Thursday, March 07, 2013

Getting Down with Hanon Exercises

One of the big pluses of being a beginner, is that potential for a really good rate of progress.  Yesterday, I tried the Hanon Ex1 in C major with both hands, an octave apart.  It was awful. Like patting your head and rubbing your belly, (or is it the other way around?  See?)  And then first thing this morning, I had five minutes at it, and...  Woohoo!

Slowly mind.  I used my morning break from test task designing to have an hour of practice just now, and spent most of that on two handed Ex1 all in C major, going up and down, an octave apart, sometimes two, eventually turning around without pausing.  Still can't go very quickly, and sometimes miss out a finger on the left hand, but it's getting there. I'm concentrating on hitting the LH and RH notes precisely at the same time, and at the same velocity.

So I'll stick with this for as long as it takes to get quite nimble with the two hands, then move on to the other keys, and then to Hanon Ex2, whatever that is, I'm not even looking yet.  It might take months to get through all 20 exercises, I don't know.  But it feels like the way to go.

Meanwhile, I gathered together the odd bits of sheet music I had on the bookshelf, to put them in the piano-stool.  I found a collection of popular tunes from the 30s, (which I'd completely forgotten we had), and it has Star Dust.  So I put it on the stand and started to puzzle out the first bar of the second part, the sung part being "Sometimes I..."  Painfully slow and difficult, and only RH, but eventually the piano was beginning to match my voice, just about.  Getting all excited about the new RH/LH co-operation I've started to get through Hanon, I thought I'd give LH a go...  and realised I've not got any mnemonics to help me read the bass clef.  I've found them here. I'll work through the second part of Star Dust until I get it, as a change of pace and light relief from the Hanon.

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