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Arts & Entertainment

The Music Beyond the Page

Carlos Santana

Lesson time 22:20 min

Music is everywhere. Carlos teaches you to draw musical inspiration from people, voices, and anything else you experience in the world around you.

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.


We were in Fresno in a parking lot, and Gregg Rolie came over and says, hey, I want to do this song by Peter Green. It's called Black Magic Woman. I go, OK. So we started playing it, and I came up with my parts, which is like a combination of Otis Rush and Wes Montgomery and things like that. Like, for example. [PLAYING GUITAR] Wes Montgomery. [PLAYING GUITAR] Then Otis Rush. Otis Rush. [PLAYING GUITAR] And notice that at the very end you kind of curse a little, like, ugh! Like-- [PLAYING GUITAR] You know, it's important at the very end you put a little bit of that, ugh, kind of thing, you know. Because that's what gets people's attention. You know, if you just play it bland like-- [PLAYING GUITAR] Nada. [PLAYING GUITAR] And then the other one. [PLAYING GUITAR] Sing it, you know. So I guess everything that I learned in the streets from my dad and everybody else, I can't help it. I just put it right into whatever is asked for me to do. I got volumes of life that I learned from Tijuana and San Francisco. [MUSIC PLAYING] It's important to read music from the point of where you want to be centered at your profession with. For example, this is a really good story. It's about Miles Davis, of course. And this lady asked him, says, Mr. Miles Davis. He says, yeah, yeah? Says, should I pursue classical music or jazz? Miles Davis says, can you read? Says, yeah, I can read. Says, when you look at the paper, just looking at it, can you hear the music just by looking at the notes? She goes, no. He goes, stick to classical. You know? So it means that it's great to learn music if you want to be in classical music or learn where things are for a music score for movies and TV. Some of the most brilliant musicians, they don't know how to read, you know, Louis Armstrong, Wes Montgomery. So I'm not saying that one is the other. You do what you need to do in order to get to the center of it. If reading helps you to get a better job and that's what you're, you know, focused on, then learn to read. Yet, when I'm hanging around Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock, they got everything. And the same thing with Miles. They can read, as they say, fly poo-poo on paper, you know. They can read anything. And they also put the paper aside and they can improvise madly, you know. So that's when you have everything. That's when you are a complete musician. [MUSIC PLAYING] Clive Davis instructed my brother Wyclef to come over from LA to San Francisco in one night and create something with me. And brother Wyclef came over. We introduced each other. He looked at me like I'm looking at you, and you would've thought that my face was written music, a sheet music paper, music sheet. He kept looking at me, and he goes, oh, yeah. [PLAYING GUITAR] Then he goes, yo, yo, get a pen and paper, man. Write this down. [PLAYING GUITAR] He made the song on the spot by looking at my eyes. It was scary and exci...

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.

It is interesting to see his perspective on music, and he gives good wisdom, However, I do wish that it had more theory and tricks on how to actually play guitar and some tips on how to improve playing to get to that level of shredding.

Although I am only a novice guitarist, the wisdom imparted by Carlos has enriched my life and made me feel like I can accomplish whatever I set my heart on.

Loved it, even though I don't play any musical instrument.

I love Carlos Santana's way of explaining his technics and his approaches to playing music, while encouraging each person to try.


Jose R.

I loved this lesson. I really relate to what Carlos is talking about. He's given me a lot to think about, and a lot to feel.

Max C.

Carlos Santana is my inspiring guitarist since I was very young. I had forgotten that but now all gets back... Thank you!


Any other Santana fans here feel like they learned these lessons from listening to his music?

jose S.

why are the downloads all the same 8 bars ?can someone give me some info on this. or am i missing something here

John W.

Black Magic Woman... I have GOT to learn the lead lick for that gem! Study attitude.. an endless assignment...attitude is everywhere. This lesson helped me to really get in to the music from a different perspective probably because it's coming from the legend Carlos Santana! Feeling and expressing the notes on the guitar on a deeper level. Passion is the best word to explain it.


That's where the saying comes from: "Those who can't do it, teach" Because those insights we get here in this masterclass is something you probably will never learn from a music-teacher. Those are the essentials, why people like santana made a world-career and ended up becoming legends, whilst other people who technically maybe play as good just lacked those essentials to boost their "performance" of their skills to the outstanding-level. Teachers just seem to play, while those who made it do live it! That's the difference. And that's why those masterclasses we find here are of so much value! Because those who made it share their specific insights, their specific skills which differentiate them from the rest... And that's worth more than gold, seriously...


OH MY GOD!!! CARLOS SANTANA DELIVERS PURE GOLD IN THIS LESSON!!! Great stories from da greatest musicians, time travels with us providing a sneak peak over da making of great hits, provides real advise n some shit I never thought off (like reading someones face like it is music), trully amazing wisdom stright from a guitar deity's heart. I just received more than what I payed 4 with this MasterClass, so THANX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! =) =) =)

R. Greg S.

This is the lesson that really spoke to me, telling me what I need to find in my playing. As all of the lessons have demonstrated clearly, Santana can play anything. So, how does he choose where his fingers are going to go? This lesson shows us the amount of time, thought, and soul he puts into a song. If you want to get above average, you can't shortcut the mental/emotional prep. You've got to focus on what you're saying.

Roberta H.

Love this lesson. Love Carlos's spirit so much. Learning so much. Also receiving confirmation for the things I intuitively do like play music in response to nature. I hope to keep improving. My hope would be to play as free and confidently as Carlos and have my own style. These lessons are beautiful.

Brett B.

Santana's favorite story about his father and how he spoke to birds with his violin is now one of my favorite stories too! I can't help but be a little envious of the 6 year old child who received such a profound gift at such a young age =) So much fun to play along with Santana doing Black Magic Woman, which is the first of his recordings I remember hearing way back in 1970-something when I got a cassette of Abraxas in my stocking for Xmas. He became my first guitar hero before I knew what the guitar was! At the end of the lesson Santana states "You don't have to stay in a bad situation and use it as a code of honor to be miserable. ", which I believe is quite relevant for today's cultural and political climate. Yay! For the Exercise, I followed Santana's example of Samba Pa Ti by writing a short poem and then composing a set of riffs and melodies to go along with the words. Here it is if you are interested in listening...