Music, Arts & Entertainment

Playing Live: Connecting With the Listener

Carlos Santana

Lesson time 9:07 min

Learn Carlos’s approach to reeling in an audience, connecting with them on an individual level, and carrying them through an emotionally compelling performance.

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

Topics include: Grab the Audience's Attention • Invite the Listener In • Playing Deep Doesn't Look Pretty • Carry the Audience With Tempo • Activate Your Imagination Before You Play


Intensity of intentionality is a must requirement for music. For example, when you see a praying mantis, and he's going like this, and you know he's going to get it, but he's just going like this and he's creating tension just by looking at it. All of a sudden he goes and he gets it. You know? But just by doing like this, like this, you know he's going to leap and get what he wants. It's important to create that kind of tension and any kind of music that you make. There's tension and release, tension and release. So just practice looking at a praying mantis. Just look at it, and see how focused that that thing is, man. All of a sudden, zip. You know, and you're like oh! When, again, when you hit that note-- [PLAYING GUITAR] --it's like whoo. People are like-- and you know when they do that, it's really effective. Because if you're like-- [PLAYING GUITAR] And when you go like that, the drummer goes, pisht at the same time with the cymbal. (SINGING) Da da da da, pisht. Spat! (SINGING) Dun, dun. People like, oh. Then you know you're in the right club. This is not tapioca blues. This is mean all the way. Good mean. It's good mean, blues you know? And that's what I love about Chicago, man. They go-- [PLAYING GUITAR] You know? And you hear that pist, pop. (SINGING) dun, dun. You know? And then that then that silence afterwards is just as powerful as a guy playing a gazillion notes per second. You know? You're like, oh. 'Cause we're here to make contact. If you're a musician and you don't make contact, then what's the point? You know? I saw a person play piano one time at Nordstrom's. And he was so good. He was playing a Jimi Hendrix song. All of a sudden, there was a big crowd around him while he was playing. And nobody was buying anything. So of course, they fired him. If you play music and people keep shopping and they don't listen to you, what's the point? So if you get fired from Nordstrom, that's a badge of honor. [PLAYING GUITAR] Be courageous. Don't be a coward. Be courageous, don't be a coward. Brave people go in there, and they said oh, we got this good stuff for you. This is you know all the way to the back is when people are out this mall, you're going to be seeing a rocking. And I love seeing everything from-- starting with because we start with the security guard people. Let's get them first. And then they start, they start going like this. They put their hat like this, and they're like. You know the badges hanging, and then-- I love attacking the security guards. Because once you get them, the people going to stand up. Because they're already like in it, you know? And sometimes they're-- sometimes they're like this. Like I dare you to make me feel it. And I'm like, check it out. This guy in Rome. He had that look like, I don't even know why I'm here. Ugh, or whatever. And I said-- and the whole band is looking at me, because I got him. I'm zeroing in on this guy. So I go,...

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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