Doctor Stech & Nervous Habit
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Doctor Stech & Nervous Habit

Atlanta, Georgia, United States | INDIE

Atlanta, Georgia, United States | INDIE
Band Jazz Singer/Songwriter


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"Jazziz Magazine, March 2007"

The neurosurgeon who founded Greater Atlanta Neurosurgery, Dr. Michael Stechison, also studied classical piano at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto in the 1960's. The doctor's wide range of interests, which includes playing saxophone and clarinet has paid off in successful dual careers. A recent solo piano disc, By Myself Now and Then (Caroline's Room/Midtown Atlanta) features his interpretations of a variety of standards. "Someone to Watch Over Me" showcases his Canadian classical training and harmonic sophistication. "To me, harmony in music is analogous to the relationship of color to painting," Stechison says. "It is the element that captivates me most." - Michael Fagien

"Piedmont Review, February 2007"

"It's romantic, it's fun, it's energetic, it's thoughtful, and it's creative." "It's music you can listen to on a quiet evening at home, but it's got some edges to it." - Miles Neimann

"Medicine and Music-A Gwinnett doctor harmonizes his career and his love for performing jazz."

Out of the White Coat - music moves one Gwinnett doctor.
Michael Stechison, M.D., Ph.D., a neurosurgeron from Toronto, has 20 years of experience under his belt, the last four of which he has spent at Gwinnett Medical Center. Dr. Stechison attended the University of Toronto for medical school, and his private practice is Greater Atlanta Neurosurgery P.C. He practices at both Gwinnett Medical Center and Emory Crawford Long Hospital.
In addition to his busy calling as a neurosurgeon, Dr. Stechison is a jazz pianist and vocalist and performs regularly at the Lil' River Grille in downtown Lawrenceville.
Dr. Stechison trained in classical piano at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. "To me, harmony in music is analogour to the relationship of color to painting." Dr. Stechison says, "It is the element that captivates me most. " To learn more about Dr. Stechison's musicaltalents visit - Vigor Magazine - Summer 2008

"Doctor of Music"

Living a double life: Michael Stechison is a neurosurgeon by profession, but at night he is a piano-playing club performer.
He opened at Lawrenceville's Lil' River Grille with a piano medley from his CD "By Myself, Now and Then," before segeuing into a popular Billy Joel tune.
At his show a week or so earlier, he was suffering from laryngitis and couldn't sing a note. But on this night, there's nothing wrong with the vocal cords, and the doctor is hardly alone.
"My name is Michael Stechison," he says after belting out the final note, "and I will be here all night."
All night and, if his wchedule allows, on many weekends as the surgeon brings the fine-fingered dexterity normally reserved for the operating room to the piano bench. But there's no mention of his day job-just intermittent pitches for his CD, avabilable online at
It's just as well. There probably aren't many here with brain tumors. If there were, Stechison, a neurosurgeon at Gwinnett Medical Center by day, would come highly recommended.
"If you play the night before operating, your dexterity is enhanced," he said. "It's an incredible digital warm up."
The 52 year-old, who jokes he's a mere 25 with the numbers inverted, has been warming up - digitally that is - since he was 5 studying classical piano at the Royal Conservatory in Toronto.
Back then, he said, it seemed every home in the city had a piano.
Bith his parents were lovers of music. His father, Walter, a dentist, had a band and a live radio show until the 1940s. Not only did he sing, he played the guitar and violin.
The elder Stechison passed his love of music on to his youngest son. Instead of kids' play, Michael spent his day honing his musical talent on the piano, the saxophone, the clarinet. He sang in the boys' choir at St. George's College, a private English boys school.
To this day much of Stechison's life revolves around music, specifically the piano.
When he isn't removing tumors from a brain or training for his next marathon, he's somehwere tickling the ivories, sometimes with son Mike on guitar and daughter Caroline on drums, or here at Lil' River Grill, where he's a favorite.
He tries to play every day at home, in his hospital office, wherever there is a keyboard.
For Stechison, it's almost impossible to be without his instrument.
He has two grand pianos at his home in Atlanta, including his childhood instrument in the basement.
He keeps a keyboard in his office, at his beach house and sometimes in the back seat of his car.
The only time he recalls music taking a back seat in his life is when he enrolled in medical school at the University of Toronto.
Besides being focused on his studies, Stechison wasn't playing as well as he would've liked, so he turned to painting and drawing.
He got his medical degree in 1981 and, while completing his residencey, got a doctor of philosophy in anatomy, a first in the neurosurgery program.
After stints on the faculty of Ohio State University and the University of Pittsburgh, Stechison left academia.
In 1995 he entered private practice in South Georgia.
He said he didn't care much for that part of the state. "I'm a city guy."
"Except for brief visits to the beach," said Stechison, who grew up in downtown Toronto, "it's very unhealty for me to be outside the city."
And so in 2004, Stechison returned to his urban roots, moving to Atlanta, where he founded Greater Atlanta Neurosurgery.
Now the Brain and Spine Institute at Gwinnett Medical Center, the practice specializes in surgery.
Stechison practices at both Gwinnett Medical Center and EmoryCrawford Long Hospital. And he performs often, about four times a month.
He has played at the 755 Club at Turner Field, the Green Market at Piedmont Park, and at Lil' River Grill, where he's been playing for nearly a year.
Todd Johnson, who co-owns the restaurant withg his brother Bob, tries to book the surgeon at least once a month.
"He's a great guy," said Johnson. "We enjoy having him and the crowd he brings."
Johnson sad that customers find Stechison intriguing because it's unusual to see another side of a doctor.
"They love to come watch him play," he said. "He's an extremely talented guy."
- Atlanta Journal Constitution - Living Section - August 18, 2008


Doctor Stech and Nervous Habit - "Live at the Red Light Cafe" - available at,, iTunes, and
"by myself, now and then" Michael Stechison
audio clips on, iTunes, Jazziz magazine March 2007 sampler CD, and My Space.



Michael has played piano since age 5, beginning in 1961. He is a classically trained pianist who diverged toward jazz in his teens. He has been a lifelong player with a lot of solo gig experience. He has recently released "by myself, now and then" which contains a mixture of classic American jazz standards as well as some more modern gems. He is currently beginning work on another recording featuring him on vocals as well. He plays out regularly and does many private functions.
Michael was classically trained at the Royal Conservatory in Toronto, and continued jazz studies. He also plays saxophone and clarinet. He is also a vocalist and several years ago added this to his act. He has proudly studied and been influenced by the vocal coaching of Jan Smith in Atlanta. Michael is most attracted to the piano styles of Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea, Gene Harris, Duke Ellington, and Oscar Peterson. His musical interests encompass many genres.
Michael enjoys playing as a solo artist or with a band. and performs in both formats.