Hanon Piano Exercises to Improve Your Playing Technique for Online Lessons

Hanon is applicable to all styles of piano playing including classical, jazz and pop

Learn how to improve your piano technique with a widely used piano book : "The Virtuoso Pianist" by Charles Louis Hanon.  For beginners, intermediate and advanced piano players, these five finger exercises can serve as a great warm-up and are suitable for all levels and abilities. Many teachers will suggest working on one or two exercises at a time.  There are sixty Hanon exercises in total. It is amazing that these piano exercises were first published in 1873 and are still in widespread use today.  

Why piano exercises?  Each Hanon exercise aims to develop a difference skill, finger and movement

Piano exercises build finger strength, wrist and forearm strength and endurance. Proper piano finger technique is important for scales, arpeggios, real life music and auditions where technique is useful to you as a student and musician.   Working on finger dexterity, and precision is important to learn and is exactly what the Hanon exercises are aimed to build.

Who is Hanon  

Charles Louis Hanon(1819-1900) was a French piano teacher and composer, who composed methods for the piano, harmonium and organ. Completing over 25 works of music throughout his career, he was 54 years old when “The Virtuoso Pianist” was first published in Boulogne, France.

What is The Virtuoso Pianist

Hanon is a sequence of technical exercises for the piano. This is Hanon's most famous work of 60 sequence-based exercises designed to help students develop precision, speed, dexterity and agility in their playing.  The Schirmer Library Edition is the most famous edition, other editions include Hanon-Schaum and Allan Small.  

How to practice Hanon

Play each exercise at a steady tempo, evenly.  Hanon is a sequence.  Meaning it is a restatement of a motif or longer melodic passage at a higher or lower pitch in the same voice.  Starting with the first measure and finding the pattern on the piano with your hands and fingers.  The pattern repeats over and over again on different notes.  Hanon has two parts tagged as 1) ascending and 2) descending. This helps you move up and down the piano.

Teacher Tip:   Lori Citro, piano teacher at Lessonface suggests, “get comfortable with each hand separately first. Look at the first measure. Keep your focus on the page, not on your fingers.”  

 Tips to getting started with Hanon:

*Starting note is C for the first 1-20 exercises
*Both hands are in unison
*Fingerings are marked, follow the finger numbers!
*Intervals help find the pattern code
*Find the direction of the pattern, up/down, down/up

Teacher Tip:  “Start slow and steady. You may like to practice with the metronome to help set a  steady pace. Begin with the quarter note beat.  Press each finger with equal strength and be very deliberate” shares Lessonface teacher Arden Titus. 

5 Tips for Success to practice Hanon exercises:

*Break down the first ascending measure. Follow the fingering and note the pattern.
*Try the whole ascending section
*Break down the first descending measure
*Try the whole descending section
*Add the ending - do this with each hand separately at first, then hands together.

Remember Hanon is a sequence, once you get more comfortable, you can speed it up!

The first few exercises are free from Lessonface to help you improve your piano technique

A good warm up exercise to begin should be 10 minutes to get your fingers limber. 

  Download the PDF of the First 10 Exercises for free here:

Classical Piano
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