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Thread: Hanon's virtuoso pianist in 60 exercises- good or bad

  1. #1
    Apprentice, Piano LaValseDeLune's Avatar
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    Sep 2007

    Hanon's virtuoso pianist in 60 exercises- good or bad

    I happened to came across these criticisms of the exercise in :

    "One pitfall is that practicing the Hanon exercises with imperfect technique will reinforce the technique errors via endless repetition. Students who don't apply the requisite keen technical meticulousness to their study of these exercises (or who lack qualified and diligent teachers) may risk "burning in" their technical errors. More seriously, poor technique, especially when exacerbated by narrow repetition, can give rise to repetitive stress injuries - to which pianists are notoriously susceptible.
    The most common criticism of the Hanon exercises is that having students drill on purely physical exercises results in an unmusical, mechanistic attitude toward the piano. Practicing in an unmusical way dulls one's musical instincts, especially when forced upon children and beginners, who need to cultivate their musicality rather than inure themselves to rote physicality. Training in most art forms involves practicing technique, however repetitively, within artistic context. Switching one's musicality on or off to suit context divides the student into two pianists: the performing, musical one, and the drilling, unmusical one. It's more efficacious to practice one's musicality as one practices one's technique. Furthermore, musicality drives technique; the flow of musical expression is a potent motivator to finger agility."

    Let me know what you think of it

  2. #2
    Admiral of Fugues Contratrombone64's Avatar
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    Feb 2007
    Sydney, Australia
    I think that advice is sound and it would apply to any technical étude regardless of for whom it was composed or what instrument.

    Problem of course with the Hanon studies is that most pianists are just to lazy to do them as they are intended: not just in C major but in all keys without change of fingering indications.

    A friend of mine's mother learned her then formidable technique by way of Czerny, Hanon, Chopin and then the Russians. Under appropriate guidance they are excellent. I personally find the Czerny rather more palatable as they at least have melody (which the Hanon most certainly do not).

    Huang's comments are apt: There is nothing more dulling than hours spent mindlessly going over finger patterns
    I'm not an atheist and I don't think I can call myself a pantheist. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many different languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn't know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God.
    —Albert Einstein.

  3. #3
    Captain of Water Music jvhldb's Avatar
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    Sep 2007
    Ladybrand, Free State, South Africa
    When I started my music lessons I was started of on a piano for 3 months so I could learn to read my left hand. The piano teacher insisted that I do the Hanon excercises, I found them so boring I could only do them if there was something interisting on TV to watch, otherwise I fell asleep. Fortuanetly I left Hanon behind when I started on the organ.
    Johan van Heerden

  4. #4
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso rojo's Avatar
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    Aug 2005
    Montreal, Canada
    Hmm. I generally have my students do at least a minimum amount of technique-building; scales, chords, arpeggios, Hanon, Dozen a Day, a study, or some combination thereof. I'll change it up for something else sometimes too. I like teaching Bach too. And I use studies by various composers.

    I think one needs both. Yes, I agree with this- "musicality drives technique; the flow of musical expression is a potent motivator to finger agility." But one still has to put time into building some basic technique. When one works on a piece and is not able to express things as desired because one hasn't got the technique for it, well, one may be more willing to spend the time building one's technique. One can work on trills, arpeggios, glissandi... all of that will help in many pieces. But one can't express oneself without some technique, so... it all works together, in my opinion.
    ''Music, I feel, should be emotional first and intellectual second.'' - Maurice Ravel
    ''The greatest education in the world is watching the masters at work.'' - Michael Jackson

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