Petition to manufacturers

PASK launched a PETITION to piano manufacturers in December 2015: NEED PIANO KEYBOARDS THAT FIT OUR HANDS. Please sign this petition and forward to as many of your friends and contacts as possible via email and social media. Include groups or organisations of  piano teachers and piano technicians, as well as pianists and their parents. Even if you are not a pianist yourself, you will be helping many others around the world who love the piano and want this revolution to come soon. We need to tell the manufacturers that there is a huge potential market for these keyboards!’  

The link is below – please sign and help us to get well over 2000 signatures!

Comments from signers

Listed below is a sample of signers’ comments. For the complete list of comments, view this document:

I believe millions of children and adults would love to have the choice of new standard keyboard sizes to make playing the piano more enjoyable and comfortable.

The current standard sized piano keyboard is too big for most women, about a quarter of men and all kids! I urge manufacturers to look at their clientele and provide alternatives to the one large ( 6.5 inch octave ). MOST people fit more easily on the 6.0 inch octave keyboard and adjustment is minimal!

Have mercy on small hands!!!

Besides artistic considerations, I would add that it also makes GOOD BUSINESS SENSE to provide smaller keyboards, not only for the many, many young students across the globe, but for those who grow up and still have small hands. If string players can have smaller instruments, why can’t pianists?

My hands are arthritic as I grow older and octaves are harder to reach.

I have been teaching close to 50 years. Seeing talented pianists with smaller hands struggling to manage an octave is a shame.  Please consider offering 3 standard sizes for for pianists. We cannot change our hand size, but we have technology where we can accommodate different hand sizes.

As a pianist with a Masters degree in Piano Performance and Pedagogy I have both witnessed the benefit that an ergonomically sized keyboard has on my students as well as experiencing first-hand what an ergonomically scaled keyboard did for my own playing. I have suffered nerve damage, carpal tunnel, and loss of confidence due to the fact that I can only reach on octave on a conventionally sized keyboard. I have worked hard and compensated to play on standard keyboard, but playing the DS 5.5 was quite literally a dream come true. I was instantly able to play advanced repertoire with greater ease and after a year and a half of consistent practice on the DS 5.5 I was pain free in my hands and arms. This is an issue of health, but also artistic freedom. I have repertoire I want to play and sounds I want to create that are frankly impossible because of my small hand size. It is discriminatory to say that it is a hurdle I should have to jump just for the sake of an arbitrary standard. Art and music are for all people and a part of what makes us human. Isn’t it time the piano adapted to the humans who play it?

I gave away learning to play the piano because my hands were too small. If a suitable keyboard were manufactured I would buy a piano and take up where I left off.

The piano pedagogy and performance community needs to get with the times. Other instruments already come in different sizes. It’s ironic that the pedagogy community continues to push piano lessons for very young children, yet it still advocates traditional adult male-sized keys. I am an adult, classically trained and a former private teacher, but my physical limitations as a petite female keeps me from aspiring to perform concert-level pieces. Remember that musicians come in all shapes and sizes. To make piano playing and piano lessons more appealing to the masses, the establishment and the manufacturers need to be more accommodating.

I’ve suffered all my life from trying to stretch chords and play octaves and arpeggios at speed, all this getting in the way of the sheer enjoyment of playing and often undermining my confidence in performance. Now I’ve had to give up playing in concerts as I have arm problems. Do it!!!

I work with many pianists with injuries.  Many of these have small hands and would not have suffered injury if they had had a smaller sized keyboard.   I would also appreciate using one myself if I had the opportunity.

Piano keyboards are designed for the largest male hands, which most of us don’t have.

I am an athletics trainer who has worked with musicians. I have seen lots of chronic, overuse hand and finger injuries in pianists, most of them female. Their fingers and hands are smaller and are way overworked when playing. A smaller size would decrease the number of overuse injuries.

I had a DS5.5 keyboard installed on my Yamaha grand piano one year ago and have discovered for myself the incredible joy of playing on a keyboard that suits my hands.  How wonderful it would be if piano manufacturers made pianos, both digital and acoustic, available with alternate sized keyboards so that my students could be practicing on such instruments at home.

Our research shows that female pianists have twice the injury rate that male pianists have.

It is time for the piano keyboard size to fit the pianists, instead of the other way around.  The world can enjoy more musicians, who were trapped for too many years, now that we have the piano keyboard that free all from this bondage.

It is high time that the playing field is leveled for children, women and men pianists with smaller hand sizes. I cannot imagine a one-size-fits-all attitude in sports or sports equipment, clothing, furniture, etc., etc. Not to level the field in keyboard size is discrimination, plain and simple. It is also, as studies have repeatedly shown, a silent form of promotion–not reduction–of risks for playing-related injuries. Heartfelt thanks to all who have worked long and hard to promote this rational, humane, and healthful movement.

Please! I want to buy an affordable digital keyboard that fits my hands!

I’ve been saying this for years. I’m fortunate that I can play tenths with relative ease, but I recognize that that has nothing to do with talent, skill or dedication; I simply happened to win that round of the genetic lottery. Giving people with a smaller reach the ability to play a wider variety of music can only be good for music.

Do not underestimate the potential market for varied size keyboards. Traditional keyboard size established to suit the hands of European males, but pianists have long since encompassed a much broader demographic. Variety is as inevitable as it is historical in the many centuries of keyboard construction prior to the iconic 19th century and the mass-produced standard.

Small hands learn bad habits and end up with unnecessary tension when trying to play intervals which extend their hands too much. It also limits their repertoire.

I have a niece who is a very talented pianist, but she nearly had to quit her master’s program because of shoulder and hand pain. She now has small keys that make it much easier for her. Many people like her would benefit from smaller size keys. Please make different sized keyboards available for all.

I can’t believe this hasn’t changed yet!  The persistent discrimination in this particular instrument against those with ‘small hands’ amazes me. I play a smaller violin and I’m not considered less of a musician. I hope people begin to realize that hand size is not an indicator of musical ability. Just like foot size is not an indicator of athletic ability!

If smaller keyboards were readily available, I would instantly buy one and recommend it for all of my students. Please make this happen!!!

I believe you’ll discover that these smaller pianos will prove that they’re not a ‘niche’ product but can generate mainstream sales — if you will build them!

We human beings are constantly on the lookout for ways to improve our lifestyle and become more efficient. This smaller size keyboard will achieve that, by making the piano practice time more efficient and will prevent performance injuries and deformations in the hands of our children. These which are caused because the regular size piano is just too big for many of us. Why not support a change for the good?

For years questions like, ‘How am I even going to reach that note? Why am I even trying? I thought piano playing was supposed to be enjoyable?’ often mulled around in my head as I tried to do ‘work -arounds’ to piano pieces all because I could never reach a comfortable octave, never mind a 9th or even 10th and the frustration and disappointment that came with it because the piece seldom sounded the same after the alterations. People should be able to buy pianos that fit their own hands and avoid the numerous problems that a lot of pianists face. Develop a passion for the instrument instead a grudge.

I lost function in 2 fingers for 6 months due to damage caused by overstretching my hand on a standard piano. I say we join together and pressure Yamaha to make a high quality digital piano for the rest of us.

I wish that I could buy a digital piano with a smaller keyboard. My grown children do as well.

Adult learning to play; hand can just barely reach octave if played on the bottom of the keys; there is a market for digital pianos to be designed for smaller hands; no way I can afford a nicer piano, but I would buy a small hands digital piano in a heartbeat (and a bet a lot of other adults learning to play or parents with children learning to play would too).

As a lifelong pianist and teacher for nearly two decades, I can attest that the time for alternate-sized keyboards is long overdue. The current standard of keyboard size particularly favors a specific population: grown men with large hands. Therefore, it is the source of physical harm (sometimes irreparable) for excellent, enthusiastic pianists who attempt to perform repertoire according to the exacting requirements of the classical world, or else it limits the repertoire and discourages fine pianists who might otherwise pursue rewarding careers.

As a jazz piano student, one of the major limitations I deal with is the size of my fingers.  I would definitely purchase a piano or keyboard which is “right sized” for my hands.  I know a smaller keyboard would reduce the hand injuries and tendinitis I suffer from to pursue my art!

The availability of alternate-sized keyboards will democratise the keyboard for players of all sizes and should be for all keyboards, organs & electronic keyboards.

As a professional pianist, I’ve been struggling for decades with the width of the standard keyboard, as my hands are just too small to play most 10ths, an interval often called for in 19th, 20th and 21st century music. This limitation is not because I lack talent or haven’t studied well enough. This is because of a mismatch between keyboard and hand size. And this needs to stop.

Manufacturers are missing out on a large market share.  There is a demand out here for these products which will increase enormously when they become available.

Lost motivation to play the piano since it hurts to play pieces with big chords.

It is long overdue. Most instruments come in various sizes. But not pianos. Perhaps this can jumpstart and revitalize piano sales. It seems like a no brainer as far as digital pianos are concerned.

My whole life would have been different if this had been available to me.

My current piano strains my hands since they have to reach across keys that are unnecessarily wide. I was dumbfounded by the fact that so few piano manufacturers haven’t realized the need for more suitable key widths. Especially with how many people would benefit from it.

I cannot believe that in this day and age I can’t find any keyboards or pianos with narrower keys. I can’t play the same songs as half of the population because pianos were and are still only made for one body type. We should not have to develop these awkward techniques to try and work around the too-large keys as well as risk injuries to our tendons, just to be unable to make the same sounds anyway. I just want to play the songs I love.

I would love to have a piano with narrower keys!  I have very small hands, and can only reach an octave with a tense, stretched hand on the standard keyboard, By contrast, on my “lady-sized” piano-accordion keyboard, I can reach 10ths easily. Despite never having formally studied the accordion, I find it much easier and more pleasurable to play — and I wish I could have the same pleasure and ability on the piano!

The request is supported by many research! Build them!!

As a petite female with a hand span of 7 inches I SOOOooooo long for the day that DS.5.5 becomes widely available.

I’ve tried smaller sizes keys before and it’s astounding how much of a difference it makes.

I believe manufacturers would be shocked at how many “lapsed” pianists would rush to buy a piano, especially a digital piano, with a reduced-size keyboard. This is a dramatically underserved market.

Reaching a 10th comfortably would change my life.  I will purchase the first alt-size digital instrument that appears from any manufacturer, no matter the cost.  My hands would prefer 15/16, but I think 7/8 is the most important size for reaching the most people.

I hit a wall because my hands are too small. It’s really sad to me that I can’t play the classical music that I want to.

My recent experience with alternatively sized keyboards has been a revelation. I have never been so liberated on the piano. The concept of narrower key widths to suit a pianist’s morphology is genius. My skeptical wife, who has larger hands than me, now demands such a keyboard for our own use!

There is no question that these smaller sized keyboards are a no brainer!

A great piano with keys that fit my smaller female hands would be so much more fun.

My adult hands have a reach span of less than 7 1/2 inch. I would like to learn on a reduced size keyboard that fits my hands. I don’t have the money to invest in a custom-made piano, and I have no dreams of recitals, just to play at home and enjoy the instrument, so I would really enjoy more affordable options for those of us with small hands

Digital pianos should be easy to make in a 5.5 standard. We should all have more options.

I teach piano to children who are primarily ages 4 – 10. There are smaller versions of violins and guitars and other instruments. Why not pianos and keyboards? I would replace my 6 digital pianos for smaller keyboard versions in a heartbeat.

I feel discriminated against by the dominance of the mainstream 6.5 keyboard size. I always thought it was my inability that kept me from playing much of the classical repertoire – now I see that I was disadvantaged, and didn’t need to be. The 6.0 and 5.5 inch keyboards need to be widely available and accepted by the industry.

I have the DS5.5 keyboard and it is life changing! I went from not playing piano at all to starting to record my first album!

Tired of male pianists with giant hands insisting that small hands can play the piano just fine because many people have “overcome” the issue by suffering with pain or simply dropping notes. This is not a solution and there is no reason there shouldn’t be variation of piano key sizes to accommodate the hand size of the player.

Any person who depends on an instrument / instruments for their livelihood, whether it be for music, sport, science, medicine, or any other profession, should have options for instrument customization. It’s a strange historical anomaly that the piano keyboard is codified to a larger-than-average hand size.

This benefits everyone. Pianos become more accessible which would lend to more pianos being sold overall. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.

Eminent people who have signed the petition

Dr Rae de LisleAssociate Professor and Head of Piano, University of AucklandNew Zealand
Dr Jovanni-Rey de PedroAssistant Professor of Piano and Piano Pedagogy, University of IdahoUSA
Dr Ezra BartzSenior lecturer & piano class cordinator, Texas State University, AustinUSA
Mr Ian MunroConcert pianist, composer and teacherAustralia
Dr Marina LomazovConcert pianist, Professor of Piano, University of South CarolinaUSA
Dr Lane HarderLecturer in Music theory and composition, Southern Methodist University, Dallas TXUSA
Dr Scott GendelComposer and arrangerUSA
Prof Martha FischerProfessor of Piano, University of Madison-WisonsinUSA
Dr Midori KogaAssociate Professor Keyboard, Piano & Piano Pedagogy, University of TorontoCanada
Ms Betty Vergara-PinkFormer Professor in Piano and Piano Pedagogy, Freiburg Musikhochschule, GermanyAustralia
Dr David ForbatProfessor of Piano, University of Central OklahomaUSA
Mr Diego MunhozProfessor of Piano, ParisFrance
Ms Sonia RubinskyConcert pianist, ParisFrance
Mr Pablo RossiConcert pianist, BrusselsBelgium
Mr Jean-Frédéric NeubergerConcert pianist & teacher at Paris ConservatoireFrance
Dr Mario AjeroAssociate Professor Piano Pedagogy, Stephen Austin State University, TexasUSA
Dr Barbara Lister-SinkProfessor of Piano and Artist in Residence, Salem College, NCUSA
Ms Wendy LorenzPerformance Teaching Fellow, Australian National University, CanberraAustralia
Dr Vanessa CornettAssociate Professor of Piano & Piano Pedagogy, University of St. Thomas, Minneapolis – St Paul, MNUSA
Mr Darryl CootePresident, Australian National Piano Award, teacher at Monash UniversityAustralia
Dr Ralph ManchesterFormer Editor-in-Chief, Medical Problems of Performing Artists journal, NYUSA
Prof Gail BerensonProfessor Emeritus of Piano Performance, Ohio UniversityUSA
Dr Jeff RussellAssistant Professor, Performing Arts Health Care, Ohio UniversityUSA
Dr David KorevaarProfessor of Piano, University of Boulder, ColoradoUSA
Dr Brenda WristenAssistant Professor of Piano Pedagogy, University of Nebraska-LincolnUSA
Dr Bronwen AckermannEditor-in-Chief, Medical Problems of Performing Artists journal, Sydney University Medical SchoolAustralia
Ms Penelope RoskellProfessor of Piano, Trinity Laban Conservatoire, LondonUnited Kingdom
Dr Stephen McIntyreAssociate Professor in Piano, University of MelbourneAustralia
Dr Mayumi OsadaAdjunct instructor of piano, High Point University, NCUSA
Dr Pamela Mia PaulProfessor of Piano, University of North Texas, TXUSA
Dr Jessica JohnsonProfessor of Piano & Piano Pedagogy, University of Wisconsin-Madison, WIUSA
Dr Carol LeoneAssociate Professor and Chair of Keyboard Studies, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TXUSA
Dr. Artina McCainAssistant Professor of Piano, University of Memphis, TNUSA
Mr Domenico CodispotiConcert pianist, Piano Professor at Conservatorio “Lorenzo Perosi” in CampobassoItaly
Dr. Cathy LysingerProfessor of Practice in Piano and Pedagogy, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TXUSA
Mr Paulo Henrique AlmeidaConcert pianist, BrazilBrazil
Mr Pablo RossiConcert pianist, BrazilBrazil
Dr Peter JutrasFormer Editor in Chief, Clavier Companion journal, Assoc Prof Piano & Piano Pedagogy, University of GeorgiaUSA
Prof Ulrike WohlwenderProfessor of Piano Pedagogy, University of Music and Performing Arts, StuttgartGermany
Dr Murray McLachlanHead of keyboard at Chetham’s school, Editor Piano Professional magazine, concert pianist, Chair EPTA UKUK
Prof Ulrich HenchProfessor of Piano Pedagogy, Hochschule for Musik, NurnburgGermany
Mr Piers LaneInternational concert pianistUK/Australia
Ms Jody HealdChair, Australasian Piano Pedagogy Conference Association CommitteeAustralia
Dr Roger LordProfessor of Piano, Université de Moncton, New BrunswickCanada
Dr Stephen PierceDirector of Keyboard Pedagogy and Secondary Piano, USC Thornton School fo MusicUSA
Ms Kathryn MientkaConcert pianist and Director of Western Slope concert series, Grand Junction, ColoradoUSA
Mr Simon TedeschiConcert pianist, SydneyAustralia
Mr Hideki TanabeProfessor at Hitotsubashi University, pianist and musicologistJapan
Mr Jayson GillhamInternational concert pianistUK/Australia
Dr Julia MortyakovaChair of Music Department at Mississippi University for Women, concert pianistUSA
Dr Linda KouvarasAssociate Professor in Music, University of MelbourneAustralia
Dr Matthias BertschProfessor of Musicology, University of Music and Performing Arts, ViennaAustria
Dr Susan GrayProfessor of Piano University of South DakotaUSA
Dr Kathryn Ananda-OwensProfessor of Music, St Olaf College, MinnesotaUSA
Dr Bernadette HarveyConcert pianist, Lecturer in pedagogy and piano, Sydneu Uni Conservatorium of MusicAustralia
Dr Kirill MonorosiConcert pianist, Lecturer and teacher at Sydney Uni Conservatorium of MusicAustralia
Dr Alan HuckleburyProfessor of Piano Pedagogy, University of IowaUSA
Dr Richard FountainProfessor of Piano, Wayland Baptist University, TexasUSA
Dr Nicholas PhillipsConcert pianist and Professor of Piano, University of Wisconsin-Eau ClaireUSA
Dr Tom PearsallProfessor of Piano, Georgia Southern UniversityUSA
Dr Daniel HornProfessor of piano and Chair of keyboard studies, Wheaton College, IlinoisUSA
Dr Jonathan TsayConcert pianist, University of MemphisUSA
Dr Pamela JonesAssoc Professor, School of Music, University of UtahUSA
Ms Heather O’DonnellConcert pianist and teacher, Dusseldorf.
Mr Andres MartinezConcert pianist, AsturiasSpain
Ms Olga AlbasiniConcert pianist, Murcia SpainSpain
Dr Robert WatsonProfessor of Piano, California State Uni, FullertonUSA
Dr Sara ErnstAssociate Professor at University of South CarolinaUSA
Dr Elizabeth SchumannHead of Keyboard, Stanford University, CaliforniaUSA
Ms Julia SicilianoConcert pianist, ChicagoUSA
Ms Julia PikalovaConcert pianistItaly
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