Arts & Entertainment, Music

Bands and Collaboration

Tom Morello

Lesson time 16:38 min

Learn how to find the right bandmates to help grow your artistic vision and how to diffuse the inevitable band problems that surface from creative collaboration.

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

Topics include: Pick the Collaboration Scenario That’s Right for You • Attract Collaborators With Your Authentic Self • Handle the Five Band Problems • Keep Your Ears Open to Creativity • Don’t Be Afraid to Let Go • Form a Band Right Now


Playing with other people is a wonderful way to expand your artistic experience and to get a lot better. There are many guitar players that, you know, never-- technically skilled wizards, and you see them on YouTube all the time-- who never leave their bedroom, maybe never even interact with another musician. And the real joy of playing music is when you play with others. And it will make you a lot better. Whatever your skill level, try to play with people who are a little bit better than you are. Or just play with anybody who wants to play, and have a great time making a racket. Any of that will make you a better player. [ELECTRIC GUITAR PLAYING] Let's talk now about collaborating with other musicians, an endeavor that can be great at helping yourself to grow as a musician and artist, that can lead to excellent music that is undreamt of by yourself, by working with other musicians, and a lot of fulfilling experiences. There's three scenarios that I like to talk about. One is a being a solo artist, one is being a band member, and one is being a hired gun. First of all, these are the differences. As a solo artist, your hand is on the wheel. Like, it is a singular vision. Take a Bob Dylan or a Bruce Springsteen. Like, you're the decider. You write the songs. You tell the musicians what to play. And it's a singular, pure vision of who you are and what you're trying to say. In a band, the advantage you get is chemistry. Each collaborator, if the chemistry is good, will get out of it more than they could ever bring into it. And with a band-- like with Rage Against The Machine, 1 plus 1 plus 1 plus 1 equaled 752. You know, we were able to do something together that none of us could do alone. How my riff ideas bounced off Zack's lyrical ideas, and Timmy's bass ideas, and Brad's unique way of looking at the drums created a chemistry that was ferociously potent and that, if any one of us had been the solo bandleader, we never would have made a band that was that good. The third scenario is being a hired gun, which I've done rarely in my career and I'd probably only do for Bruce Springsteen. And that's one where you listen, learn, and do, where you subsume yourself to the bandleader and go, my job is to help augment the bandleader's vision. And that takes a humility and a sideman point of view that, frankly, I'm uncomfortable with unless it's Bruce Springsteen. But it can be very, very fulfilling, and that people have long, and exciting, and wonderful careers as working musicians doing that. So how do you decide which one of those is right for you? If you have a burning desire to tell a particular story and it can only be told one way, then you need to be upfront about that with the people that you play with. And you need to say, this is my band, this is my vision, and if you're on board, you've got to be down with me being the decider. And don't leave any gray area for that. That's not how most bands start. But if you do f...

About the Instructor

Tom Morello is a two-time Grammy winner and one of Rolling Stone’s "greatest guitarists of all time." In his first online guitar class, the co-founder of Rage Against the Machine will teach you the riffs, rhythms, and solos that launched his career and sent his music to the top of the charts. Tom will share his approach to making music that challenges the status quo and teach you how to create your own musical style.

Featured MasterClass Instructor

Tom Morello

In 26 lessons, Grammy-winning musician Tom Morello will teach you the guitar techniques, rhythms, and riffs that define his signature style.

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