Beginner Guitar Instructor | Finger Exercises For The Greatest Improvement

This content was created for Curtis Music Academy 


Hello there! Thanks for tuning into this podcast about guitar lessons- specifically Hanon exercises. This podcast is about Hanon Exercises and about finger warm ups, finger form ups is one of the best things you could possibly do as a pianist. And it doesn’t matter if you’re a beginning intermediate or advanced Hanon’s in warmups. It doesn’t matter what brand I’m using Hanon’s, because that’s what we’re going to talk about today. But it doesn’t matter the brand. There’s a lot of varieties of finger warm ups. I have had students who do finger warm ups on the side. They started as beginners and they do finger warmups and they are head and shoulders above other students that I have that do not do finger warm ups. 

So I consider them one of the best ways to really go quicker and to learn faster at the guitar. Finger warm ups help in a number of ways, which you will learn from your beginner guitar instructor. First of all, it really just strengthens your fingers. And so literally, like if you were a basketball player, you would build certain muscles and quickness fastness in your legs and in your arms as well as a pianist. You really do have to build up finger muscles for guitar lessons. And so your fingers will become more independent. You will have more finger control and agility, and that is always a desired goal. And that is number one, why I have started just recently to try to get all of my students on a path of finger exercises. Now, like I said, there are a number of different brands. 

I think for younger students, finger powers is what I use because I just really like that brand. That’s what I grew up playing, was the finger powers. 

And literally, just like the title, it develops finger power. And so that is one good brand. Another one is Churney, which is spelled C, Z, E, R and Y, named after the man who created these finger exercises. They are very classic. They’re great. The one I want to talk about today is Hanon’s. Now, Hanon is kind of like the standard, at least in my experience, of finger exercises. If there’s an adult beginner who wants to learn from your beginner guitar instructor, obviously I don’t start off guitar lesson one with finger exercises. 

But somewhere in the beginning, a few months of their guitar lessons, I will introduce Hanon’s and I think it’s a good challenge level for them. It is a little bit hard at first, but it’s something that you will continue to use all the way through being an intermediate player. So I have played the guitar since I was eight years old, so that’s a long time to play beginner guitar instructor and I have accomplished a lot. But when I went to warm up my fingers, I used Hannan’s. So it’s good if you’re a beginner, it’s good if you’re intermediate, it’s good if you’re advanced. In my opinion, I would consider myself an intermediate pianist. So I don’t know if there was an advanced pianist, if they would agree with that. 

But from my level of playing, I really like the Hanon’s. So Hanon’s is a lot about moving up and down the guitar. The fingers are in unison and the fingers are at least an octave apart. And so that adds to the difficulty as well. The further apart your hands are playing at the beginner guitar instructor at the same time, it just adds a challenge level because their hands are not just right together in front of you. So I recommended to one of my students to buy a hand book and he actually just finished the first guitar lesson book of playing the guitar. So it’s kind of a good time to start finger exercises. And he went to the music store and he did get a Hanon, but he got a hand that was totally different than anything that I had ever thought or imagined. 

So I have my own hand and book at my house and it’s like thirty exercises or so. Each one is different. But what this Hanon book does, it’s actually three separate books is it takes Hanon one. And yes, it’s the same Hanon that I have in my hand in one, but it takes it apart and does a few different things. It has one that focuses on just the Hanon and then it has one that focuses on articulation. Your beginner guitar instructor will help you with legato and staccato, and then it has one that focuses on dynamics. So gradually getting louder, gradually getting softer throughout the whole Hanon. It has one on swing time, which means the eighth note is on a long, short pattern. 

And lastly, it has one changing the key, which is wild. So when he came back and he showed me this hand and book that he got, I was excited. And so I told him, I said, there is. No rush to get through this book at all like you could, I didn’t tell him this, but honestly, in my opinion, it’s a one stop shop like this is pretty much all you’ll ever need when it comes to finger warmups because, you know, you play through all of them. You just go back and play them again. There’s no rush. It’s just kind of like when you become a serious high school basketball player at some point or a college or pro or, you know, for this analogy, it could be any level. But once you reach a certain level, you just want to maintain muscle coordination during the lessons with your beginner guitar instructor.

You want to maintain hand independence in the control. And so at some point, it’s not about gaining more finger control, it’s just about maintaining what you have learned- whether in guitar lessons. And that’s actually true of my life. I like to sit down every day and play some finger warm ups, finger exercises and go through either a finger power or a chair or a hanon just to keep myself able to really be flexible at the guitar. And so, anyway, back to the book that he brought in. It’s just been so good. And I told him there is no rush to get through one week. I mean, literally, you could take one Hanon and spend a week doing it one way, spend the next week doing it another way. I think the way that he has found really comfortable is he takes Hanon one and then the next day he practices the same Hannum, but he does the different next one, whether it’s articulation.