Hanon-Faber, Gesture 1: Fingers 1-5 “Swoop”
October 23, 2019
In this edition of Hanon-Faber we open with three gestures. These gestures are isolating important vital movements based on the wrist circle. You may have encountered the wrist circle in Piano Adventures Technique & Artistry Levels 3A and 4. That wrist circle is carrying the wrist in a circular motion to close the hand and to align the arm over each finger as it plays. In other words, a specific finger that’s playing carries the alignment of the whole arm over that finger. Very important! And if we isolate these gestures of the swooping under, or the half circle of swooping over (these are both half circles, under and over) and then turn the corner, we then have Gesture 1, 2, and 3. So Gesture 1 we’ll look at now. That’s moving from thumb to 5. Notice it’s an under-half-circle-swoop. A couple things to note: I’ve put an accent at the last finger there, finger 5, so we’re going to aggressively use an active finger 5. And I like that because it highlights our drive forward here, standing on the 5. You’ll notice more exercises on that that are helpful with preparation in our Technique & Artistry Level 4. We want to have the three-dimensionality not just be above the key, but there’s an element of in and out. In other words, we’re going to move from that 3-4-5. I’m walking in here to finger 5. “Walking in” meaning each finger becomes progressively more curved as i’m walking in toward the fallboard. Coming from finger 1 to 2, there’s a walking out. I’ve got the lower part of the swoop. I might even continue that through finger 3. And then we come to walking in. And so forth. Now I want to highlight though that we should take these slowly at first. And you can take it first without the accent. In fact if you like to do that wrist float-off at the end and shape it softly, that would be fine. As your skill of the gesture improves, then we can be more aggressive on that walk-in 3-4-5 and a very active finger 5. It’s extremely beneficial to do so, but remember it takes time. So don’t have that expectation that it will come perfectly at first. One more note: This is a gesture which we want to automatize. We want to make this be so comfortable that we don’t have to concentrate on it. It’s automatically in our nervous system. But to do so, we have to progressively program it. That means repetitions. We have to do it over and over, and we have to do it right. So start out slowly. Do the repetitions with extreme concentration. Concentrate not only on that gesture but the feel of the walking in of the fingertip, or the walking out as we open the gesture. Intense concentration. Then, through repetition, you want to do it with no concentration. That’s going to take a number of weeks. But eventually then, no concentration, because it’s just in your nervous system. and that frees up one’s technique for the listening and the artistry and the control of the sound.