Chapter 10 of 16 from Carlos Santana

Leading and Playing in a Band


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

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

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

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

Carlos Santana

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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Find the heart of your sound

With 10 Grammys and almost 50 years on stage, Carlos teaches you his spiritual take on playing guitar. Learn how he weaves emotion, artistic expression, and musical styles from across the world to create a sound that transcends genre 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.

Genre-defying legend Carlos Santana teaches his unique approach to playing, with bonus lessons on techniques, and words of inspiration for artists.

A downloadable workbook accompanies the class with exclusive tablature for Carlos’s improvised music and essential listening lists.

Upload videos to get feedback from the class. Carlos will also critique select student work.


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

spot-on so far, really enjoy the focus on bringing the whole body/mind/spirit into the music

I've completed several Masterclasses, but this was the best Masterclass of all! Love his wisdom and passion! The music I play is very different (mostly country, folk, and bluegrass), but that doesn't matter; the same truths apply to all genres of music! Thank you Carlos Santana! Beautiful! God Bless!

The master at work. Could never imagine in my life getting personal instruction from Carlos Santana. Changed my approach to life. Thank you.

A great perspective on life and music and how to incorporate the two. He is really a special musician and person and what a great choice for your masterclass


A fellow student

Here is the thing. I have written many songs with melodies but i have trouble singing the melody when i play the guitar chords. I can easily modulate my voice to sing the words with chords but i like my melodies. My question is can i simply pluck the melody notes and not play guitar chords at all? Otherwise the melodies become all arpeggios which i don't mind. They are easy to play. Can you help this? you are a master artist and i like your class. It makes me like music more.

Brett B.

Such good advice! I particularly appreciated the section Demand Precision. In fact, I took a little video of it and messaged it to my bandmembers. And they were like, "huh?"

Dan A.

I'm usually pretty hard on my band members when they don't practice or play sloppy and most importantly "not be present". But I always validate what they do right. It's just that they do a lot of things wrong and not do their own homework. Since we play progressive metal, technicality is something you need to get better at by yourself and not at band rehearsal. But since we're all pretty much best friends we just have to live with each other. sometimes even scream at each other hehe joke

Tom B.

This was absolutely an incredible lesson!!! I will watch it again and again! I lead a team of 20 sales people in my job and this lesson applies to leading any sort of band not only musical. I love the part on conversation and not interrupting, raise the level of expectation and they will rise to it! Respecting the song which can apply to a message and limiting improvisation because it will not be remembered as much as the song. Carlos, this lesson hit home with me!!! Tom Burton


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. [CHUCKLING] 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...