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 for beginners on how to practice Hanon piano exercises. In this lesson, you will learn how to practice the first part of the Hanon book, even when you are just getting started..!

A Beginners Guide to Hanon Piano Exercises

Charles-Louis Hanon's "The Virtuoso Pianist" contains a set of piano 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 actually simple 5-finger patterns repeated again and again, ascending and descending.

Learn how to play Hanon Piano Exercises

Why Are the Hanon Piano Exercises So Great?

Get The Hanon Exercises PDF

If you feel scared of too many notes(!), 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.

Yes, they are so easy you will learn them by heart, but get the music for reference. You can get the Hanon exercises for beginners (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 to learn, as you will see below!)

The first part of the exercises is simple and easy to learn 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 huge difference in the feeling of agility in your fingers.

They're not the only piano finger exercises you need. To develop a good piano 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 to learn.

So, how do you get started as a beginner?

How to Practice Hanon - Let's Get Started!

  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 as well -it's easy!

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

Hanon Piano ExercisesLearn 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: 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 the whole exercise slowly 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 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 learn 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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