View Full Version : To Hannon or not to Hannon...

04-29-2005, 06:25 PM
Hey there mighty keyboard players,

I am starting a music degree in the fall (August 05), and since Piano is a required class I figured I'd started doing the work of getting my fingers ready and what not. So I started going through the Hannon virtuouso pianist exercises (I can tell you those are tough for a guy who's been away from the piano for as long as I have) and I've gotten to the point where I can play the first 6 smoothly connected (like you're suposed to do them according to the book) at 60 BPM. Well, a coworker (piano player) told me not to do those, that they were almost a waste of time, and instead concentrate in some easy pieces and what not... I would love to do both but I just don't have the time. So here's my question (I know it was about time :p ) Is she right? Would I be better off working on some basic pieces (considering my objective which is being proficient enough to not to have trouble in school) or should I continue working on Hannon stuff? My sightreading is fair (not as good as the piano majors but fairly good for a guitarist :D ) so that wouldn't really be an issue.

I know this is something I'll probably have to figure out myself but it's good to have some reasurance from people who know what they are doing :D

Thanks guys,

04-29-2005, 08:26 PM
I'm no might keyboardist... but to my knowledge, most music schools will make you do the Hanon exercises anyway, and they are a high priority requirement for non-piano concentration majors (I suppose piano concentrations are supposed to have these down pat anyway). The Hanon exercises are a cornerstone of piano pedagogy. You'll most likely have to learn pieces as well, not sure what the focus for non-classical schools are and if they emphasize the Hanon exercises, But I'd imagine they do. One thing though, Hanon Exercises train the fingers, they don't train the arms, so finding some Joplin or likewise L/R hand syncopation pieces that emphasize arm movements more so than legato finger movement would probably help a lot.

04-30-2005, 12:19 AM
I was in jazz and didn't do any Hanon excersizes. All we did was learn the standards on the piano that we were learning in other classes.

I'd say stick with the songs. Playing naturally increases your chops anyways. Try and take what you know on the guitar and just put it to work on the piano.

But then I'm not much of an excersize kinda guy...for me it's all about playing until it just comes out of you.

04-30-2005, 12:23 AM
i'm no pėano player either, but i am finishin my first semester in a music major and before i started i felt the same way and did the same with the hanon virtuoso exercises. i dunno how's the piano program in the college you are going to attend but in mine piano is teached individually and you don't need to be a piano player at all.my program is based starting with some simple exercises, opp 599 studies by carl czerny and depending on your playing level the teacher assigns you pieces mpstly from bach like the two part inventions, anna magdalena's notebook and so. In my university they concentrate more on the pieces, more than those dexterity excercises.

04-30-2005, 03:43 AM
Thanks guys... I figure it can't hurt to do Hannon exercises. But I'll look into Czerny, I actually believe I have that book. And I agree about the putting the guitar stuff into the piano, that's what I did before I started "working seriously" I worked on chord changes and what have you.

Thanks a lot for the info.

Wish me luck :D

04-30-2005, 04:07 AM
It's been a long time since I was in a piano course, but I still apply all sorts of piano music to guitar. I've found the Hanon exercises to be incredibly dry, and probably not worth too much time and effort unless you're a piano major. The Czerny etudes (of which there are MANY) are considerably more enjoyable as piano etudes go.

Also, I'm surprised that it hasn't been mentioned yet that Clementi's Sonatinas (Op. 36) are an ideal set of pieces that are at once very musical and good for basic technical development. :cool:

04-30-2005, 10:32 AM
Has anyone here tried Jazz Hanon for piano? I believe it's by Leo Alfassy, i've been working though it (not with much discipline but anyway) and i'm not sure what to think of it as of yet.

04-30-2005, 10:45 AM
What is this Hannon that you all speak of? Does anyone have them in pdf.?

04-30-2005, 03:07 PM
Hi Jorge!

Did you have a look at the front page of your volume? Mine says "The Virtuoso Pianist". Thatīs the idea of this book. After one hour of Hanon I feel ready to play anything!
I donīt think it a waste of time if you play Hanon. Do, if you like it. It is "dry", but some people love it and it will help to develope agility and independence. But I still think you should play something else. Maybe the best thing to do would be to create special exercises from and for the pieces you are playing. This needs some experience...
Playing scales (Hanon No. 39) is very useful for both, hands and mind.
If you are looking for more musical exercises, Czerny, as mentioned, is a rich source. Less known, but very, very beautiful are etudes of Burgmueller (Burgmüller). They are a bit like Chopinīs etudes: beautiful music written to show off... but not that difficult. (And donīt try Chopinīs Etudes befor you have Hanon completely to 120 BPM...)
If you donīt play exercises but only "real" pieces you might be playing those constantly at your technical limit. You will also need a lot of time, to master technical difficulties, which means it will take you longer to learn this piece. I donīt know whether etudes will save time or even take more time, but I feel better with my exercises.

04-30-2005, 04:50 PM
MattW: check out this post for the Hanon exercises... in brief, they are nothing more than scale and arp type exercises, much like you would do on guitar. To me they are boring, they are dry, but a necessary evil.

http://www.ibreathemusic.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7866&page=1 - the one made by Bob has a link to PDF files

In retrospect, Hanon exercises helped me develop technique...to really isolate movements and focus on working out kinks. And it showed when I played pieces. But actually getting better (being more comfortable in general with the piano), learning etudes and pieces proabably did more for me. I went through the Schumann etudes for children, the one with Knecht Ruppert in it, really helpful. But then again, I think because I did Hanon, the tone/sound quality of what I played was all that much better.

05-02-2005, 12:36 AM
Like I said before :D It seems I'm in the right path. I just need to add some more musical stuff on top of what I do. Thanks for the info. And thanks Carmencita I am an exercise freak myself so I totally see your point.

Anyway, too much to practice... too little time.

Thanks again guys (and girls :D )

04-14-2006, 07:34 AM
I gotta add my two bits to this - I thot it so important I joined just to do that! :) I've found (1) that hanons (& like excercises) can be very dull & dry; (2) When I practise them, it invariably results in a substantial improvement in my chops. Now, that being said, here's something great I recently twigged on by chance, & the reason why I'm posting. I wish it had occured to me years ago! ...... I put on my MP3 player when I'm doing these excercises & play (whateva!), & do the excercises in tempo to the music I listen to. I've tried metronomes in the past, but they just seemed to make these things even drier! The music seems to add a whole new dimension to things! Not only does it take out the "dry," it adds the challenge of "playing with a band," which for me is a very useful thing, as I regularily play with a small group. Thus, while improving my chops, I'm also practicing keeping in tempo with the band!

Hope these tips are helpful to someone looking for a "break from the boreome!"

04-14-2006, 08:24 AM
Hmm interesting concept! Maybe thats applicable to guitar aswell. Concerning the use of hanon I have a link to a free online piano practicing method and it shows some strong views on Hanon. http://members.aol.com/chang8828/contents.htm

Ofcourse this is not holy and people should have different opinions but the writer certainly has quite some experience regarding progress and imo seems to be knowing what he's talking about. It's a fun read one way or the other.

Greets, Buebo.

04-14-2006, 09:24 AM
Why do so many music schools require piano lessons, I can't understand this... maybe it's good when you can play a little, but in the end, you want to play guitar, and this is so difficult that you don't want to waste your time with the piano :confused:

04-14-2006, 11:25 AM
@Padawan: Some basic keyboard skills are invaluable to any musician (not virtuoso or anything). As a way of commumicating ideas with others on "neutral ground", to work on ear training, sight reading (without the difficulty of putting it onto guitar), it's a nice medium to work on theory because the layout is so clear - and very useful when doing home recordings!

04-14-2006, 10:00 PM
and to add, piano is also extremely useful for composition and arranging. With very limited piano knowledge you can play complete chords and melody at the same time, while on guitar you have to be pretty good in order to do this at the most basic level.

It's the most complete instrument we have, so it's kind of a meeting ground for everything. Most guitarists don't even know how the guitar is laid out, but most people know how a piano is laid out because it's visually oriented in a way that is very easy to pick up. So if you want to explain something to someone that plays another instrument, the chances of them understanding it if you demonstrate on the piano are much greater then if you explain using the guitar.