble servant, Claude

You neglect the personal experiences of many posters with this post, which you simply cannot do. Some people on this forum who advoate its use are teachers as well as damned good pianists

You prove nothing and your posts do seem to be a little bit on the "I know everything" side.

The subject is not closed and never will be and I find quoting yourself to be rather amusing.

Thal
Curator/Director
Concerto Preservation Society

Offline ahinton

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #117 on: March 31, 2009, 07:32:38 AM »
You cite works that a lot of people wil never be able to play.
That's not the point; people can study those works very profitably even if they do not end up performing them (or some of them), yet the exercises of Hanon do not have "performability" invested in them (nor were they intended to).

To the learner who cannot attain such pieces, i can see value in hanon.
There is some value in Hanon to those who could and those who couldn't play the other works that I mentioned, but that value is severely limited and accordingly Hanon is best used in moderation.

Best,

Alistair
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Offline thalbergmad

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #118 on: March 31, 2009, 07:35:47 AM »

There is some value on Hanon to those who could and those who couldn't play the other works that I mentioned, but that value is severely limited and accordingly Hanon is best used in moderation.


Pah, have you not read the above posts of the great Claude Debussy?

It is completely useless.

CASE CLOSED.

Thal
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Offline javacisnotrecognized

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #119 on: March 31, 2009, 07:58:02 AM »
Pah, have you not read the above posts of the great Claude Debussy?

It is completely useless.

CASE CLOSED.

Thal

Just ignore him and he'll eventually go away.



But then he'll return to quote himself again in two months time :(

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #120 on: March 31, 2009, 08:47:52 AM »
If Hanon is 100% useless then what purpose does it have? If you say it is useless then it has ZERO application to ANYTHING to do with piano, and has ZERO relevance to ANY LEVEL of piano playing. Well, then you have a lot of explaining away to do which no one has of yet ever done.
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Offline birba

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #121 on: March 31, 2009, 10:55:33 AM »
This is becoming Ariadne's thread.  Only, it's not leading us anywhere.  The fact is, it could be Hannon, Pischna, Czerny, etc.  It's not the method.  It's HOW you play the method.  The actual lifting of the finger and striking of the key (Heaven forbid I should have used that word "strike" - now I'll never hear the end of it...)

Offline thalbergmad

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #122 on: March 31, 2009, 11:15:16 AM »
That's not the point; people can study those works very profitably even if they do not end up performing them (or some of them)

For your average person learning the piano, these pieces will be a million miles away.

Unless of course you know any Godowsky playing 6 year olds.

Thal
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Offline Karli

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #123 on: March 31, 2009, 11:44:25 AM »
.

Offline Karli

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #124 on: March 31, 2009, 01:11:13 PM »
.

Offline ahinton

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #125 on: March 31, 2009, 03:24:22 PM »
For your average person learning the piano, these pieces will be a million miles away.

Unless of course you know any Godowsky playing 6 year olds.
I do know some people of that age who try to play Bach, though; that said, I was not referring to 6 year old pianists in the first place. There's Czerny and all manner of other part-exercise, part performable music - and from where, after all, did Chopin himself develop his technical facilities? Don't forget that he was not exactly middle aged when he composed Op. 10...

Best,

Alistair
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The Sorabji Archive

Offline thalbergmad

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #126 on: March 31, 2009, 04:52:31 PM »
Don't forget that he was not exactly middle aged when he composed Op. 10...

He was not a learner either.

Thal
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Offline claude_debussy

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #127 on: April 01, 2009, 01:15:38 AM »
Gentlemen!  Ladies! 

Let us please not lose our senses of humor - if indeed there was ever anything left to lose!

Your humble servant only indulged the immodesty of quoting himself - and even now, has begun to refer to himself in the third person! - for one purpose, and one purpose only:

To advise sincere aspirants in pursuit of keyboard virtuosity how not to waste hours, months and years of their lives.

Hanon will do that - so  indeed it does deserve a WARNING LABEL:

"WARNING: USE OF THIS PRODUCT MAY BE DANGEROUS TO YOUR MENTAL HEALTH AND STUNT YOUR GROWTH AS A MUSICIAN!"

Still left unacknowledged by virtually all the carping nay-sayers who have criticized my Warning Label without giving the tiniest reason why, is that your humble servant's warning actually gave the big, nasty, unavoidable fact (earlier adduced as well) which explains the REASON why Hanon is useless:

(so here it is again:)

Hanon Book I does NOT invoke ANY practice of the single most critical gesture in all keyboard playing: passing of the hand over the thumb and shifting weight smoothly between groups of fingers, the central gesture necessary for all virtuosic scale and arpeggio playing.

Without that, Hanon = useless.

There you have it. 

Case closed? 

Well, okay, your discussion can certainly continue - apparently no one runs out of gas around here, even after they run out of ideas.   

But those interested in building a serious piano technique are well-advised to avoid wasting time on Hanon.  If finger-wiggling did the job, we wouldn't even need keyboards to attain virtuosity - drumming your fingers on a table top would be as effective as actually practicing - but for some reason that just ain't so.

PS - the discussion here is NOT between "exercises" and "music" or etudes of any kind - all are necessary (though Chopin is better than Czerny, if you can manage it).  But if you want to concentrate your work, get red-hot on those fire scales and arpeggios every day without ever missing a session.  Only by practicing these central gestures of pianism - passing the hand over the thumb as in scales and arpeggios (with octaves left as a separate issue for now) will a real technique be built in the most efficient way. 

I wish there were an easy pill to swallow, even one called "Hanon", but only practice will transform you.  The trick is to practice the right things - then your skill will increase. 

Your humble servant,

Claude 

ps and don't forget my Etudes, if you are good enough ..



Offline thalbergmad

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #128 on: April 01, 2009, 07:05:09 AM »
I think it is you that needs the warning label old chap ;D

You speak with such definates, you must be the almighty himself.

What you write is theory, that is not always backed up with pratical experience.

Thal
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Concerto Preservation Society

Offline quasimodo

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #129 on: April 01, 2009, 08:37:42 AM »
anyway, I'm pretty sure that bach, faced with the lack of exercises in his day, would have invented something, some kind of musical invention for teaching composition.

Bach as a pedagogue has developed tools for technical purposes: for example, the AMB notebook, the 2-parts and 3-parts inventions and, for the organ, the Triosonatas. What is worth noting is that those all are music pieces and not “exercises” in the sense of Hanon et al.

now chopin would have done something different, because piano technique had already been invented...he would have studied it in depth with some kind of etude, maybe even a few sets of etudes.

It is often said, probably with some reason, that Chopin actually re-invented the whole piano technique through his work. In the late years of his life, Chopin gave up performing to focus on teaching and composing, he would spend half year teaching and half year composing, basically. Despite that important pedagogic activity, he didn’t feel the need to develop any set of exercises for general purposes. As you mentioned, he wrote etudes, instead, and same as with Bach, the etudes are music pieces that can be performed.

oh yeah...since antibiotics weren't invented during chopin's life, it's clear that he had no need for them.  after all, he created great music despite his little bout of tuberculosis...   ::)

Are you suggesting that pianistic technical weaknesses are caused by some germ? 8)

Anyhow, some people like doing exercises like the Hanon, well… fair enough, if they enjoy themselves doing that, nobody else has a say.

Now, when teachers start to force their pupils into those types of exercises as a pedagogic-system, I do care, because, in my opinion, it’s suggesting that they don’t really have a lot to give as teachers.
" On ne joue pas du piano avec deux mains : on joue avec dix doigts. Chaque doigt doit être une voix qui chante"

Samson François

Offline scottmcc

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #130 on: April 01, 2009, 10:50:12 AM »
Bach as a pedagogue has developed tools for technical purposes: for example, the AMB notebook, the 2-parts and 3-parts inventions and, for the organ, the Triosonatas. What is worth noting is that those all are music pieces and not “exercises” in the sense of Hanon et al.

It is often said, probably with some reason, that Chopin actually re-invented the whole piano technique through his work. In the late years of his life, Chopin gave up performing to focus on teaching and composing, he would spend half year teaching and half year composing, basically. Despite that important pedagogic activity, he didn’t feel the need to develop any set of exercises for general purposes. As you mentioned, he wrote etudes, instead, and same as with Bach, the etudes are music pieces that can be performed.

Are you suggesting that pianistic technical weaknesses are caused by some germ? 8)

Anyhow, some people like doing exercises like the Hanon, well… fair enough, if they enjoy themselves doing that, nobody else has a say.

Now, when teachers start to force their pupils into those types of exercises as a pedagogic-system, I do care, because, in my opinion, it’s suggesting that they don’t really have a lot to give as teachers.


at the risk of explaining my joke and making it even less funny than it was the first time, the reason I used the word "invention" several times when referencing bach was indeed, a reference to the 2 and 3 part inventions.  the reference to tuberculosis was in regard to "claude debussy's" anti-progress stance, that previous pianists didn't need something, therefore we don't either.  well, I disagree--chopin probably would have written a whole lot more great music had he not died of tb at a young age.  of course, one could argue that the tb influenced his compositions, but I think that's a silly argument.  now if someone could cure the terrible piano technique virus, I'd be the first in line to get the vaccine.  :)

to respond to claude debussy again, which is probably silly of me, I draw attention to the later exercises of hanon, beginning with nr 32: turning of the thumb.  the first 20 exercises are not designed to work on this movement, so it would be silly to expect the same of them.  of course, I'm quoting myself again, which is one of his faults, but he never replied to me on that, so...   ::)

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #131 on: April 01, 2009, 11:49:53 AM »
....I'm pretty sure that bach, faced with the lack of exercises in his day, would have invented something, some kind of musical invention for teaching composition.
He did, it is called the Well Tempered Klavier.
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Offline rc

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #132 on: April 04, 2009, 02:52:35 AM »
But those interested in building a serious piano technique are well-advised to avoid wasting time on Hanon.  If finger-wiggling did the job, we wouldn't even need keyboards to attain virtuosity - drumming your fingers on a table top would be as effective as actually practicing - but for some reason that just ain't so.

I will argue that accurate finger wiggling is an important part of the job.  No tabletops please, we need specific distance between keys, depths between the black/white, and pressure sensitivity to listen for evenness.

However, to only practice Hanon in C is limiting - no matter where you are in the scale it's the same motion, the only challenges are in changing direction...  But if we add one accidental suddenly we have to pay attention to where we are in the scale and many of the motions must change to adapt to that black key, it becomes a whole new challenge to pay attention to.  Hanon over harmonic minor scales is more akward.

I have no beef with your point about scales and arpeggios, Passing the thumb is an essential skill.  On a sidenote, passing of other fingers doesn't get mentioned very often - 4 over 5 and 2 over 1 come in useful in a lot of Bach.

So, in the interest of wiggling my fingers with more control, I find Hanon in different keys a worthwhile challenge.  There's much to learn in wiggling our fingers properly.

Offline sulldani

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #133 on: April 09, 2009, 11:00:19 PM »
I am an 8th Grade piano student in Australia and Hanon is an essential part of my practice routine. My teacher starts making students play Hanon around grade 5 standard and 8th grade and diploma students play the first 20 Hanon exercises everyday before practising and I find this to be a very effective warm up.

Have a good one.

Daniel S

Offline ikedian

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #134 on: April 10, 2009, 07:34:06 AM »
This whole "debate" is pitifully stupid.  There is no such thing as too much Hanon if you're a beginning pianist.  The only thing it's going to do is waste your time if you work at it too much.  If you've already got the technique of the studies down it's not going to do anything extra for you a similar study would.  They're just very specific studies.  Some aren't the best but none are going to make you a *worse* pianist, just like there's no piece of music that's going to make you a *worse* pianist, unless there's some piece that has you set your hands on fire that I'm not aware of. 

Seriously.  By a show of hands, who here has learned a piece and then suddenly become a worse musician?

Like, of course you're not supposed to play it for hours on end.  Just like you're not supposed to play Liszt's Feux Follets for hours on end.  Who in is acting surprised when their wrists start to hurt after playing the same passage 7900 times?  They're useful for strengthening the fingers when you are a beginning pianist and teaching you the scales, and getting your hands comfortable with locking into certain intervals.

Just like Mikrokosmos.  Like Scarlatti Sonatas.  Like Brahms exercises.  Like all sizes of Pischna.  Like Liszt exercises.  Like Czerny.  There's no damn difference.  Hanon is just the most immediately accessible and is capable of being started sooner.

Offline arensky

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #135 on: April 10, 2009, 06:17:15 PM »
This whole "debate" is pitifully stupid.  There is no such thing as too much Hanon if you're a beginning pianist.  The only thing it's going to do is waste your time if you work at it too much.  If you've already got the technique of the studies down it's not going to do anything extra for you a similar study would.  They're just very specific studies.  Some aren't the best but none are going to make you a *worse* pianist, just like there's no piece of music that's going to make you a *worse* pianist, unless there's some piece that has you set your hands on fire that I'm not aware of. 

Seriously.  By a show of hands, who here has learned a piece and then suddenly become a worse musician?

Like, of course you're not supposed to play it for hours on end.  Just like you're not supposed to play Liszt's Feux Follets for hours on end.  Who in is acting surprised when their wrists start to hurt after playing the same passage 7900 times?  They're useful for strengthening the fingers when you are a beginning pianist and teaching you the scales, and getting your hands comfortable with locking into certain intervals.

Just like Mikrokosmos.  Like Scarlatti Sonatas.  Like Brahms exercises.  Like all sizes of Pischna.  Like Liszt exercises.  Like Czerny.  There's no damn difference.  Hanon is just the most immediately accessible and is capable of being started sooner.

Well said. This thread can stop now.  8)
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Offline claude_debussy

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #136 on: April 11, 2009, 06:05:04 AM »
you completely miss the point.  or you're dodging it.

Hanon wastes time, and sends aspirants down a blind alley which will ultimately frustrate even a talented person. 

your 'one size fits all' lapse into 'whatever' relativism reveals a rather flabby thought process, if it reveals any process at all. 

people need and deserve helpful advice - that's why they're reading this thread.  And the subject is far from closed, so it's presumptuous to claim the final word.

Informed discussion of how to build piano technique should be what this thread - and this website - are all about.  The importance of that discussion won't be swept aside by gassy pronouncements that lack content.

Hanon doesn't work because it doesn't train the hand or the body in any of the central gestures of piano technique - balancing the hand and groups of fingers while passing the thumb.  That point has been made more than once now, and no one has answered it because it is correct, accurate, and truthful. 

Aspirants: as a basic strategy to build technique, practice your scales and arpeggios forcefully and religiously, every day.

Pursued diligently, this will transform your playing, more and more as time goes on. 

Hanon will never do that for you, so it's worth repeating the facts here to keep sincere players from burning out their dreams in a frustrating dead-end approach that will take you nowhere.

Be patient, and practice.  Do your wind sprints up and down the keyboard every day - no serious athlete would consider training without daily reinforcement of the most basic fundamentals.  It's humble work, but there are no shortcuts.

When you're ready to advance, the Chopin etudes are waiting for you. 

So are my etudes.

peace and good luck to all - CD
 





 

Offline conmoto

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #137 on: April 11, 2009, 06:25:19 AM »
you completely miss the point.  or you're dodging it.

Hanon wastes time, and sends aspirants down a blind alley which will ultimately frustrate even a talented person. 

your 'one size fits all' lapse into 'whatever' relativism reveals a rather flabby thought process, if it reveals any process at all. 

people need and deserve helpful advice - that's why they're reading this thread.  And the subject is far from closed, so it's presumptuous to claim the final word.

Informed discussion of how to build piano technique should be what this thread - and this website - are all about.  The importance of that discussion won't be swept aside by gassy pronouncements that lack content.

Hanon doesn't work because it doesn't train the hand or the body in any of the central gestures of piano technique - balancing the hand and groups of fingers while passing the thumb.  That point has been made more than once now, and no one has answered it because it is correct, accurate, and truthful. 

Aspirants: as a basic strategy to build technique, practice your scales and arpeggios forcefully and religiously, every day.

Pursued diligently, this will transform your playing, more and more as time goes on. 

Hanon will never do that for you, so it's worth repeating the facts here to keep sincere players from burning out their dreams in a frustrating dead-end approach that will take you nowhere.

Be patient, and practice.  Do your wind sprints up and down the keyboard every day - no serious athlete would consider training without daily reinforcement of the most basic fundamentals.  It's humble work, but there are no shortcuts.

When you're ready to advance, the Chopin etudes are waiting for you. 

So are my etudes.

peace and good luck to all - CD
 





 

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Offline thalbergmad

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #138 on: April 11, 2009, 02:05:16 PM »

your 'one size fits all' lapse into 'whatever' relativism reveals a rather flabby thought process, if it reveals any process at all. 
 

But this is exactly what you are doing yourself.

You claim "Hanon wastes time", not "Hanon wastes time for some". Therefore you are claiming that it works for nobody.

It is you that is using "one size fits all".

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Offline rc

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #139 on: April 11, 2009, 05:48:34 PM »
What annoys me about this fellow calling himself debussy is that he accuses people of not listening to him but so far as I can tell he hasn't considered a single point contrary to his own opinion.

So I would suggest rather than beating down your point over and over - try addressing the other points made.  In other words, discuss.

Yes, nobody is arguing that scales and arpeggios are important.  So you can quit saying it and get back on topic.  This reminds me of an earlier post where somebody mentioned that the other books of Hanon have scales and arpeggios, among other figurations, anyhow...

For your uncontested point about scales and arpeggios, this thread is full of points in favor of the first hanon book that you have yet to contest.

Offline Petter

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #140 on: April 12, 2009, 05:02:41 PM »
As an interesting side note, in the 2nd book that deals with scales, Hanon refers to the instructor as a "he".  And does anyone else find the preface hilarious?
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Offline claude_debussy

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #141 on: April 13, 2009, 12:06:10 AM »

Yes, nobody is arguing that scales and arpeggios are important.  (sic) (etc.)


Obviously, you are very confused.

Offline giannalinda

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Pro hannon
«Reply #142 on: April 13, 2009, 04:38:44 PM »
Im pro hannon and im proud of it!!!! hannon exercises are great!!! i love em!!! theyve really helped me in getting playing faster and cleaner...I like to drive my brother crazy by playing them over and over again!!!!!!!!!
All the old members here I kno, uve been quite mean lately, even though I apologized so i would like to ask you to please if u dont have anything nice to say dont say anything at all. Thank you.

Offline go12_3

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Re: Pro hannon
«Reply #143 on: April 13, 2009, 05:05:23 PM »
Im pro hannon and im proud of it!!!! hannon exercises are great!!! i love em!!! theyve really helped me in getting playing faster and cleaner...I like to drive my brother crazy by playing them over and over again!!!!!!!!!

Good for you!  :)
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Offline giannalinda

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Re: Pro hannon
«Reply #144 on: April 13, 2009, 05:06:58 PM »
Good for you!  :)

Oh thanks I like them...my grandmother did them all the time when she was alive and drove everyone in the house crazy!!!! best wishes.,...Abbey
All the old members here I kno, uve been quite mean lately, even though I apologized so i would like to ask you to please if u dont have anything nice to say dont say anything at all. Thank you.

Offline go12_3

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #145 on: April 13, 2009, 05:13:59 PM »
Abbey,  can you do 1 through 15 in ten minutes?

best wishes,

go
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Offline giannalinda

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #146 on: April 13, 2009, 06:56:16 PM »
Abbey,  can you do 1 through 15 in ten minutes?

best wishes,

go

pff...no....I can do 1 through 8 in ten minutes...can you?
All the old members here I kno, uve been quite mean lately, even though I apologized so i would like to ask you to please if u dont have anything nice to say dont say anything at all. Thank you.

Offline authentic

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #147 on: April 21, 2009, 07:39:02 PM »
Hi,

Amateur pianist here. I started young, not three or four years of age, but young enough that I can only vaguely remember a time when I could not read music but yet could read words. I might have been eight or nine when I started and I'm now in my twenties. I cannot make broad, sweeping generalisations about what is good but I can share my experience.

I had a music teacher in my formative years and took ABRSM exams up to grade 3 or 4.
This lady taught me all the foundations of music and when movement necessitated the end of lessons I never took any further lessons.

Now, she was not big on technical exercises but would encourage the isolation of difficult sections as well as hands seperate practice of difficult passages and scales/arps.
She would also enourage slow practice if necessary often forcing one to slow down saying, "Speed will come."
Apart from explaining the need to pass the thumb in scales, and general posture etc, she never gave detailed technical advice.
She would listen and say when it's not right and you had to figure out how to get it right.
For example, it is much later that I consciously read about 'rotation' in Alberti Bass and such figures despite the fact that I naturally adopted the motion to facilitate rapid, comfortable, and musical execution in mozart sonatas.
Apart from the need to play scales and arpeggios (which I hated), I was alien to the idea of 'banging out' technical exercies.

Eventually someone gave her a copy of Hannon and she introduced me to a few exercises.
She really did not put much emphasis on it apart from maybe opening the lesson with a page. Eventually, I copied her book.

Fast forward a few years later.
I've moved and just got back a piano.
I'm horrified at how sloppy my playing is.
So, teacherless, I begin to devise a plan to regain my technique.
Now, by this time I had the internet and access to a wealth of opinions.
Yes, there were people extolling the virtues of Hannon and saying one needed to play from the fingertips.
This was an exploratory period for me and I am an open minded person so I tried it.
What was the result?

At first it was OK, I felt a little evenness coming back.
But I was not palying Hannon alone so I'm not sure what to attribute that to.
What I do know is that I got tired of them quickly.
The Hannon exercies did not motivate me at all; page after dull page that I didn't even have to read more than a single bar of.
Sometimes after workign through a few pages of Hannon in the recommended manner, I did not feel like practicing anything else.
Furthermore, after a few days the curled finger position had caused the flesh to separate from under the nail of my right index finger and I seemed to have developed some kind of wrist cramp.
For the first time in my life I felt physical pain playing the piano.
Since both problems would only be exacerbated by further practice I took some days off and refected on the fruits of my efforts.

The conclusion was not difficult.
I scrapped all the advice that I was reading and went back to being a 'natural' player; the one who did what sounded and felt good NOW.
It is at this point that I started developing rather strong feelings that many of the common recommendations are simply incorrect in the general case.
Afterward, I came upon writings of Chopin, Sandor, Chang, and later Bernhard that seemed to validate what I was thinking and the methods by which I was trained.
So what is my personal albeit insiginificant verdict on Hanon?

IMO, the only potential benefit of Hanon is for warm up in the sense of getting the playing muscles physically ready.
However, scales or a Bach invention will do the same with more technical benefit in the former case and with the addition of musical meaning in the latter case.
I don't understand the acquisition of technique without music; technique exists in the service of music.
Yes, there may be some standard physical movements that have been devised to facilitate the execution of certain musical passages but they are the means not the end.
The end is to achieve that ideal ringing inside your minds ear and a total unification of your playing mechanism with your will and creative muse.
Insofar as Hannon and most technical exercies encourage separation of the mind's musical ideal from the fingertips (or render a mind-image non-existent), they are bad.

I think the relative insensitivity of the piano and the formidable coordination challenges playing it presents makes piano players more likely to focus on nebulous extra-musical technique.
I can't imagine a violinist practicing technique separately from musicality.
It is impossible since they always have to be concerned about being in tune so they have to *listen* and *adjust*; there is constant feedback from ears through mind to muscles.
There is no choosing between one and the other; producing a clean musical tone is PART of the technique of playing the violin.
However, we on the piano have a nice pre-packaged tone and don't even have to tune our instruments ourselves so we sometimes imagine we can treat it like a typewriter.

I also think it's very telling that many of the great pianists of the past were composers and excellent improvisors as well.
I never make a mistake when I'm playing around at the piano, even when I'm doing things that would ordinarily be difficult.
Why can't ordinary playing be as effortless, unifying and self-fulfilling?
I don't think Hannon, pursued as a habit, helps achieve this but rather encourages the opposite through learned preoccupation with the mechanism only, to the detriment of the mind and ears.

[I ended up writing rather much because I thought a lot about this in the process of guiding my own progress. If you read it all, bless you. If not, I don't carry a grudge. :)]
All of the above with a Mega-IMHO, of course.

Offline grahamfitch

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #148 on: January 10, 2014, 01:15:39 PM »
As with any exercises like Hanon, it depends on how you do them. Hanon is certainly not a panacea for all our pianistic problems but if used intelligently as part of a balanced technical regime, there is certainly benefit to be had. I have lots of ways of doing Hanon that I describe in my eBook, but here is a link to a blog post on the subject. I hope it might be of interest:

http://practisingthepiano.com/some-thoughts-on-five-finger-exercises-variations-on-a-theme-by-hanon

Offline pianosfun

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #149 on: January 10, 2014, 07:09:00 PM »
Haha, a pianist doesn't need Hanon. He can develop his own technical exercises because of his love for the instrument.

But it's cool. It gives great ideas and puts some things in perspective.