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Mark Olson

Mark Olson
Mark Olson is a software engineer in Omaha, NE. Over the years, he has played numerous musical instruments including the bagpipes, guitar, piano, flute, and saxophone. As a young man, Mark competed as a solo piper. Due to the demands of raising a family, Mark had to forgo his musical pursuits. While he regrets the fact he gave up the bagpipes, he is proud of the fact that both of his sons have grown to be fine young men. With the nest now empty, he has picked up the pipes once again. If he gets his chops, and his groove, back, he plans to compete again as a solo piper.

"Are Plastic Bagpipes the Same as Wood?"

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These days, Highland bagpipe makers are turning well-crafted sets from both wood and plastic. The primary difference between wood and plastic bagpipes is the material used.

Are You a Scientist?

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Are you a scientist? Are you a musician? Or are you both?

"What Is ALAP? What Is ASAP?"

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ALAP and ASAP are acronyms. ASAP stands for As Long As [Musically] Possible (ALAP). ASAP stands for As Short As [Musically] Possible (ASAP). ALAP/ASAP is a method for learning and teaching “dot-cut” rhythms, dotted eighth notes followed by a sixteenth note, on the Highland Bagpipe.

"Is Piobaireachd Difficult?"

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It's likely that different accomplished pipers will give you different answers to this question. According to Robert Wallace, “piobaireachd is difficult music to play well. It takes a lifetime of study to do so, and to teach and to appreciate in full.”

To Improve Your Piping...Mix It Up—Part 2

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While repetition is a mainstay in the practice room, recent research in motor skill learning and sport psychology suggests that an interleaved practice schedule can have benefits.

To Improve Your Piping...Mix It Up—Part 1

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As musicians, we rely on repetition to learn the tricks of our trade. We have all sat down and pounded out G-D-E triplets until our fingers hurt. Practicing pieces over and over is a time honored tradition in all musical disciplines.

"Are All Chanter Reeds the Same?"

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The short answer to the question is: "No."

Controlling Performance Anxiety With Visualization—Part 2

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Your heart races, your palms sweat. Your arms are shaking as you try to calm yourself. A few quick breaths, and you strike in. You are on the boards for an important competition. Familiar?

Controlling Performance Anxiety With Visualization—Part 1

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Your heart races, your palms sweat. Your arms are shaking as you try to calm yourself. A few quick breaths, and you strike in. You are on the boards for an important competition. Familiar?