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I've recently started teaching myself piano (via Bartok's Mikrokosmos) and feel it would be helpful to supplement the pieces with some standard exercises. Everyone I speak with suggests Czerny, but there are simply a ton of different books of his collected exercises; I'm not sure where the best place is to start. Is there one Czerny book that stands out as being particularly foundational?

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Czerny Op. 599, Études, (Erster Wiener Lehrmeister im Pianofortespiel ) is usually the volume to start.

  • Thanks! I ended up asking a super-piano-friend who suggested the exact same volume! I appreciate the help! – Smovies Aug 17 '11 at 1:31
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I'd suggest not doing Czerny. A lot of people don't realize that the Czerny studies were written specifically as preparatory exercises for the Beethoven Sonatas. If you don't know which studies match up to which sonatas, you're not doing anyone any favors. Learn to play scales and common chord progressions. From there, I'd progress to Liszt, Dohnanyi, or Brahms technical studies. My preference is Liszt.

  • Thanks, Josh! Are there certain scales to learn, specifically, or is every scale book going to have the same fingerings in them? – Smovies Oct 7 '11 at 21:13
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    Pretty much all scales will have the same fingerings. Peter Feuchtwangler, who I admire very much, worked out some alternate fingerings, if you can track those down. They're very nice. – Josh Infiesto Oct 8 '11 at 18:06
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I personally prefer Hanon but Czerny's 101 Exercises are great

  • Thanks, Alex! I ended up choosing Eugen's answer due to the fact that I was looking for the industry-standard. I'll for sure take a look at the Hanon, though. – Smovies Aug 17 '11 at 1:32
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It depends on what kind of music you want to play. Czerny builds technique suitable for the classical era. Hanon build more general finger strength and agility and is often suggested for beginners. Oscar Peterson Etudes are great if you want to get into jazz.

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I use Czerny's "School of Velocity" Op. 299.
I would definetly recommend that book, it is great for building finger strength, speed, and accuracy.
They may be a bit hard for a beginner though.

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