In various parts of the States, they're cutting school budgets in order to continue forcing unions on teachers, passing out condoms to first-graders, and supplementing the ever-essential administrative staffs whose occupants are rarely left alone the inside a classroom in their entire careers. Obviously some things have to go, including art and music programs, even though studies have shown that playing a musical instrument improves academic performance over the long haul.
(Keep telling yourself, it's for the children ...)
For some of you parents out there, it's time for an alternative. (It's also time to think about what to get little John Paul and Mary Margaret for Christmas, so pay attention.)
Loog Guitars started life in 2010, as the concept behind a masters thesis by a graduate student at New York University. Rafael Atijas wanted to help children learn to play the guitar in a way that was not quite so overwhelming. It also shows that you can do a lot with only three strings.
The guitar comes in one of three body shapes; the rounded cigar box*, the "Stratocaster" style, and the triangle. It also comes as a kit, which a functionally literate adult can assemble in fifteen minutes using only a Philips screwdriver. It also comes with nylon strings, which are not as difficult to play as steel strings. There are also accessories, spare parts, and even beginner's lessons, all available on the company website. And the price is only $149.00.
The videos featured here give some idea of how easily the guitar plays, and how it can appeal to adults as well. This old picker may be so inclined to try it for himself, in which case you can expect a full report right here, before the end of the year. It is safe to say from experience, that learning to play the guitar forty-six years ago this month, has brought endless satisfaction to yours truly in all the years since. Your children will thank you later.
* There is a history in rural areas, dating to the 1930s, of "guitars" fashioned from cigar boxes, and having as few as three strings. A number of country blues artists started out on such homemade instruments. The video lessons produced for the company tell more of the story.