To submit requests for assistance, or provide feedback regarding accessibility, please contact

Arts & 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.


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.

Carlos Santana was my first class and the series really convinced me that I will enjoy the subscription.

I've learned a lot about the attitude to the instrument

This really open up my perspective on how to look at a different angle. Lots of mind blowing gems in here!

This was truly a Master class. I have a Master of Fine Arts degree and this is the level you aspire above any book knowledge. This is Spiritual Knowledge of our timeless existence. Thank you Carlos Santana! Your Love is in the Universe!


Lisa Kay D.

Thank you so much for your wisdom! I hope to pass along the gift of confidence to my guitar students and want them to have fun with music and be able to dance to it instead of trying too hard or thinking about it too much; especially when it comes to rhythm.

Jimmy C.

I like listening to Carlos Santana explain things the way he does. While I don't feel like I'm getting any specific instructions to improve my skills, I feel like I'm getting some "guru-guidance" on how to think about practicing and playing. I like this, but I'd still like to have a Les Paul kind of person do a master class on how to play better, with techniques on fingering, chord changes, etc.

Ashley H.

When he says, "If you don't stand like that, it ain't gonna sound like that." I laughed so hard. Straight up truth! I appreciate his philosophy of playing. How it's a spiritual journey and experience. That's what's missing in the music industry now. Relying on technology when there are souls on this planet that are vessels to that "out of this world" connection. I'm dedicating myself this year to keep playing.

Francois A.

This is awesome. Getting inside the note. I am so glad that Santana brings this concept to the foreground. This is something I've been working on for many many years. But also, exploring the vast interval that exists between notes. The breath of the melody. If you could expand this interval 1000 times (as suggested by Ouspensky's search of the miraculous in Fragments of an Unknown Teaching), what would you find inside this infinite interval? This is literally what I tried to do in this short experimental film, inspired by the work of German director Oscar Fischinger (who initiated the projet Fantasia at Disney Studios) and American experimental filmmakers John and James Whiney, and Jordon Belson. To make the music "visible" to the eye and find the roots to the legends and myths that feed the musicians's inspiration and melodic ideas, even if in a completely subconscious fragmented way. Watch here: ( )

Stefano Z.

Carlos Santana & Gordon Ramsey, best Masters so far..PURE MAGIC in their words and expressions!

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.