The Effects of Music on YOUR Brain

We’ve covered how music affects your kids’ brains before, but when you get a Loog it’s certain that you, the adult, will also be subjeted to music for a greater portion of the day. Worse things can happen – and we’re here to show you. Welcome to the sweet world of the effects of music on your brain!

These effects on adult brains can be positive and mysterious. When listening to any kind of music, different parts of the brain light up – we use different portions to process different things. So it’s natural that a whole array of effects follow, some of which science is still trying to explain. Here are some of the effects music has on your brain.

How your brain processes music

1. Music affects how we see people
Listening to happy or sad music will make you think another person is happier or sadder. It’s science. Apparently, music primes us to process emotion – so when faced with a neutral face, we’ll think the person wearing it will be feeling the same things the music we listened to conveyed.

Heath Ledger

To the left – before listening to dubstep. To the right, afterwards.

2. Sad music can actually make us feel better
This is no universal discovery but we found this study that actually explains why. Apparently, “we initially experience negative emotion, such as sadness, and subsequently experience pleasant emotion because of the rewarding effect of enjoying art. Thus, the experience of listening to sad music may ultimately elicit pleasant emotion.” Makes sense!

3. Don’t bop and drive
Music can actually make us worse at driving. This is really hard news to swallow BUT, there’s an upside: silence is worse. The best thing is to turn the radio on and listen to something as uninteresting as the traffic ahead.

4. It can increase creativity
“Yeah, sure,” you say. “I listen to a song, want to write my own songs, tour the world.” Pretty much, but that’s not what we mean 😉 Science has found that moderate ambient noise (as compared to low ambient noise) fosters creativity and innovative thought. So next time you have to put your thinking cap on, perhaps press play on the music player of your choice? Just remember: moderate ambient noice. Don’t go all metal on your brain!

5. What you listen to speaks loads about your personality
Yup, now people can correctly judge you for whatever’s playing on your iPod! This study found that what music you usually listen is a good way to predict your opennes to experience, extraversion and emotional stability. Just for reference, Blues fans are creative, outgoing, gentle and have great self-esteem. But we already knew that 😉

Pictured: Two Blues fans

Pictured: Two Blues fans

6. Music can make us healthier
Listening to music can relieve pain up to 21% when it comes to osteoarthritis, disc problems and rheumatoid arthritis. And according to the same study, it also alleviated depression-related pain up to 25%.

But what about actually making you healthier? The same source has studies that have found that relaxing music every morning and every evening can lower your blood pressure. Likewise, listening to music daily can speed up recovery from strokes, inducing neuroanatomical changes in the brain.

It’s even more good news for those who suffer from migranes, chronic headaches, reduce their seizure recurrence, recover from childbirth, early tinnitus or if you’re down for an immunity boost.

Music makes you healthier, more creative, happier and, depending on what genres you care for, a better person. So why not make some yourself tonight?

Guilty Pleasure of the Day: Awesome Quotes by Musicians

One of our greatest guilty pleasures is surfing around looking for awesome quotes by musicians. Yes, we know: most quote-sharers tend to be cheesy and annoying BUT the truth is there is nothing as inspiring as the right words at the right time. Plus, it’s okay to be cheesy and kind of annoying from time to time 😉

We actually have a folder with many of these quotes and re-visit them from time to time on Twitter, Facebook or even Instagram. So why not share them with you? This is not a complete list (we really didn’t want to drown you in quotes) but a start – we actually want YOU to share yours with us and keep adding to our collection!

So what’s your favorite quote by a musician? Let us know in the comments and we’ll share 🙂

Leopold Stokowski Thom Yorke Robert Smith Patti Smith Keith Richards Jimi Hendrix Paul McCartney Prince Bob Dylan David Grohl

6 DIY Musical Instruments You Can Make This Weekend

DIY InstrumentsOne of the things we love about the Loog is that parent and kid need to work together and build it before playing any kind of music. It creates a relationship with the instrument and helps kids understand how the different parts come together to create the sounds he or she will later make to create music.

The concept isn’t new, and we’ve covered cigar-box guitars in the past. Yet every single instrument can be stripped down to its most basic form and created at home for just a few bucks. Sure, it might not sound exactly the same and quality varies… but the lesson remains the same, and kids actually get a better understanding of how music works and how tinkering here and there with materials can create different sounds. Plus, you just spent an entire day doing something fun – with your kid!

We searched the web to find some arts-and-crafts-like instruments you can make with your kids as soon as this weekend. So here are some of our favorite DIY musical instruments we found:

Straw Pan Flute

From Learnvest.com

1. Straw Pan Flute
We were skeptical that this easy DIY Pan flute would work, but hey – surprises are awesome! Experiment around by flattening the straw tips. Find full instructions here.

 

 

 

Pin Strummers

From Piikeastreet.com

2. Pin Strummers
This is as basic as it gets and it’s great fun to experiment with different items and the sounds the bobby pins generate on each one. Full instructions here.

 

 

 

 

Tin Can Drums

From Handsonaswegrow.com

3. Tin Can Drums
Everybody needs a little percussion in their lives – and this is the easiest way to beat your own drum. Full instructions here.

 

 

 

 

Homemade Tambourine

From Kiwicrate.com

4. Homemade Tambourine
Excellent to pair up with your kids’ Bob Dylan skills 😉 Full instructions here.

 

 

 

 

 

DIY Rainstick

From Theimaginationtree.com

5. Rainsticks
This might be the South American side of us speaking but rainsticks are AWESOME. And really easy to make. Full instructions here.

 

 

 

 

Soda Can Theremin

From Hackaday.com

6. Soda Can Theremin

And if you’re looking to up it up one more step, this is the perfect way to go. Nerd and music cred in just one craft. Enjoy! Full instructions here.

The 5 Best Roald Dahl Books According to the Loog Team

Roald DahlWe’ve already seen the awesome effects music has on kids’ brains, but you know what else is great for kids? Reading. Today would’ve been Roald Dahl’s 97th birthday if he hadn’t passed away in 1990. And, truth be told, his books were probably the Harry Potters of our generation.

Way back when books only competed with TV and playing outside, Roald Dahl was the one that showed you what getting sucked into a story really felt like. Most of the people we know who grew up with his characters continue to read his books to their kids today. The thing is, his stories were timeless, mesmerizing, relatable and, for once, didn’t underestimate kids the way other authors do.

Ever seen a movie based on a Roald Dahl book? They’re creepy. They’re scary, most of the time. They’re incredibly complex and, as an adult, you can’t fathom how on Earth someone let you read that as a kid. That’s how awesome Roald stories are.

Plus, reading Roald Dahl was what made us fall in love with books when we were young. More years later than we’re willing to admit, they continue to do the same thing with our own kids. And, since there’s more to this great author than Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, here are our top five Roald Dahl books that every kid should read right now.

5. Revolting Rhymes

There’s not much thought-out poetry for kids out there, aside from, maybe, Dr. Seuss. This book is something else, though. Everything changes once a kid figures our fairy tales can have alternative endings, and this book is as funny as gruesome and, well, pretty down-to-earth. Just look at what happens to the Three Little Pigs:

4. Fantastic Mr. Fox

Growing up in a place full of farms, you learn that animals that kill farmers’ animals are bad. And then you read Fantastic Mr. Fox. Animals are suddenly not bad but need to feed their families – and meanwhile, farmers are blasting at them and tearing off their tails. Not only that, but these poor animals have very human-like concerns they try to work on, like this little ego problem expressed by Mr. Fox himself:

“I think I have this thing where everybody has to think I’m the greatest. And if they aren’t completely knocked out and dazzled and slightly intimidated by me, I don’t feel good about myself.”

Plus, there’s also an amazing movie directed by none other than Wes Anderson, based on this book. Book and movie combo weekend, anyone?

Fantastic Mr. Fox - Ignore advice

3. Matilda

Roald Dahl MatildaThis book is as awesome as it is dangerous – but in the best way ever. Along with Matilda, kids learn that adults aren’t always right (especially if their only reason to be right is that they’re tall and older) and that no one is ever alone. Plus, it’s THE book that explains why reading is so amazing. Just check out this quote:

“So Matilda’s strong young mind continued to grow, nurtured by the voices of all those authors who had sent their books out into the world like ships on the sea. These books gave Matilda a hopeful and comforting message: You are not alone.”

See what we mean when we say that Roald Dahl spoke directly to kids?

2. The BFG

The BFGThis book is suspiciously absent from most best-of lists, and we seriously can’t imagine why. BFG stands for “Big Friendly Giant”, the only good giant in giant country. The main character, Sophie, is a little girl that manages to convince the Queen of England to put an end to people-eating giants. But the best part of this story are the made-up names like Fleshlumpeater (the most terrifying people-eating giant), snozzcumbers (giant cucumbers the BFG is forced to eat instead of children), Childchewer, Gizzardgulper, and Meatdripper (different ways of hunting people) and, of course, whizzpoppers (er, um, giant farts).

1. The Witches

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? James and the Giant Peach? Seriously? The Witches blows them all away. The book tells the story of how witches are real and very much living among us. They feast on children (especially clean ones, since they can’t smell dirty ones) and get together for a yearly convention in southern England.

Roald Dahl The Witches

The entire story is just bananas. The main character is even turned into a mouse forever. The happy ending brings the protagonist and his grandmother toward a plot to kill all witches in the world but even reinforces the idea that, being a mouse, he’ll only live nine more years. The entire book works as a thriller for kids and, even better, the witches from the title scare you to death. Remember how we said Dahl didn’t underestimate kids? This is the main reason why.

There’s a movie of this book but we’ll warn you: a Loog team member remembers watching it years after reading the book (albeit still as a kid) and being absolutely terrified. The only case in history, probably, where a film version exceeds a reader’s imagination. Horror for kids. Ah, Roald Dahl, we need you back here right now!

What’s your favorite Roald Dahl book? Tell us in the comments!

Grandparent Musicians That Continue to Rock

It’s a shame, but grandparents aren’t really associated with rocking out. And seeing as this Sunday’s National Grandparents’ Day, we’re here to set the record straight: not only are they awesome but grandparents can rock – and do so every day!

For one thing, many grandparents who buy the Loog for their grandkids end up getting one themselves. Just ask Scott, who fell in love with his grandkid’s Loog and sent us this awesome version of Old King Cole last year. And if one example isn’t enough to make it right, here are five extremely well-known grandparent musicians who don’t let their age get in the way of rocking out.

1. Mick Jagger
This is the obvious pick. At age 70 and with four grandchildren, Sir Michael Philip “Mick” Jagger continues to be relevant in the music scene, along with every single one of his band mates. And this isn’t just an exception…

Paul McCartney Grandkids2. Paul McCartney
Another Sir continues to tour the world and spread the rock in this list, and it’s none other than 71 year-old Paul McCartney. And hey, he plays Rock Band with them as well!

3. Bob Dylan
At age 72, Bob continues to do his thing. And here’s something you probably didn’t know – his 15 year-old grandson Pablo is actually a rapper, that calls his grandpa “the Jay Z of our generation”. What do you make of that?

4. Joan Baez
Ah, times might have been different back then but we still have grandmas who rock until today – even though at 72, Joan prefers her granddaughter to call her “abuela” (the Spanish word for grandmother). She also describes herself as a “roll in the mud” grandmother, which is exactly how we expected her to be.

Joan Baez with son and granddaughter

5. This grandma
There are no words to describe this video you probably already know, where an anonymous grandma totally kills it on the drums. A pleasure to watch, time and time again:

And what about you? Why do YOUR grandparents rock? Or better yet… why do you rock as a grandparent? Tell us in the comments!

7 Best Musical Dads (And Their Kids) on YouTube

Seven Best Musical Dads on YoutubeMost of us probably got excited for music as kids, with our parents being the number one reason why. It’s no secret: take musical parents and musical kids will probably follow. And even if they don’t, playing or listening to music together always creates the best kinds of memories (and we already know what music actually does to kids’ brains as well).

Today, the internet allows parents and kids to share these memories just minutes after creating them. After filming, it only takes one upload to YouTube for a musical moment to be instantly shared with the world. So for Father’s Day (which is just one week away), we decided to honor those dads who share music with their kids and create awesome memories along the way. From home videos to full-blown produced gems, these are our favorite musical dad picks. Let us know if we missed any!

1. Alexa and Jorge
This is not their most-viewed video, but their appearance on America’s Got Talent is the cutest out there. 7 year-old Alexa and her dad Jorge cover ‘Home’ together and you just know that little girl’s overflowing curiosity is going to get her places. Too adorable for words.

2. Embarrassing Dancing Dad
Most people call this dad embarrassing – we call him awesome. Not only is he stuck at an electronic festival with his son, but he makes the best of it and just feels the music, man. Watch those moves! Best dad ever.

3. Dad and Kids Sing Bohemian Rhapsody
We love this video because it’s so relatable. Singing along to tunes on the radio while in the car is a childhood staple. Singing along with dad and siblings to Queen? Video-worthy.

4. Toddler Dancebombing Dad’s Gig
So you’re a musical dad and you score this New Year’s Eve gig and bring your family along. And then your toddler jumps into stage and steals the show. And it is AWESOME.

5. Dad and Son Cover The Beatles
We shared this video with you this week but the sheer adorableness factor still stands high. Just do us a favor and sing along: “DON’T LEEET ME DOOOOOOOWN!”

6. Twins Dance Along to Dad’s Guitar
Another classic, this time made better by a little bit of old school complicity. Just look at them before they bust out their moves – they’re totally thinking “That’s our jam!” Plus, we found out the two girls are still dancing to the same tune at 19 months old.

7. DMK Cover Depeche Mode
DMK stands for Dicken (the dad), Milah and Korben (the kids), who have a whole set of videos where they cover Depeche Mode using traditional and improvised instruments. The best part? They never get old.

Finally, you’re still in time to get a Loog Guitar in time for Father’s Day! Go to our Loog Store to see all models or take a quick quiz to see what Loog is best for you (or the dad you’re getting it for).

As for Loog owner dads, check out our accessories (scroll down) to see if there’s something they’d like. A tuner perhaps? The all-new Loog strap? A guitar stand? A new body to spice things up? (We only have Loog bodies available – no human ones, sorry =/) Your pick!