Pianists with smaller hands – particularly those with maximum hand spans from thumb to 5th finger of less than 8.5 inches – overwhelmingly report how much easier it is to play on a narrower keyboard.
These pianists also report that learning times are reduced, and access to repertoire is significantly increased.
Importantly, these pianists report that they have a much greater ability to focus on the music itself, rather than on overcoming technical obstacles.
Almost without exception, they adapt very quickly to the smaller keyboard – generally within a few hours. Those moving to the DS6.0® (6 inch octave) keyboard normally adapt almost instantaneously. Once adapted, for pieces they can play on the ‘standard’ keyboard, the pianist is able to swap back and forth between the conventional and smaller keyboard as needed. This is rather like learning to drive on the ‘wrong’ side of the road when changing countries – once drivers have been through the initial adaptation process they retain the ability to drive on the either side easily in years to come.
‘You need to allow yourself at least a couple of days ……to begin the journey of discovery of exactly what it is that you have been missing, and the unnecessary obstacles you have been facing all of your life. Trust me when I tell you that it is lot more profound than merely “stretching” a distance between any 2 digits.’…. Christopher Donison, Dec 2006.
See these videos taken by Mario Ajero (marioajero.blogspot.com) showing how easy it is to interchange Steinbuhler keyboards in grand pianos, pianists trying a DS5.5® (7/8) keyboard for the first time, and Dr Carol Leone giving a lecture-recital at the 2007 MTNA conference.
Reduced-size keyboards Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBfDN9DBsnk
Reduced-size keyboards Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yiF05uBej0c
*ESPK (ergonomically scaled piano keyboards) is the term most used in recent academic literature to refer to any keyboard which has keys of a different width to normal.
For more stories, you can download this document here:- http://paskpiano.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/PASK-Quotes-and-stories_March-2018.pdf