Music & Entertainment

Bonus: Music as Language

Carlos Santana

Lesson time 12:36 min

Carlos explores the universal language of music, and how it connects us through time and space.

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.
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If you take the instrument from the guitar or the piano, what you have is, like, , you know, and it's a cycle, like anything, like life. You can put guitar or piano playing those chords, and then you put the uniqueness of a singer, whether it's Buika or Angelique Kidjo or a male singer, and what you have is just like pure romance. And when you have pure romance, then you know you're alive, you know? Nothing makes you feel more alive than romance, and especially spiritual romance because spiritual romance doesn't deal with guilt or shame. It just deals with, oh God, more. But what happens when you play this music, it's not that it's repetitious. It's a spell, and there's a difference between a spell and redundant repetition. For example, Revel's "Bolero" is a spell. It keeps repeating, but it's not redundant. We try new rhythms in here, and I feel really excited about it because it makes me feel like I'm young and vibrant and alive. I owe this so much to African musicians and African rhythms and just the spirit of Africa, period. [MUSIC PLAYING] We arrive at making a decision to put acoustic guitar on "Maria" because of the contrast. One is like-- one says hello, how are you doing, you know, like-- [PLAYING GUITAR] So that sets the tone for like, hi, how are you? This is nice. And then we're going to hit you with like-- [PLAYING GUITAR] And then you drive it home like a-- [PLAYING GUITAR] Yeah, so it's always about contrast and drama, good drama, you know, not negative drama but good drama. [MUSIC PLAYING] With the right drummer, when I hooked up with that person, though we may not shake hands or whatever, but I'm sitting in with somebody. And if the right drummer, when I go like-- let's say we're playing something, whatever it is, but I go-- [PLAYING GUITAR] Then he's required to go "whrrrrr" with me, you know, and me with him. So now we're having a ferocious conversation. It's not just playing timely. It's not just the-- [PLAYING GUITAR] Although it's nice, but you don't have to stay there the whole day, you know? You can-- it's nice. It's a base, but it is important that a drummer has good ears to go up when you go up. When you ascend, he's supposed to ascend which you. Otherwise you sound like you're all crazy by yourself and everybody's like, what's wrong with him? He's freaking out, and like, but nobody's freaking out with me. Then I'll give you a dirty look like, hey. You know, you're supposed to go with me. What are you, you know? Pay attention and get crazy. I go up, you go up. I go down, you go down. You know, that's the whole thing of a soloist, whether it's Herbie, Wayne, or Miles, or Coltrane, listen and go with them wherever they go. [MUSIC PLAYING] Those songs are written to coo, adore, and make children loved by grandparents. Usually parents are in a hurry to achieve something. Grandparents already did it. And so that's another beauty about music, ...

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.

I have applied Mr. Santana's musical philosophies to may everyday practice sessions, They have noticeably improved my playing.

Thank you for the inspiration, confidence and techniques. It was like having Carlos in my living room. Great job film crew!

Awesome! So much to unpack, I'm going to have to back and review some lessons. And do the work book. But it definitely helped re-discover some things.

Great personality. Trippy fun and insight. From a true musician.


Tom B.

I loved this lesson... it's helped me connect to a cerebral part of playing music that I was missing or at least not realizing in my playing. After listening to Carlos in this course, I have an entirely new appreciation for his music and better understand that what drives him is within all of us... we just need to let it out!

Parag P.

Thank you Mr Santana! I was a rapper, poet, songwriter for many years but my love for music has me taking on producing and beat making which ultimately led me to purchase instruments including the acoustic guitar I just bought today! Its funny how we share the same mindset especially on service and helping others! I hope to jam with you someday but meanwhile, I'd like to start by saying Thank you! I don't care where I start from, as long as I'm in it, I'm always at home! -Prognosis Peace

Gregory G.

How did I like this lesson? I loved it. Thank you so much for sharing with us Carlos Santana. I will have to watch this over and over again. There was too much knowledge and wisdom to learn in one viewing.

Gervis M.

I have so may questions without having any. I am just in awe. But i will ask soemthing


Carlos Santana was the reason I signed up for MasterClass. I am not disappointed. Extremely informative, insightful and fun to watch. I look forward to watching this class again. Thanks to Carlos for taking the time. It shows he cares for those who wish to learn.

A fellow student

I have been playing for many years. Carlos says what been bottled inside ..You made me laugh a few times when you talk about the zone and knowing your there. The freedom and the notes not played all the elements of a player in this class. Playing is not just scales and I can't wait to see you play my hometown Jones beach next month. I so lucky to have found this class. I really loved the rhythm section with all the latin flavor licks. You even say all all comes from one place not taking credit it's all about you. Amazing legend Carlos hope get your autography one day.. I have also been fortunate to see BBking live and you feel the connection with the audience .. thank you for your wisdom..

Mark B.

16 weeks later and I’m sad that this course is at the end .. so grateful that I get to revisit any time I like ! I can’t tell you how much this class has meant to me. In the beginning you talked of building confidence. I wasn’t sure about my own confidence, but you and these lessons have given me life from within. Your words and encouragement carried me through this class! So many great thing in each chapter to take away and apply.. I’m going now to take a walk ! Thank you Master Class and most of all thank you Carlos Santana ! You are heaven sent. The Master of all Masters in MasterClass

Rommel A.

This is a marvelous Masterclass. So insighful and inspiring. I've never had so many musical ideas with my guitar like I did after doing this course. I totally recommend it! Cheers.


Thank you, Mr. Santana. This Masterclass is so much more than a course on learning guitar. I highly suggest this class for anyone aspiring to live a life involving the creation and performance of Music. Enjoy the wisdom.

Frank R.

OMG! The Mother of all Masterclasses. Every person on this planet should watch this to obtain a PhD in the meaning of life and how to live it. It is actually a class on The Art and Soul of Life and what it truly means to be a human being. Thank you, Carlos, this was so uplifting. Life-changing wisdom I will pass down to my children and grandchildren.