New Year’s Guitar Goals: 10 Minutes Per Day

by Marisa Torrieri Bloom

I’m not really one for New Year’s Resolutions, but I do start off every January 1 with the intention to be a better person and a better parent and spouse. But I’m also feeling a little bummed that most nights, I’m too exhausted to practice music, and most days, I’m too busy parenting or working to make like Nita Strauss and bust out solos left and right.

And so goes the life of the busy parent!


I wouldn’t have it any other way — I love my kids and they are everything to me. But I needed to do something to motivate myself just a little more on the nights I don’t have band practice, because unless I have a show coming up, it’s sometimes hard to motivate myself to play.

A wise person once told me, “pick up your guitar every single day, even if it’s only for five minutes.” That got me thinking, “if I can pick up my guitar for five minutes, then why not 10 minutes?” Sure, it would be nice to play guitar for three hours per day (outside of teaching), but the way my life is right now, that’s impossible. But 10 minutes? I can handle that!

With my busy life, 10 minutes every single day is harder than I thought it would be. Still, I’m happy to say that on Day 7, I’ve managed to fit in 10 minutes every single day — even when it means I have to sneak off into another room and play quietly while my kids are watching Ninjago. Even when it means I’m going to bed super late because it takes 10 minutes to motivate myself not to skip a day.

And as a result, I feel much better about life. I’m doing something small every day to nurture my skills and bring music into my life.

So now, I’m going to throw this question to the readers: What can you do for 10 minutes every day that feeds your soul? Post in the comments below.

Marisa Torrieri Bloom is the founder and editor of Rockmommy.

Inside the Loog Guitar: Not Your Typical Preschooler’s Instrument

by Marisa Torrieri Bloom 

Most kids these days learn how to play “guitar” by playing their parents’ ukuleles, or strumming off-key notes on a cheap plastic instrument featuring animated characters. But while wielding these would-be guitars makes for cute Instagram videos, much of the time, kids playing with them aren’t actually learning how to play guitar.

I would know. I have two sons ages 4 and 6, and about one zillion videos of them aimlessly strumming my ukulele. And does either one of them know how to play guitar? Unfortunately, the answer is a big, fat “no.” They both think it’s too hard.

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Loog Guitar (shown here in red)

What I’m describing is actually a common scenario in the households of musician parents with the best intentions for their offspring, according to Rafael Atijas, founder and CEO of Loog Guitars. 

“There are ukuleles, and they’re great but they’re not guitars,” Atijas told Rockmommy. “And then there are other guitars that are cheaply made and come apart.” 

In creating Loog Guitars just three years ago, Atijas’ intention was to design something that would be fun, stimulating, simple to play and easy to learn. The result is a bold, cool-looking three-string guitar that’s easy to play. Strings are made of nylon, not metal, and are easy to push down. Designed for ages 3 and up, the Loog is the ideal, personalized “starter” axe. And it’s so fun to play that even adults like it. 

We recently caught up with Atijas, who is now a father of two, to talk about why the Loog line of guitars — which start at about $60 — are a solid investment for burgeoning rockers. 

Rockmommy: So how and why did Loog get started? 

Rafael Atijas: I saw the same gap that you saw. There are ukuleles, and they’re great but they’re not guitars. And then there are other guitars that are cheaply made and come apart. So I thought, you know, what if there were a guitar that was fun to play, easy and stimulating? So we made a guitar with three notes in its most basic form (GBE strings). At first [the guitar] had open tuning, with more of the lower strings. But then we decided that for [kids] to learn, it was good to have standard tuning. 

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Loog Guitar Founder & CEO Rafael Atijas

Rockmommy: Can you tell us about your background? 

Rafael Atijas: I’m a musician – I was in a band when I was younger. I created Loog guitars when I was working on my master’s at NYU, because I wanted to do something related to music. It’s a business, but it’s inspired by the fact that I play guitar and am a musician. When I came up with the guitar idea, I didn’t have kids yet but I had a niece. It was up to me to teach her the basics. And I realized then, because she was 6 at the time, that you can’t teach kids on these [bad] guitars, or even 3/4 size guitars. The six strings is too overwhelming when they’re that young. 

Rockmommy: What was the response from music teachers and the parents? 

Rafael Atijas: Music teachers have been very responsive, which is great, because as you know, some guitarists can be music snobs … there are some kids that can play out of the box with a standard guitar, but 90 percent of kids can’t. In fact, 90 percent of people who learn to play guitar quit. So we are trying to solve that in a way that makes people want to graduate to a standard, six-string guitar. For a five-year-old, six-year-old, eight-year-old, [starting with a Loog guitar] makes it easier for them to learn guitar. We have many music schools using our guitars. Even smaller guitars, like ¾ guitars, are just more difficult – and it’s easier to grasp three fingers than six fingers. We even have some adults using our guitars. 

Rockmommy: What about the argument that it’s better to start with something harder?  

Rafael Atijas: I started with bass guitar – which was something harder – but we’ve found that when learning guitar it’s better to have some sense of accomplishment, or mastery [built in]. 

Rockmommy: What about your own children? 

Rafael Atijas: I have a three-year-old son and he loves it. My six-year-old girl likes it when I play, but I try not to push it on my children. If you push it on them, they will see it as something they are being forced to do. One of my kids is really into music, and the other is, just a normal amount. 

Rockmommy: What’s your advice for parents? 

Rafael Atijas: Be aware of the music they like. As parents and musicians, we like to think we’re really cool, but kids are kids and have their own taste. Don’t force them to listen to Velvet Underground. Let them listen to Disney. 

For a limited time, Rockmommy readers get a 10 percent discount off their Loog Guitar purchase [Use the code ROCKMOMMY at Checkout]. 

Folk-Rock Mama Edie Brickell’s Big Comeback is Blissfully Nostalgic

by Marisa Torrieri Bloom

I’ll never forget the first time I heard Edie Brickell & The New Bohemians in the late-late ’80s, when Casey Kaseem played a video clip of “What I Am” — highlighting the ditty as one of the week’s hot movers on the Billboard 100 chart. I was young, and loved pop music like Debbie Gibson — but also loved Guns N’ Roses — and Edie Brickell was unlike anything I’d ever heard (my parents played the Beatles, The Zombies and Elvis, but never any Jimi Hendrix, Eagles, Grateful Dead or Woodstock-worthy rock).

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Edie Brickell & The New Bohemians in Portchester, N.Y., on 11/08/18

I was instantly hooked on the dizzy, slide-guitar tune from the six-piece band that I wanted to use my allowance on the band’s debut record, Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars. I’ve never looked back. The hours I spent listing to “The Wheel,” “Nothing,” “Little Miss S,” “She,” “Circle,” and — of course — “What I am” were well spent.

But I’d never seen Ms. Brickell (who some refer to as Ms. Simon, per her famous husband).

Turns out, she was busy being a mama (of three kids, no less), and dabbling in musical side projects all of these years. So when I found out her band was coming to my area, I went nuts!

Thursday night’s performance at the Capitol Theater in Portchester, N.Y., was epic. Yes, Edie’s voice has changed (the timbre is a little different), but she sounds terrific. And the New Bohemians, with their drums-percussion-keys assault, play in perfect harmony. I loved every second of it, from the classics to the new tunes off the just-released album Rocket like “Eyes in the Window.”

I’m hoping for more great shows like that in the future!

Marisa Torrieri is the editor and founder of Rockmommy.

These Rockin’ Mamas and #GranniesWithGuitars Decry Stereotypes About Who Can Play a Killer Solo

By Francesca Farruggio

Everyone uses the term “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” in different contexts…

Food for thought: your sweet and innocent granny can totally shred on guitar. Let that sink in for a moment.

I know, it’s weird to imagine grandma rockin’ out (at least for some of us) but we all have hidden talents from our youth that tend to get suppressed over the years. And why should we snuff out these sparks in our personality as we age?

All we’re saying is, don’t let these special parts of you slip away — embrace them! Play drums till you’re 80, or finger-tap a Van Halen-worthy solo till you’re 90.

And now … here’s a #RockGranny absolutely killing a quick set. Much respect!

 

We also fetched a couple of great articles from ABS-CBN News and VIR capture 81-year-old guitar-slinging Singaporean granny Mary Ho discussing her still-growing relationship with music. “Maybe it’s just my nature, it’s the love of doing things, learning things… I don’t ever get tired,” she said.

All hail Mary!

So if you can’t find the motivation to pick up your axe and shred, ladies like these should be your inspiration. If you’re a newbie who always wanted to play an instrument, these ladies should convince you it’s “too late” to try. Mary Ho didn’t start playing until she was 60! 

And of course, let’s not forget the clip of pearl-wearing Paula Jo Taylor, going to town at NAMM 2017 in Nashville, which has garnered nearly a half a million views.

Yes, we’ll say it again: You’re never too old to let your inner Rock God out — music has, and always will be for the soul, where age is simply a number, my friends!

Francesca Farruggio is a contributing writer for Rockmommy.

These 5 Beautiful Orange Guitars are So Perfect for October

by Marisa Torrieri Bloom

October is a gorgeous month in so many parts of the country, especially New England and the Mid-Atlantic, with tapestries of changing leaves and tree filled landscapes, as pumpkin mania takes hold. Guitars aren’t necessarily seasonal, but as parents of young children turn their attention toward Halloween prep mode, we’re seeing orange-and-black everything. 

Some of the most beautiful and sturdy rockin’ guitars, too, remind of us pumpkins, leaves and dark, scary nights. Here are five of my favorites:

This Gretsch G5420T Electromatic Single Cutaway Hollow Body (with Bigsby Orange Stain) simply screams “rockabilly band.” Reviewers rave about its cool vintage look and sound. 

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Gretsch G5420T Electromatic Single Cutaway Hollow Body

 

The neon-orange Jackson X Series Soloist SL3X in Neon Orange is a Solidbody Electric Guitar with Basswood Body, Maple Neck, Rosewood Fingerboard, 3 Humbucking Pickups, and Floyd Rose Tremolo.

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Jackson X Series Soloist SL3X

If you love Joe Satriani, check out the Ibanez JS2410 Joe Satriani Signature Electric Guitar Muscle Car Orange — a striking, bold beauty featuring a rosewood, 24-fret fingerboard with Joe’s favorite DiMarzio pickups wired to some advanced electronics.

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Ibanez JS2410

If you like a good fade-out, check out the striking Epiphone Limited Edition Les Paul Traditional PRO Electric Guitar in Heritage Cherry Sunburst for that pop of color that goes from red to yellow. 

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Epiphany Limited Edition Les Paul Traditional PRO

Blues cats, behold this Taylor T3/B Semi-Hollowbody with Bigsby Electric Guitar in Orange, featuring Taylor’s high-fidelity full-size Vintage Alnico humbuckers, blended with a unique coil-splitting application to give players killer humbucker and single-coil sounds in one guitar.

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Taylor T3/B Semi-Hollowbody

I love all of these beauties! Happy Fall, everyone!

Marisa Torrieri Bloom is the founder and editor of Rockmommy.