Music & Entertainment

Going Inside the Note

Carlos Santana

Lesson time 15:08 min

The key to accessing a listener’s heart through your music is to “go inside the note.” Carlos teaches you how to put everything you have into everything you play.

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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How do you get inside the note? Because once you get inside the note, you're going to get inside people's hearts. If you don't know how to get inside the note, you are not going to get inside people's hearts and you're not going to get their attention. They'll walk away. This is outside the note. [GUITAR PLAYING] This is inside the note. [GUITAR PLAYING] You know? One note. Soul, heart, mind, body, and your vitals. One note. That is the most important ingredient for musicians to have-- how to implement those five elements into one note. You know, I hear it in Charlie Parker. I hear it in Stevie Ray Vaughn. Jaco Pastorius. I can tell you who in one note has all those elements going each time. That makes it very, very timeless and very essential to being alive and living and being elevated. [GUITAR PLAYING] It's important that a person learns like an actor to get into character. You know, like when you see sometimes, Robert De Niro or Al Pacino, sometimes when they're in a specific TV show and if they're not into character, they almost look like they're lost or bland or something. But when Robert De Niro is into character, and he's a bad gangster dude, he went into character. And now he's that person. Same thing with Al Pacino. And the same thing with musicians. You have to go into character. Otherwise, you sound like, with all respect, like Don Knotts. It could be funny if you want to be a comedian. But that has no place on stage. On stage next to BB King or Buddy Guy or Albert King, you got to be serious. [GUITAR PLAYING] Always stand like you're going to do something. I mean, don't be shy about it. And don't be weird about it. But the way you stand really says that you're going to like take care of business, you know. Buddy Guy, Stevie Ray, John Lee Hooker-- they always stood. Their stand says a lot about that note. That note is going to come from here, here, here, here. And it's not just that, you know. So the way you stand is like-- [GUITAR PLAYING] If you don't stand like that, it ain't going to sound like that. [GUITAR PLAYING] Bending is like putting one knee on the ground, and not necessarily begging, just imploring. [GUITAR PLAYING] Now, when you play it like this-- [GUITAR PLAYING] Those notes are like when you're crying and boogers are coming out of you, and you're slobbering. And I mean, some people, when they sob, you really have to let it go. And once you sob like that, it's like a cleansing. But it doesn't necessarily have to be pretty. But it's like you're sobbing in such a way that boogers are coming out of you and you're drooling and you're like-- And so that's why I like-- [GUITAR PLAYING] That's what I learned from Otis Rush. I'll show you something. It goes like-- [GUITAR PLAYING] And this is dynamics, like-- [GUITAR PLAYING] You know, the contrast. And you're like, damn. I feel like crying and I don...

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.

His approach of teaching music is unique ! I've learned a new way of playing, playing with my heart & my passion. The goal is to give happiness to the audience, it's not so much about the technique, it's finding out my personality and share it with passion to the fans. Congratulations Mister Carlos, you're a real mentor for many musicians.

It helped me to see music as an spiritual art, focused on healing people and elevating consciousness. Truly priceless material, Santana is a genius

I guess its a simple lesson but an invaluable one to any aspiring guitarist and that is to put your heart into it because that is where real tone comes from.

I have followed Santana's music for over 35 years now, and I've tried to check out as many interviews with him as possible, usually in written form. So I loved getting a visual with all the informative nuances. I loved this course. One point, can you please provide transcripts of the bonus lessons.


Dwayne K.

i have been futzing round on guitar since i was 7 so i know a bit but how i approach this class is I stripped down and started over sometimes you have to start where it all began ...

mark W.

man these lessons are like how to get your soul into your guitar....very cool

Gabriel P.

I find it so amazing to listen to the ways that music truly communicates without really needing words. Absolutely beautiful

A fellow student

If John Mayer did a MasterClass I bet so many people would sign up for that action

Austin M.

Really inspiring me, thank you for sharing your perspective. You have such a great outlook.


What is the meaning of the symbolism on your gtrs neck? Why is each different?

Alan H.

Vitals: The Sacred Is the Sexual starts with Carlos playing but there is not Tab for it? Did I miss it? I would like to give my wife the Fever.


I learned something about this woman I really like a lot. She believes that if there's no Heaven nor Hell, then she would be happy with the third option: The desert island alone. The thing about liking her is that she is one hell of a voice teacher. Her sister died 14 years ago and between the two of them; I've never stopped crying. Carlos: you probably know her, knew her or know or knew of her. Kamp

Mark B.

Started my third week of the class .. loving every bit of it all.. the videos , workbook, and also reading comments from other classmates. Building my confidence when I play every day and week as well ..

Mark B.

Lesson 1 here .. 1 week at a time .. to learn lesson and the homework. Daily I’m inspired to learn more. Thank you Carlos