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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.

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.

Future Proof Yourself

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Think about this for a second. How are you going to sabotage your practice in the future? What excuses will you use to skip a practice session?

Playing for an Accomplished Piper

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Your band is holding a master class with an accomplished piper. Your sitting at the table playing through your band set on your practice chanter with your bandmates. Your guest instructor invites individuals to play the tune by him or herself. What do you do?

To Be a Better Piper, Work on the Basics

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Listen to the Piper's Dojo Audio Experience, #206, Audio Lesson With Grade 3 Solo Competitor. You will note that, if we momentarily set aside the comments on tuning, Andrew's constructive criticisms revolve around the first five finger work fundamentals:
  1. Scale Navigation
  2. Basic Rhythm
  3. Gracenotes and Gracenote Quality
  4. Embellishments and Gracenote Quality
  5. Dot/Cuts (ALAP/ASAP)

"Are All Chanter Reeds the Same?"

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

"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.

How to Think, Part 2

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In Ed Boyden's ten rules on How to Think, he has two that are particularly applicable to our lives as pipers:

How to Think, Part 1

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When he applied for a job at the MIT Media Laboratory, Ed Boyden, the winner of the 2013 Brain Prize, had to write a teaching statement. One of his proposals was a class entitled “How to Think.”

Preposterous: Tales to Follow - A Review

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Back in the 1970s, we thrived on basement tapes. It was a rare event when we would get to hear a great piper live in our little piping backwater.