Lesson 269

Hanon Finger Exercises

You must be logged in to comment.

Loading comments

Hello and welcome back I'm Joseph Hoffman, and in this lesson we're going to revisit a collection of famous finger power exercises
by C.L. Hanon.
These are finger exercises that I have used for years, ever since I was a child,
and I highly recommend them as a way to build finger strength and speed,
and also as a way to develop a clear and even tone.
Let's come to the piano to get started.
Let's start by reviewing our piano posture checklist.
Whenever you're doing finger power, it's super important that you're establishing really great piano posture.
Actually, anytime you play, but especially when you're working on finger power.
Number one on the checklist is your bench.
Make sure that you're not sitting too close. That will lead to really tight elbows and some tension.
So pull your bench out where your elbows can float just barely comfortably in front of you.
Make sure that the bench is high enough
that from your elbow to your knuckles is about parallel with the floor.
It should look level.
Next is to have a tall back with relaxed shoulders.
And number three is arm weight.
So remember this.
Take one of your arms and just pick it up with your other hand, or you could ask a friend or someone at home to do this for you.
And then drop it and just see if it can just plop on your lap.
So you can feel the weight
of your arm,
and gravity is going to do a lot of the work for you as you play the piano. instead of thinking of playing with your fingers,
like this, think of letting just gravity help you drop into each key.
That's playing with arm weight.
And the last one is hand and finger shape.
Remember that you want your fingers to just have a naturally curved shape. Not overly curved,
not straight, but just this natural kind of relaxed curve.
And then as you play, make sure that the joints of your fingers stay in this curved shape, not bending backward like that.
This means your finger has collapsed. I call that hula fingers.
You want to keep the joints in this outwardly curved shape for maximum articulation and control.
Another thing to watch out for is your pinky should always play near the tip like this, not flat like this.
Now let's take a look at Hanon Exercise Number One.
Our right hand begins with finger 1 on middle C.
Our left hand begins on this low C.
So notice our hands are two octaves apart.
And then what?
They go up a third, but be very careful. When we're learning Hanon exercises, you have to watch the notes and the fingers.
It's not 1 3,
it's 1 2 in the right hand and 5 4 in the left hand so we're doing a little bit of a stretch there,
but don't leave the fingers there. Once you're done with that stretch, let the fingers gather.
Okay, it's very rare in music that you want to leave your fingers in a stretch position. After you do a stretch,
you're always going to let the fingers gather.
So we're going to play that skip, then let the fingers gather
as we play these other notes, and then you'll notice when we step down in measure two, we start on a D
this time and then there's another skip up.
And then what happens? Now we're going to land on E, another skip up.
So you can see we're kind of traveling up the keys. You might remember this exercise way back in another unit. We called it the 1-2 finger skip.
This is actually from Hanon's Exercise Number One.
Now, so you'll keep going up the piano. You do it on E,
and then I'm going to skip ahead. You do F, you do G, you do A,
and now let's go to measure seven. You're on B,
and then notice what happens here. We do four notes stepping down, and you're going to really, really, really want to play a C here,
but that's not the next note. Look at measure eight.
Instead of playing C, you skip back to what? Tell me the letter name of this first note of measure eight.
If you said G, you're correct. So we play G, and now what happens?
We skip down.
Now we're going to start traveling back down the piano. We step up, now we're on F, skip down.
And we're to E, skip down, now we're going to fast forward.
Now notice here.
When you get here, you're going to want to play a G but it's not right. You get to F, and now we're done.
We go to C.
All right, so the places to really watch out are measure fourteen here
because this is where the pattern ends.
It's just four notes stepping up and back to C, and the other measure to watch out for
is measure seven because this is where we turn it around. We're stepping down only to D, then it goes back up to G.
Now I put a big pause there. Eventually you'll do that without a pause.
Right? Okay.
Now, I've kind of given you a preview. I'd like you to pause the video and work on Hanon number one.
And this by the way is a simplified version.
In Hanon's original, it goes up ...