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Arts & Entertainment

A Global Music Rolodex

Carlos Santana

Lesson time 8:46 min

Carlos challenges you to think beyond the Western notion of classical music and explore some of his favorite musical influences from around the world.

Carlos Santana
Teaches the Art and Soul of Guitar
Carlos Santana teaches you how he creates a distinct, soulful guitar sound that moves the hearts of audiences.


Classical music is called classic because it's good forever. But it's not just white music from Europe. Coltrane is classical. Billie Holliday is classical. Marvin Gaye is classical. So I have a new suggestion for classical radio stations, radio and TV. Play everything from America that's classical as well, not just Beethoven or Mozart or whatever. Play some Miles and Coltrane, Billie Holiday. Classical is good forever. Miles Davis and everyone, Coltrane, they all check out. All the great masters. Stravinsky and everybody. So include that in your vocabulary and your Rolodex and portfolio. Include classical music from Europe and classical music from America. I say it with total clarity, the future of music in this planet is from Africa. Everything else is regurgitated and the candy is gone, you know? But with African music, it's always so delicious, nutritious, intoxicating. It makes you feel like you got more money than anyone in this planet, you know? When I see sisters and brothers dancing in Africa, something happens to them. All of a sudden, they're in total, absolute ecstasy. And that's all I wanted. I want to be in ecstasy, so I learned from as many as possible. Touré Kunda, Baaba Maal, Salif Keita, Angélique Kidjo, all of them. I can tell you all of them. And they know that I know their music because it's my music. I love it like my next breath in my lungs. The call and answer was invented over there. The ultimate call and answer, which is like real music, Bob Marley. It's important, imperative, to have call and answer in music because it makes the listener become part of the musician. When I play certain music and I try to turn my other friends onto this-- won't go into names-- and they say, but if I play it like that, I'm gonna sound like Santana. And I go, no, it's not Santana, it's African music. This lady when I was in Ghana in 1971, she taught me something really valuable. You got to visit the "wah," you know? If there's no "wah," it ain't happening. I was like, oh. And when you combine this music, which is the pulse beat of like Americans going-- They always put the "ho." And the "ho" is the same thing as the "wah" in Africa. Music, for it to be hypnotic, to be uplifting, and to be welcomed into your heart, it has to have the "wah" or the "ho" in it. It elevates you into a place where you don't feel how old you are or the weight of your bones. The band's music takes you away from time and gravity. That's what we need to understand. How did the first people started with drums and a flute and a bone, you know, and why were they playing? They were playing to celebrate that they got good food or they got married or something. Music is always a celebration, and it always should be a celebration. Gitanos, Paco de Lucía, all of them, they all have a certain walk. The females and the males, they walk like-- [BREATHES DEEPLY] ...

Find the heart of your sound

With 10 Grammys and almost 50 years on stage, Carlos Santana teaches you how to play guitar in his spiritual style. Learn how he weaves emotion, artistic expression, and musical genres from across the world to create a sound that transcends classifications and connects with audiences. Join Carlos in his studio as he breaks down his process note by note—so you can discover the soul of your sound.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

The best of the best, Santana is a master not of music but soul! If you don´t has that, can´t realy play a instrument

Great class! Carlos Santana is a true master, not only at guitar but at motivation. This class teaches a lot not exactly on how to play guitar, there's many options for that but like the tittle says... How to master and project soul into your notes on the guitar. Very inspiring. Great Job!

Carlos lets you know the mystical transformation of you and the guitar becoming one with the universe

From the heart. Elevated. Authentic and unexpected.


Ellak E.

Try not to become a one trick pony, hahaha. Amazing how Carlos Santana addresses musical sounds. EK

Vladimir T.

Great lesson! I love what Carlos is saying about the "wah" and the "hu", something that came to me when listening to Stevie Wonder or James Brown for example. Notice how a couple of their(and Santanas) most popular songs always return to the One- aka the root note, which is a thing Tom Morello also spoke on in his masterclass. That kind of repetitive rhythm and melody in the background are something that really drive me and make me feel uplifted and on the move. When you think about it, not much has changed in the last million years in that regard- our bodies still react to the same kind of simple rhythms and melodies like they did when cavemen played their instruments. By shaking our booty and dancing. Thank you Carlos for your wisdom!

Brett B.

This was to me the most engaging lesson so far! One of the things I got out of it was a deeper sense of Santana's love for and devotion to music. When he said "The best music takes you away from time and gravity", I felt a deep commitment from him to the value of music that greatly impressed me! Wow! I also thought what he said is relevant to the language of identity politics, and I think it is important that he emphasizes that we all need to be open and learn from the great masters of both Europe and African origins and everywhere in between! And a challenge to change our definition of classical music and that he believes "the future of music is in Africa." I really like the piece he played that his father taught him, so I worked on learning it and making an offering of it. Here's a video. Please let me know how I'm doing!

Dan A.

I love the African rhythm and even the melody you sing out. your "Wa" note as you call it is a G# and then you pedaling on the root note which is a F. that scale is unheard of in my musical ear. It's like a E Phrygian with a major third (E, F, G#, A, B, C, D, e) but here your root note is the F which makes the notes of the scale sound something like (F, G#, A, B, C, D, E, f)... Amazing!

Robert G.

I love listening to classical guitar. Flamenco, Mozart. I did something crazy, I silently jammed out some Mozart. Did not sound good at first but more I do it, the better I get or should I say it improves my playing all around.. I just started getting, how; to slowly work a bend. Watching Carlos really makes me know I am on the right path. I am never satisfied with my own sound, I am always on the hunt for new ideas. When I found out Carlos Santana teaching a master class, there was zero hesitation. I think the driving reason I learn modes is because of the inspiration from his music. The way the his guitar sounds, sing like a singer.