As a music educator and performer, I’m always interested in learning about new products and tools that can help students succeed. When I discovered the Loog Guitar, a 3-string interchangeable guitar designed with children in mind, I immediately took notice.
I was excited to find out more about the Loog because I took guitar lessons when I was 8 years old, and it proved to be easier said than done. The guitar was added to the list of instruments that were uncomfortable for my tiny hands (which I thought would grow eventually, but never did – to this day, I still struggle to reach the octave on the piano!).
I became discouraged and quit after about 6 months, and eventually took up the ukulele many years later – which has been much easier for me to maneuver but even now, the ¾ size guitar is problematic for me.
Many of our TakeLessons instructors prefer not to teach guitar to young children for this very reason. Now, with the Loog Guitar in the picture, instead of teachers having to focus on finding alternate fingerings and keeping a frustrated student focused on the difficult task of mastering an adult-sized instrument, they can focus on teaching the child to make music! And isn’t that really what it’s all about?
I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to interview Rafael Atijas, the creator of the Loog Guitar, who provided insight into how his concept came about and what the benefits will be for children who want to learn the guitar.
When did you realize that there was a need for a guitar made especially for kids?
I saw my 6 year old niece trying to make music with one of those $30 guitars when I thought “There has to be a better way.” It was then that I realized that kids’ guitars are usually just cheap, scaled-downed replicas of classical guitars. They are not really designed with kids’ needs, comfort or even safety in mind.
Where does your knowledge of guitars come from?
I studied guitar and was in different bands during high school and college (as was almost every other kid I knew). I was very much into rock music and at some point I just fell in love with guitars – especially vintage electric guitars.
What age group do you feel would benefit the most from the Loog Guitar?
Time will tell, but I think kids ages 6 to 9 will be the ones that will get the most out of the Loog Guitar, since this is the guitar that allows them to build chords without the need to form complicated shapes with their little hands.
Where did you get the idea to call it the “Loog?”
It is my subtle but very meaningful homage to Andrew Loog Oldham, the first manager and producer of The Rolling Stones. I always found him to be a fascinating character (I’m a rock nerd, as you can see) and back when I had a band, I had a chance to meet him and he was super kind to us.
What types of learning materials are you planning on coming out with to assist with the learning process?
We plan to include a manual on how to play with three strings, and we will also offer video tutorials on our website.
What does this product mean for kids who have an interest in learning guitar?
Kids will have a friendlier instrument that will stimulate them to make music and get creative with it. What I like about the Loog Guitar is that it works whether you already know how to play guitar or not. And that’s what I hope it means to kids who have an interest in learning guitar: a fun and easy way to play music.
Anything else you wish to add?
I am truly humbled by the response the Loog Guitar project got on Kickstarter (the website that helped raise the money to launch the product), and one of the things I like the most is that so many people from the education field have reached out to me and had very positive things to say about the Loog Guitar. I know TakeLessons.com reaches a lot of music teachers, so I want to use this opportunity to extend my thanks to all of them.
There you have it, folks. I’m personally thrilled that there is now a product out there that will make learning guitar simpler for young children. For teachers, what have you experienced in teaching guitar to young children? Parents and students, what are some of the challenges that you’ve faced learning guitar yourself or watching your child learn guitar? I’d love to hear your feedback, so please leave comments below if you feel so inclined! Now if only I could travel back in time and learn to play guitar on the Loog, maybe I would have stuck with it! To learn more, visit www.loogguitar.com or check out the Loog Guitar in action below:
Monet Payne is the Community Manager for TakeLessons.com. She is dedicated to providing the latest on music education and technology to those who seek it. By night, Monet is a professional singing actress, starring in musicals, operas, and everything in between. Monet has her Bachelors in Music, with a concentration in Vocal Performance, and enjoys teaching voice, involving herself as Vocal Director in several productions. She proudly co-founded a non-profit organization for Voice Education and her next venture will be to start her own theater production company.