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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.

Better Practice Through Mindfulness—Part 2

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Regular practice is the cornerstone of good musicianship. This is particularly true for our instrument.

Better Practice Through Mindfulness—Part 1

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Regular practice is the cornerstone of good musicianship. This is particularly true for Highland bagpipes.

"What Is a Grip?"

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A grip is a common, three-step embellishment that occurs in all types of Highland bagpipe music. It starts on any note and can end on any note.

Visualizing ALAP/ASAP—Part 3

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On the bagpipe, we cannot play a note with more volume in order to add expression to a phrase. Indeed, our goal is to play at a steady pressure so that the pitch of the chanter and the drones remains constant. Nor do we have techniques such as staccato or legato available to us on the Highland bagpipe. On the Highland bagpipe, we express our music by holding notes longer than we would normally hold them, playing them As Long As [Musically] Possible (ALAP) and playing contrasting notes As Short As [Musically] Possible (ASAP).

Visualizing ALAP/ASAP—Part 2

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On the bagpipe, we cannot play a note with more volume in order to add expression to a phrase. Indeed, our goal is to play at a steady pressure so that the pitch of the chanter and the drones remains constant. Nor do we have techniques such as staccato or legato available to us on the Highland bagpipe. On the Highland bagpipe, we express our music by holding notes longer than we would normally hold them, playing them As Long As [Musically] Possible (ALAP) and playing contrasting notes As Short As [Musically] Possible (ASAP).

Visualizing ALAP/ASAP—Part 1

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On the bagpipe, we cannot play a note with more volume in order to add expression to a phrase. Indeed, our goal is to play at a steady pressure so that the pitch of the chanter and the drones remains constant. Nor do we have techniques such as staccato or legato available to us on the Highland bagpipe. On the Highland bagpipe, we express our music by holding notes longer than we would normally hold them, playing them As Long As [Musically] Possible (ALAP) and playing contrasting notes As Short As [Musically] Possible (ASAP).

"What Is a D Throw?"

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A D throw is a common, three-step embellishment that occurs in all types of Highland bagipe music. It finishes on the note D from any other note on the chanter, hence the name. The D throw is written as follows: The D throw is, less commonly, written as follows:

Practice as Refuge

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The catfish ain’t bitin,’ the roof is leakin,’ and papa needs a new pair of shoes. We all have concerns and worries. We dwell, we're uneasy, we're consumed with anxiety. We dedicate are every waking moment to solving our seemingly, unending torrent of problems. As “tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,” to quote MacBeth, “creeps in this petty pace from day to day,” we have a refuge…practice

Working With Synthetic Pipe Bags—Part 5

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Synthetic bags, although relatively new to the piping community, have come a long way in a short period of time.