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pro-hanon vs anti-hanon (Read 49325 times)

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #50 on: January 11, 2009, 05:22:05 AM »
claude_debussy's brain is in plaster I think.

Gaining piano technique isn't easy and doesn't seem like tons of fun, particularly at first, unless you challenge yourself and work with the physical limitations you will reach every day, working with scales, arpeggios, octaves.
Piano technique isn't fun unless you challenge yourself with scales, arpeggio, octaves????? LOL. Forget about studying pieces they are not as interesting and do not improve technique?

The powers of a master pianist are almost god-like - the closest human beings can get to supernatural experience, in my view. 
Pianists already have big egos, this thinking would just make most of their heads explode. We are merely servants to a great art.

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Offline claude_debussy

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #51 on: January 12, 2009, 11:01:29 AM »
you're right, lost in idle wonder - since you can play as well as you need to now, none of this applies to you

Offline term

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #52 on: January 12, 2009, 02:00:16 PM »
Quote
The powers of a master pianist are almost god-like - the closest human beings can get to supernatural experience, in my view. 
You're getting too carried away by this. Remember you're just playing piano, one of the many irrelevant things happening on this planet.  ;)
"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools talk because they have to say something." - Plato
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Offline claude_debussy

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #53 on: January 12, 2009, 07:21:09 PM »
Alex Ross says in the New Yorker that there maybe 25 million piano students now studying in China.  Apparently it's a good deal less "irrelevant" to them than it is to you.

It's something they want to do with their lives - something that seems more valuable, more rewarding and spiritually satisfying than other worldly pursuits. 

In fact I am continually astonished at the breadth and intensity of musical culture, around the world.  In particular, the universality of it. 

Music goes everywhere. 

And it is important - very important, to a lot of people.

Risking a bit of grandiosity, I was merely pointing out that, at the end of the tunnel and at the end of the rainbow, there is a big 'win' for the serious student and pianist - involving self-realization, self-manifestation, and the unparalleled experience of making great music as an artist. 

As I said - if you haven't been there, you won't know what I'm talking about.

Meanwhile, I only write these few notes to help some of the many serious, sincere seekers who may not have access - as I did not - to first-rate professional training at the crucial stages of their lives. 

Almost everyone has bad piano training, because most piano teachers are very, very bad - incompetent and worse.

But even if you're on your own, there is a lot you can do.  At that point if you look around for help, there are also pitfalls -  an enormous amount of disinformation, some carrying a long, illustrious history, starting with Hanon (which I practiced religiously for far too long when I should have been developing the building blocks of a real piano technique). 

This is because the field of piano training and pedagogy - the 'sports medicine' of keyboard technique, applied to a scientific approach - is ridiculously primitive, swaddled in superstition and mythology, and purveyed without credentials or professional standards, particularly against young children who cannot defend themselves. 

Most people have bad piano teachers, and quit early on, discouraged, their interest in music crushed by negative pedagogy.  As around and you'll see that this is a depressingly common experience, echoed by many, many gifted and intelligent people. 

There is no reason they could not have had a long, rewarding experience with music - except that the teaching was so bad, starting with Hanon.

As a final suggestion, have a look at Dr. Chuan Chang's "Fundamentals of Piano Practice," for a discussion that tries to apply scientific and rational principals to a subtle, complex, difficult problem.  Not everything he says is perfectly accurate, but the book overall serves as a potent corrective to Matthay, Ortman, Hanon, and all the other moldy and destructive purveyors of 'expertise' on the subject of piano technique. 

Despite the vast, worldwide interest in piano study and the development of piano technique, this is a field dominated by quacks, blowhards and incompetents, and has been for over 200 years. 

It's time to demand a much better approach.  Musicians should be in the forefront of that effort.

There is a lot more to say on all this, but I have to go practice.  Peace to all - CD.


Ps - and don't forget to study those Debussy Etudes, the greatest piano masterpiece of the 20th century. 



 

Offline gerryjay

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #54 on: January 12, 2009, 07:35:58 PM »
Alex Ross says in the New Yorker that there maybe 25 million piano students now studying in China.
this is absolutely amazing. i never thought the figures were so astonishing.

Almost everyone has bad piano training, because most piano teachers are very, very bad - incompetent and worse.
that's a great problem, and it's almost hopeless. the "anything-is-good-for-a-beginner" reasoning is a mean and bad enemy of both beginners and good professionals.

best!


Offline term

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #55 on: January 13, 2009, 02:59:46 PM »
Alex Ross says in the New Yorker that there maybe 25 million piano students now studying in China.  Apparently it's a good deal less "irrelevant" to them than it is to you.

It's something they want to do with their lives - something that seems more valuable, more rewarding and spiritually satisfying than other worldly pursuits. 
I think you should get a grip and come back to earth. ;)
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Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #56 on: January 18, 2009, 02:15:23 AM »
Here was an interesting discussion on Hanon we all had a while back.
http://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php/topic,13583.0.html
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Offline point of grace

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #57 on: February 05, 2009, 03:15:23 AM »
pro hanon!
used in context of course
Learning:

Chopin Polonaise Op. 53
Brahms Op. 79 No. 2
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Offline justliam

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #58 on: February 05, 2009, 04:42:50 PM »
Personally, I'm pro-hanon, even though I've only just started it.

It's worth pointing out that parts of this thread and become more about pro-exercise or anti-exercise, rather than hanon in particular.

I think it depends on what you are after as well, if you are having difficulty with certain elements, of course you can pick a piece or etude that deals with it that way and learn via pieces.

For me, I like the structure of having hanon or something similar in a practise schedule, they work as a nice warm up and like some people find ironing and other mundane tasks 'therapeutic' I find the same of exercises.

But when it comes right down to it, I don't believe there is a right or wrong, so long as your technique is advancing and you are working on your weaker areas.
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Offline mewzshn

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #59 on: February 05, 2009, 09:53:30 PM »
I just joined this site, but while I'm a newbie here, I've played for many years, have a doctorate in piano and have played recitals in New York's Carnegie and Town Halls.  When I was in college, my teacher, who was a concert pianist and taught his students only once in 3 weeks, made all of us do Hanon.  From undergrad through doctoral students.  He had his own way and every ex. had to be done twice (once pressing into the keys and once with a finger staccato) without stopping.  All 20!  This transformed my technique.  It also gave some people tendinitis.  I still do them when I'm preparing for a concert.  I do them very fast and can do all 20 twice in about 13 1/2 minutes and I hate every minute of it.  I also hate the time I spend on the elliptical.  But with both, I feel better afterwards.  For me, that's the beauty of Hanon.  They are easy to study and they work all 5 fingers equally.  I consider it a workout for my fingers.  I find it especially helpful when playing pieces like the Rach 2nd concerto, which has sooooo many notes.  I don't care for Czerny because his exercises takes more time to study and don't really exercised the fingers equally.  They sound a little more like music, but not enough for me to want to play them.  For me, give me some mindless Hanon, and let me get it over with.

Offline point of grace

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #60 on: February 06, 2009, 04:30:15 PM »
I don't care for Czerny because his exercises takes more time to study and don't really exercised the fingers equally.  They sound a little more like music, but not enough for me to want to play them.
you my hero =)
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Offline soitainly

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #61 on: February 06, 2009, 06:39:42 PM »
 Hello,
This is my first post here, it seemed like an interesting topic. I've been reading these forums for a few months as I have just started piano after many years of guitar.

 I personally will probably spend very little time with Hanon or any conventional exercizes. My goals are are not to be a famous classical pianist, I just want to play. It's not that I won't work at it, just that I don't have the mental make-up to mindlessly work on scales or whatever for hours on end. I am not saying people that work on exercises religiously are mindless, just that if I was to do it it would be excruciatingly boring.

 I am going to teach myself for the most part, maybe will consider lessons for specific things if I get bogged down. I will take what I have learned from all my guitar playing and try and apply it musically to piano. I make up my own exercizes based on scales and chords more just to learn my way around the piano than anything. Mostly I just want to play simple pieces with musicality.

 So its seems that there are big differences of opinion on Hanon and exersizes. It really comes down to whether a person has the mental makeup to work that way. If you can concentrate on a valid exercize, I am sure that it is a great way to achieve results. I think that there are lots of people that just couldn't stand to spend much time on them. Some may force themselves or be forced by others to play this way but a good many of them will give up or be injured. Others may stick it through, yet we have all heard players who even though they have great technical facility, really have no clue as to how to make music. It really is an individual thing, I have admiration for some one that can work hard over the period of years it may take to achieve virtuosity, and I also can appreciate someone with an innate musical sense that may play simpler pieces beautifully. I tend to like to listen to the simpler music, I am not so impressed with music that is difficult for its own sake. I really don't see why poeple would have to get hostile over this topic, music and art aren't a set of rules, how you achieve your goals isn't the point.

Offline justliam

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #62 on: February 06, 2009, 06:46:32 PM »
I agree with a lot about your post.  And I think there are certainly people with a very good technique who play quite poor musically.  But it's worth remembering that many virtuosic pieces have that musicality in them as well, and you need a solid technique to get behind the piece before you add the musicality on top of that.

That is the difference between an artist and a robot with 10 dexterous fingers, and why people favour certain pianists above others with arguably equal technique.
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Offline mike_lang

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #63 on: February 06, 2009, 07:16:47 PM »
When I was in college, my teacher,

Excuse me, but who was your teacher?

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #64 on: February 06, 2009, 11:17:07 PM »
I don't agree that Hanon is a "mindset". Compared to studying pieces it is much easier and requires relatively less focus. If one cannot focus on Hanon I doubt their ability to study pieces. Who said you have to play Hanon for hours a day anyway?
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Offline jlh

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #65 on: February 06, 2009, 11:39:50 PM »
Hanon is a set of exercises based on >100 yr old knowledge of the human body and is a purely technical approach.  Nothing in it encourages musical playing, only technical dribble for hours and hours on end.  Students playing Hanon, assuming they have perfect technique, inevitably grow tired of doing the same patterns over and over and over and over and over and over and over for hours on end that it becomes simply a chore and nothing else.  These kinds of students will soon look at all technical patterns they see in music as dry exercises and little more. Students that have imperfect technique simply "burn in" that technique into their playing habits by practicing bad technique ad nauseum.

When would I consider playing or recommending Hanon?  When I'm preparing to play the Shostakovich 2nd... where there are direct quotations from the Hanon studies.  Then again, even then I could just practice the Hanon in the 3rd movement.........
 ::)

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Offline jlh

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #66 on: February 06, 2009, 11:46:04 PM »
I don't agree that Hanon is a "mindset". Compared to studying pieces it is much easier and requires relatively less focus. If one cannot focus on Hanon I doubt their ability to study pieces. Who said you have to play Hanon for hours a day anyway?

One thing that bugs me when I'm going through practice room halls is hearing students sloppily playing through hanon over and over again.  I can only imagine how much they hate those exercises because that's all they do for hours.  Also, the way 90 percent of students play hanon it's obviously doing more harm than good because the way i hear them most of the time is with bad technique that will either be completely useless later or will cause tendinitus.

Whenever you do something (anything) for that many hours on end anyone can lose focus and do things the wrong way.  It's not a matter of, "if you can't stay focussed on Hanon how will you stay focussed on rep?"  It's more like, "you can't stay focussed on hanon, so let's find something that keeps you interested, sharpens your technique and is more than simply machine-gun type pianism."
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Offline general disarray

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #67 on: February 07, 2009, 03:03:35 AM »
This Hanon debate is soooooo tedious. 

Hanon's NOT the problem.  MINDLESS practicing is.  I don't care how stupid or unmusical the pattern is you're practicing:  first, FEEL and BE AWARE of your breath (we are singers, afterall!).  WATCH your hands.  Are they tensed, crab-like?  Are your wrists arched and inching towards your shoulders?  Is any element of your body TIGHT WITH TENSION?  Is your body ENGAGED AND THE WEIGHT AND ENERGY BEHIND YOUR HANDS?  If not, you are wasting your time.

Think.  Every second you're practicing. 

Not thinking is MINDLESS practicing.  And that's pointless and useless.

I agree with jih.

You people want a miracle.  There is none beyond being mindful and intellectually present every second you practice.

For most of you, instant gratification isn't fast enough.

Stop searching for a "savior."  Save yourselves.  Hanon points the way if you take charge.  He provides the notes, you must provide the brains and analysis to execute the notes, fluidly and free of tension.     
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Offline claude_debussy

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #68 on: February 08, 2009, 04:28:41 AM »
lots heat, little light on this topic

i'll try again

one more time

Hanon is largely useless for developing piano technique because it does not exercise the two crucial gestures required - A) shifting weight smoothly when turning the hand to alternate fingers and thumb, as all fast scales and arpeggios require and B) octaves, in leaps and repetitions, which are a different problem entirely.

without some mastery of these two skills you won't be able to play anything in the piano literature. 

hanon won't get you there

if piano playing were merely a question of wiggling fingers up and down, simple calisthenics would do the trick ... like hanon, or maybe even a finger-pumping machine

(and believe me, if those worked, people all over the world would be using them

there would be music gyms and health clubs devoted to finger calisthenics on expensive weight-devices for gold's gym types and resistance contraptions for pilates fans)

but no - hanon doesn't help because the challenge is to *connect* the hand's shifts up and down the keyboard, the basic gesture you practice in all scales and arpeggios

arpeggios actually deserve separate study because they spread the fingers and change the shape of the hand, requiring you to flatten the palm and extend the fingers, a critical skill also which will cause tension if not practiced (see Chopin etude op. 10 #1).

training the fast-twitch and IIb muscles of the hand requires enormous dedication, perseverance and continuity - that's why not every piano student can handle the Tchaikovsky piano concerto

it takes an olympic-level training regime to get there

hanon isn't even good groundwork

full disclosure: I did practice Hanon religiously every morning for a year as a teenager and found it did almost nothing to advance my technique

scales and arpeggios, believe it or not, will do the trick - IF you have patience, dedication, and push the envelope every day for power and speed, *working with your body* in a kind of meditational exchange where you are exploring your limits to extend power, speed and relaxation at the keyboard in short bursts - with frequent relaxation in between

play your scales fortissimo until you feel fatigue, then stop and rest.  then repeat

do this, every day, and it will make a difference

this is not mindless practicing (which I agree, Hanon encourages) - it is pushing yourself, just the same as if you were doing wind sprints and timing yourself in a 40 yard dash, over and over - if you push to the point of resistance, you will not be bored, you will be too busy concentrating and analyzing what your body is doing and how to adjust it

often just increasing strength and speed of the fast-twitch muscles does the job - these will begin to kick in after a while, but it takes dedication and patience

claude doesn't want to pontificate - one is merely trying to help people who may be sincerely looking for how to improve technique - and may be considering a course which will waste hundreds or thousands of hours in a useless effort -

don't waste your working time, your precious efforts, your artistic energy and inspiration - finding the best way to get the job done is what technique is really all about - technique in life and learning, as well as the piano

good luck to all, CD


ps - and when you get it all together, don't forget to play my piano Etudes, the greatest 20th century work for solo piano













 



Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #69 on: February 08, 2009, 12:11:39 PM »
Hanon is largely useless for developing piano technique .......
A developing technique of a beginner will benefit a great deal from Hanon, and the intermediate and advanced must be able to produce a perfectly balanced and controlled rendition of any hanon at will. If you cannot, Hanon points out your failings.

without some mastery of these two skills you won't be able to play anything in the piano literature. 
This is too generalistic  in my opinion.

if piano playing were merely a question of wiggling fingers up and down, simple calisthenics would do the trick ... like hanon, or maybe even a finger-pumping machine

but no - hanon doesn't help because the challenge is to *connect* the hand's shifts up and down the keyboard, the basic gesture you practice in all scales and arpeggios
Scales and arpeggios are different to hanon, in another section of technical training. Where they will focus more on shape at the keyboard, hanon aims to provide us important information about sequences of fingerings and balance in the hand to produce this with one position.


arpeggios actually deserve separate study because they spread the fingers and change the shape of the hand....
They are important to study but they certainly cannot replace Hanon because they are different, apples and oranges.

...this is not mindless practicing (which I agree, Hanon encourages)
Everything you do at the piano can be done mindlessly, Hanon certainly does not encourage it more so than scale or other repetitive technical forms.

claude doesn't want to pontificate - one is merely trying to help people who may be sincerely looking for how to improve technique - and may be considering a course which will waste hundreds or thousands of hours in a useless effort -
Anyone who spends their life trying to improve technique SOLELY through technical exercises does not like music and thus is only learning the piano to play patterns. I am yet to meet someone like this ;) Every single pianist has done hanon before and can do them perfectly, whether they studied them or not! I certainly did not study every single hanon but if you ask me to play any of them I can produce it. I acquired the technique through pieces, but the point is, I can measure my technical capabilities with Hanon which acts very much like a litmus paper, albeit only with certain techniques. Thus Hanon is never a waste of time, especially if you find you cannot produce one of them with mastery. However once you know for certain you can do them without problems you should move on, unless you like them to warm up with. There is no point dedicating a lot of time playing patterns which are completely obvious to your hands and without any issues.
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Offline communist

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #70 on: February 08, 2009, 01:51:57 PM »
Hanon for pianists is like running for a soccer player.

A soccer player plays soccer which probably gets them good cardiovascular excercise, but if they ran they would get even more

as for pianists it gives them more endurance and finger agility, but chances are that they get plenty of finger strengthening from playing pieces.
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Offline mewzshn

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #71 on: February 09, 2009, 08:17:25 PM »
Excuse me, but who was your teacher?

My teacher in college was the Israeli pianist, David Bar-Illan.  He was a wonderful musician with a phenominal technique and to hear the difference Hanon made in his students (when following his instructions) was equally phenominal.  To comment on some of the posts...none of us did Hanon for hours.  We did it for 30 minutes.  Bar-Illan was a good friend of Glenn Gould, and once told me that Gould would read a book and watch TV while doing his Hanon.  I don't do it much any more, but when I play a concert now, I pull it out a few weeks before and do it again and I play better.  A few years back I had to do the Rach 2nd and it was going fine, but after I started Hanon, all those notes got clearer.  It may not work for anyone else, but it helped to get me a standing ovation!

Offline scottmcc

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #72 on: February 10, 2009, 12:56:44 AM »
in defense of hanon, exercises 32-37 specifically address turning the thumb under, exercises 38-40 are the major and minor scales, and exercises 41-43 are arpeggios.  so those posters who claim that they NEVER play hanon, and that hanon has no benefit, but that scales and arpeggios are the only technical exercises with merit should perhaps reexamine their statements.


Offline mewzshn

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #73 on: February 10, 2009, 02:43:18 PM »
After reading some of these posts including my own, I realized that one of the things I didn't say was the importance of doing all 20 twice without stopping.  It's an endurance builder.  In 30 minutes or less, you can put your hands through a workout that no piece will give you.  I, for one, am an advocate of slow practice, so pieces themselves don't give me much of a workout until I get close to a concert.  Another issue which was address reminded me of something my teacher, may he rest in peace, told me.  He said the only octave exercise that Horowitz did was the Hanon octave exercise.  Now that's not particular to Hanon.  It's just all 24 keys in octaves, played again without pause and done solely with the wrists (like knocking on a door).  The broken octave exercise, which is the same (all 24 keys) is also a good one.  In fairness, I should say that my teacher in graduate school, Martin Canin, never did exercises and seemed to be in the other camp, i.e. that you get all you need through the music.  Ultimately, I would hope we all agree that any technique is merely a means to be able to say what you want to say musically.  But if you can't play the notes, it matters not how deeply you may feel the music!

Offline javacisnotrecognized

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #74 on: February 10, 2009, 07:23:36 PM »
He said the only octave exercise that Horowitz did was the Hanon octave exercise.  Now that's not particular to Hanon.  It's just all 24 keys in octaves, played again without pause and done solely with the wrists (like knocking on a door).

That is quite a statement, considering that Horowitz was in the anti-exercise camp "Nothing mechanical helps the technique" and the videos of him slow quite conclusively that he used the forearm & upper arm quite thoroughly in his octaves ...

Offline claude_debussy

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #75 on: February 15, 2009, 01:14:42 AM »
yes, there is a lot of disinformation being spread around here

i notice most of the pro-hanon contributors finally admit that they do not practice hanon themselves, although they feel impelled to recommend it to others

however, they then neglect to share exactly what their technical routine is

really, arguing is a waste of time - the point is to help others, and oneself, gain skill

if you're preparing Godowsky etude transcriptions, or the Tchaikovsky concerto, you can probably omit a technical routine - you'll be working hard enough if you're practicing at least two or three hours a day in such music

but if you're trying to extend your technical limitations, and enable yourself to do things on the keyboard which have been impossible or very imperfect up til now, a rigorous technical routine of scales, arpeggios and octaves is essential - and even if one is working on difficult repertoire, a rigorous technical routine will accelerate technical ability.

of course if you already play as well as you want or need to, none of this applies

... likewise, references to what horowitz does, or what glenn gould does, etc., are fatuous, although there is certainly much to be learned from close observation of what they do physically at the keyboard. 

But they already fully achieved the technique they needed as artists.  This discussion is for those still on the path - and for them, for most of us, I'll say one last time, a rigorous technical routine is essential, helpful, and ultimately inspiring - you can't get there without a vast amount of work, and this is the way to accomplish that work in the most compact, efficient, time-intensive manner. 

Everything else will take longer.   If you rely on Hanon, it might take... forever.

peace, claude

ps - if your technique is ready now, try out my piano etudes - certainly they represent a challenge that hasn't yet been met, since to my ear no one has played these pieces as beautifully as they want - and deserve - to be played ... cd







Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #76 on: February 15, 2009, 06:17:03 AM »
yes, there is a lot of disinformation being spread around here

i notice most of the pro-hanon contributors finally admit that they do not practice hanon themselves, although they feel impelled to recommend it to others

however, they then neglect to share exactly what their technical routine is
This post is very vague. Who are you talking about or is this just your own thinking? Do you know the context in which these people are talking?
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Offline thalbergmad

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #77 on: February 15, 2009, 05:26:35 PM »
yes, there is a lot of disinformation being spread around here

And you have contributed very well.

Too eliminate any tool that might just be useful for SOME in acquiring their technique, is an incredibly blinkered approach.

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Offline go12_3

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #78 on: February 16, 2009, 04:43:47 PM »
We can discuss this topic at length, in regarding Hanon and technique.  Personally, Hanon is  great tool for basic technique for finger dexerity and strenghtening.  However, to keep technique interesting and alive, Czerny or any other studies would work also. 
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Offline mewzshn

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #79 on: February 18, 2009, 08:22:36 PM »
i notice most of the pro-hanon contributors finally admit that they do not practice hanon themselves, although they feel impelled to recommend it to others

however, they then neglect to share exactly what their technical routine is

if you're preparing Godowsky etude transcriptions, or the Tchaikovsky concerto, you can probably omit a technical routine - you'll be working hard enough if you're practicing at least two or three hours a day in such music



I'll bite.  I had to play the Tchaikovsky a couple of years ago, and about a month before the performance I did Hanon, just the way I've described.  All 20 played twice.  Takes 13.5 minutes and afterwards my hands feel great.  I even enjoyed that long, long scale stuff in the last movements (feels like about 12 pages of scales!).  When I'm not doing that, I do something similar to Dohnanyi which was given me by my teacher - it only takes 5 minutes, but still stretches out my hands and muscles.  I admit, BTW, the Horowitz story may have been apocryphal, but I do know that Mr. Bar-Illan knew Gould very well.  Doesn't really matter.  When I was in college, Emmanuel Ax came and sat and talked with us.  He wasn't well known then, but apparently did no exercizes and not, as I remember, that much practicing.  But that was in the 70's so there's been much water under the bridge.

Offline claude_debussy

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #80 on: February 18, 2009, 08:44:11 PM »
as i say, if you're playing the Tchaikovsky, Hanon is just a small bit of icing on the cake.

Was Hanon your exclusive technical preparation to play the Tchaikovsky? 

Probably not.

I'm posting here specifically to advise people trying to *build their technique* - adult students perhaps, or young people on the way up. 

A warmup routine for a concert pianist can be just about anything.  One artist I know uses Chopin op. 25 #6.  Gould used to soak his hands in hot water. 

But to *build technique* - and by that I mean to develop a complete professional array of keyboard skills - the Hanon exercises are vastly insufficient.  I'm sure your own experience demonstrates that.

Footnote: I heard Bar-Illan play when I was a child long ago with the Saginaw Symphony, conducted by Josef Cherniavsky (I was a student of his wife, Lara Cherniavsky).  Can't remember the concerto, but Bar-Illan's encore was the Black Key etude which dazzled me then, and still does. 

Always wondered what happened to him - Wikipedia says he became a newspaper editor in Israel.   

What else did he say about Gould btw? 

peace,  claude

 ps - & don't forget to play my piano etudes ...



 

Offline mewzshn

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #81 on: February 23, 2009, 09:02:24 PM »
as i say, if you're playing the Tchaikovsky, Hanon is just a small bit of icing on the cake.

Was Hanon your exclusive technical preparation to play the Tchaikovsky? 

Probably not.

I'm posting here specifically to advise people trying to *build their technique* - adult students perhaps, or young people on the way up. 

A warmup routine for a concert pianist can be just about anything.  One artist I know uses Chopin op. 25 #6.  Gould used to soak his hands in hot water. 

But to *build technique* - and by that I mean to develop a complete professional array of keyboard skills - the Hanon exercises are vastly insufficient.  I'm sure your own experience demonstrates that.

Footnote: I heard Bar-Illan play when I was a child long ago with the Saginaw Symphony, conducted by Josef Cherniavsky (I was a student of his wife, Lara Cherniavsky).  Can't remember the concerto, but Bar-Illan's encore was the Black Key etude which dazzled me then, and still does. 

Always wondered what happened to him - Wikipedia says he became a newspaper editor in Israel.   

What else did he say about Gould btw? 

peace,  claude

 ps - & don't forget to play my piano etudes ...



 

Unfortunately, he died several years ago.  He became editor of the Jerusalem Post  and was then communications director was the country of Israel (used to hear him on NPR).  He was a remarkable pianist and for an 18 year old, a great teacher.  Now, I won a full scholarship to Cincinnati, so I had a decent technique, but Hanon his way (used most for finger endurance - he had a little of a Sadist in him:) transformed my passage work.  My 1st piece under him was the 1st Chopin Scherzo, and of course I had that thrilling Horowitz performance as my model!  I have to say, I played it pretty well.  What I remember most about Bar-Illan was how good he made me feel.  On the day I was to play Bartok 3rd concerto with the orchestra in Cincinnati, he told me I already played it better than any of the recordings.  Now, granted, that was an exxageration, but coming from him, it was great.  His Chopin Etudes were indeed incredible.  He liked to brag that he played the etude in 3rds faster than Lhevinne!

Offline javacisnotrecognized

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #82 on: February 23, 2009, 09:08:39 PM »


His thirds really are fast!

Offline brace77

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #83 on: March 23, 2009, 04:01:58 PM »
Hello all.

I am new to the forum and I decided to post here the results of my experience with Hanon.

I have a degree in Pipe Organ, I am 31 and I started playing piano at 5.

I am not a professional pianist, I am an organ player, but recently I decided to improve my piano technique, to see the results on the organ of course.

I read Chang "bible" and discussed with many people about which is the best way to achieve techinque and finger dexterity.

I tried Hanon in the past several times. Every time I decided to start religiously, keep a table with metronome values, writhing histograms and various statistics.

Every time it ended with no improvement, frustration and a slight tendonitis. At that time I never discussed with a person thinking Hanon was potentially useless and harmful.

3 months ago I decided to give Hanon a new try. I am not a professional organist, but I have anyway a certain degree of musicality and some good techincal skills at the keyboard. So I decied to start Hanon from scratch, not following metronome, just playing as fast as I could play relaxed. I also tried notto play mindlessly, I played like I as playing a really nice music.
I also played every day all the exercises (up to n.30) applying the different articulations, in this way: every day I played all 30 exercises picking one of the articulations/rhythms suggested in the book and then I replayed everything with no articulation (as written). While playing anyway sometimes I put some crescendo, some accent, ...just to make things more interesting.
Moreover I practiced all in C#Major too, slightly slower than C.

I didn't do all the 3rd part, just some of the exercises.

Anyway, believe it or not now I have a much better Technique, I can play some of the greatest organ fugues from Bach with much ease, I feel the difference. Some "real" examples: now I can play the "trills" Hanon exercice really easily, I couldn't to this 3 months ago. I couldn't reach number 30 starting from 1 without feeling fatigue. I can play scales with much ease. I feel my fingers "fly" more than before.

I have about 90 minutes per day to practcie, I am an amateur, anyway in these 3months I dedicated 60 minutes to Hanon, as a challenge. Of course now I will stop and go back to music, but for me it was a "3 months dedication to Hanon".

Anyway I feel that the reason this time I succeded with Hanon is because I played it a little musically, by focusing on the notes and by letting hands go, with no stress. I played almost all HT, but as I said:  already had a technique, I could already play HS Hanon fast, but without "mastering it".

I would say it hasbeen a positive experience since I ALREADY HAVE A GOOD TECHNIQUE, so it is a way to sharpen an already aquired skill.

Anyway, I am posting this to have some feedback, to see if it makes sense to some of you.

I know probably all of you hate this Hanon posts, and... You are right! Anyway this last try I gave to Hanon gave unexpected results and I wanted to share them.

Offline general disarray

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #84 on: March 23, 2009, 05:34:18 PM »
Thanks, brace, you're now an official soldier in the Pianostreet Hanon Wars!  ;D

Your experience pretty much reflects mine, but not with Hanon (I cut my teeth on that stuff very early), but Dohnanyi.  What I needed to remedy in my technique was sloppy double-stops (thirds, sixths, etc. in one hand) and so I checked out Dohnanyi's exercises just for these.

I had done them years ago, but mindlessly.  This time, I approached the thirds exercises sensibly, relaxed and metronome-free.  No pressure.  As I slowly watched what I was doing with my hands in the exercises, I noticed that I was relying totally on fingery motions.  Well, for double stops, you need way more than fingers.  You need subtle shifts in hand weight from side to side with a little bit of rotation thrown in.

In short, my thirds are solid as a rock now and what I learned from examining my entire apparatus (hands, arms, back, butt, brain) doing these exercises has transferred to the repertoire and other technical hurdles.  I feel my playing is more assured, more fluid, more solid than ever.

Hanon, Dohnanyi, Czerny, Brahms, etc.  These exercises serve a purpose if they are done with complete concentration and relaxation.  Furthermore, they can't be viewed as just "finger exercises."  To get around a keyboard, you need much more than fingers!

I think one can get the same results from working on the repertoire:  isolating the spots where you are weak, and making exercises out of them as Cortot does for us in his editions of Chopin.  But, for me, this sometimes kills the joy of the music.  I'd rather go to the the "ballet barre" of Hanon and Dohnanyi to work out the issues before I go stomping and stumbling through "Swan Lake."

Yes, I think exercises done mindfully and with relaxation are very beneficial.

Glad to hear you agree!

Now, duck!

" . . . cross the ocean in a silver plane . . . see the jungle when it's wet with rain . . . "

Offline db05

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #85 on: March 23, 2009, 05:43:57 PM »
Thanks, brace, you're now an official soldier in the Pianostreet Hanon Wars!  ;D

I'm afraid the war is over, sir. Only veterans and wannabe soldiers hanging around. Without general bernhard, there is eternal peace.
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Offline Petter

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #86 on: March 23, 2009, 11:23:38 PM »
"Hanon saved my life" 9.99£, exciting thriller in a bourgeois setting. Buy it now and get Czerny opus 3423 for free.
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Offline javacisnotrecognized

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #87 on: March 23, 2009, 11:45:09 PM »
"Hanon saved my life" 9.99£, exciting thriller in a bourgeois setting. Buy it now and get Czerny opus 3423 for free.

Czerny opus 3423: The art of pedaling. The first thirty exercises consist of repeatedly putting the pedal up and down at metronome markings from 40 BPM to 80 BPM. Use a clean pedaling action for all exercises; the foot moves from the heel, do not move the toes.

Offline m

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #88 on: March 24, 2009, 05:17:20 AM »
I'm afraid the war is over, sir. Only veterans and wannabe soldiers hanging around. Without general bernhard, there is eternal peace.

Mmmm, actually I remember Bernhard saying something like: "I won't leave the forum to Hanonities without a fight". I posted that I will be more than happy to accept the challenge. Sure enough, he dropped the ball.

Best, M

Offline brace77

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #89 on: March 24, 2009, 09:47:23 AM »
These exercises serve a purpose if they are done with complete concentration and relaxation.  Furthermore, they can't be viewed as just "finger exercises."

This is the main point. I also looked at my hands and remembered how I was used to practice Hanon in the past: fixed hands, fatigued fingers.
Now I am using everything, and for this I need to thank Dr. C. Chang, becaue no one of my conservatory teachers ever told me about arms, wrists and other movements. They sometimes generally mentioned them, but without really "believeing" in what they were saying.

So from my experience Hanon can be good in this cases:
1) you already have a good technique and you know which are the pitfalls of mindless playing
2) You have no much time to play and you feel you want to have an "una tantum" itensive 3-4 months session
3) You try to play as much relaxed and musically you can.

Hanon allows you to really play without stopping for 30 minutes,  I mean there are 30 minutes of active playing. While studying other music, let's say the most difficult bars of a challenigng piece in 30 minutes it is quite hard (at least for me) to have more than 10 minutes of active playing. This is because when switching hands, when changing the bar I am studying, when turning pages... It is impossible to keep a super concentration and continuously play something. While with Hanon you can.

Anyway I would not suggest Hanon to anyone approaching piano, but only to a good pianist that wants to try a different tool. Then of course, no tool is ok for everyone... This is true also for fork and spoon :).

I used Hanon because it is part of my history. I remember being 7 years old and opening that white and blue book (in Italy the most famous version hs a white cover with blue text) and asking to myself "why this?". Now I can answer...:) Bye.

Offline will

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #90 on: March 24, 2009, 10:32:08 AM »
Mmmm, actually I remember Bernhard saying something like: "I won't leave the forum to Hanonities without a fight". I posted that I will be more than happy to accept the challenge. Sure enough, he dropped the ball.

It's a shame you didn't challenge him earlier - though I'm sure many of your questions are already answered somewhere in his 5000 or so posts :)

 

Offline m

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #91 on: March 24, 2009, 03:09:11 PM »
It's a shame you didn't challenge him earlier - though I'm sure many of your questions are already answered somewhere in his 5000 or so posts :)

 8)

Well, I did not actually have any questons. Only solutions...

Best, M

Offline daniel patschan

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #92 on: March 24, 2009, 03:34:26 PM »
Ah Marik good to hear you again. Out of topic but something i wanted to ask you since a long time: My fifth finger (right hand) does not work properly anymore, i think i aquired some very bad movement habits by practicing the first chopin study the wrong way (much too early for me). How can i get rid of a neuromuscular dysbalance ? Everey time i try to hit a note with this finger he goes high up into the air a strikes the key too late, and that΄s the case with every piece i play ! Terrible ! Before i started 10-1 i did not have this problem ! :'(

Offline m

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #93 on: March 25, 2009, 06:03:08 AM »
Ah Marik good to hear you again. Out of topic but something i wanted to ask you since a long time: My fifth finger (right hand) does not work properly anymore, i think i aquired some very bad movement habits by practicing the first chopin study the wrong way (much too early for me). How can i get rid of a neuromuscular dysbalance ? Everey time i try to hit a note with this finger he goes high up into the air a strikes the key too late, and that΄s the case with every piece i play ! Terrible ! Before i started 10-1 i did not have this problem ! :'(

Daniel,

What can I say? As many times I noticed here, it is incredibly hard to give any solution without actually seeing the problem, esp. that specific. I would urge you to find a teacher or somebody experienced to observe this problem in person as for what is going on.

Best, M

Offline will

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #94 on: March 25, 2009, 09:19:44 AM »
8)

Well, I did not actually have any questons. Only solutions...

Oh, so you have read every one of Bernhard's posts! Good to hear he has helped you out. Hmmm.....two people with all the solutions - I'm not sure what you'd have to discuss....

Offline daniel patschan

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #95 on: March 25, 2009, 10:13:25 AM »
Daniel,

What can I say? As many times I noticed here, it is incredibly hard to give any solution without actually seeing the problem, esp. that specific. I would urge you to find a teacher or somebody experienced to observe this problem in person as for what is going on.

Best, M

Thank you nevertheless. I know it΄s difficult without seeing the problem.  :-\

Offline m

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #96 on: March 25, 2009, 03:57:54 PM »
Oh, so you have read every one of Bernhard's posts! Good to hear he has helped you out. Hmmm.....two people with all the solutions - I'm not sure what you'd have to discuss....

Not sure why would you assume I have read every one of Bernhard's posts--it might be surprising, but in fact, I have some other activities to do in life. Likewise, I am not sure where did you hear that he helped me out. Nevertheless, in fact, I did read a few and some of them indeed were intersting and helpful, however, some of them were not, and specifically on Hanon and excersises issue (the topic of this current discussion).
Contrary to what you suggest, I don't have ALL the solutions and my response to Daniel Patschan right above proves it. However, I did offer some in this particular (Hanon) case.

Hopefully it resolves any animosity.

Best, M



Offline will

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #97 on: March 26, 2009, 01:29:48 PM »
No animosity, I'm just playing :)
Maybe one day when yourself and Bernhard have the time you can reengage the conversation.

<back on topic>

I do not find Hanon useful.
It may be useful for some people to give more focus to the physical than musical side of their playing but this can be achieved without Hanon.

Offline thalbergmad

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #98 on: March 26, 2009, 05:29:04 PM »
It may be useful for some people to give more focus to the physical than musical side of their playing but this can be achieved without Hanon.

Rather depends on your repetoire. Hanon for me, prepares me for problems that i will later encounter in pieces that i play.

Additionally, if i spend a couple of months tinkering around with pieces from the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book (as i have done), if i keep up a little Hanon, i will still be in shape when i return to the romantics.

Thal
Curator/Director
Concerto Preservation Society

Offline ahinton

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Re: pro-hanon vs anti-hanon
«Reply #99 on: March 26, 2009, 09:37:34 PM »
Rather depends on your repetoire. Hanon for me, prepares me for problems that i will later encounter in pieces that i play.

Additionally, if i spend a couple of months tinkering around with pieces from the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book (as i have done), if i keep up a little Hanon, i will still be in shape when i return to the romantics.

Thal
Musically, Hanon is rubbish. One has to approach C L Hanon on the basis of whether and to what extent studying his work might enable improvements in physical facility in terms of the basic motoric improvements that it seeks to encourage, but I cannot help but think that involvement with pedagogic works of the order of Busoni's Klavierubung might do more to help develop pianists than the dry-as-dust Hanon exercises, for there is surely little purpose to be served by going though the unmusical Hanonic motions when there are other more inspiring technical exercises to be done that might develop other vital attributes along the way. 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...

Just my two cents' worth - from a non-pianist who probably knows less than nothing of which he seeks to speak...

Best,

Alistair
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