2020 FRAME DRUM 101 : A Comprehensive Beginner Level Video Training Program

Your Step-by Step Roadmap to Become a Skilled, Confident & Creative Frame Drummer in just Four Months!!


Get into the Groove! Grammy Nominated Percussionist Will Teach You How To Unleash Your Creative Drumming Genius, Even If You’ve NEVER Touched A Drum In Your Life!


Imagine picking up your drum, stretching out your fingers, and when you start to play, a beautiful rhythm fills the air.

Wondering if this program is right for you?

It is if you answer “YES” to any of these questions...

  • Do you hear the call to Begin or Rekindle a DRUM Practice?
  • Are you craving ENDLESS Drumming & Rhythm Inspiration?
  • Are you looking for an artistic expression that has MANY HEALTH benefits?
  • Do you Desire more Creativity, Play & Passion in your Life?
  • Wish to Integrate Drumming in your Personal and Professional Life? In your Community?

Here’s Why Everyone (Yes, Even YOU) Can Become a Drummer!

DRUMMING is as natural for humans as walking!

When we are in the womb, each one of us is incubated with the sound of our mother's heartbeat - it is the first sound we hear!

Go ahead and put your palm over your heart right now.
Do you feel that?

You see! You have a drum right inside you. Rhythm is hardwired into your body. We are inherently connected to pulse & rhythm.

NOW it’s time to use this gift to bring more
CREATIVITY, PLAY & FUN into your life.

VISUALIZE yourself drumming in a drum circle, in a workshop, in an ensemble, in your professional work, composing your own music, or simply playing for your own personal enjoyment.


"Drum sound arises on the air, its throb, my heart. A voice inside the beat says, “I know you’re tired, but come. This is the way.”

Hi, I'm Marla Leigh.

With over twenty years of professional teaching experience,
I am passionatly dedicated to helping others discover the transformational medicine of DRUMMING.


I started playing music (piano) when I was two years old, and only two years later, my mother passed.

Upon my mother's passing, my father asked me to write “letters" to my mother in heaven”, but instead of "letters", I wrote “songs on the piano”.

Wait? How could this be possible? What kind of “professional degree” did I have that allowed me to compose at this age?

None. It was simple. I was inspired by the muse of music.

Tuning into the infinite well of creativity through music at such a young age helped to comfort me for the loss of my mother - and it also had a profound effect on my relationship with music. I now have a deep level of understanding for the powerful medicine and magic of music.

I recieved my BFA & MFA in Music from CalArts, and was extremely fortunate to spend over a decade studying with some of today's leading drumming maestros. After college, I fell in LOVE with teaching, and began offering workshops, retreats and lessons online (back when it was “weird” to teach online.)

I found there was a growing interest from drum seekers around the world to learn. Inspired by their burning desire, I created Frame Drum Academy; an online gathering hub, hive, and school for learning.

The seeds have blossomed - and our Academy is currently in its fourth year - and has already reached hundereds of students around the world!

The tribe is growing - and the MESSAGE is growing even stronger; NOW IS THE TIME STEP INTO YOUR DRUMMING GENIUS.
There are so many ways that you can enjoy your new drumming skills.


Student Video Testimonials

Frame Drum 101


Frame Drum 101 is my Beginner Level Premium Training program, featuring an extensive library of over 275 instructional videos with lifetime access, four core learning modules, two live Q&A classes, special Masterclass (with Glen Velez), special guest speaker live Q&A calls, bonus trainings, and a private Academy facebook group.

This course is designed to give you results!
If YOU have been feeling creatively blocked with your DRUMMING DREAMS, you will be amazed how this program will help you.

OUR GRADUATES are healers, therapists, counselors, drum circle facilitators, energy workers, musicians, coaches, nurses, teachers, sacred circle leaders, sound therapists, yoga teachers, and the list goes on...

OUR GRADUATES are teaching workshops, facilitating drum circles, drumming in their community, playing in bands, composing their own music, incorporating drumming in their professional work, and the list goes on....


Desgined like a Beginner Level Frame Drum College Course
(w/ a spiritual twist), at an affordable cost

A First of it's Kind Step-by-Step Comprehensive Online Training Program!

My Drum Program Is The Simplest Way To Learn WHILE Having More FUN Than You Can Imagine!

Frame Drum 101 is a 4 Module/4 Month Comprehensive Training Program - thoughtfully designed for the absolute beginner frame drum student OR students with basic to moderate playing experience (less than a year.)

The first lessons in each teaching module cover the basic strokes. After that, we explore the fascinating world of extended playing techniques (snaps, stroke combinations, finger-rolls), fundamental rhythm skills, groovy world rhythms, improvising and composing tips, Indian rhythm skills and drum compositions (that use material learned directly from the course.)

You will receive a Video Download every week for 16 Weeks
(1-18 videos in each download!)
Each lesson builds upon the next. Program is open to both men and women.

Dynamic Rhythmic Inspiration Awaits...
(Please see full course outline & schedules below.)

Having completed this program, you will gain CONFIDENCE, GUIDANCE and proper SKILLSET to PLAY, IMPROVISE and COMPOSE with ease and fluidity in various meters in all 3 frame drum playing styles in the Beginner Level.

You will also acquire the inspiration & repertoire needed to SHARE your "new" drumming gifts with others!

Now, doesn't that sound fabulous?!

This is designed as a GO AT YOUR OWN PACE learning program, ENJOY THE VIDEOS ANYTIME & ANYWHERE!

Program Includes:

  • Over 275+ Instructional Videos with LIFETIME Access
  • Fundamental Playing Strokes & Key Extended Techniques for each of the 3 Frame Drum Playing Styles
  • Weekly Video Downloads to enjoy ANYTIME on our website or download to your computer.
  • Traditional World Rhythms & Original Grooves
  • Get Groovin": Drum Compositions (using Voice & Footbells) to play by yourself, or in a group setting
  • Essential Improvisation and Composing Tips & Techniques, Level 101
  • Essential Musicianship Skills, Level 101
  • The Art of Rhythm: Indian Rhythm & Solkattu (Vocal Percussion), Level 101
  • Meditative Rhythms to enjoy in your spiritual/healing practices
  • Two 60 min Live Q&A Sessions with Marla
  • Special 60 min Masterclass Session with 4-Time Grammy Winner, Frame Drum Virtuouso, Glen Velez
  • Two Special Guest Speaker Live Q&A Calls
  • Drumming Essentials Bonus Module
  • Rhythm Vault Bonus Module
  • Drumming & Wellness Bonus Module
  • 24/7 Private Facebook Group Inpsiration & Community Support!
  • Motivating Weekly Homework Assignments & Challenges!

Why Play the Frame Drum?

*images above also from Layne's book.

History shows us that the frame drum started as a women's drumming tradition in ancient cultures worldwide.

The frame drum was the primary tool of transformation that Shamans and High Priestesses of the ancient world used to access altered states of consciousness, to facilitate rituals and sacred rites of passages.

In today's society, both men and women commonly play the frame drum. It is a great accompaniment for chanting, belly dancing, drum circles, personal healing, sound therapy AND it is commonly used in folk, world & rock music. It is medicine for your body, mind and spirit, AND it is simply ALOT OF FUN!

"Rhythm is a means of organizing sound into formulas to harmonize the mind and body"
- Layne Redmond, "When the Drummers Were Women"

“Marla is an incredible teacher with a brilliant way of breaking down the material to make it accessible. Her enthusiasm and generosity of spirit set her apart and help her students want to learn and practice and keep improving. She believes in her students so much that we start to believe in ourselves. She does not simply teach the art of frame drumming...she teaches the art of life!”

~ Meaghan Beishline

“Marla has created a wonderful curriculum that is easy for a beginner to follow and graduate with solid basic and advanced skills to grow with. I was so impressed with her eastern teaching methods and inclusion of skills like solkattu, compositions with accompaniment, chant, and ankle bell work. Marla is a fantastic teacher. I feel the courses are well worth the investment for anyone interested in frame drum! I took both 101 and 202 and feel confident to improvise, teach, and play with others.”

~ Susan Freeman

“The course concept is exceptional: brilliant videos of sequential learning techniques for frame drum basics, rhythms, and flourishes that I can watch again and again to perfect my skills. It doesn’t get better than this."

~ Norma Kaplis

“Frame Drum Academy has changed my life! It’s incredible the amount of content, support, and community. I’m already taking on a few students of my own and leading womens' circles. Her blend of both the spiritual and technical aspect of frame drumming is very inclusive and helps students to develop their own heart centered relationship with this ancient art form.”

~ Jose Dowe

Is Frame Drum 101 a Good Fit for my Playing Level?

"The object of education is to teach us to love what is beautiful."
- Plato

If you are unsure whether you belong in Frame Drum 101 or Frame Drum 202:

  • IMPORTANT: Please review the course outline on this webpage. If you DO NOT know most of the topics, it is suggested you take Frame Drum 101.
  • Frame Drum 101 covers beginner level playing strokes & basic extended techniques (ie doum, tek, pa, ka, single snaps and rolls.)
  • Frame Drum 202 builds upon the techniques covered in Frame Drum 101.
  • It is essential to have competence in the topics covered in Frame drum 101 before graduating to the next level.
  • If you need any further help deciding which program is best for you, please contact Marla.


Is Frame Drumming a Deep Passion of Yours?
Do you want to learn as much as possible?

If you truly wish to deepen your understanding of Frame Drumming, we have the PERFECT option for you!
Please check out our Frame Drum 101 & Frame Drum 202 BUNDLE COURSE PACKAGE ,
where you can enjoy both programs at a super DISCOUNTED rate!

When You Graduate, You Will ...

Build your essential “technique” toolkit." Enjoy a library of over 275 clearly guided instructional videos that teach you the basic core playing strokes & extended techniques - in the three distinct playing styles (Lap, Free-Hand and Upright.)
Gain a rock-solid, focused, and thorough frame drum and music training that will remain with you for a lifetime (that is, of course, if you continue to practice.) Develop your “Drum Warrior Training" by using my proven learning methods, featuring “technical” and “spiritual” practice routines.
Do you freeze up when someone asks you to take a drum solo?
If you do, you will not freeze up ANYMORE after taking our program!
You will gain strong rhythm skills and soloing confidence - as a result of learning about the AMAZING Indian music rhythmic system (ie solkattu, speeds, phrasing, etc) -

These are ESSENTIAL teachings that will help you improvise, compose and understand rhythm like a (spirited) PRO!
Obtain a clear understanding of musical concepts such as: meters, time cycles, pitch, tuning, counting and notation. A hidden benefit my students discover is, not only do their drumming skills grow, they gain a new understanding and appreciation for ALL types of music.
Enjoy endless practice sessions with this "Rhythm Vault." This toolkit features traditional rhythms from the Middle East, North Africa and Greece, as well as trance and meditative rhythms AND spontaneous bonus grooves to be added throughout the program. (Bonus Module)
Discover one of life's greatest gifts - Improvising!
You can play traditional rhythms all day, but there is something truly enchanting about creating your OWN grooves!
Learn my GROOVIN' drum compositions that feature playing techniques taught directly from the course. We will also weave the frame drum with footbell patterns, movement and songs.

This is GREAT repertoire to practice with, as well as share with your friends, teach or perform in your community!
Everyone (including YOU!) is a composer. Let's create magic! Experience writing your OWN rhythms and drum songs! So satisfying, try it and you will see!
The program may be over in four months, but your frame drum study is not.

With our LIFETIME access policy, you can view all the videos for life! A wealth of rhythmic inspiration at your fingertips, ANYTIME!
How is your time? Is it steady? Do you rush? Drag? You will soon be able to play in steady time by falling deeply in LOVE with your metronome practice. (Yes!)
Upon completing this program, you will gain the tools necessary to share your DRUMMING GIFTS with not just yourself and your pet dog, Winston.

Our graduates are leading drum circles, teaching workshops, playing in ensembles, using drumming in their professional practices, composing, and the list goes on...
Learning to take care of your drums is VERY important; they become like your children, and need love!

You will learn things like tuning, size/pitch relations, best care practices, etc.
Drumming is a healer! Through playing various grooves, as well as weaving the frame drum with footbell patterns, songs, movement and meditation practices, you will enter the world of "rhythmic entrainment" - a relaxed, intuitive and peaceful "theta” state of consciousness.

You will also get spiritually inspired in our special “Drumming & Wellness” Bonus Module with articles on the healing benefits of drumming, and much more.
Drumming is a (gentle) physical sport. In-joy a yoga practice designed specifically for students of Frame Drum Academy that focuses on releasing the upper back, lower back and stretching the arms and hands! Great to do before AND after you practice - taught by Annmarie Soul, yoga specialist. (Gentle, suitable for all levels).

This will be the featured video in our special “Drum & Wellness” Bonus Module.
I have carefully designed this program to help you from A-Z to learn the basics and get you drumming beyond your dreams in just four months!

I will also be available on our private Facebook Group to answer any additional questions you may have!
Inspiration is achieved best from our peers! In our special private Frame Drum Academy Facebook group, you can easily stay inspired 24/7 from other like-minded frame drum seekers from around the world! Post a new rhythm, ask a question, find a new drum buddy…

Some Benefits of Drumming...

Incredible, Little Known Benefits of Drumming. Which Ones do YOU Want?

Some of our Graduates!

  • DRUMMING controls stress, axiety and boosts your immune system.
  • DRUMMING is a natural pain killer.
  • DRUMMING syncronizes brain activity & makes you smarter!
  • DRUMMING creates endorphins that make you feel happy.
  • DRUMMING is a vehicle for transformation and healing.
  • DRUMMING brings you into the present moment.
  • DRUMMING awakens the body, mind and soul.
  • DRUMMING changes our state of conciousness into a "theta" meditative, relaxed state.
  • DRUMMING helps release negative feelings.

Frame Drum 101 Modules & Bonuses

MODULE #1 - Free Hand Style Frame Drumming

Week #1: Learn the Basic Free-Hand Style Playing Strokes (16 videos)

Week #2: Learn the Persian “Reiss Roll” & Accompanying Practice Rhythms
(13 videos)

Week #3: Explore 8-Beat Finger Roll Patterns & Accompanying Practice Rhythms (12 videos)

Week #4: Get Groovin': Learn a Composition Combining all Techniques Learned (Video count tba)

MODULE #2 - Lap Style Frame Drumming

Week #1: Learn the Basic Playing strokes in the Lap Style & Accompanying Practice Rhythms (14 videos)

Week #2: Snapping delights! Learn Single and Double Snaps & Accompanying Practice Rhythms (12 videos)

Week #3: The 4-Finger "Jazz" roll & Practice Rhythms in 5-beat time cycle (16 Videos)

Week #4: Get Groovin': Learn a Composition Combining all Techniques Learned (Video count TBA)

MODULE #3 - Upright Style Frame Drumming

Week #1: Basic Upright Playing Strokes & Practice Rhythms. (8 Videos)

Week #2: The Alternate “Pa” & Practice Rhythms (8 Videos)

Week #3: The Jazz Roll & Single Snap Technique & Practice Rhythms (9 Videos)

Week #4: Get Groovin': Learn a Composition Combining all Techniques Learned (Video count TBA)

MODULE #4 - Improv, Composing, Solkattu & Indian Rhythm Skills, Lv. 1

Week #1: Introduction to Solkattu and Improvising in 4-Beat Time Cycle
(8 videos)

Week #2: Improvising in 5-Beat Time Cycle (8 Videos)

Week #3: Improvising in 7-Beat Time Cycle (8 Videos)

Week #4: GROOVE & IMPROVISE: Bringing it all together, exploring improvising on various rhythms (so fun!) (12 Videos)




Marla will host two special LIVE Q&A call to answer any questions about the material being taught. (Please see our Live Q&A dates below.)

You will receive a special link for the calls in your welcome email. (They are on a easy to use platform.)

Need to miss a call? All calls will be recorded, so if you have to miss a call you can email your questions to Marla 24 hours before the scheduled call, and listen to her personal response during the replay.

PLEASE NOTE: It is not essential to attend the Live Q&A calls, but we do suggest to at least listen to the playback recordings for further inspiration!


Inspiration is achieved best from our peers! In our special private Facebook group, you can stay inspired 24/7 from other like-minded frame drum seekers from around the world!

PLEASE NOTE: All Teachings will be done on the program website. If you are not on Facebook, you will NOT miss anything in the course.


We are so honored to feature a special MASTERCLASS with the “father” of frame drumming. Glen is truly a legend in the world of Frame Drumming! Glen is a 4 time Grammy Frame Drum specialist, and one of Marla’s main mentors!

Glen is an incredible teacher, performer and a legend in the world of frame drumming; This is not to be missed!

BONUS #3 - Drumming Essentials Video Training Series!


This action packed Video Training Series covers ALL YOUR DRUMMING ESSENTIALS!


  • How to use a Metronome
  • Goal Setting
  • Drum Care & Tuning
  • How to Create a Practice Routine that works!
  • Understanding Speed Cycles
  • How to Read & Notate Drum Music

BONUS #4 - The Rhythm Vault!


Enjoy ENDLESS practicing fun, with rhythms you can use for Playing, Performing, and Sharing with others!


  • Marla's Favorite Traditional World Rhythms Guidebook. (pdf)
  • New Videos by Marla of fun rhythms to explore to be posted throughout the Program!
  • Websites & Videos of Cool Grooves to learn to be posted throughout the Program.

BONUS #5 - Guest Speaker Live Q&A Sessions


  • Guest Speaker #1 - PATRICK COOPERMAN (of Cooperman Frame Drums) - Enjoy a sneak peak into the Cooperman factory where Patrick will answer any questions you may have about their beautiful drums!
  • Guest Speaker #2 - JIM SANTI OWEN – Jim is a specialist in North & South Indian Drumming. Jim will teach spicy South and North Indian Rhythms, and cool tips and tricks that we can apply to frame drumming.

BONUS #6 - Private Facebook Group


Inspiration is achieved best from our peers! In our special private Facebook group, you can stay inspired 24/7 from other like-minded frame drum seekers from around the world!

PLEASE NOTE: All Teachings will be done on the program website. If you are not on Facebook, you will NOT miss anything in the course.

BONUS #7 - Drumming & Wellness Module


This Module Features:

  • DEEP STRETCH ROUTINE FOR FRAME DRUMMERS - ALL LEVELS (Featured Video): – Enjoy this gentle yoga stretch practice that you can do either before or after you play (suitable for all levels). This stretch sequence was created just for our FDA Students by acclaimed teacher, AnnMarie Soul.
  • DEEP LISTENING: Enjoy recommended music tracks recorded in Theta Waves -to endure relaxation, brain power, focus and calmness.
  • LEARNING LIBRARY: Enjoy a library of Videos on our favorite topics: Drumming & Wellness.


Our Mantra: “This program is easy to use, even if you have limited internet experience.”

  • The FIRST video you receive is an instructional video that walks you through how to view the videos in our program.
  • You will receive b/w 1-18 Videos (adv download series is 10 videos) - EVERY WEEK for four months! (see video schedule below)!

PLEASE NOTE: This is designed to be a "LEARN AT YOUR OWN PACE" program. Therefore, if you are traveling or busy, you may download the videos to your computer/pad/phone or enjoy them on our website.


  • The Live Q&A calls are opportunities for you to ask any questions about material being taught!
  • If you can not join, but have questions, simply email me your questions and I will answer them in the call!
  • All LIVE Q&A calls will be recorded, and playbacks posted on our Academy website.

PLEASE NOTE: It is not essential you attend these calls. They are there for you only if you would like additional support.


  • Our Private FB Group is a great place to meet like-minded Drum Seekers from around the world.
  • Students post grooves and drum inspiration on this page 24/7 - A global groove hub!

PLEASE NOTE: If you do not have a FACEBOOK ACCOUNT, you will NOT miss anything in the program!
All Instructional Videos & Bonuses are available in our Academy Website!

Get Inspired: Video Testimonial, ft. 2018 Grads!

“I consider Marla to be the one of the very top percussion performers in the US of today. She is well known in the percussion community for her performance virtuosity and artful skill with hand drums.”

Glen Velez

4-Time Grammy Winning Percussionist, Marla's Mentor

Video Testimonial

“With her background and dedication, Marla is well positioned to make a significant contribution to world music in general, and frame drumming in particular”

John Bergamo

Marla’s Mentor, Percussion Director Calarts



Video Testimonial

“Marla is world-renowned and has taught students worldwide through workshops, retreats and also online. A talented artist, she is anchored in beauty, love, and devotion! I highly recommend her.”

Christine Stevens

Author, Music Medicine, The Healing Drum Kit



Everyone who completes ALL of the "SHARE THE DRUM" Graduation challenges (that will be explained in the program) - will be put into a RAFFLE to win a Cooperman TYMPANUM Drum. There is only one drum for this raffle - one lucky winner!
We may not offer this every year, so this is a special bonus for the class of 2019!

* The Winner for the Cooperman Drum will be announced November 15, 2019 (AFTER the program ends!)
*The retail price of the drum is $350, which is almost the price of this program.
*This model may not be exchanged for another type of Cooperman Drum model.

About the Tympanum Drum

This "Tympanum" drum was inspired by an ancient Roman mosaic depicting the Greek god Dionysus. Long associated with the cult of Cybele , this tympanum has a distinctive red goatskin drumhead, and employs knotted embellishments to facilitate ecstatic ritualistic drumming.

Here's what Marla's students are saying (testimonials):

Your Instructor

Marla Leigh
Marla Leigh
Marla Leigh Goldstein is a Grammy-nominated Percussionist and Flautist. She is one of the few female frame drum specialists in the world.

Marla is an internationally recognized educator and performer who has presented throughout the USA, Canada and Europe. She carries the gift of being an inspiring and energetic educator, and soulful, charismatic performer. Marla offers online learning programs, as well as workshops, retreats and clinics and concerts world wide.

Marla endorses Cooperman Frame Drums and has collaborated with them to create an Artist Innovation Series Drum - "The Marla Tar". She is also CEO of Frame Drum Online Academy, and online resource for learning frame drumming.

As a passionate and dedicated composer, Marla's original music has been featured in movies, commercials, and healing arts media products. She is currently working on writing music for her debut world music meditation album.

Marla's Training Includes:
  • Bachelor of Fine Art in Music from California Institute of the Arts
  • Master of Fine Art in Percussion from California Institute of the Arts
  • Percusison Teachers: John Bergamo, Glen Velez, Pandit Swapan Chaudhuri, Poovlar Srinivasaan, Alfred Ladzekpo, Kobla Ladzekpo, Randy Gloss and Layne Redmond.

Gratitude to Marla's Drum Teachers!
(From L to R: John Bergamo, Glen Velez, Pandit Swapan Chadhuri, Poovalur Srinivasaan, Randy Gloss, Layne Redmond)


If you were to suggest only ONE drum for this program, I recommend a 16" drum - It is the perfect size for playing in the 3 playing styles.

Other sizes will be fine for the program, but your hands may hurt if you're playing a bigger drum in the upright style (20"-22".)

Here are My Suggested Frame Drum Sizes:

  • 16" Drums - All three styles! (Lap, Upright & Free Hand).

  • 14"-16" Drums - Upright Style.

  • 16"-22" Drums - Lap and Free Hand Styles.

  • Cooperman Drums is our sponsor. Of course, it's not essential you play a Cooperman drum for the program, but they are lovely drums. All students receive a 10% discount on a Cooperman drum (discount code given when you sign up.)

    Marla is an endorsed artist with Cooperman and has collaborated with them to create an Artist Innovative Series drum called The Marla Tar.

    You can visit Marla's suggested drums for this program here.

    Other brands of frame drums are fine to use. REMO sells nice 16" drums that you can purchase overnight on Amazon.