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Piano Exercises
Tim P Manger - Piano Teacher

Piano Exercises

Why do piano exercises?

Put simply, piano exercises unlock the doorway to a student's potential as a pianist.

Tim 's advice is to be diverse in the practice techniques you adopt, whilst attempting to make selected exercises both interesting and enjoyable.

It is also important to continually look for new approaches, methods and techniques for playing exercises, since many exercises can feel laborious and dull.

Below are several popular piano exercise books that Tim recommends.

Hanon - The Virtuoso PianistHanon - The Virtuoso Pianist

The Virtuoso Pianist is a progressive 3 part series of 60 piano exercises written by French composer Charles-Louis Hanon and published in the late Romantic Period in 1873.

The purpose of the Virtuoso Pianist is to address some of the more common technical weaknesses experienced by modern pianists. This is achieved through daily repetition of specific exercises, especially the exercises that focus on strengthening the 4th and 5th fingers, and turning of the thumb.

Hanon's approach to practicing piano exercises has been a hot topic amongst piano purists for many decades. It is argued that the exercises could promote a lack of colour and musicality within the student, whilst creating nothing more than physical fatigue.

Tim believes that Hanon's exercises are of great significance, and that the benefits far outweigh any negatives. Put simply, Tim encourages students to consider Hanon's as but-one of many elements along the road to learning piano.

Carl Czerny - School of VelocityCarl Czerny - School of Velocity

Carl Czerny was an extremely talented classical pianist and composer, born in Vienna in 1791 (the year Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died). Whilst Czerny was a revered student of Beethoven, Salieri, Hummel and Clementi, he is better known as the sole teacher of Romantic gigantuan Hungarian pianist Franz Liszt.

The School of Velocity written by Carl Czerny in the mid-classical period, is arguably one of the bench-marks in the modern pianists practice repertoire. As it's name suggests, the School of Velocity is designed to develop a student's technique to a point where the student can play both evenly, fluently, and more notably, fast.

The positive aspect of this book, is that the exercises are musical with technically rich melodies interwoven, so that the practice of each piece is less arduous and dull.

The negative aspect of this book is that often the exercises are as difficult (if not more difficult), to learn than the pieces they are designed to emulate, causing students to spend excessive time learning the exercises, rather than engaging in actual playing and performing.

Tim highly recommends Czerny's School of Velocity as an absolute must for the more adventurous piano student.

Carl Czerny - The Art of Finger DexteityCarl Czerny - The Art of Finger Dexterity Op. 740

Similar to Czerny's School of Velocity, the Art of Finger Dexterity is designed to increase a students endurance, whilst developing smoothness, supple execution, and musical awareness.

Once again, The Art of Finger Dexterity is designed for the more adventurous piano student, and requires a great deal of time to master. The exercises are Etude like in their structure (giving rise to the eventual adoption of the Etude form by Chopin and Liszt in the early to mid Romantic period).

Tim highly recommends Czerny's Art of Finger Dexterity as an integral part of any piano students repertoire.

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