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#guitars #guitarlesson #truefire #pianolessons #practice #beginnerguitars #musicalinstruments #instruments

Loog Guitar Kit Loog Guitar Kit

Larry was 10 years of age when he got his first guitar. He was so determined to learn how to play, even though it required some stretching of his hands across the fretboard, not to mention the cuts and blisters to his finger tips. Many kids, especially younger ones, give up because of the pain. But Larry kept practicing, even when his finger tips were bleeding.

Guitar Perfect for a younger Child – Loog Guitar

Pro Electric Loog

Mini Loog

In 2011, Rafael Atijas, a self-described amateur guitarist, designed the Loog Guitar especially for younger children so they can have fun while learning to play without all the pain.

The Loog comes in mini acoustic  like the little one on the left and the pro electric.

Upon first sight, you might think they are toys, but don’t be fooled. 

They are constructed out of real wood. It tunes, plays and sounds just like the bigger guitars. It is not a downsized-replica of a regular guitar. 

Atijas’s goal was to design a guitar that was comfortable, safe, and fun for small kids to learn on. The body comes in fun shapes with rounded corners or square. Their signature feature is “3 strings.”

Why does the Loog Guitar have 3 strings instead of 6?

If you are a guitarist, I can hear you now, “3 strings?? You can’t play a guitar with 3 strings.”

Because of the design and the three strings, the younger child can start playing right from the start. The Loog is easier for a younger child to tune, play, and hear the notes. The narrow neck makes it easier for little hands to form the chords.

The best part is that it is not painful, no finger welts or cuts, no stretching the little hands to fit around the neck.  So, it’s fun from the start!!!

The first three strings of the Loog are the same as the first three strings on a bigger guitars making the fingering the same. Therefore, it’s much easier for them to graduate to a 6-string when they are ready.

For more information from an instructor about the Loog, check out this YouTube video.

The Loog guitar grows with your child

The Loog’s design allows the guitar to grow with the child. As the child grows just swap out the short neck with a longer, wider neck, without the need to buy a whole new guitar.
To make it even better, every part of the Loog is interchangeable with other Loog models. So, you can exchange a rectangular shaped body for the triangular body. And, instead of buy a whole new kit, you can get just the body. Sweet!!

In fact, every part of the Loog Guitar is interchangeable (check out the kit). The parts are compatible with all other models of the Loog.

The kit includes an app with video lessons, a tuner, and flashcards. With the Loog app, kids can begin playing their favorite songs right from day one. A songbook is also included so they can learn to play real songs by the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Bruno Mars and more.

The Loog designers believe that building the guitar is an important part of understanding and loving the instrument. Helping to build the instrument gives the child a deeper connection with the instrument. 

Other Options For An Older Child

Tenor Guitar

A four string Tenor Guitar is another option for an older child. The four strings are easier to learn than a six-string… but just as much fun.

The Tenor Guitar is a ¾ sized guitar that is as easy to play as a ukulele. It is also as versatile as a regular electric guitar, only smaller. A few years ago the Tenor was primarily played in traditional jazz bands. But, today, the tenor seems to be played in any type of music.

Ukulele

Another option for an older child is a ukulele. Many of the pictures you see of kids with a four string guitar, it is really a ukulele.

The most obvious difference between the ukulele and the guitar is the size. The ukulele is 35% to 50% smaller than the standard acoustic guitar. The difference in size between the guitar and ukulele affects the volume, tone, and playability.

Again, the ukulele only have 4 strings as compared to the 6 strings of a guitar. As with the Loog, the ukulele is considered an easier instrument to learn. On both the Loog and the ukulele, there are a variety of simple one- and two-finger chords available to play. This gives the beginner an easier learning path to the guitar or other stringed instruments.

The standard ukulele is tuned differently and the chord fingerings are different. There are larger ukuleles which four strings tuned like a guitar. For more information on tuning  check out Ukulelebuddy.com.

Photo by Pavel Danilyuk from Pexels

Photo by Pavel Danilyuk from Pexels

Do you really “wannabe”?

When my son, Fred, turned 10 years of age he was totally consumed with the idea of playing guitar. When he didn’t have homework or chores to do, you would find him sitting in front of the TV playing “air guitar” to music videos on YouTube. 

A video caught his attention about how to build a box guitar. He got the instruction from Teaching Station, collected the cereal box, paper towel tube, rubber bands, and crayons, and went to work building his very first guitar.

I wondered just how long it would be before he was on to the next thing that caught his fancy. But, every day, after school, he disappeared into his room to work on his guitar.

Two days later, walking into the house and getting home from work, I heard a strange noise coming from Fred’s room. I very quietly opened the door. Fred sat on the side of his bed strumming his box guitar. 

“Fred, you got it finished,” I said stepping into his room. “Congratulations.”

“Yeah, I got it, but it doesn’t sound as good as I had thought it would,” he said with a scowl on his face.

“You did it, that’s the important thing,” I said.

“But it doesn’t sound that good,” he whined, a tear in his eye.

“Don’t give up. Let’s start working on a plan. Okay?”

Fred wiped his eyes, “A plan?” he asked. 

“There’s a lot of planning to be done before you actually get a real guitar. Are you willing to do the work?”

“Oh yes, Mom. I’m ready.. When can we start?” he asked running to give me a hug.

 

Preparing for your music journey

Many “wanna-be” guitarists think it looks easy, and they can learn on their own. And many do.

But, with a good guitar and good instruction, whether in person or online, you can develop good “guitar techniques” which will cut your learning time.

“Mom, some of my friends were talking about their guitar teacher. I got his number. Can we call him and set up an appointment? Please, Mom? He only has a couple of slots open. Please?”

“How would you practice? You don’t have a guitar.”

“Oh, yeah.”

Before deciding who to take lessons from or which instrument you need to purchase, you need to know where you are going. Let’s answer these questions to get started.

Ok. 

Mom began reading questions to Fred to build “The Plan.”

  • Do you want to play a musical instrument? What kind? Keyboard? Guitar? 
  • What type of guitar? Acoustic, Electric, or Bass?

Fred piped up, “Guitar. It has to be a guitar.”

“Write it down,” Mom said. “Describe the guitar. And write down the answers to these questions.”

Fred ran to get his notebook to begin the process.

  • Why do you want to play?
  • Do you want to play professionally or just for fun?

Fred sat quietly after writing down his guitar description. He described an acoustic model like the country singers play.

“Did you hear the questions?” she asked.

Fred continued to sit in deep thought. “Can’t I be a professional guitarist and play for fun also? Do I have to be one or the other? What do I have to do as a professional? Just play on stage?”

Mom laughed, “Of course, you can do both. Write it down. We’ll look up what a professional does. Playing on stages is part of it, but not the only thing.”

Mom got out her computer and Googled “Professional Guitarist.”

“Guitarists are skilled performers who also frequently write and record their own music. In addition to practicing and performing, they teach, handle tasks such as booking shows, and collaborate with other musicians. They perform live and play in studios for recording sessions. They practice regularly to learn new music, keep their skills sharp, and to keep in top-notch shape for gigs.”  Careersinmusic.com/guitarist 

Let’s map out your music journey

As with any journey, whether it’s cross-country, an international trip, or a trek into the wonderful world of music, you need to set your goals and then create a plan to achieve them. 

You may think that planning just to play a musical instrument isn’t important, but it is. Benjamin Franklin said: “Failing to plan is planning to fail”

If you want to play an acoustic guitar, you would not purchase a keyboard or sign up for drum lessons. So, let’s begin mapping out your journey so you can get the right instrument and the right lessons. 

Set your goals

Fred sat at the kitchen table with his notebook and a pen. “Mom, I’m ready. How do we create a plan so I can get my guitar?”

I laughed, “You seem to be very excited about this.”

Create a music skills inventory list

The first step in setting goals is to create an inventory list of your skills and resources. Put them in your journal so you can check them frequently. Don’t have a journal? Start one.

If you are a complete “newbie” you probably won’t have any music skills, yet, but you might be surprised.

  • Have you taken any music classes in school?
  • Have you tried playing any instruments?
  • Do you have a friend who has shown you a few chords on the guitar or keyboard?
  • Write them down in your journal so you can add to them later.

Make Your Goals Achievable 

We recommend using a SMART Goal Planner. The formula below will help you make your goals clear and help you reach them.

    • “Specific (simple, sensible, significant).”
      • What exactly do you want to do? Or what do you want to happen?
      • Why do you want to do this? How important is it to you?
      • Who else is involved: parents, teacher, spouse, etc?
    • “Measurable (meaningful, motivating).”
      • How much time do you have to practice?
      • How will you know when you have found the right instrument and/or lessons?
    • “Achievable (agreed, attainable)” 
      • How can you accomplish this goal? List out everything you will need, such as instrument, teacher, etc.
      • How realistic is the goal? Will you have enough money to purchase your instrument and hire a teacher? Will you have enough time to practice?
      • Break your goals down. This is especially important for big goals. Put it into small steps that are workable.
    • “Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based). If this is a relevant or good goal you will be able to answer “yes” to every one of the following questions.”
      • Is this the right time?
      • Does this match your other efforts/needs, such as school, work, and/or family?
      • Are you the right person to be a musician? A Professional Musician? 
    • “Time-bound (time-based, time-limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive).”
      • When will you have the time to practice? 
      • Will you have enough time?
      • What can you achieve as a musician in six months from now? Six weeks from now?
    • “Evaluated”
      • Answer the above questions in your journal – WRITE IT DOWN.
      • Do you have the time and financial resources to meet this goal?
      • Tell someone you trust. Telling someone you know and trust about your goals seems to increase the likelihood that you will stick to them.
    • “Reviewed”
      • Review your goal regularly to see if you are meeting them.

Finishing up the planner

Fred, with his Mom’s help, worked through the Smart Goal Planner for kids for several days after school. He answered the questions above to come up with his plan. Mom drew a planner similar to the one below for him to put in his notebook.

“Mom,” Fred called. “I think I’m finished. Please see what you think.”

Smart Goal Planner - Dena Warfield

Keep going. Don’t quit no matter how hard it is. 

Don’t Quit!!

Celebrate. And Repeat.

Side Note: if the student is a smaller child, you as a parent, will need to help with the goal setting and directing his/her progress.

by Dena Warfield