I'm a piano newbie studying online. My teacher recommends Hanon for learning piano technique which I am doing and I have to say it's helping. Although I know it's not smart to question your teacher, I did some searching for alternatives because I would like to believe there is a more musical approach to pure technique other than the awful sounding Hanon.

I've stumbled upon these technique books by Tersun press but there is absolutely no way I can find any review on them on the internet.

Does anyone use them? Are they any good?

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    Why pay for a teacher and not take his advice? Apr 18, 2014 at 8:37
  • @davidstrachan As a matter of fact I am taking his advice, and it's doing me good. What I found is that this Tersun material is unreviewed online at all, so I guess I'm curious. I've edited the question so this is clear(er) :)
    – jhnwsk
    Apr 18, 2014 at 8:40
  • De gustibus non disputandum :-) . Why not bring a sample of the Tersun method to your next lesson and see how both you and your teacher feel about the content? Apr 18, 2014 at 11:26
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    To me Hanon sounds awful and I think it murders musicality and taste. I would recommend Czerny etudes for finger dexterity and Microkosmos for sight reading, they are quite musical and sound nice when played well. Apr 18, 2014 at 14:46
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    Just a quick moderator note here: I'm going to suggest that this question satisfies enough "Good Subjective" criteria that it doesn't need to be closed.
    – NReilingh
    Apr 18, 2014 at 15:39

3 Answers 3


Ok fella, I took a look here's your review.

First: technical exercises are dull. Simple. Liszt is said to have done them while reading a book. Call me closed-minded if you will, but someone who claims to have "fixed" this problem hasn't.

Here are some claims made on the site, with my comments in italics:

Practicing the intermediate, virtuoso, and advanced books together at the same time produces a unique synergism.
(All three at once huh? Gee, I can start right away on the virtuoso stuff, if I make sure I buy the other two books right away too. I'll get right on it. Here's my $75.)

There are no other piano technique books as comprehensive and effective.
(Really? I gotta see this for myself. Here's my $75.)

The exercises will do the work for you.
(Wow. I don't have to practice any more. Mom, can we stop paying the teacher and spend $75 on these here books that will take his place? You'll save money in the long run.)

You cannot fail.
(Sign me up! My $75 is on the way. It must be true; it costs more than Hanon after all.)

When you are playing Hanon you are using all five fingers, each of which have their own unique characteristics. You should not practice five-finger exercises when you are beginning to develop your technique. If you are practicing exercises using all five fingers with the Hanon exercises instead of beginning with two-note exercises, the weak fingers will stay weak and the fingers which have tension will remain tense. That is the problem with Hanon.
(Wow, you guys are smart. I used Hanon, and that did happen to me. Took me maybe five years to strengthen my fingers and get the tension out of my arms. And now you can save yourself that five years of practice by using the Tersun exercises, and get all that benefit without really working at it. After all, those exercises will do that work for you--they said it right here on the internet, didn't they--and all you need is $75. I guess five years of your time is worth $75, isn't it?)

The teaching of etudes without musical content becomes an activity of only moving the fingers, an athletic activity. Etudes such as these will dry up the imagination of both the teacher and the student. (Yes, when that happens, it's the music's fault, not the performer's. Oh, and by the way, the Tersun Technical Exercises are musical masterpieces, every one a joy and delight to play.)

That is the problem with Czerny...The student should begin with the Twenty-Five Progressive Studies, Op. 100,by Friedrich Burgmuller. Later the Studies, Opp. 45, 46, 47, by Stephen Heller should be taken up.
(Of course, Czerny had the musical imagination of a bowl of oat bran as compared to Chopin--we know this because Chopin said so, or words to that effect. Now, Chopin most definitely spoke very highly of Burgmuller and Heller as compared to Czerny (even though they are even duller than oat bran really), although history remains silent on the assertion. We recommend them on Chopin's authority anyway; the fact that Czerny is bigger competition than they are doesn't have anything to do with it. Also--and this is important--because they are more obscure than Czerny, that proves that we know what we're talking about. And that means that we also know what we're talking about when we repeat that the Tersun Technical Exercises are musical masterpieces every one, a joy and a delight to play, even those two-finger ones at the beginning. We have solved the problem with Czerny! And, all that great music is available at only $75. Compare all those collections of 60's rock CD's that you see on late night TV, and you'll see what a bargain that is. Be sure you look for them on the radio...)

So there you go, there's your review. For whatever it's worth, pal, my advice is stick with Hanon, and stick with your teacher.

  • While I wholly appreciate a good bit of sarcasm, you might want to avoid overusing it here because it can be misunderstood by non-native-English speakers. :-) Also for readability, I'd suggest breaking up the quoted text and your comments--italics aren't always as easily distinguished depending on your browser.
    – NReilingh
    Apr 18, 2014 at 15:34
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    @NReilingh Really good advice, and thank you. I've broken them up per your suggestion. To everyone: the comments in italics are sarcastic, meaning that I believe that the truth is pretty much the opposite of what they actually say. Except Burgmuller and Heller really are duller than oat bran. That isn't sarcasm. :)
    – BobRodes
    Apr 18, 2014 at 15:58
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    By the way, I just figured out what "Tersun Press" is. Terrence Rust is the writer of the books. Eulsun Kim is the pianist who is the exclusive commentator on the site. Tersun, then is a combination from Terrence and Eulsun. They might be great books, but the ham-handed marketing techniques and outrageous claims they make about them make it hard to get any idea of what they are really like. (Yes, that's better, thanks NR.)
    – BobRodes
    Apr 18, 2014 at 21:09
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    @BobRodes You have hit the nail on the head - 75$ is not money I'm going to just burn. I have the exact same suspicions you do, all this press+blog is written in a Ponzi-ish manner. The high praise given by Terrence and Eulsun to their own books is best described sarcastically :) What I'd like to hear is an opinion from someone who's actually used them - maybe they are great. Sticking to Hanon for now.
    – jhnwsk
    Apr 20, 2014 at 12:26
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    @jhnwsk I'm particularly suspicious because there's no way to have a look at them without actually ordering them. Most of the technical exercise books you can go into a music store, look them over, and decide for yourself.
    – BobRodes
    Apr 20, 2014 at 19:39

I have found that The Tersun Press exercises help develop facility especially in using your fifth and fourth fingers. In the Intermediate Exercise Book ..the first exercise..involves playing "broken" major seconds using various combinations of fingers in both hands. Beginning with thumb and second finger and ending with thumb and fifth fingers. At first this may seem quite awkward, but if you stick with it ..you will notice a noticable improvement in using your fifth, fourth fingers. Also, the Extension exercises are superior. You will gain the ability to negotiate large spans of notes in chords etc. such as you might find in Rachmaninoff's music. I have found them useful. I do know that Mr Rust feels that the Advanced exercises are of utmost importance.


This is an answer to only the part of the above question which states "I've stumbled upon these technique books by Tersun Press but there is absolutely no way I can find any review on them on the internet." I thought you would like to know that there are reviews of these books on Amazon if you look in the appropriate place.

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    Hello Montgomery, and welcome to the site! I know you don't have the rep yet, but be aware that feedback like is what comments are designed for. Also bear in mind that posts here are to help future users with the same question more than the original asker. Adding a link to the reviews you mention, or preferably your impressions of the Tersun books, would make this a useful answer.
    – Josiah
    Jun 3, 2015 at 15:03
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    Montgomery, there are four reviews total on Amazon. Two of them are exactly the same, copied and pasted from one book to another. I will say with confidence that they were written by E. Kim. The other two make some of the same outrageous claims that are in the promotional literature, such as going through the exercises one time and feeling ready to play Brahms' "Paganini Variations." So, just who are you exactly? :)
    – BobRodes
    Jun 3, 2015 at 18:17

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