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Hanon The Virtuoso Pianist is a famous set of finger exercises for pianists. In this piano lesson, you can print all the piano exercises for free and get tips on how to practice the three different parts for the best results.
Charles-Louis Hanon (2 July 1819 – 19 March 1900) was a French piano pedagogue and composer who wrote a famous set of finger exercises for pianists. These exercises were meant not only to help improve technique, but to build it all the way, from the beginning to an advanced level.
Hanon's Le Pianiste Virtuose, which is in three parts, has become a staple for serious pianists. The three parts consist of finger exercises getting gradually more difficult from beginners to an advanced level.
The first part of Hanon the Virtuoso Pianist, consists of purely technical "finger" exercises. I suggest using between 5 and 20 minutes per day for this type of 5-finger practice when you need to develop more "nimble" fingers.
Here are some tips on how to practice with good results.
Here are some suggestions on how to vary the exercises in order of difficulty. I use this with my students with great results:
These exercises are similar to the first part. They are just composed as longer patterns.
But by now you will learn each pattern much easier and quicker, since the reading and understanding of what might have seemed like 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" contains all major and minor scales, chromatic scales, arpeggios, and chord practice.
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 learned from parts 1 and 2. In this way, you will have both fingers, stretching, and strengthening exercises.
You could also select a repertoire of different Hanon exercises that you like and what feels good to play for a 10-20 min. exercise program. Learn them by heart and use them as a "tailored to your needs" daily warm-up.
A caveat: The suggestions written in the book should be followed with carefulness.
I would strongly advise against recommending, as Hanon does in the book, to “continue playing at a slower tempo if the wrists get fatigued, and then gradually increase speed as the fatigue goes away”.
Warning! 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 also suggested by Hanon, to play through the whole book every day, as you can develop some serious injury.
And, as always, when practicing- remember to take breaks every 20-30 minutes to stand up and stretch. It's a healthy habit to keep.
Read more about how to practice without pain here: Learn How To Play Piano Pain-Free.
So, apart from adapting to some good common sense in practicing these Hanon exercises, they are really great: