5. Hanon: Finger Exercise
Charles-Louis Hanon wrote 60 piano exercises in his book The Virtuoso Pianist. These exercises are meant to train pianists in speed, precision, agility, and strength of all of the fingers and flexibility in the wrists.
The 60 Hanon exercises are divided into three sets of 20.
- Exercises 1 – 20: Labeled “preparatory exercises”, these are also the most famous exercises, and are used to develop finger strength and independence.
- Exercises 21 – 43: Labeled “further exercises for the development of a virtuoso technique,” this more difficult section is meant to be played after the pianist has fully mastered Part 1. Part 2 includes scales and arpeggios.
- Exercises 44 – 60: Labeled “virtuoso exercises for mastering the greatest technical difficulties,” this section is considerably more difficult. Hanon recommends the mastery of both previous parts before proceeding to this one. This part includes repeated notes, repeated double notes, scales in thirds and octaves, tremolos, and more.
After all three parts are mastered, Hanon recommends all exercises be played through daily to retain technique.
There are many great exercises in Hanon’s book and his exercises are played all around the world.
How to play Hanon #1
I always teach my students Hanon’s 1st exercise. It’s much easier than it looks on paper so check out this video I made for you.
Video description: Place your hands in the below position (picture) now shift the four notes on the right of each hand up one (picture). Now play hands together in order from leftmost note to rightmost note and back down. On your way down shift the RH thumb and LH pinky up one note to the right. Continue in the same fashion. Up and then repeat the opposite on the way down.
End Result Hanon #1
Here is a video of a shortened one octave version of Hanon’s first exercise played legato
Here is a video of a shortened one octave version of Hanon’s first exercise played staccato