get better in the next 6 months than you have in the last 3 years
Steal the proven system that helped me go from "faking it" to playing chops, sounding like myself and "just playing", all in under 2 hours per day of practice
You want to be great at the drums.
But you're not sure you're doing the right things to get there.
You know how it feels to watch your heroes. Everything they do seems effortless. They're not thinking about technique - they just play.
You can imagine what it would feel like to play like them - to hear what you want to play and Just Play It, without worrying about technique or time.
But when you sit down in the practice room, you feel confused about how to get there.
- You feel overwhelmed about what to practice when there's so much information out there.
- You find it difficult to Trust Your Own Time, especially if a teacher or band leader has criticized it.
- You feel Conflicted - you want to trust your ideas and make music, but you also want to work to make those ideas more sophisticated. How do you do both?
You spend hours in the practice room every day, playing all the exercises you thought would help.
So why can't you play like your heroes? Maybe they were just born with it.
the irony is there are more drum books and dvds than ever before
Just look at the DVD racks at Guitar Center.
Or browse the abundant videos from channels like Drum Channel on YouTube.
If you need to learn a paradiddle, you can find a video of just about any famous drummer on earth to teach you.
So why aren't we all great?
- You practice hard enough. There's just so much to learn that you feel like you're only learning everything superficially, instead of really mastering it.
- You've tried existing drum books and videos. But you feel pulled into all sorts of different directions and have no idea what you should be doing next.
If more drum books and dvds were the solution, every other drummer on earth would sound like tony royster.
But they're not, so we don't.
The result? We feel frustrated, and we lose the pure love and enjoyment we used to feel playing the drums.
What's missing? context and structure.
Context means prioritizing things from Big to Small, and going for Big Wins and Low Hanging Fruit. If working on one aspect of your time will turbocharge your playing and save you a year, you don't want to be spending that time on the same paradiddle exercise you've been doing for years.
Structure means making a practice schedule, deciding what to practice when, and putting your mind at ease, knowing that you'll hit everything important, instead of worrying constantly that you're leaving something out.
what's missing is a good coach.
If you've seen the channel, you've heard my story.
I conquered my own frustrations with my playing by recording myself, then comparing myself to my drum heroes. I realized they were doing 3 primary things differently than everybody else, and those weren't the things you read about in most drum books. (Those 3 things were the subject of the Roadmap.)
I tested my theories by coaching students. It was humbling and exciting to start to hear them say things like this:
Who can supply the material, context, and structure you need? A good teacher.
But drum lessons, especially with a world-class teacher, are expensive.
And what if you don't live nearby a great teacher?
What if there was a way to combine the structure and expertise of lessons with a great teacher with the ease, affordability, and convenience of an internet course? (You know where I'm going with this;)
the 80/20 drummer coaching course is the only online drum course proven over two years, with over 200 successful students.
It's the First multimedia internet course that literally shows you what to practice and how to practice it for 3-6 months, using the 80/20 philosophy of the 3 Fundamental Skills as its basis, and taking you from rudimental basics to advanced rock, fusion, and jazz vocabulary.
Want to know exactly how I got better, and what and how I continue to practice? This is it, in a single, 12-module course. I took everything that worked for me and gave it to my coaching students. Then I was left with only what worked best for them as well.
I like to say it's like studying with me for six months for about the price of a single lesson. But it's better than that. It's more like six months of lessons if you hired a videographer to record everything I showed you from two angles, with professional sound, then transcribed everything.
Not to mention it's organized into an easy-to-follow, step-by-step, web-based format, that includes tables of exactly how to break down the material over the course of a week.
there's nothing out there like it.
Others sell you videos, skype lessons, membership sites, and bootcamps, but none solve the main problem: sequence, structure, and context, for a reasonable price.
The Coaching Course is like your own personal website, with more than 100 videos, most of them with transcriptions.
Each module is its own chapter, representing 2-4 weeks of practice, which includes 2 full webpages full of video exercises with descriptions and transcriptions.
- The Course gives you Structure - the material is laid out sequentially over twelve modules, and also organized down to the day-of-the-week, so you can stop worrying that there's something else you should be practicing, and focus.
- It gives you Flexibility - because you can choose your own pace through the material, it's ideal for both focussed music students who want to burn through it in 3 months and working professionals with only 3 days-a-week to practice.
- It gives you Context - it gives you only the highest-leverage material, crucial to honing the skills of Playing Cleanly, Playing in Time, and Improvising with Flow, and relates everything back to these core skills, so you don't have to worry you're wasting your time. If it wasn't low-hanging fruit, I took it out.
result - in less than 6 months, you'll be playing things you never imagined
It's about three factors working together:
- The Right Information - The "80/20", or Lowest Hanging Fruit of getting better, based on the Three Core Skills I introduced in the Roadmap: Playing Cleanly, Playing in Time, and Finding an Improvisational Flow State. The only exercises that made it into the course are those that worked not only for me, but for my students as well.
- A Structured, but Flexible Learning Approach - the information is organized sequentially across 12 modules. It starts with basics (though with a deeper focus on hearing yourself accurately and producing clean, consistent sounds), and progresses to material that continues to challenge me to this day. Within each module the exercises are broken down by day-of-the-week, but allow for flexibility if you practice anywhere from 3 days-a-week to 7.
- Accountability - every version of the course includes "chapter review"-style "homework assignments" that require you to record yourself playing the exercises, then grade yourself using questionnaires. This gives you goals to work toward, and also gets you to hear yourself as you really sound. For a limited number of subscribers to the Premium coaching program, I'll actually listen to your recordings and record personal video feedback for you at the end of each module.
By the time you're finished with 12 modules, you'll have played with a metronome on 32nd offbeats, navigated up-tempo jazz beats with brushes, and improvised gospel-chops-style solos and fills, all with confidence you're playing cleanly, and in-time.
But you don't have to take my word for it.
Here are four recent coaching students, talking about their experiences.
david from the uk says...
What's great about the 8020 course is it gives focus to my practice sessions and keeps me grounded as I learn.
You said it, the rudiments and practice rhythms are high leverage , I immediately felt the difference in my playing. The music and artists that surround this program give me the hint at what's around the corner. I absolutely love how you play and am totally re-inspired to take playing of this instrument to my highest level.
The discovery of the 80/20 drummer videos immediately caught my attention. Yes, there’s a ream of talented individuals teaching ‘easy to advanced’ rhythms, riffs, chops and fills, but Nathaniel Smith is an accomplished rhythm technician.
After paying the very reasonable fee for a number of month’s worth of learning material, I gained access to the member’s area and like all naughty boys, immediately skipped to the latter phases to see where I’m heading. The end game seemed so technical and ambidextrously challenging, I even called my ‘drum widow’ over for a glance! “I’ll never be able to do that.” I muttered.
A few weeks in and I now believe I can.
watch a video testimonial from Alasdair.
Here's exactly what's inside the 80/20 coaching course
The Coaching Course includes a beautifully organized set of video coursework, fully transcribed onto downloadable PDFs, complete with downloadable color-coded worksheets summarizing how and when to practice the material in each stage.
All the video is recorded from multiple angles, with good lighting and microphones. The course is mobile-adaptive so you can use it anywhere, anytime, on-the-go, and all the transcriptions and worksheets are downloadable.
To create the course I deconstructed everything I had done to make myself better after my initial discovery of recording myself.
Starting from being to get around the kit cleanly with good sounds. Then adding in time practice. And finally, different mental "hacks" to practice improvisation.
It's interesting that as I actually tested the material with students, I discovered little things that weren't part of my original "theories". A certain way to approach an exercise, a better metronome placement, etc.
Now I'd like to take you through exactly the material we'll be covering in every module, so you can sign up with confidence.
module one: intro to playing clean
- The single best exercise I've found for testing your ability to play cleanly, and developing a tighter "personal drum troupe".
- The World's Most Basic Whole Drum Kit Rudiment, that will put you in touch with the feeling of playing around the kit in a coordinated way.
- The second half of the module introduces basic timekeeping practice as a framework as you're getting more comfortable with the exercises.
module 2: ambidexterity and interdependence
- Introduces the concept of creating the same sound with both right and left hand rimshots, and shows you two efficient ways to practice that.
- Extends on the basic rudimental concept in module one by introducing rimshots and placing things in a rhythmic context.
- The jazz course* introduces basic jazz concepts like how to practice the basic swing pattern with the Whole Kit, and an introduction to coordinated interdependence, complete with some exercises to drive it home.
*All versions of the course come with the choice of jazz and non-jazz versions. Think of them like English and Dutch translations of your dishwasher owner's manual: you can switch between them (though there's no good reason to), and they're both yours for life.
module 3: subdivision changes and "real world" linear beats
- Introduces more advanced versions of ambidexterity and introduces the first examples of linear beats you're likely to see int he "real world"
- Adds orchestration and subdivision changes to the rudimental practice.
- The jazz course continues with further variations on traditional ride cymbal patterns and coordinated interdependence exercises.
module 4: intro to "new rudiments"
- With the basic building blocks in place, we'll apply the ability to play cleanly to ever more challenging vocabulary.
- New Rudiments, some of which you've seen in the Roadmap, give you a tool to connect ideas together, and tap into Spanky McCurdy/Aaron Spears ideas. Here, we deploy them in context.
- The jazz course introduces a new metronome placement designed to make your swing beat more consistent.
module 5: Real World Practice and inventing your own
- A simple exercise that helps you deploy the ideas you've learned so far in an actual song. (A flaw with more courses is they only give you the exercises.)
- After learning and reviewing 6 separate New Rudiments variations, it's time to use the underlying concepts and Invent Your Own.
- The jazz course challenges you to complete all of the swing and interdependence patterns with the new, more challenging, metronome placement.
module 6: "Hell week"
- It's the end of anything you can "fake" in the course.
- Intro to 16th offbeat practice with the metronome. This is the stage where I really see my students' playing "tighten up" (better microtime).
- The Looping Exercise, a powerful concept we'll use as a bridge between memorizing my exercises and improvising freely, makes its first appearance.
- The jazz course continues to ratchet up the difficulty level with the metronome, and introduces skipped note looping on the ride cymbal.
Ooh - here's a good time to tell you about another feature of the course: worksheets
Wondering how you'll organize your time and keep track of all the material, self-questions, and homework assignments? Not to worry! I've provided you with color-coded charts for every module. Check the example below!
Okay, now back to the summary...
module 7: Looping with 16th offbeats and basic orchestration
- The rubber meets the road with the groove idioms you've been learning. It's time to loop them and invent your own, all with the metronome on 16th offbeats.
- I introduce a basic orchestration template you can use to take any snare/hats idiom and move it around the kit.
- The jazz course continues looping skipped notes on the cymbal with the interdependence beats, getting ever-more-advanced.
Module 8: sextuplet New Rudiments and "what the hell to do with the left foot"
- I give you a framework, borrowed from the jazz course, for what to do with the left foot on any tune with a backbeat, and 3 idioms to practice it.
- I introduce sextuplet versions of the New Rudiments, getting in to the most challenging rudiment territory.
- The jazz course introduces "scripted loops", in which I show you a series of my own variations on a theme, then invite you to do your own, all with 2 different metronome placements.
module 9: orchestrated sextuplets, intro to ghost notes
- I give you a framework to "make your own" left foot patterns in the style we learned in the last module.
- We re-introduce ghost notes in a groove, now that you have a framework to hear them correctly and play them cleanly, and I give you 3 idioms to learn.
- I show you how to orchestrate the sextuplets as Spanky or Nick Smith would.
- We start applying the rudiments to a jazz context with solo idioms.
module 10: improv templates, ghost note looping, intro to brushes
- We apply the looping exercise to ghost notes, both straight and swung, with various metronome placements.
- Pure Improv makes its second appearance, this time with a series of templates I borrowed from Dave King, Ari Hoenig, and Mark Guiliana.
- The jazz course segues into up-tempo swing, applying the same interdependence concepts and the "James Brown Exercise".
- I re-introduce jazz brushes, crash-coursing you on the basic movements necessary to get around the snare drum.
Module 11: Making Smaller circles - pridgefication, fills, and deployment
- Part One introduces Thomas Pridgen's basic framework to improvise over 16ths, sextuplets, and 32nds.
- Scripted Loops make their second appearance, this time to show you an "impersonation orchestration" template, taking a snare idiom and Pridgefying, Guilianizing, and in some cases Tysifying it.
- For the first time, we practice deploying the scripted loop fills in context.
- The jazz course introduces simultaneous-hand up-tempo idioms, and brush looping.
module 12: complete improv bootcamp, ride cymbal bell, up tempo brushes
- Finally, we have all the tools to practice improvising solos and fills over any rhythmic context. Scenario Training comes back, this time with teeth.
- I introduce exercises to incorporate the Ride Cymbal Bell, the most difficult coordination scenario to play cleanly, and one drummers like Mark Guiliana and Nate Wood use to great effect.
- Making Larger Circles comes to jazz brushes, and I show you how to find the minimum effective beat of a brush idiom, them expand outward.
is the coaching course right for you?
Just as I am with my students, I'm selective about whom I allow into my programs, because as you know from the channel, my method is not intended for everyone - just the right people. I'd rather work with a small-but-committed group who are going to become Cold Blooded Ninja Assassins, and go out into the world and teach others, than a big group looking for the next "magic pill",who aren't willing to do the Hard Work - the self-assessment necessary to really become great.
If I feel you aren't doing the work necessary to get the most out of the program, I'd just-as-soon refund your money and send you elsewhere.
the coaching course is not for you if...
- You're expecting to simply "slop chop" your way down a page of exercises without trying to play anything cleanly. (Beginning about module 4, you won't be able to play anything unless you've put in the work beforehand.)
- You're squeamish about facing your weaknesses, or don't want to be bothered recording yourself. You will be recording yourself every module, and premium students will be sending the links of those recordings to me.
- You already consider yourself an "advanced player" but are struggling to get to the next level, and are unwilling to Dig Deep and listen to/challenge yourself on a deeper level. If you're not willing to take advice, how can I help you?
- You consider a pricetag equivalent to 1-2 lessons with an expert teacher "too expensive" for the results this course can provide. If you're short on cash, I have plenty of free resources to tide you over until you're in a better spot. If you already invested in any piece of equipment worth more than $100 this year, let alone in lessons of any type, let alone on music school, you have the resources to afford this course, and you understanding the value of investing in yourself.
the coaching course is right for you if...
- You understand the value of investing in yourself. I've gone to great lengths to tell you exactly what's in the course, because I know my people have high standards for what they invest their money or time in, but once whey know it's legit, they're ready to invest in improving themselves.
- You're able to analyze weaknesses without it upsetting you too much. You can't grow unless you leave Where You Are for Where You're Going, and that's scary. If you can listen to a recording of yourself, find flaws, and think "well I know what I'm working on tomorrow", you'll do well in the course.
- You're willing to be patient and "ignore the shiny objects". Part of learning to improvise is being satisfied with the tools you have in the moment, and trusting the process to make you better. There will be distractions - a new beat or chop on YouTube, a live performance that inspires you to emulate a great player. If you're able to assure yourself "I'll get there, and there's plenty of time for that", you'll get better results. (I'm not saying not to listen to or transcribe great players - indeed the course assumes we share a lot of the same heroes, and you're listening to them constantly. I mean you don't start to doubt yourself and abandon everything you've been doing after seeing Nate Wood.)
- You wake up every morning with a burning desire to be great at the drums. This course assumes you already have the motivation to be better - otherwise you wouldn't be here reading this. The course supplies the material, structure, context, and in the case of the Premium version the Feedback, but the motivation has to be yours.
frequently asked questions
"what if I'm on tour..."
I just got the Roadmap and an armful of other videos. Shouldn't I work through all this stuff first?
I'll say this first. The Coaching Course is not a perfect fit for every drummer. You have to be dedicated to going deep into your weaknesses and motivated to learn to hear yourself more critically than you used to in the past.
That said, the course is different from the Roadmap and the free videos. If the former are like buying a book, I designed the course to be like taking lessons. All the material in the Roadmap is in the course (and about 10x that much in additional content you won'tsee in the free videos!), but it's there in context, so I tell you exactly what to practice week 1, how to tell if you're ready to move on, then exactly what to practice on week 2, and so on.
And if one of the Marcus Gilmore videos is the what, the Coaching Course is the how. It's possible to play almost all of the exercises and beats in my free videos without ever addressing the underlying issues of Playing Clean, Playing in Time, and Idea Flow. But the Course is designed to micro-target those meta-skills, so you'll sound twice as good when you return to those Marcus beats.
What if I'm a working musician and can only practice when I'm off tour?
There are two reasons the course may still be a good fit. First, I designed it with you in mind. Each module teaches you a fundamental skill, and being able to deploy that skill in a performance context before returning to the next module will actually help you internalize it better. Second, that's why I give you all the content of the DIY course for a single price - you can take a month off and not worry! Just pick it back up when you have time.
I only have 2-3 days per week I have access to a drum kit. Will the course still work for me?
As long as you're dedicated, the course will work with as few as 2-3 days of practice on an actual kit. (In fact, I tell many students that 2-3 days on a real kit is superior to every day on a pad.) I built in many self-pacing features. If it takes 14 days to complete a module, those days can be back-to-back, or they can be a few-a-week. The important part is you're progressing, and the course shows you exactly how to determine if you're ready to advance to the next level.
How do I know the course will be appropriate for my level? I'm a [beginner/advanced player].
If you're a touring pro and you don't believe you need to work on fundamentals ever again, you're right - the course isn't for you. ButI still work on fundamentals. I'll be practicing a Justin Tyson transcription and notice a time tendency that requires me to go back and play something basic with the metronome.
If you're advanced - I've asked several touring pros to work through the material in the course, and they told me certain things were too easy. I took those comments, and incorporated concepts and exercises that they found more than challenging. By the later modules, you're dealing with concepts and techniques that still challenge me on a daily basis. If you're advanced, you may progress quickly through the first few modules to get right to the heavy stuff, and that's great.
If you're a relative beginner - the course starts with the fundamentals, and the beauty of 12 modules is that by the time you encounter some of the most difficult material you'll be up to the task.
Bottom line - I worked with a wide range of pilot students to develop this curriculum, and made sure it was a fit.
How many modules do I get from Day One, and how long do I have access to the course for the purchase price?
From Day One, I give you access to the first five modules. Beginning after 2 weeks, a new module opens each week. I do this to give it the look and feel of a college syllabus, and the sense that you're progressing.
All 12 modules are yours for life for the single purchase price. If you do the premium program, even if you cancel the coaching portion, the course is still yours to keep.
What do I get with the DIY and Premium versions of the course?
The DIY gives you the complete, "gameified" curriculum, with over 96 individual videos, most of them with transcriptions, PDFs of the weekly practice template for each stage, instructions for recording yourself at the end of each stage, and questionnaires to grade your progress and determine if it's time to "move on" to the next module. I like to say it's like Rosetta Stone for the drums.
The Premium offers everything above, with the addition of a submission for at the end of each module, with which you can submit your recordings to my team, and we'll give you pointers, show you what to spend more or less time on, and ultimate let you know if you should go onto the next level. The premium is a monthly subscription you can cancel at any time and still keep the course.
How does the course divide jazz and non-jazz material, and do I have to pay twice for both versions?
There are two versions of the course included for a single purchase price. You don't need to do them both. There's a jazz version, for players who want to work on their Personal Drum Troupe, Time, and Idea Flow and who also want to work on jazz, and a non-jazz version for players who don't play jazz. Both include the same core curriculum, so it's useful to think of them as Regular and Extra Tasty Crispy. You don't need two fried chicken dinners. But I'll give you both for once price, then you can choose which to eat.
The jazz course covers - how to play the ride cymbal (how to really play it, since a lot of jazz players are weak at it), what to do with the left foot, how to improvise swinging grooves that sound great with a walking bass but aren't locked into "2 and 4" on the hats, how to practice the Swing 8th note, and eventually brushes and up-tempo playing in the later modules.
if you're not seeing the fastest progress you've ever made, you have 90 days to get a full refund.
Try the coaching course for 90 days. If you don't see the fastest progress you've ever made after completing at least modules 1 and 2, I insist that you get 100% of your money back.
Why am I so confident offering this guarantee? I'm going to be expecting a lot out you, and I know you expect a lot out of yourself as well. It's my job to deliver on my end, with a course that not only satisfies your needs, but exceeds your expectations.
When I started developing this course, I had tried a lot of the drum DVDs and related products online, and found they all were operating on the same flawed assumption - more material, more exercises, more chop-builders, are always better. But none had asked their more advanced students what they really needed and none had solved the fundamental problem: Not All Material Is Equally Important.
That's why I spent two years and countless terabytes of video coaching students 1:1, seeing their problems, inventing exercises to solve them, testing, and retesting. I know the exercises in my course work because they've worked for countless students, and I know the order in which I present the material is effective, because I've tried multiple other incarnations with students, and only kept what worked best.
So I want you to rest easy. I'll stand behind my material. If you spend your money and don't see progress after completing two full modules, just tell me, and I'll refund your money.
what would you pay for six months of lessons with a great teacher? $600? $1000?
THERE ARE THREE MEMBERSHIP LEVELS...
Basic, which is self-directed, and gives you lifetime access to the material in the course for a great price
Pro, which gives you lifetime access to the material in the course, and includes the Advanced Chop Builder Modules: 9-12.
Premium, which allows a limited number of drummers to get coaching feedback from my team, up to twice-a-month.
- Lifetime access to Standard and Jazz courses, modules 1-8.
- Lifetime access to Standard and Jazz courses, modules 1-8.
- Access to Modules 9-12, the Advanced Chop-Builders
- Lifetime access to Standard and Jazz courses.
- Access to Modules 9-12, the Advanced Chop-Builders
- Homework challenges we'll grade for you.
you've dreamed about being able to play like your heroes.
Now you know that feeling true, deep progress on the drums is possible.
Finding your unique voice while increasing your technical ability is possible.
Trusting yourself so you can be in the moment and just make music is possible.
If you believe the Coaching Course is a good match, now's the time to take the next step.
Questions or comments? Call me!
In the US: 646-303-4771
On Skype: natesmith8020
Or send me an email to set up a call: email@example.com