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Hanon The Virtuoso Pianist

Hanon The Virtuoso Pianist is a very famous set of finger exercises for pianists. Here you can print the piano exercises for free and get tips on how to practice the exercises for best results.

About Hanon The Virtuoso Pianist

Have You Practiced Today?C.L Hanon

Charles-Louis Hanon (2 July 1819 – 19 March 1900) was a French piano pedagogue and composer who wrote a now very famous set of finger exercises for pianists to not only help improve technique, but to build it all the way from the beginning to advanced level.

Hanon's Le Pianiste Virtuose or the Virtuoso Pianist, which is in three parts, has become a staple for every serious pianist. The three parts consists of finger exercises getting gradually more and more difficult, from a beginners level to advanced level.

Hanon, Part 1

These are pure technical exercises and I suggest using between 5 and 20 minutes each day for this practice. Here are some tips on how to practice Hanon the Virtuoso Pianist with good results.

Smart Tip

For each exercise, start by learning the pattern

  • in the first measure (ascending),
  • in the last measure in the middle before it turns and the first measure going down (descending),
  • in the very last measure.

In between these places the pattern is simply repeating one note higher, versus one note lower each time! Learn these measures well, playing very slowly first hands separately, then both. Then learn it by heart so you can focus on the keyboard and your hand position instead of the notes.

How to Practice Hanon Exercises

Here are some suggestions how to vary the exercises in order of difficulty. I use this with my students with very good results:

  1. Play the whole exercise through as quarter notes.
  2. Play the whole exercise through as eight notes.
  3. Play the whole exercise through as sixteenth notes.
  4. Play one note long and the next short for a simple rhythm.
  5. Reverse and play short- long.
  6. Play in the group of 4: Long-short-short-short
  7. Play in the group of 4: Short-short-short-long
  8. Play in the group of 4: Short-long-short-short
  9. Play in the group of 4: Short-short-long-short
  10. Play your right hand louder than the left.
  11. Play your left hand louder than the right.
  12. Take turns playing loud and soft between the hands, and do frequent changes- Fun!

Take your time learning the first 10 Hanon exercises one by one. Keep repeating the ones you have learned until you have mastered all 10. You can now play through all 10 each day as a warm up. Then start new with the next set of 10, and leave the old.

Hanon, Part 2

These exercises are similar to the first part, they just are made as longer patterns. By now you will learn each pattern much quicker, since the reading and understanding of what might have seem as a scary bunch of notes before will seem really easy now.

Use the strategies for practicing as above; maybe skip steps 1, 4 and 5 if you wish. This part of "Hanon the virtuoso pianist" also contains all the major and minor scales, chromatic scales, arpeggios and chord practice.

Hanon, Part 3

Part 3 of Hanon the virtuoso pianist is not for beginner pianists, here you need to be careful and listen to your body.

Playing the piano should never hurt and you should take a break if you feel any fatigue! This is important! For smaller hands, take it in small doses with the stretching exercises, and again listen to your body!

Combine a couple of these exercises each day with a few of the exercises that you have learned from part 1 and 2. In this way you will have both finger, stretching and strengthening exercises.

You could also select a “repertoire” of different exercises that you like and that feels good to play for a 10-20 min. exercise program that you learn by heart and use as a daily warm up. Now go and practice! ; )

Beware The Tension!

The suggestions written in the book should be followed with carefulness, though. I would never recommend anyone to “continue playing at a slower tempo if the wrists get fatigued, and then gradually increase speed as the fatigue goes away”, this would be asking for trouble!!

If at any time your wrists or arms feel fatigued: TAKE A BREAK! Or play something else. Do not try, as suggested, to play through the whole book every day, as you can get some serious injury, unless you are already an advanced highly accomplished virtuoso player.

Apart from adapting to some good common sense in practicing these Hanon exercises, they are really good. They help improve finger dexterity and technical skill as well as familiarity with common patterns of movement and note reading of patterns.

Read more about how to practice without pain: Learn How To Play Piano Pain Free.

Free copies are nice, but if you prefer to get the "real deal", one of the best editions of Hanon's The Virtuoso Pianist is:

Hanon: The Virtuoso Pianist in Sixty Exercises (Amazon). Make sure to get the paperback!

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