Loog Educator Spotlight: David Mills

Many music teachers are slowly turning toward the Loog to teach kids how to play guitar – the instrument holds easy learning and kids at the heart of its design and we’re psyched that so many educators have caught on. David Mills is one of precursors of this movement.

David Mills

We’ve talked about David, our favorite music teacher, over and over and over again – but most of you probably don’t know him that well. That’s why we thought it’d be cool to launch our new Educator Spotlight feature sharing a bit more about it.

David is a high-profile music educator who decided to use singing, strumming and song writing as a vehicle for teaching music fundamentals to young children. He started out by using ukuleles with 3-strings tuned GBE like the highest 3-strings of the guitar. He later discovered Loog Guitars which, according to him, have much better spacing and string length than ukeleles. “The colored dots on the Loog Guitars have been extremely useful when creating neck diagrams for chords and scales,” he tells us.

Using an amalgamation of concepts found in Suzuki, Orff, Dalcroze and Kodály -and a repertoire of popular music from around the world- David named the program “The DoSo® Guitar.” The program was first piloted at the Neighborhood Music School (NMS) in New Haven, CT, one of the oldest and largest community arts schools in the US. With this method, children discovered that they could play music within the first 10 minutes of their 1st lesson as seen in this video of a 7-year-old performing at the start of his 2nd lesson:

Amazing, right? And that’s not the end of it: using the Suzuki format of teaching individual students a common repertoire, David could create a DoSo® Band with just one rehearsal. Seriously:

David then looked to pilot the DoSo® Guitar in other renowned afterschool programs that offered little in the way of instrumental instruction, such as, The Boys and Girls Club of New Haven, an organization founded in 1871 by the wife of Eli Whitney:

In New York City David has also been working with Wingspan Arts:

In the summer of 2015 the W.O.Smith Music School in Nashville asked David to incorporate the DoSo® Guitar into a week-long camp for students who had little or no experience playing a musical instrument. In just four days 36 children had lessons on guitar, piano, recorder and percussion. In many music programs, students often start out by playing “Hot Cross Buns.” In a DoSo® Guitar class they play “Low Rider,” a song that many children recognize as theme song from the George Lopez Show. At W.O.Smith, they found a way to combine the two.

Be sure to check out www.DoSoMusic.org to see more of David’s inspiring work.

8 Indoor Activities to Do with Your Kids

This should be the perfect time of the year for outdoor games and running around – but, in certain parts of the country, June’s spring showers are giving way to an even cloudier July. And every parent knows that summer break and summer showers aren’t exactly the best combo.

So what to do? Have a blast inside, that’s what! Here’s a short and sweet list of eight fun indoor activities you can do with your kids – some of them even using your very own Loog Guitar 😉

1. Kitchen Rock Band
No need to have a plethora of instruments at your disposal to let your kids play some music. Go hunting for some pots, cans and wooden spoons for a mighty loud session!

2. Home Gig
Dust off your old six-string, tune-up your kids’ Loog Guitars and jam! Rainy day means music day – and even if it’s sunny, just take the session outside.

Ashley Ann PhotographyPic source: Ashley Ann Photography

3. Camping/Fort Adventure
Set up a tent inside Wes Anderson-style or build a pillow fort and invite all the kids in the street for a sleepover. Remember to tell scary stories before lights out and play some good old camping tunes around the, uh, sock pile? No bonfires inside!

Justin OkeeDokeePic of Justin of the Okee Dokee Brothers by @OWTK

4. Dance-off
Bring the 80s back with a good old dance-off with your kids! Make some cheap prizes to give out or create a choreography everyone needs to follow. Then, remember to get it on video 🙂

5. Hand art
It’s time to let go and stop worrying about the mess! Drag all the furniture out of a room, cover the floor and part of the wall with paper and then use finger paint to make some cool, stomping art with your kids’ hands and toes. Still worried about the stain potential? Put a layer of saran wrap between the floor/wall and the paper. Works like a charm!

6. Indoor Jungle Gym
Grab some rope, sticks and pool noodles to create the ultimate indoors jungle gym – combine it with covered-up furniture and pillows to turn an entire room into one epic place of fun.

7. Cooking
Why not try some three-string guitar-shaped cookies? 😉

Guitar cookies

8. Photo-ops
Probably the most fun – think of the most whacky scenarios with your kids and then pose for fun pics. Check these two right below. Yup, it does look kind of complicated, but imagine how fun it would be to act out the amateur version of it. Extra points if you end up making up a story with the pictures!

http://www.timmacpherson.com/ timmacpherson-2Pic credit: Tim Macpherson