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My practice routine with hanon-online.com

My practice routine with hanon-online.com by Aurélie Chevalier

My name is Aurélie Chevalier and I have been a piano teacher since 1992.

After completing my piano studies at both the conservatory and the university, I spent ten years working at a music school and at the conservatory.

Today, I have my own piano school in Saint-Malo (Brittany, France) and I have ventured into the world of online blogging via 1piano1blog

Like many other pianists, I have to work on my technique regularly in order to improve or simply maintain my level on the piano. I do this by using various collections of technical exercises, one of which is The Virtuoso Pianist by Charles Louis Hanon.

We will use the first 20 exercises from the book as a basis for practice. You can play just one of these exercises, or alternatively you can go through the whole series if you are already at an advanced level.

Step 1: It is important to master the exercise in C major to begin with, both hands together.

Practice slowly at first (quarter note=60 bpm) Use the correct fingering, it's important.
Practice this exercise every day, consistently. Both hands must play exactly together. Strike each key firmly. Once you have mastered the exercise, you can then progressively increase the tempo (up to quarter note = 108 bpm).

Next, work on the following variation:

Step 2: Alter the rhythm of your exercise. Hanon suggests 22 rhythmic variations at the beginning of his book. Here are a few of them using a triple-time rhythm.

Displacement of the sixteenth notes on the second part of the beat:

You can continue with this pattern by placing the sixteenth notes on the 3rd part of the beat. You can also play four slow notes followed by four fast ones, and vice versa.

Step 3: You can have fun with the way the notes are played by using this formula: four legato notes followed by four staccato notes.

Next, do the opposite: four staccato notes followed by four legato notes.

Step 4: When you are completely comfortable with these exercises, have fun combining rhythmic variations and different musical articulations.
Play at your own speed. You should be able to hear each note played perfectly. No note should be louder than any other. You must practise regularly. Do not try to play fast in the beginning, but instead strive for perfect finger action.
You must pay attention to how comfortable you feel when playing. Do not tire yourself out. If you feel any pain in your arms, forearms, wrists or hands, slow down. Pay particular attention to this when playing transpositions on the black keys.

Step 5: Transpose! On this website you will find transpositions in all the different keys. You can choose the key that matches the piece you are currently working on. You can also follow Hanon's recommendations and focus on transposition into C# major and C# minor. Practicing these two transpositions is of great benefit. The black keys lie at a higher position than the white ones. It requires more effort from the fingers to play them evenly across the keyboard's surface. The major/minor variant will be useful to you for practicing finger extensions between D# and E# (or F) and between A# and B# (or C).

Study each exercise in the same manner, then after a while, once you have practiced all 20 exercises, you will be able to play them all together in sequence.

For my part, when I was a child, I used to play an exercise chosen by my piano teacher every day. The exercise was transposed into D, E or G major. From time to time, I would work on a rhythmic variation.
After "forgetting" Hanon in favor of J. S. Bach, I set about revising it thoroughly. Today, my routine involves practicing ALL the exercises every day. I alter the key, the rhythm and the touches each day. It takes me about 40 minutes to play chapter one (38 exercises) in its entirety.

And what about you? What is your practice routine?

Write a comment

Comments: 8
  • #1

    Aurelie (Sunday, 28 September 2014 21:53)

    Pour ceux qui souhaitent la traduction de l'article en français :
    Bonne lecture !

  • #2

    Julio (Monday, 09 March 2015 19:32)

    Me ha gustado tu comentario Aurèlie y me gustaria saber tu opinion sobre mi caso particular. Recientemente me he comprado un piano "Boston" estoy empezando, tengo 60 años y mucha voluntad . ¿ que me aconsejarias , aparte de Hanon?.
    Muchas gracias. arodro8@gmail.com

  • #3

    tamer (Thursday, 18 February 2016 22:16)


  • #4

    giordano bruno (Wednesday, 20 April 2016 00:33)

    Saludos. Esta web ya no funciona?

  • #5

    Corey Cureton (Wednesday, 18 October 2017 07:29)

    Your practice routine tips is very simple and i can do this in few minutes thanks for sharing because i got some ideas on how to train my kids to play simple steps.

  • #6

    Raphael (Tuesday, 16 January 2018 14:47)

    Where (which edition?) do I find the 22 rhythmic variations? They aren't in my hanon-edition (schirmer)... thx

  • #7

    Mabahoo (Saturday, 17 March 2018 10:32)

    The variations are in the Japanese edition that my teachers in Japan use. They aren't in Schirmer. Until now I thought they were a creation of the Japanese publisher. I like the variations that turn three of each four notes into triplets, either the first or last three, or the middle six into treo sets of triplets.

  • #8

    Stephanie (Monday, 13 April 2020 09:47)

    Hi, thanks you so much for this great resource! When you say that you play all 38 chsapter 1 exercises in 40 min, does this include all keys or only one selected key? Thanks!!! Stephanie