Robert Estrin - piano expert

Learning Hanon - Part 3

Part 3 of an approach to the most well-known piano technique method

In this third video, Robert tells you how much you should practice Hanon and other similar exercises.

Released on August 14, 2013

Watch also the First Part and the Second Part of this video.
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DISCLAIMER: The views and the opinions expressed in this video are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Virtual Sheet Music and its employees.

Video Transcription

Hi, this is Robert Estrin with and

With actually, a viewer asks, "How much should you practice exercises?". This is actually the part three of Hanon. There are two other videos about how to practice Hanon. Hanon is the kind of the bible of piano exercises, one of them. And the viewer, Joe, asks about Hanon and Czerny.

A lot of people practice these exercises, so this is a great topic, I'm glad to bring it to you. Well, you know, you can get hung up with practicing too much exercises. Why would that be a problem? Well, the beautiful thing about the piano, as I've talked about before, is the wealth of great music. Why practice strict exercises when you can get the same benefit from music? But there are some times when you really could hone in on a specific technical problem that perhaps the music alone does not address.

Scales and arpeggios are a perfect example of that. So in answer to the question, "How much should you practice?" Well, generally speaking, it should be more or less a warm up of your exercise that you use in your daily practice. Maybe ten minutes if you do it religiously everyday. It'll get a great benefit for you. Like doing any kind of exercise, it's the consistency that's most important.

Now if you're really in a period of your musical development on your instrument, and you want to put a lot of time into exercises to develop strength, that understandable. Still, I would not neglect repertoire. It is all about learning music, and sure, Chopin etudes and Liszt etudes, you can get so much from those.

So, if you find you're spending the majority of your time on exercises, I think you might be out of balance. Make it a small part of your daily practice and you should get the most benefit that way. Thanks for joining me, Robert Estrin, here at and, until next time.
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Comments, Questions, Requests:

Fulvia * VSM MEMBER * on March 16, 2016 @5:22 pm PST
There is a nasty little book than is never mentioned, Schmitt, Op. 16, with 213 exercises, that I started at age 2-1/2. They are easy up to # 33, then you need to hold down one note while playing the other 4, after # 64 you hold down 2 notes and play the other 3, and it gets worse later on! I wonder why this book is never mentioned. I keep going back to it, it seems to be great for strengthening the 4th and 5th fingers.
Robert - host, on March 17, 2016 @12:45 pm PST
I haven't seen these exercises. It sounds like they would indeed be a good way to develop strength and independence of the fingers if you don't mind doing pure exercises that have little musical relevance.
00slevin * VSM MEMBER * on March 16, 2016 @1:29 pm PST
Music to my ears.
Jim Burdelski on February 17, 2016 @6:34 pm PST
I really enjoyed the three videos on Hanon. I've been practicing about a half hour on the exercises plus scales.
Hank on January 8, 2016 @6:28 pm PST
so there are 60 hanon exercices. do you bassically start with the first, then go to the second, then the third and so on until you are there on the 60th exercise? I guess it will take some weeks/months before your on the 60ths exercise. But I guess you've allready practiced tremolos before doing hanon nr 60, right?
Robert - host, on January 9, 2016 @4:46 pm PST
It is not necessary to practice every exercise in the book in order to gain value from it. Different people will progress at faster and slower rates. Generally, if you are a beginner, it's good to study the first 10 exercises, one per week to help develop strength. A good adjunct to that is to study exercise 48 to develop the strength of the wrists.

After that you should have the strength to study scales and arpeggios which form an important foundation for technique on all instruments. You can certainly revisit Hanon exercises when facing specific challenges. The practice of scales and arpeggios can continue indefinitely.
Zuhair Bakdoud on September 2, 2013 @10:32 am PST
Robert, thank you for answering my question on breaking a chord which is too wide for small hands.
Zuhair Bakdoud on August 31, 2013 @4:00 pm PST
Thanks for your comment on Schumann's Aufschwung chord breaking (by people with small hands). It would be very instructive if you did a video on the chords which need to be broken. I thank you in advance, and look forward to that video. Zu
Robert Estrin * VSM MEMBER * on September 1, 2013 @12:05 pm PST
Which chords need to be broken depends upon the size of your hand. Any chord you can't reach must be broken.
Zuhair Bakdoud on August 29, 2013 @1:38 am PST
CORRECTION!! Sorry, I meant the Moonlight chord from A to B natural. Thanks!
Zuhair Bakdoud on August 29, 2013 @1:33 am PST
Thank you for the advice on the metronome. I am struggling with Schumann's "Aufschwung" piece. As you know, the right hand has (at the opening) a wide chord from B flat to D flat (with another B flat in the middle of this chord). You demonstrated in the first movement of the Beethoven's Moonlight sonata how to "break down" (arpeggiate) the chord consisting of A to the C natural above it. Should the player arpeggiate the "Aufschwung" chord mentioned above above? Thanks!
Robert - host, on August 29, 2013 @12:30 pm PST
There are many occasions where chords must be broken in Schumann when played by pianists with smaller hands. I may produce a video on how to execute this technique since it is something I utilize on a regular basis.
Zuhair Bakdoud, M.D. on August 22, 2013 @3:01 pm PST
Thankyou for helping piano lovers with their piano technique. I am a neonatologist = newborn baby medicine = subspecialty of pediatrics) who started piano lessons at age 16 1/2. Therefore, since learning a musical instrument is like learning a language, once one is over the age of ~6 yrs, he is hampered... No matter how much he worships being able to play the great (but technically difficult) piano compositions of the masters. However!, you are helping me make INCREDIBLE progress in my piano technique. SIR !!!
Robert - host, on August 23, 2013 @12:14 pm PST
You are right - starting music at a young age is like learning a language early in life. However, unlike language, musical development can be very successful starting at a much later time than language. Anytime between 6-9 can be an ideal time for many youngsters to begin formal piano lessons. (Some children may be ready earlier or later than that.) Exposure to hearing music at an even younger age is definitely helpful as well.
Helena boggia on August 14, 2013 @10:09 am PST
Forget that email Robert I have found what I wanted
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