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So of course, I have been doing the Hanon exercises. I find that I feel as though I'm doing too many (over 30) before I actually do my practice. I play them all twice, once loud and once quiet with proper technique and at exactly the same speed.

I find that doing this takes so, so, so much time and I can barely get onto my pieces during my morning practice.

Can someone tell me how many Hanon excersises I should be doing, and for roughly how long I should be doing the exercises before starting my pieces?

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"Can someone tell me how many Hanon exercises I should be doing, and for roughly how long I should be doing the exercises before starting my pieces?"

One possible answer to this question is: NONE!

It is perfectly possible to make great progress with piano without spending any time at all on Hanon. They are very un-musical, and you might make better progress spending almost all your time playing REAL music; after all, there is a huge amount of real music which will benefit both your technique and your musical understanding.

My advice would be to try a new routine, where you spend a few minutes each day on warm-up exercises, scales and arpeggios, and then skip Hanon completely, and go straight onto musical pieces (both old and new). Try this for a month, and if you feel you are making progress as rapidly as before, then ditch Hanon completely!

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    +1. Hanon was a 19th-century marketing genius, not a piano teacher. Playing Hanon for hours every day won't teach you anything worth knowing about piano technique. – user19146 May 19 '16 at 21:10
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    Agreed. I like to compare Hanon exercises to the idea that you can become a great orator by repeatedly practicing pronouncing all possible 3 letters words as loudly and rapidly as possible. – Old John May 19 '16 at 21:14
  • @OldJohn Yet it is most important that you pronounce all single letter words (that is, practice scales) as louldy and rapidly as possible for a few minutes each day. – JiK Jul 27 '17 at 21:32
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"I find that doing this takes so, so, so much time and I can barely get onto my pieces during my morning practice." You have the answer there. Exercises should only take up a small part of your practice.

In music practice you should be working on

  • Warm up
  • Technique
  • Old material
  • New material
  • Theory
  • etc etc
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Short answer: As much and for as long as you need in order to do what you wish to do in your music. Every practice session should be a balance of technique and music, and your teacher should prescribe that balance. Also the length of the time spent on anything is far less important than the quality of time spent. For technical work, it's possible that 15 minutes of focused, quality work will do more good than an hour of undisciplined work doing the exact same exercises. For your morning sessions when time is limited, I would probably limit Hanon to no more than a few minutes (5-10), and then move on to other things.

The long answer is that it depends on what you're trying to achieve in your piano playing. If you just want to have fun, and play casually, then just play anything and have fun. There are no rules or definitive guidance in this case, except to simply enjoy what you're doing.

(The below is mostly in response to others suggesting that you shouldn't do any Hanon or that Hanon is a waste of time.)

However, if your goals are more long-term, and wish to advance to the level of playing standard repertoire to the best of your abilities, then the answers are very different. In order to fully express yourself in your playing, you have to have the tools to do so. Things like scales, arpeggios, Hanon, Pischna, Czerny, etc., all serve to give you the tools you need to fully express the pieces you wish to play. These exercises isolate the technical elements found in all music, and learning how to solve these problems will dramatically improve your playing of the actual music. Imagine wishing to paint a vivid and accurate portrait, but being limited to just three colors and one brush. How accurate and life-like will that painting be? Now imagine you had 50 colors at your disposal, and you could mix as many as you want to create just the perfect hue, and you had five brushes of different sizes and material to control each stroke to a granular level? Scales, Hanon, and all of the other technical exercises are your tools, and the more and better tools you have, the better your music will be. If you skip this tools-building phase, then your enjoyment of the music will be far diminished.

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