On a Major League baseball diamond, the distance between the bases is 90 feet, but on a Little League diamond, it’s 60 feet. The distance between the pitching mound and home plate is 60 feet, six inches for Major Leaguers, but only 46 feet for Little Leaguers.
It isn’t controversial. It’s just what’s needed to teach kids to play.
But if those same kids try to learn to play the piano, the keyboard is “one size fits all.”
That could soon change.
In Titusville, Pennsylvania, a man who has spent decades perfecting a new standard for smaller keyboards is about to convert his private company into a nonprofit foundation toadvance what have been called ESPKs—ergonomically scaled piano keyboards.
David Steinbuhler first saw a custom-built smaller keyboard while attending a music festival in 1991. The festival’s director, Christopher Donison, had studied music at the University of Victoria, but found that he could not master much of the great piano repertoire because of the smaller size of his hands. He had a 7/8 keyboard built and installed in his concert grand piano. The distance between eight keys on Donison’s piano was equal to the distance between seven keys on a standard piano.
Steinbuhler, who developed products in his family-owned textile business, was inspired to work on building smaller keyboards. Today, the trademarked Donison-Steinbuhler Standard keyboards are available in three different sizes: The DS6.0 is 15/16 the size of a conventional keyboard, DS5.5 is 7/8, and the company makes a smaller keyboard for children.