Music, Arts & Entertainment

Leading and Playing in a Band

Carlos Santana

Lesson time 10:22 min

Carlos teaches you his approach to building a passionate band, playing with vocalists, and participating in generous, fulfilling artistic collaborations.

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

Topics include: Get Everyone in the Groove • Play Your Own Part • Support Singers by Listening • Build a Passionate Band • Demand Precision


The way to structure a rehearsal is based on respect for everyone in there, and at the same time, more than respect for the musicians and the humans in the room, more respect need to be needed to the song that we're about to play. Because to respect it is to take the time to honor the tempo, the groove, and the feel. When the tempo, the groove, and the feel is correct, you don't have to have a melody or words to it. You can just lay in there. You know, you can just lay in there. And it's like, oh, you know, you don't have to go anywhere. You're already there. The groove for "Light My Fire" is everything. [HUMMING BASS LINE FROM "LIGHT MY FIRE" BY THE DOORS] You can say there forever, you know, with that bass line. And rehearsals, for me, is a way of getting acquainted with the groove, feel, and tempo of this song. And then people would know by my eyes when we're far away, when we're closer to it, you know. If we're far away, then I'm giving someone a look like, why are you playing that, you know, or, why are you not playing this-- something, you know, something more-- I think that what I do in soundchecks is as always to remind the musicians, be present. When you're present, you never ask dumb questions, because you already know what it is because you're present, you know. So I do rehearsals and soundchecks basically to get everyone to have one breath. [INHALING SHARPLY AND EXHALING SLOWLY] Like a symphony, when-- when the conductor goes "doot doot doot doot doot doot doot," and he goes like this, and then they go. [HUMMING OPENING STRAINS OF BEETHOVEN "SYMPHONY NO. 5"] You're like, damn. You know, how they all hit it at the same time. It's astonishing to have a conductor know how to sculpture a sound with precision, and definition, and effectiveness, every single time. [RHYTHM GUITAR FIGURE WITH LATIN FEEL] In Africa, you can have probably 500 people play at the same time. Astonishing as it may sound, you have a whole city playing at the same time, and not one guy is playing another guy's part, because they'll give you a, hey, that's my part. Get your own part, man. I'll hurt you, you know. You know, so they tell you in Africa, hey man, get your own damn part. That's my part. I play that-- you know, that's my part, you know. So it should be the same thing, whether it's the symphony or heavy metal, you know. Each-- each part should be respected and-- and honored. And stay out of the way from that person's interpretation or-- or expression. Get your own. [DESCENDING BLUES GUITAR LICK] Listening is probably the greatest gift you can give anyone-- across the room, across a table, or on stage. Sometimes, just listening, you are like, wow, the way you were looking at me when I was playing. I say, yeah, I was really drinking from your well. The music makes you play that that you need to do with the person that's singing. And they always go, how do you know what to play with-- behin...

About the Instructor

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.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Carlos Santana

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

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