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 Post subject: Re: Practising Hanon,and Czerny Exercises= A waste of time ?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2010 11:03 pm 
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When I was a kid I had to practice Hanon finger exercises, some Czerny, and Alloys Schmitt for independence of the fingers, along with all scales and arpeggios major and minor in the Circle of 5ths plus the chromatic scale. Here are my thoughts:

Hanon, for the greater part is useless. The scale fingerings in Part III are in fact helpful when one is first learning them. Now, there is only one purpose for my resorting to Hanon. Maybe two or three times a year, for some unaccountable reason (maybe biorhythms out of synch), my playing seems ragged. To remedy that I open Part II of Hanon and play it through at about MM = 100, which only takes a little while. That medicine restores evenness. (Rachmaninoff preferred playing Scarlatti sonatas to regain evenness.) So that's the only application I use there.

The Schmitt (and Phillipp) independence exercises can be dangerous. My second artist-teacher gave me one simple independence exercise which works very well for both hands, and these days I rely on it occasionally when the need arises.

Pianists must know all scales and arpeggios by memory, major and harmonic minor for four octaves in parallel motion. (Harmonic minor is a better workout than melodic minor.) The reason is that scalar and arpeggiated passages occur quite often in music. If one already knows the standard fingerings, much time can be saved while practicing those passages.

Apart from scales and arpeggios, the other 99% of technique is developed by practicing actual repertoire pieces. Whenever the pianist works on a piece and encounters a difficulty, solving that difficulty through intelligent practice and repetitions becomes a "technical exercise" and most benefits the pianist. Thus, learning the literature of the piano is the best technique builder of all.

David

P.S. Egad! A third post on this! I must have been super-adamant about this subject! :lol:

David

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"Interpreting music means exploring the promise of the potential of possibilities." David April


Last edited by Rachfan on Tue Nov 29, 2011 4:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Practising Hanon,and Czerny Exercises= A waste of time ?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 13, 2011 10:21 am 
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Hanon exercises are available for free at http://www.hanon-online.com :D


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 Post subject: Re: Practising Hanon,and Czerny Exercises= A waste of time ?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 13, 2011 3:34 pm 
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David, for some reason someone is trying to get us to see some on-line Hanon, otherwise I would not have seen your last post on this thread. I agree with you about the extreme limited nature of the Hanon exercises (despite it being a required staple at the Moscow conservatory [at least 100 years ago]). However, your statment above that said, "Besides arpeggios and scales the other 99% of technique ..." I think misses the important difference between technique and mechanics that I discussed in reply to this post:
http://pianosociety.com/new/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=4606

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Eddy M. del Rio, MD
"A smattering will not do. They must know all the keys, major and minor, and they must literally 'know them backwards.'" - Josef Lhevinne


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 Post subject: Re: Practising Hanon,and Czerny Exercises= A waste of time ?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 4:17 pm 
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Could it not be that what you, Eddy, divide, is regarded by some people as a unit?

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"Please do not shoot the pianist
He is doing his best."
Oscar Wilde: Impressions of America: Leadville


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 Post subject: Re: Practising Hanon,and Czerny Exercises= A waste of time ?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 4:24 pm 
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richard66 wrote:
Could it not be that what you, Eddy, divide, is regarded by some people as a unit?

I would answer you this way: Mechanics is in the domain of piano literature, technique is in the domain of pianists, and there are very noticible differences in general and specifics in the approach of, shall we say, German School, Russian School, French School, etc. The differences are about technique.

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Eddy M. del Rio, MD
"A smattering will not do. They must know all the keys, major and minor, and they must literally 'know them backwards.'" - Josef Lhevinne


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 Post subject: Re: Practising Hanon,and Czerny Exercises= A waste of time ?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 4:34 pm 
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Yes, this is a clearer concept, thank you. Understood.

I was tought by a follower of the French school but I do regret not having followed the Russian one: I would have become a better pianist, but then, when I was young a foolish, what did I know? :oops:

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Richard Willmer
"Please do not shoot the pianist
He is doing his best."
Oscar Wilde: Impressions of America: Leadville


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 Post subject: Re: Practising Hanon,and Czerny Exercises= A waste of time ?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 4:41 pm 
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richard66 wrote:
Yes, this is a clearer concept, thank you. Understood.

I was tought by a follower of the French school but I do regret not having followed the Russian one: I would have become a better pianist, but then, when I was young a foolish, what did I know? :oops:

Ah hum <swallow>, If Hélène Grimaud is an exponent of the French School, then I love the French School :wink: !

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Eddy M. del Rio, MD
"A smattering will not do. They must know all the keys, major and minor, and they must literally 'know them backwards.'" - Josef Lhevinne


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 Post subject: Re: Practising Hanon,and Czerny Exercises= A waste of time ?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 4:47 pm 
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I did once read someone who said that there was something wrong with the French school (a follower of the Russsian one), as it had not produced a single great pianist. Think of Horowitz and his flat fingers which would be out with the French. I was certainly taught never to play with finger movements but only with arm and wrist.

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Richard Willmer
"Please do not shoot the pianist
He is doing his best."
Oscar Wilde: Impressions of America: Leadville


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 Post subject: Re: Practising Hanon,and Czerny Exercises= A waste of time ?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 16, 2011 12:19 am 
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richard66 wrote:
I did once read someone who said that there was something wrong with the French school (a follower of the Russsian one), as it had not produced a single great pianist.


I think Cortot was a great pianist. Perlemuter trained in the French school. Yves Nat deserves to be better known, it's a shame his recordings are so hard to find. Pascal Rogé and Pierre-Laurent Aimard seem to be doing OK.

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 Post subject: Re: Practising Hanon,and Czerny Exercises= A waste of time ?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2011 12:16 pm 
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Indeed, how right you are. I was not agreeing with that argument, mind you.

But then it is not said that all French pianists follow the French school. Interestingly enough there are in Paris not one, but two Russian conservatoires! One is surely the Sergei Rachmaninoff (I went there once for something) and the other, if memory does not fail me, is the Skriabine.

I cannot say more than that.

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Richard Willmer
"Please do not shoot the pianist
He is doing his best."
Oscar Wilde: Impressions of America: Leadville


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2011 11:28 am 
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Radar wrote:
Any of the exercises like Hanon, or Cherney are only going to help if done with proper technique. I made the mistake of working through the Hanon Exercises, and the School of Velocity without the benefit of an instructor, and found that all it did was firmly reinforce my bad technique, and bad playing habits. Now with my limited practice time, I would rather work on Technique while learning the piano lessons new repertoire.

I see you point. Well I see one reason why people keep on using Hanon: that is to keep the hands in fine playing condition day to day. I think that this habit came out of studying Hanon early in one person's piano career, and that person would not be using Hanon if he or she was not so habituated. Well honestly I also used Hanon exercises back then but I now, nah I'm an anti-Hanon school. Czerny, Cramer-Bulow, and related lesson pieces have many of these disadvantages. Hanon maybe a good example of how intuitive methods can suck entire populations of pianists into using methods that are essentially useless, or even harmful. So yeah, it's a waste of time.


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