Jeff Edes è uno dei tanti artigiani della musica, che chiuso nella sua “bottega d’arte”, apporta silenziosamente idee, innovazioni, proposte. Pianista di grande talento, Jeff Edes si è rasferito da 14 anni in Italia, dove insegna pianoforte nella bellissima isola della Maddalena, a due passi dalla Sardegna. In questo incantevole scenario il Pianista ha ideato un nuovo modo di approcciarsi allo studio dell’Hanon, cercando di sfuggire alla sua monotonia e recuperando il valore di presenza nell’insegnamento. Il Maestro, infatti, nella visione alternativa di Edes, si siede accanto al suo allievo e suonano assieme. Gli esercizi pensati per sole due mani si trasfromano in esercizi a 4 mani creativi, in cui l’insegnante accompagna l’allievo secondo diversi stili e ritmi. Ciò ovviamente, come afferma Edes nell’articolo da lui scritto in esclusiva per Pianosolo, richiede un grande sforzo mentale e creativo del Maestro. In questo bellissimo articolo, in lingua inglese, vengono infatti offerti dei bellissimi suggerimenti per essere maggiormente creativi ed utili all’apprendimento dell’allievo. Buona lettura.
Regarding the Hannon technical exercises referring specifically to the ones that are composed of sixteenth notes in 2/4 time which repeat the same pattern moving up one note diatonically every measure, I found them extremely boring and useless. All pianists know that EVERY exercise can be beneficial if done correctly, no matter how boring it is or it isn’t. I decided that the way to make “Hannon-The virtuous pianist” less boring would be to take the “monotony” out of it. This obviously requires tremendous “creativity” on the part of the piano teacher 🙂 I personally LOVE to be creative. Here are just a few suggestions on how to be creative:
Note Well: With each of these suggestions I play an “improvised” accompaniment to harmonize the exercise. That accompaniment can be done with simple triads giving it a “Classical” feel, or it can be done with extended chords (adding 7ths , 9ths, or 13ths) giving it a more modern feel. The accompaniment can be done slowly for less advanced students (even very young students a little as 3 or 4 years old). Obviously, as the exercises are played, the teacher can raise or lower the tempo “forcing” the student to unconsciously and naturally follow the more difficult tempos. It becomes more of a “fun game” instead of a “boring exercise”. The types of accompaniments that a teacher can invent to help “emphasize” any musical element in a student’s musical formation are endless. Obviously, a good teacher knows the strengths and weakness of his or her student, and MUST adapt the accompaniment to the needs of each student. Here are two simple examples of improvised accompaniments I use with Hannon exercise No. 1:
Example of a “Classical” style accompaniment:
Example of a “Latin” (Bossa Nova) style accompaniment:
The possibilities are endless. Here are some suggestions on how these types of accompaniments can be used to address different musical elements:
Suggestion No. 1:
The placement of the chords in the accompaniment can be used to encourage a student to accent different notes allowing them to strengthen weak fingers. After all, that’s what Hannon is mainly for, to strengthen the our initially weak pinky and ring fingers giving a student equal control of all fingers.
Example of chord placement to help accent different notes in the student’s part:
This type of accent would strengthen the student’s ring finger in the right hand-
Instead, this type of accent would strengthen the student’s ring finger in the left hand-
Suggestion No. 2:
For students who have problems playing quickly and fluently with good technique, the teacher can start the accompaniment at a slow tempo and gradually raise the tempo to “push” the student to higher tempos. It makes the exercise more like a game. The student will automatically “hear” if he or she is lacking in technique. What a wonderful idea, make the student “listen” to what he or she is playing.
On the other hand, for students who tend to play too fast causing them to not concentrate enough on their fingering or their technique, the teacher can play the accompaniment slower making the student “put on the brakes” a little allowing the song to not “run away” from him or her.
Suggestion No. 3:
The teacher can change the dynamic level from piano to forte gradually or all of the sudden causing the student to be more “sensitive” to the dynamics.
Suggestion No. 4:
The exercises can be used as an exercise with scales by doing the entire exercise in different keys. The teacher can also use it as an ear training exercise by changing keys “all of the sudden” and having the student follow them. This suggestion works excellently with students who have perfect pitch, but non-perfect-pitch students may get discouraged with this suggestion.
Suggestion No. 5:
The rhythms can be varied to help the students learn to play with syncopated rhythms. This can be done with an eighth note followed by a sixteenth (in compound quadruple time as in the example below), a dotted eighth note followed by a sixteenth (in simple quadruple time), or any other creative way possible. In the example below, I have also inserted a different way to play the accompaniment in every measure. Obviously, the accompaniment type chosen (“Accompaniment 1, 2, 3 or 4”) would be applied to all of the exercises without changing each measure as that would REALLY confuse a lower level student. This suggestion could also be used to further discuss “Tempo”, “Time Signatures”, “Compound & Simple Time”, “Dotted & Syncopated Rhythms”, etc…
Suggestion No. 6:
Have the student use their own creative skills to “invent” their own variations of the exercises in “Hannon – the Virtuous Pianist”.
I hope my explanations of how I apply “Hannon” to my teaching have been clear. As you can see, the possibilities are absolutely endless and it depends greatly on the individual teacher’s creativity skills. This way of applying “Hannon” to a student’s technical exercise program will change the way your students see “Technical Exercises” 🙂 If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.
Ps: se avete qualche dubbio, o avete bisogno di chiarimenti, sono disponibile a tradurre questo bellissimo articolo.