Hanon Piano Exercises for Beginners: With Practice Guide (PDF)

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Learn how to play Hanon piano exercises as a beginner! It's easier than you think. Here is a piano lesson where you'll learn to practice Hanon piano exercises for beginners. In this lesson, you will learn how to practice the first part of the Hanon book, even if you are just getting started.

A beginners guide to hanon piano exercises

Charles-Louis Hanon The Virtuoso Pianist contains a set of exercises for any level. The Hanon exercises are usually taught at more advanced levels but are also great for adult beginners who want more finger dexterity.

If you look at the un-simplified Hanon finger exercises for piano, they may seem 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 in the beginning, the exercises are simple 5-finger patterns repeated continuously, ascending and descending.

Hanon Piano Exercises: Learn how to practice the Hanon execises.Get Nimble Fingers with Hanon Exercises!

Why are the hanon exercises so great?

Get the hanon piano exercises pdf

If you feel scared of too many notes(!), I recommend this edition, called Junior Hanon, which contains Hanon exercises for beginners. It's the same exercises, just written in a much more understandable way. The layout is easier to read, and the notes are written as 8th notes.

Yes, they are so easy that you can memorize the exercises but get the music for reference. You can get the original Hanon Virtuoso Pianist (PDF) on this page for free. But the notes can look a bit intimidating- they are small and written as 16th notes. (Not that this matters, they are still easy, as you will see below!)

The first part of the exercises is simple and easy to practice and memorize. 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 vast difference in the feeling of agility in your fingers.

They're not the only finger exercises you need. To develop a good technique, you also need to work on more aspects involving different movements and how to use your whole body when playing.

But the Hanon piano exercises are as good as it gets when you need effective piano finger exercises that are easy.

So, how do you get started as a beginner?

How to practice Hanon - Let's get started!

  1. Practice the first measure in your right hand. This same pattern is repeated one note higher each time until the middle of the Hanon exercise.
  2. Practice the two measures in the middle, where the exercise "turns" and continues down the same way.
  3. Practice 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 as well -it's easy!

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

Hanon Piano ExercisesPractice the measures in the red boxes. The first and the last on this page.
Hanon Piano ExercisesAnd 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: Now, the first measure in your Left Hand
  • Step 3: Practice the first measure with Both Hands
  • Step 4: Learn the middle two measures in your Right Hand
  • Step 5: Now, the middle two measures in your Left Hand
  • Step 6: Practice the middle two measures with Both Hands
  • Step 7: Learn the last measure in your Right Hand
  • Step 8: Now, the last measure in your Left Hand
  • Step 9: Practice the last measure with Both Hands
  • Step 10: Play the whole exercise slowly with both hands, preferably by heart. Increase speed gradually as you feel more confident.

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

You don't even have to practice them all to feel the result in your now much more nimble fingers! :)

All the five-finger drills in Hanon piano exercises are made the same way. So you can use the plan for all of them. Focus on learning a couple or more, and keep playing them daily for best results.

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