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Hanon Piano Exercises for Beginners

Learn to play Hanon piano exercises as a beginner! It's easier than you think. Here is a beginners piano lesson to Hanon piano exercises where you will learn how to get started even when you are just starting out.

A Beginners Guide to Hanon Piano Exercises

Charles-Louis Hanon "The Virtuoso Pianist" contains a set of piano exercises for any level. They are usually taught at a more advanced level but are great also as you start to learn piano, especially for adult beginners who wants more finger dexterity.

If you look at Hanon's five finger exercises for piano they perhaps look really difficult… But don't let the sheet music scare you away! 

The notes can look really intimidating on paper, but as you will see, the exercises in the beginning are actually just rather simple 5-finger patterns repeated again and again, ascending and descending.

Why are the Hanon piano exercises so great?

I find them the quickest way to get the fingers going. You will quickly and efficiently practice all possible combinations of movements between all fingers. By doing so, you will also very soon notice a huge difference in the feeling of agility in your fingers.

It's not the only piano exercises you need; to develop a good piano technique you need to work on more aspects involving different movements and using your whole body.

But the exercises are as good as it gets when you need an effective piano finger exercise.

So, how do you get started as a beginner?

Get The Hanon Sheet Music

Yes, they are so easy you will learn them by heart, but get the music for reference. You can get the Hanon sheet music on this page for free. But the notes can be a bit intimidating- they are small and written as 16th notes. Not that this matters, they are still easy to learn as you will see below.

I recommend this edition called Junior Hanon, for beginners. It's the same piano exercises just written in a much more understandable way. The layout is easier to read and the notes are written as 8th notes.

Get Practicing

  1. Learn the first measure in your right hand. This same pattern is then repeated one note higher each time until the middle of the Hanon exercise.
  2. Learn the two measures in the middle, where the exercise "turns" and continues down the same way.
  3. Learn the last measure where it ends.
  4. Now repeat this with your left hand. 
  5. Finally repeat this with both hands, but much, much slower.

So you actually need to learn only 4 measures! Memorize them too, it's easy.

Here is the first Hanon exercise where I have marked the measures you need to learn:

Hanon Exercises for BeginnersLearn the measures in the red boxes. The first and the last on this page.
Hanon Exercises for BeginnersAnd the first and the last on this page too.

Detailed Step by Step Plan

  • Step 1: Learn the first measure in your Right Hand
  • Step 2: Learn the first measure in your Left Hand
  • Step 3: Learn the first measure with Both Hands
  • Step 4: Learn the middle two measures in your Right Hand
  • Step 5: Learn the middle two measures in your Left Hand
  • Step 6: Learn the middle two measures with Both Hands
  • Step 7: Learn the last measure in your Right Hand
  • Step 8: Learn the last measure in your Left Hand
  • Step 9: Learn the last measure with Both Hands
  • Step 10: Play slowly the whole exercise with both hands, preferably by heart. Increase speed gradually as you feel more confident.

Depending on your time available and your level you could learn this all at once. If it feels difficult to do I recommend to divide the exercise as above, but spend 1 day on each step. As you do, you will still reap the benefits from the exercise. Not only when it's ready!

All the five finger exercises are made the same way. You don't even have to learn them all to feel the benefits in your fingers. Focus on learning a couple or more, and keep playing them daily.

Good luck! Let me know how it goes in the comments below.

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