Have you heard of Hanon piano exercises? Hanon exercises are exercises that consist mostly of independent practice for fingers, commonly used by beginners. Developed by French piano composer Charles Louis-Hanon, these exercises are designed to train novice pianists how to play quickly and with agility and precision. Hanon exercises are also excellent for improving finger strength and flexibility of the wrist when playing. The composer Hanon developed approximately sixty different finger exercises and compiled these works into a textbook called The Virtuoso Pianist back in 1873. These exercises are still loved and used by piano teachers today to help new players deal with finger and wrist stiffness. However, Hanon exercises can be helpful for all levels of piano learners. While the original book is quite helpful, many advanced piano players have developed their own Hanon exercises based on the composer’s original exercises.
If you’re struggling with wrist and finger stiffness, Hanon exercises can really help you loosen up. We’ve put together a list of our favorite top Hanon piano exercises for new learners to try. Check out what we found below!
Top Hanon Piano Exercises for New Learners
These Hanon exercises can be easily incorporated into your daily practice routine.
The Five Finger Scale
The most commonly used and beneficial Hanon exercise out there, the Five Finger Scale is pretty easy to get the hang of. Simply palace your right thumb on the middle C and your four other fingers on the white keys beside the middle C. Specifically, place your index finger on the D, your middle finger on the E, your ring finger on the F, and your pinkie finger on the G. Once your fingers are in place, play each note in the order, beginning with C. Repeat this scale over and over and slowly increase the speed at which you play. This particular exercise will make it much easier to play more beginner piano songs.
A full scale is a scale that incorporates about twelve different notes in succession. A whole scale incorporates something called the thumb tuck. The thumb tuck is a swift movement that will help you move up the notes of a scale by swiveling your thumb under your other fingers, typically your middle and index fingers, to play the subsequent note in the scale. This trick is used to play scales that have more than five notes in order to play smoothly and quickly. Before taking on a full scale, we recommend practicing the thumb tuck for a while until you get the hang of it. Once the movement becomes second nature, practicing the full scale will be much easier.
To perform a thumb tuck, start by placing your right thumb on the middle C, your index finger on the D, and your middle finger on the E. Play these notes in order, then move your thumb under your index and middle fingers to play the next F, all while moving your other fingers on the next keys in the scale. In this new position, your thumb will be on the F, your index finger will be on the G, your middle finger will be on the A, your ring finger will be on the B, and your pinkie finger will be on the C. Now, play these notes in order. Getting the hang of the thumb tuck movement will take a lot of practice, so don’t worry if you struggle with the process for a while. Focus on precision rather than speed.
This exercise teaches you how to play in thirds. All you’re doing with this exercise is skipping a note with each of your fingers. You’ll only be playing the C, E, and G notes, also known as the C major triad. Even though you’ll only be playing three notes, all five of your fingers will be used. This exercise is great for teaching beginners how to play varying notes that aren’t in a scale order.
Begin this exercise with your right hand. Once you’re proficient, try it again with your left hand. Start holding your hand in a loose and comfortable position over the keys. Let your hand rest on them. Play the C with your index finger, the E with your middle finger, and the G with your ring finger. Practice until stretching your fingers to reach the keys becomes second nature.
For this exercise, you will learn how to play a typical major three-note chord. The start, put your right thumb on the middle C, your middle finger on the E, and your pinkie finger on the G. With your left hand, place your pinkie finger on the opposite C, your middle finger on the opposite E, and your thumb on the opposite G. Play all six notes at once. This is a C major chord.
After playing the chord, you will raise all six of your fingers and move down to make a D major chord. Your right thumb should be on the D, your middle finger should be on the F, and your pinkie finger should be on the A. Your left pinkie finger should be on the D, your middle finger should be on the F, and your thumb should rest on the A. Play all six at the same time. Congratulations, you just played a D major chord!
How was our guide to the best Hanon piano lessons online? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!
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Jonathan is the VP Growth at TutorOcean. Jonathan previously worked at Klipfolio, Invest Ottawa, Irdeto and IBM. Jonathan is also the Co-Founder of STEAM Foundation who successfully launched a Kids Coding Camp helping inspire students early in their educational development. Jonathan is also an active startup advisor, giving back to help the next generation of entrepreneurs. Feel free to reach out on LinkedIn.