Experience the possibility of injury-free playing.

Enjoy easily playing 10ths and large chords.

Discover the pedagogical advantages for children.

Play repertoire that is usually reserved for "large hands".

 

 

 Read my article published September 2015 in 

Clavier Companion here. (PDF Download) 

 

Read my article published Summer 2015 in 

Piano Professional journal here. (PDF Download)

 

Order my CD,

CHANGE OF KEYS: One Piano, Three Keyboards here:

 


 

A NEW PARADIGM

The adoption of an alternate-sized piano keyboard has completely renewed my life and career as a pianist. In the fall of 2000 I obtained this piano action with narrower keys for my studio through a university grant. Since then, SMU Meadows School of the Arts has been a center of research and performance for these pianos with narrower keys. My students and I have demonstrated that alternate-sized piano keyboards (using the sizes in the DS Standard™) can successfully be implemented in a university music school environment. I began a case study on the effects of using a DS5.5TM soon after receiving our first keyboard installed in a Steinway B. The results were published in the American Music Teacher journal in 2003. Most recently, I wrote an article on the subject that was the cover story in the Clavier Companion (September 2015).

While using alternate-sized piano keyboards, students with small hand spans can experience what it's like to play "stretchy" repertoire without fear of injury. Hand position is immediately improved and power increases because the hand is compact. Complex fingerings and redistribution are no longer necessary. Legato is possible in places that we previously gave up hoping that it could be. In addition, we believe that the use of the smaller keyboard will revolutionize traditional teaching of children and offer relief to pianists with injuries related to playing the instrument.

This is a major breakthrough for women pianists and young pianists in particular.  We realize that small hands have been at a major disadvantage for most of the history of the piano, but no one has addressed the problem until now.  It is becoming apparent that we are just at the beginning of something revolutionary for the art of playing the piano, and SMU is at the forefront.  Today, SMU offers ample opportunity for practice and performance on pianos with these keyboards, with both 5.5 and 6.0 inch octaves (DS5.5TM and the DS6.0TM). If desired, a student may perform his or her degree recitals on these pianos.

Southern Methodist University is the first institution of higher learning to allow and provide alternate-sized keyboards for their students who wish to use them. The piano department recognizes the imperative that their students are assured that the size and design of each keyboard conforms to certain internationally recognized standards. For this reason, I personally acknowledge the Donison-Steinbuhler Standard as the industry's definitive categorization of keyboard sizes, which codify the various keyboards that are suited to each hand size.

 By advocating the adoption of the DS Standard® at SMU, I have been able to ensure that its keyboards will conform to international standards as established by the Donison-Steinbuhler Foundation. Any piano certified by the DS® logo, whether as a result of its original manufacturing, retrofitting or building, is guaranteed to conform to one of the corresponding DS Standard® sizes:

 

 

 

 



 

RESOURCES FOR PIANISTS WITH SMALL HAND SPANS


Pianists for Alternate Size Keyboards www.paskpiano.org

Small Piano Keyboards www.smallpianokeyboards.org

Steinbuhler & Company www.steinbuhler.com

Dallas International Piano Competition www.dallasipc.org