Arts & Entertainment, Music

Live Shows: Practicalities and Performance

Tom Morello

Lesson time 18:02 min

From warming up your hands to crafting the perfect setlist, Tom teaches you how to create powerful experiences for your audiences.

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

Topics include: Mind the Small Things • Don’t Be Afraid of the Bad Performance Police • Take Risks and Stay Present • Treat Every Show Like a Battle of the Bands • Setlist Study: Prophets of Rage • Play the Biggest Melodic Part • Warm Up Alone and As a Band • Respect Your Body


Live is probably the single most important thing you can do to improve as a guitar player, because it reveals the real world of performance. And all the stuff that can go wrong that you can only learn by playing live and adjust and adapt over time. What you don't want to do is practice for 2 and 1/2 years with your band in a basement and step out on a stage where you've booked a bunch of record companies and go, we're going to play it just like you did in the basement. Because this is what's going to happen. I'll tell you what happened to me. Happened to every guitar player that I've ever known in my life. You're out there rocking. Check it out. I'm out there rocking because this is how I practice in my room. I'm like-- [GUITAR PLAYING] Oh. Oh. Oh, my guitar unplugged. I unplugged it because I wasn't stomping my foot in the basement when I was playing with the band. And now I'm a jackass in the middle my own show, like, oh sorry. Also, sorry fellas. Oh. Oh. So I'll plug it back in like this. And I'm rocking. [GUITAR PLAYING] Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. How could you possibly fix that? So this happened to me in a couple of my first shows, before some wise guitar player-- perhaps the most important guitar advice I ever got other than that practicing one hour a day business-- is take your guitar cable, loop it through the strap, then plug it in. Now watch what happens when I step on that cable. [GUITAR PLAYING] You can't pull that sucker out to save your life. And save the show and save your embarrassment so that your mom will let you back in the house. Occasionally I'll see, I think, like, Willie Nelson still plays with his guitar just plugged in straight. But like he must have never stepped on it his entire 80 some years. God bless him. Other things that are revealed is to make sure that your pedals have fresh batteries. Make sure that you have an extra pack of strings in case you break one during the show. If you have a spare guitar, please bring it. Because you never know when disaster might strike. The stuff that can go wrong during shows eventually will go wrong during shows. And it's only revealed by experience. Those are a few tips that will save you time, trouble, and embarrassment when you're rocking. [MUSIC PLAYING] So here are my thoughts about messing up on stage. First of all, you know, I come from a background where I've embraced punk rock. And a wrong note is only a wrong note if you are sheepish about it. And there's no wrong notes if you're rocking from the heart. That's the way that I truly feel. But you can also use, you know, it's a bit of a cliche, but if you play a wrong note, it's a wrong note. If you play a wrong note and repeat it five times in a row, it's jazz. It's art. It's all of a sudden, if you stick on that wrong note, people are going to be like, oh, he's on to something there. I don't know what that is, but he's certainly purposeful in the notes that he's playing. That's in t...

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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