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With David Herman LCAT, NRMT 

Be one of the 9 participants in this small group to take your guitar improvisation skills to the next level.

The ‘Shape – Shifting’ technique allows for students at almost any level to begin improvising and feeling freer and more creative with the guitar.

As you develop your playing with this technique, you will find that you are able to improvise by playing chords and notes simultaneously creating a fuller and richer musical sound compared with the most common way of guitar improvisation, playing chords and notes consecutively. An important component of this technique is the use of open strings. The frets on which the shapes are to be played were chosen to take advantage of the open strings on the guitar and to sound consonant with the shapes.

There are several benefits to this technique compared to other improvisation methods, which include not having to change finger shapes too often, not having to memorize and practice scales or learn music theory.

The minimal requirement is that you have to be able to play at least a few basic chords such as Em, D and A. The Shape-Shifting technique can be adapted to all levels of skill.

If you haven’t seen the free 50 minute version of this class and want to watch the replay, click here.


This workshop will be limited to 9 participants and will be held live on zoom every other week for 3 one hour long meetings.  A 30 minute self study assignment time will follow each meeting to include practicing what you learned in that segment of the class, applying what you’ve learned to your practice, and reporting back with any questions.

Sundays Feb 2, Feb 16, March 1

7:30-8:30 pm Eastern, 6:30 Central, 5:30 Mountain, 4:30 Pacific

Topics include:

  • 1 finger improvisations
  • Improvisation in various modes using one or more fingers
    Phrygian, Dorian (dropped D), middle eastern, Japanese pentatonic,
    organum, whole tone
  •  Improvisation using 2 -3 fingers
  • Variations
  • Clinical applications
  • Practice
  • Individual attention
  • Questions answered

Learning Objectives:

Participants will be able to improvise on the guitar using 3 different shapes

Participants will be able to identify 3 different ways shape-shifting can be used with clients

Participants will demonstrate the ability to improvise with clients in styles that support relaxation, pain management, matching client’s energy, and with pitched instruments.

CBMT Domains:

Implementation 5D- apply a variety scales modes and harmonic progression

Implementation 4F- Improvisational

Implementation 5.I-3, 5J, 5O

5I- employ functional skills with guitar

5J- employ music relaxation and/or stress reduction techniques, 50- improvise instrumentally and vocally.

What People are Saying:

“This seems so versatile and accessible, not only for me but for my clients!” Caroline S.

“I am a new therapist (certified a week ago) I really enjoyed this approach to improvisation. I’ve only been playing guitar for a couple years and this technique will definitely help with my confidence while improvising in sessions!” Tori Z.

“I love how versatile it is, and the freedom it brings to playing. I am an MT in Hawaii, so I tried this technique on the ukulele (Em and D major) and loved it! also helps me flow between two-three chords without changing my shape, which will help raise awareness to the other contributing factors of the experience” Andy I.

“It will be very useful with clients who play the guitar.” Beth W.

“It definitely seems more complex than it is, and those with basic guitar technique could attempt it with success.” Jessica G.

“Very cool!! I’m excited to use this” Susan O.

“I’m thinking of a client I have who has dementia and used to play guitar… he LOVES to play but has lost memory of most chord shapes :/ I could see using this with him- it’s a simple shape to improv around” Hanna W.

Guitar Improvisation Technique called “Shape Shifting” is approved by the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT) for 5 CMTEs-Continuing Music Therapy Education credits. The Spiegel Academy, CBMT Approved Provider #P-106, maintains responsibility for program quality and adherence to CBMT policies and criteria.

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