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How to use Hanon's piano exercises: The Virtuoso Pianist

Mizue Murakami

Several Hanon's piano exercises

We (Galaxy Music Notes) have free piano exercises by Charles Hanon, "The Virtuoso Pianist" from No. 1 through No. 37. They are useful. However, many people probably don't know how to use them and benefit from those exercises. So, today, I would like to discuss that. 

Most editions (publications) of The Virtuoso Pianist have the recommendation for how to use them. And many of the recommendations probably came from Charles Hanon himself. Some might have been edited a little. But most of them say that start practicing them...

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Importance of space between your fingers and the keys

Mizue Murakami

A finger touching a piano key. Others off the keys

Some piano beginners and intermediate learners have a tendency not to lift your fingers up from the keys. They like to be touching the keys all the time. Then, when it is time to strike a key, they strike it from where the finger is already touching, basically from the surface of the key. When I advise my students to lift there fingers, many say that they are worried that they lose the hand position. 

Let me give you an example. When you strike a nail into...

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How important musical phrases are for piano playing

Mizue Murakami

piano keys, floating music notes, writing

Piano learners tend to forget about phrasing. Or I should rather say that they don't know the importance of phrasing. And it's easy for piano players to ignore the phrasing more so than woodwind players, brass players, and singers. Why? Because singer, woodwind players, and brass players all need to use their breath to phrase the music. So, it's very natural for them to coordinate their breath and the music they are creating.

On the other hand, piano players (if they are especially beginners or...

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When you fall short on the piano only slightly but repeatedly

Mizue Murakami

young white woman looking at piano keys and hand carefully

You probably have experienced failing to reach a specific key, or I should say, "falling short" of what you were trying to achieve on the piano many times. Today I'm going to discuss why it's happening and how to fix it. But let's create a very simple scenario here first. I'm going to name this piano student, Susan.

"Susan's right-hand finger-1 (thumb) is on the middle C. And, her pinky (finger-5) is supposed to reach treble C, which is an...

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Connect dots between piano materials and piano exercises

Mizue Murakami

Young man struggling with piano practice

Some piano practitioners (especially beginners and intermediates) ask these questions frequently.

  • “What other exercises should I do?”
  • “Some online experts say that these exercises are dumb. But other experts say I should be doing these exercises (whatever they are)”
  • “Do I have to do these exercises? They are boring.”
  • “How many minutes a day should I work on these exercises?” 

Piano exercises such as scales, arpeggios, inversions, strengthening exercises, etc. are all important. And they are usually incorporated in piano education programs. However, for...

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