Getting your Loog Guitar in the mail is the best feeling ever, and we live on videos showing kids’ reactions to their new musical best friends. But for parents who don’t know how to play the guitar, it can be tough to answer their kids’ first questions (and we all know kids LOVE making questions we can’t answer). So what can we do to help them start their learning process with the right foot?
Enter Emily Zimmer, Loog-certified Lessonface.com instructor and amazing human being overall. She was brave enough to take over Loog Guitars’ instagram account last week to provide a LIVE Q&A on some basic guitar questions and help some parents out. And, of course, we recorded the entire thing and edited out the best parts - you know, in case you missed it.
Included in this video are helpful gems like how to hold your Loog Guitar properly, how to tune your guitar, what the strings are called (and a fun little mnemonic you’ll love as much as we do), the easiest song she usually teaches newbies (that beginner adults can also pick up right away), recommended music books for kids, what’s next after you completed all songs on the Loog App AND a cool little finger drill kids can learn to practice. Best video ever!
Watch Emily provide a world of useful tips, tricks and information below (or read the transcript beneath it if the little ones are sleeping and you don’t want any noise!):
[0:00] My name is Emily Zimmer, I’m really excited to be here. I am a Loog-certified guitar teacher and I’ve taught kids of just about every age. We want you to be able to help your kids learn this instrument and to understand what your kids are doing.
How Do You Tune the Loog Guitar?
[0:28] So first question a lot of people ask me, how do you tune this thing, and are there any resources that you can use to help you tune the guitar? Well let me show you what’s included in the Loog App here. It comes for iOS and Android systems and it’s got a tuner feature. So if you go here and you go to “Tuner” then you can play a string… and it’ll tell you whether your string is in tune or not. There we go, that’s in tune! Alright. And you can tune your first, second and third strings on there.
What Are the String Letters Supposed to Be?
[1:02] What are the string letters supposed to be? Ok, so in music every pitch that we hear is assigned a letter… or something a letter and a symbol such as sharp or flat. Your first string here, that’s the one closest to the floor and the highest pitched one, that’s E. The second one, the one in the middle, that’s B as in “Boy”. And this third one here, the one closest to the ceiling and the lowest pitched one, that’s G, as in “George”. So “Emily” and “Boy George”.
How Do I Hold the Loog Properly?
[1:34] “How do I hold the Loog properly?” Oh, ok! The great thing about this is it’s kid-sized. It’s a smaller size so that, even if you’re 5 years old, you can hold this thing on your lap. I think people either choose to hold it on the same leg that’s on the same side as their dominant hand. Or you can hold it this way if it makes it a little easier, this is the classical position and you do the leg that’s the same side as your non-dominant hand. Sometimes that makes things easier for people because it kind of raises the neck of the guitar up a little bit, speaking of which this is the neck of the guitar right here.
[2:15] Let's adjust the terminology right here, the neck of the guitar, this is not used to hold the guitar up. The weight is either held by the strap, in my case, or by the player’s lap on this end of the guitar, kind of in between this arm and your lap. The motion has to be like you’re catching an apple falling from a tree, right? You’re going to catch it this way. You’re not going to catch it like that, this is not a broomstick, we’re not going to fly away on this thing. And if you have your thumb print, part of the thumb, on the back of the neck, and the very tippy tippy tips of your fingers - you see how curved my fingers are on the strings? That way you’re just pinching the notes between your thumb prints and the very tippy tips of your fingers.
The Easiest Song to Teach a Newbie that Adults Can Pick Up
[3:02] What’s the most basic song that I can teach a newbie that adults can pick up right away? I think that’s “We’re going to be friends” by The White Stripes. It’s just a couple of simple chord shapes, they’re laid out pretty easily on the Loog App as well as the Loog flashcards, which come with the guitars. And to figure out how to play it, there’s a little chart that shows you and your little monster, and the monster is showing you how to play it. It’s a really nice visual. But that’s a really popular one to start with.
Are There Any Music Books You Recommend?
[3:41] Let’s see… are there any music books for an 8 year-old that I can recommend? So this is the Hal Leonard Guitar Method. I also have a YouTube channel full of guitar lessons and that is called Fret Planet. That’s a good resource for some basic lessons and some that are a little beyond basic.
[4:04] On of the best ways to get the chords to a song... there are a couple different websites that I really like, there’s one called e-chords.com, there’s one called songsterr.com, songster with two ‘r’s, ultimate-guitar.com. On most of these sites you can get these sheets that say the lyrics with the names of the chords above the lyrics. You can get every single chord that exists, right here in these flashcards. So if you get the names of the chords on a website like that, you can just open up the flashcards and start learning that.
[4:46] One of the biggest things is, you can take one-on-one Loog Guitar lessons with a Loog-certified instructor. LoogGuitars.com, you can learn more about the one-on-one lessons. So that’s LoogGuitars.com, then go over to the Community menu at the top and then click Live Lessons.
What’s Next After They’ve Played All the Songs on the App?
[5:09] What’s next after they’ve played all the songs on the app? Lessons! That’s what I would recommend. Because we as teachers spend a lot of time finding fun material for you to play, writing it out for you, but really, after you’ve done all the self-guidance stuff, it’s going to help to have a person there.
Are There Finger Drills Kids Can Practice As They Learn?
[5:31] Are there finger drills that kids can practice as they learn? Yes, absolutely! One of the things I teach is called the 1-2-3-4 drill. So, we start in first position on the guitar, that’s frets 1, 2, 3 and 4. Why four frets? Because you’ve got four fingers to fret with. And we go to the first string, for example, and we can practice 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4. And you can practice with down picking, like that, or you can alternate picking: down, up, down, up. It’s a really good coordination drill. Then you go to the second string… and the third string. And you can pick different fretboard positions, you can make it different goals for different days. You can say, I’m going to do position 5 today, 5-6-7-8 with your fingers. And you could even set a metronome… so that’s the slowest beat, so if you’re going there, you can do a finger drill like this… and see if you can jam along. Ok, let’s say we’ve worked our way through the slower tempos and want to go faster, we click “Fast”…
[6:50] So, I’m going to wrap it up right there. Thank you guys so much, sign up for that class, Lessonface.com/loogclass. I am Emily Zimmer, I look forward to seeing hopefully all of you, in either the class this Saturday or next Saturday, I want to thank Loog Guitars so much for having me here today to take over. Thank you guys! Have a good one!