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Tom Olsen: News

Tom Olsen Piano Teacher - August 15, 2016

For over 10 years I have taught private piano lessons in my student's homes.  I've decided to move my teaching to Steinway.  I am thrilled to announce I am opening a teaching studio at The Music Academy at Steinway Piano Galleries in Phipps Plaza.  This wonderful piano showroom features beautiful, professional teaching studios with Steinway-designed pianos.  I teach 44 lessons per year, in weekly lessons of 30, 45, or 60 minutes at convenient times to match your schedule.  The tuition is billed monthly and lessons do not require a long-term contract.

Isn't it time to try piano lessons?  What are you waiting for?  Contact me at tolsen@steinwaypianogalleries.com to find the perfect lesson time and let's get started!   

A Steinway Employee - July 23, 2016

I've begun a new chapter in my musical career, and it is with the storied brand Steinway and Sons. First off I must say I have never met a Steinway piano that I did not like. In fact, the most rewarding solo piano gig I have had so far in Georgia was playing the Steinway grand piano at Houston's in Midtown Atlanta once or twice a week for a couple of years. That piano was perfectly regulated, magnificent in it's intonation, and rich with singing overtones. It is heaven to play it, and the subtle nuanced sounds it produces will linger with me always.

My new job is to oversee the Music Academy at Steinway Piano Galleries of Atlanta. I am also opening a teaching studio there, and will be doing my best to build up the music program at two locations. Hopefully along the way I will sell a piano or several. I couldn't be more proud to be associated with this company, and feel excited and honored. This opportunity culminates many years of teaching, consulting, and selling for me to leverage. I can see a longer brighter future in education and sales for me, and it feels good.

http://steinwaypianogalleries.com/lessons

R&B Band Here I Come - March 7, 2016

When I was first starting as a new gigging musician in the Atlanta music scene, I was offered a chance to perform with an R&B band called "4-True" which consisted of a lead male vocalist, drums, bass, and keyboard - with occasional other instruments (guitar, woodwinds, brass) depending on the gig. The singer was Castor Holiness, an outstanding performer who had an incredible voice, and tons of knowledge to share. He grew up in a large family of musicians who traveled a church circuit doing family concerts. He could command the stage without tripping over his ego. He patiently showed me the 'feel' of the songs, giving suggestions on style of playing. He was my tour guide who introduced me to the behind the scenes, the magic that makes a song really soar.

This experience was full immersion baptism into songs by Al Green, John Legend, Luther Vandross, Anita Baker, Stevie Wonder, Motown, and it scared me silly. While I love this music, and listened to much of it growing up, it is another thing entirely to learn to play it. I kept running into the bass line in my playing - or doubling the vocal. I had to learn how to play in an ensemble, letting others do their part and playing differently.

We scored a weekly gig playing at a very popular barbecue joint just north of Atlanta, and ended up playing there for nearly 2 years. Eventually the lead singer became 2 female vocalists and we continued in a slightly different vein - Respect, Neither One of Us, A House is Not a Home. Nearly the same set list would appear each week - Electric Slide, Mustang Sally, ending the show with Proud Mary. All of it ended abruptly when the restaurant we played closed in a cloud of suspicion and the band disbanded. I made my way from there playing jazz standards with a trio weekly and only retained maybe 10% of the R&B songs in my active repertoire. But the experience of learning how to play in a group stuck with me.

About 3 years ago I got the call to perform with Nat George and the Nat George Players. This is an R&B band with credentials; a group whose reputation was burnished performing the "Sam Cooke Story", a musical retrospective of the life and music of that great songwriter that is written and sung by Nat. They tour around the country, have scored record deals. Two keyboards usually appear on stage - one for lead and another to play strings or organ. The sound is amazing. I grin from ear to ear, but just as when I had to find my way playing in an ensemble the first time, the new challenge was to be the second keyboard supporting the sound.

Once again I am surrounded by seasoned professionals, people who have performed this music for decades, who know the tricks, and who very generously share that knowledge. I've rehearsed with this group - which for those who are pros is a sacrifice - to show me things I need to know; resulting in an investment in me. It looks like I'm now on the regular rotation for keyboard players - picking up gigs here and there.

And after 4-5 years, now I get to play that funky music again that makes me smile.

Jazz Trio - September 30, 2015

Tom formed the Tom Olsen Trio (drums, upright bass, and keyboard) in 2009 and since that time the trio has performed steady gigs at Joey D's Oak Room in Dunwoody for 1 year, and then since 2009 has appeared weekly at Maggiano's Little Italy - Cumberland Mall location as the house band.

This small classy ensemble takes jazz standards in some interesting directions - keeping the emphasis on a good mix of bop, swing, latin jazz, blues, funk, and some rock and pop tunes. Each week some of the finest musicians in the southeast get together to do what they love: making great music together. The group is polished, tight, subtle, and very entertaining both to watch and hear.

Music Store Manager - August 8, 2012

I've jumped back into retail management at the Draisen Edwards Music Center and School of Music in Marietta GA. This is an on-site consulting engagement that combines my 20+ years of sales experience with my musicianship in a very unique way. You can find out more about Draisen Edwards at http://www.draisenedwardsmusic.com or you can 'like' our page at: http://www.facebook.com/DraisenEdwardsMusic

A Church Musician Again - September 12, 2011

I began my professional music career playing piano and singing in church. I'm happy to announce that I have accepted a position playing keyboard for a new congregation in Marietta, GA - the One World Spiritual Center.

I perform in a trio with drums and bass guitar. The style of music is contemporary and the music program is led by Asha Lightbearer who is an enormously talented singer/songwriter - http://www.ashalightbearer.com.

My first Sunday performance was Sept 11, 2011, and I look forward to many more.

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