Rich Flora

Rich Flora


“I have lived all over the country, pursuing my passions in audio and electronics. I started in Omaha, Nebraska, while in high school, working for a regional company doing lighting and monitor mixing. I found that I loved monitors more than lighting, so I decided to focus on the audio side of production and haven’t ever looked back.

“After high school, I joined the Navy as an Electronics Tech but found that live production was really where my heart was. I have worked in some of the coolest places – Seattle, New Orleans (twice), San Diego, and Orlando. About 30 years ago, I moved to Nashville – and not a day goes by that I have regretted that decision.

“I have been an Audio Engineer, Lighting Director, Radio Broadcast Engineer, Celebrity Guest Truck Loader, and even an A/V Tech for a top-50 law firm. I have worked with numerous bands, I was out with Little Texas & Collin Ray the longest – working 27 years at Clair Global.

“I have worked with some of the most passionate and knowledgeable people on all sides of the industry. Now, I get to share my passion and help light the fires for someone else’s dreams.”


Scott Brewer

Scott Brewer


Scott has been a musician for more than twenty years and started his career playing in bands before moving to the other side of the console. Scott studied at Guildford Tech where he double-majored in Recording Engineering and Concert Sound & Lighting.

During his time at Guildford Tech, Scott freelanced for production companies and the local IATSE. This work led him to a gig with Imagine Design and Productions, where he was an audio engineer, systems designer, and installer.

Scott joined The Blackbird Academy in 2017 to head the Live Sound Engineering program. He is originally from North Carolina.


Live Sound Program Campus

The Blackbird Academy’s microphones, consoles, outboard gear, and spaces are second to none. As a student, you have access to and learn on the same equipment used by pro touring engineers, musicians, and recording artists who work professionally at our facilities every day. Check out the Live Program’s gear and rooms below.

CONSOLES

ANALOG CONSOLES
Midas Heritage 3000
API Paragon
Yamaha PM4000 (FOH version)
Yamaha PM4000m (monitor version)
Soundcraft GB2
Allen & Heath GL-4
Midas Venice 320
5x Mackie 1604

DIGITAL CONSOLES
2x Digico SD8
Soundcraft Vi1
Midas M32
2x Soundcraft SiPerformer
Digidesign ProControl
2x Yamaha PM1D

outboard
gear

Yamaha SPX90
Yamaha SPX900
Yamaha SPX990 x3
TC Electronic D-two x2
TC Electronic TC2290
TC Electronic TC6032
Roland SDE3000
Rane C4
DBX 1066
DBX 160 x2
DBX160A x3

DBX 160xt
Lexicon PCM42 x3
Lexicon PCM60
Urei 1176 x2
Urei LA-4 x2
SPL Transient Designer
BSS dpr 504
Chandler Limited EMI TG2
Chandler Limited Zener Limiter
Drawmer DS201 x3
Klark Teknik DN360 x6

PA

Showco Prism Rig
Clair S4’s
JBL VRX Rig
8x Clair SRM wedges
8x Clair MD1202 wedges
8x Crown Marcotech 3600 amps

8x Crown Macrotech 3612 amps
4x EV P3000 amps
2x EVP1250 amps
8x Clair Lake I/O

ALL
STUDENTS

  • Have individual workstations when working in the classroom featuring the Focusrite RedNet X2P with Dante and ProTools.
  • Have access to audio labs and equipment outside of regular hours, to work on assignments and/or to practice recording and mixing.
  • Work alongside industry pros and special guest mentors in the classroom, live rehearsals, and training events.
  • Benefit from networking events and onsite visits to Nashville live venues, broadcast outlets, and other audio-related businesses.


Campus

Studio

Christine making his debut in his hometown Chicago, crafts a straight-forward yet progressive menu drawn from his culinary influences from French technique, Asian heritage, and bi-coastal gallivanting. He transforms fresh and, when possible, locally-sourced produce into thoughtful dishes.

Live

Having left a career in the futures brokerage industry, Sofia Jeffrey chose the path of cooking with the aspirations of traveling. However after finishing his studies at the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago; he set out to first put in time in the best kitchens in Chicago began to hone his skills.


Admissions

Applying to The Blackbird Academy

Applications may be submitted 24-hours a day online. Class sizes are limited and tend to fill up quickly. Upon receipt of your completed application, we contact you by email and send an application process sheet which explains all other documents needed for acceptance. If you do not hear from us within three business days after submitting your online application, please email carma@theblackbirdacademy.com to be sure your application was received.

Entrance Requirements

You must have a minimum of a high school diploma or GED-equivalent to apply to The Blackbird Academy. Prospective students must submit the most recent copy of their high school transcripts or GED with their admission application. Online High School or GED courses may not be acceptable. Please check with the Director of Student Operations for more information.

Due to the advanced nature of The Blackbird Academy’s program, basic audio knowledge and/or experience in the audio recording and/or live sound field, is highly recommended. Letters of recommendation are required. Students applying will be interviewed in person or by phone, and must pay an appropriate deposit to hold a seat, which applies to the cost of enrollment.

International Student Admission Requirements

The Blackbird Academy is approved through the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP). Qualified international students will receive an M-1 Student Visa.

Monetary requirements

In order to be awarded a U.S. Student Visa (I-20), an international student must provide a certificate of financial guarantee. This document demonstrates the ability of a student to provide financial support for tuition and living expenses while in the United States.

VISA Requirements

The following documents are required for international students to enroll at The Blackbird Academy:

  • An I-20 form
  • A DS-160 Nonimmigrant Visa Electronic Application
  • A passport recognized by the U.S., valid at least six months beyond the intended stay in country
  • One 2×2 photograph
  • An MRV fee receipt to demonstrate payment of visa application fee
  • A SEVIS I-901 fee receipt

Helpful Links

Visa Information

Department of State – Student Visa

Visa Wait Times

English Proficiency Tests

TOEFL®

IELTS™

If you have any questions, please call +1.615.385.2423 or toll-free at +1.855.385-3251 or send a message via our contact form.

Tuition

The Blackbird Academy tuition includes studio/lab fees as well as an iPad with all textbooks & educational materials provided on it.

Program Tuition Length of Program
Studio Engineering $23,100 6 Months
Live Sound Engineering $23,100 6 Months

TUITION ipad graphic

Veterans Benefits

The Blackbird Academy is approved by the Tennessee State Approval Agency for the training of Veterans and their eligible dependents.

Veteran benefits include:
• Chapter 30 MGIB
• Chapter 31 (VocRehab)
• Chapter 32 VEAP (Vietnam Educational Assistance Program)
• Chapter 33 Post-9/11

Dependents and spouses benefits include:
• Chapter 33 Post-9/11 TEB (Transfer of Eligible Benefits)
• Chapter 35 DEA (Dependent Educational Assistance)

Helpful Info

Before you are eligible to start classes, The Blackbird Academy must receive a copy of your Certificate of Eligibility (COE) as well as a copy of your DD-214 

It takes approximately 60-120 days for the VA Office to approve claims for benefits and issue your COE. The earlier you prepare and submit your paperwork, the more likely you are to receive your benefits in a timely manner.

Housing

Students may make living arrangements with one of the many apartments near The Blackbird Academy. We have agreements with several local complexes where students may find a lease that coincides with their stay at the school. You may obtain a list of local housing references from the Director of Student Operations, which will help guide you through the many choices. A roommate list also may be obtained from the Director of Student Operations if you would like a roommate while attending The Blackbird Academy.

Postsecondary Education

The Blackbird Academy is authorized for operation as a postsecondary education institution by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. In order to view detailed job placement and graduation information on the programs offered by The Blackbird Academy, please visit www.tn.gov/thec and click on the Authorized Institutions Data link under Recent Reports at the bottom of the screen.


Get in Touch

The Blackbird Academy


2806 Azalea Place
Nashville, Tennessee 37204
Tel: +1 (615)385-2423
Fax: +1 (615)251-8787
info@theblackbirdacdemy.com

2806 Azalea Place
Nashville, Tennessee 37204
Tel: +1 (615)467-4487
info@blackbirdstudio.com

2805 Bransford Ave
Nashville, Tennessee 37204
Tel: +1 (615)279-RENT (7368)
or (615) 573-5118 / Call or Text
blackbirdaudiorentals@gmail.com

Send us a message

Give us a call at +1(615)385-2423 or fill out the contact form below.


2806 Azalea Pl., Nashville, TN 37204

Testimonials

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY ABOUT THE BLACKBIRD ACADEMY

Keith Urban

Recording Artist, Songwriter, Musician

If you are thinking about going anywhere for an audio school, this is the place … it's the epicenter of recording in Nashville and people from outside country music are all coming here to record as well.

Vance Powell

Grammy Award-winning producer, engineer

If you're going to be getting an education in this business, this is the best set of rooms to be doing it in.

PATRICK CARNEY

Drummer, The Black Keys

If you are interested in learning how to record or mix live sound ... from some of the best people in the game, I would recommend going to The Blackbird Academy.

Tim McGraw

Recording Artist, Songwriter, Actor

If you are looking for a place to learn all you can about audio, then The Blackbird Academy is the place you need to be.

Sheryl Crow

Recording Artist, Songwriter, Musician

[Students] are going to walk in here, be excited about learning, and really learn what it takes to make a record … if I had six months to dedicate to coming to The Blackbird Academy, I would so be here.

Don Was

Grammy-Winning Producer, Musician

To be able to learn in that environment … man, you are gonna have the best shot of an education in recording that you’re gonna have anywhere!

WHAT THE GRADUATES SAY ABOUT THE BLACKBIRD ACADEMY

“I specifically chose The Blackbird Academy because I knew that it was going to provide the best quality education in terms of audio, and it paid off. I was hired by Clair Global after I finished the Live Sound Program, which led me to becoming the front of house engineer for Carly Pearce, who is on tour with Luke Bryan. It has been such an amazing experience and I’ve learned so much this year. I did both programs and graduated March, 2017.”

Javonnii Curry

Nashville, Tennessee
(Veteran, FOH Engineer for Carly Pearce)

​“This is HANDS DOWN, the best audio school in the world!!! If you are looking for a career in the music industry, The Blackbird Academy is a must.”

Matt Wolach

Los Angeles, California
(Musician, Mix Engineer for Spike Stent)

“The Academy has the ability to bring in some of the most successful industry professionals as guest speakers. TBA allows students to learn networking etiquette in a comfortable environment, so they are able to build up the confidence to introduce themselves at future, possibly more intimidating, events. In addition, you never know where shaking someone’s hand could lead. After crossing paths with some of the outstanding guests we had, I made connections that led me to work at CMA Fest, create new co-writing relationships, and begin training with a vocal coach, just to name a few.”

Amy Peters

Nashville, TN
(Singer-songwriter, Producer)

“The Blackbird Academy helped me understand session and studio etiquette which is so important. This is a customer service industry through and through. Reading people and making them feel comfortable is just as important as patching a piece of gear and being on your toes. The Blackbird Academy taught me session workflow and how you must always be alert and ready to assist in any way possible. The Blackbird Academy also helped me establish crucial connections with people in the industry that proved very helpful when I was out on my own. I am still benefitting from the people and places I was exposed to while in the Academy. I definitely gained a leg up because of the base work I put in with the Academy.”

Rachael Moore

Nashville, TN
(Producer, Engineer, Mixer)

“After graduating from The Blackbird Academy, I was able to immediately translate what I learned into the work I do with artists every day. I’ve been privileged enough to have surpassed 1 billion streams to my credits, with multiple Billboard #1’s, and Platinum and Gold records. The education you receive prepares you for every situation that gets thrown at you in the “real-world,” and the hands-on nature of it allows you to learn in studios from mentors who make serious records every day. My time at Blackbird was the perfect foundation for me to solidify my skills so I can deliver the best results for the artists I work with. Attending The Blackbird Academy is something I would recommend to anyone who wants to make audio their career.”

Gabe Gallucci

Toronto, Canada
(Shawn Mendes, David Otero, Disney Channel, Victoria Duffield)

“​The best audio school in the world. The top lecturers, studios, gear, experiences and opportunities – all in Nashville, Tennessee!”

Chris Pearson

London, England
(Engineer, Mixer, Producer, chrispearsonsound.com)

“I graduated from the Blackbird Academy in June of 2015. Thanks to the education and connections I had received in this program, I began touring even prior to graduating. Since then, I have mixed for Aubrie Sellers, Sturgill Simpson, Raelynn, and am currently mixing FOH for Kane Brown. By using what I learned in lectures and live band rehearsals at the Blackbird Academy, I was able to go out and start working immediately, no matter what equipment I was given. I have been hired by and worked with other Blackbird graduates in the past two years and we are developing an incredible network of engineers and audio professionals across the nation. I would highly recommend anyone that wants to have a great career in audio to come be part of the Blackbird family!”

David Loy

Nashville, Tennessee
(Aubrie Sellers, Sturgill Simpson, Raelynn, Kane Brown)


High School Summer Recording Camp

THREE-DAY CAMPS AT
BLACKBIRD STUDIO

The Blackbird Academy’s High School Summer Recording Camps are held at the world-renowned Blackbird Studio in Nashville, TN. High-school age teens (13-19) learn how to make a record where some biggest names in music have been recorded and produced – like Rush, Taylor Swift, Queen, Jack White, and many more. Campers work on the same gear, and in the same studios, professional producers and musicians use every day to make hit records!


WHO SHOULD ATTEND?

High-school age musicians, music lovers,
band members, home recorders, songwriters,
singers, and students with a passion
for building their music production skills.


TUITION

Three-day camps: $1,200 (includes all materials and lunch daily)

WHAT YOU WILL LEARN


Students will work alongside our amazing
instructors, guest musicians, engineers, producers,
singers, and songwriters to learn:

The Basics of Audio

Studio/Live Etiquette

Recording and Mixing a Band

Introduction to Pro Tools and Gear

Setting Up the Session Talkback and Headphone Mixes

EQ and Effects

Processing Gear

Percussion, Vocal, and Background Vocal Overdubs

and Much More!

2020 CAMP DATES

To reserve your space, click a button below to visit our online Summer Recording Camp registration form.

JUNE
17-19

CANCELED

JULY
15-17

REGISTER NOW

AUGUST
5-7

REGISTER NOW

Live Sound Engineering

Learn live audio engineering hands-on, working with professional bands and the best live sound engineers in the business

Get ready to immerse yourself! At The Blackbird Academy, you will have 720+ hours hands-on training in the Live Sound Program’s classrooms, rehearsal spaces, and labs. Classes meet five days a week, 30-40 hours per week, and there is always a low student-to-teacher ratio. Every student:

  • has access to individual workstations featuring the Focusrite RedNet X2P with Dante and ProTools.
  • has access to audio labs and equipment outside of regular hours, to work on assignments and/or practice recording and mixing.
  • works alongside industry pros and special guest mentors in the classroom, live rehearsals, and training events.
  • benefits from on-site visits to Nashville live venues, broadcast outlets, and other audio-related businesses.

Here’s what you’ll be learning:

  • Electricity & Entertainment Power
  • Cables, Connectors & Audio Electronics
  • Live Stage Set Up
  • Digital Consoles
  • Analog Consoles
  • Permanent Installs & Mixing Techniques
  • Digital Audio Theory & Networking
  • Sound Theory & Acoustics
  • Microphones
  • Sound System Design, Connections & Optimization
  • Live Recordings, DAW (ProTools)

  • System Analyzers & Troubleshooting
  • Audio Signal Processors
  • Backline & Stage Management
  • Loudspeakers, Crossovers & Amplifiers
  • Line Arrays & Rigging
  • RF & IEMS
  • Advanced Monitor Setups
  • Tour Production
  • Music Business & Etiquette
  • Live Playback

New Call-to-action

Our grads
get gigs.


By learning in a hands-on program that teaches you real-world skills, students from The Blackbird Academy graduate ready to work in the industry. Here are just a few of the many artists/places where our Live Sound Engineering students are working or were employed:

Chris Stapleton
Florida Georgia Line
Carly Pearce
Miranda Lambert
Kelsie Ballerini
Kane Brown
The Rolling Stones
Maddie & Tae
Miguel
Stevie Nicks
Disney
Carnival Cruise Lines

… in addition to houses of worship, broadcast outlets, and live venues!

Upcoming Start Dates


Date
status
action

September 28, 2020
FULL

January 4, 2021
OPEN

April 5, 2021
Open

July 6, 2021
OPEN

100% Experiential-Based Learning

The most effective way to learn is first hand, from a mentor working in the industry. The Blackbird Academy’s Live Sound Engineering program is centered 100% on experiential learning, the same mentor-based focus that has created generations of award-winning live sound professionals. We are affiliated with Clair Global, the largest sound company on earth, so students learn from and have access to professional engineers with lengthy credits.

The curriculum includes regular roundtable discussions and guest-mentoring sessions with engineers, audio professionals, and other pros in the live sound industry. Regular “Hot Seat” and “Ears On” challenges teach students the skills needed to listen and respond. Classes are limited in size, giving each student the most individual attention possible. When students are not in the live sound classroom or workshop, they learn on-site at live concert venues and other professional performance workspaces.

Graduate ready-to-work in live venues, clubs, touring & fixed sound installations, or houses of worship!

APPLY NOW

Studio Engineering

Learn hands-on, over 24 weeks, in rooms you’ve heard on countless records

At The Blackbird Academy, you will have 700+ hours in the classroom/recording lab and studios. Classes meet five days a week, 30-40 hours per week. Half of the program is spent in the studio, where groups of five students focus on pre-production, recording live musicians, overdubbing, and mixing. The other half of the program takes place in our classroom/recording lab – also a working recording studio – featuring an API console, two isolation booths, patch bay, individual Pro Tools HD stations, and three 65″ flat-screen TVs. When in the studio, it is always a maximum 5:1 student-to-teacher ratio. Every student:

  • has their own workstation. The student Pro Tools rigs are driven by Universal Audio’s Apollo X interface, featuring every plugin in the UAD collection.
  • has access to audio labs and equipment outside of regular hours, to work on assignments and/or practice recording and mixing.
  • works alongside industry professionals and special guest mentors in the classroom and studio.
  • benefits from on-site visits to studios, mastering houses, venues, equipment factories, and other audio-related businesses.

Here’s what you’ll be learning:

  • Recording, Overdubbing, Editing & Mixing
  • Signal Flow
  • Troubleshooting
  • Patchbay Payout & Operation
  • API, Neve & SSL Console Operation
  • Desktop Audio Workstation Production (ProTools. Logic)
  • Microphone Placement & Comparisons
  • Operation of Dangerous Music 2 Buss, Liaison, BAX EQ & Monitor ST
  • Audio Processing Plugins
  • Musical Instruments & Vocals
  • Analog Signal Processing

  • UAD – 2 Plugins
  • Universal Audio Apollo Interface Operation
  • Vocal Tuning
  • Studio Monitoring & Room Design
  • Acoustics
  • Modern Music Production
  • Careers & Entrepreneurship
  • Audio for Film & Video Games
  • The History of Recording
  • Mastering & Manufacturing
  • Studio Etiquette
  • Fundamentals of Electronic Music
  • Critical Listening
  • Hearing & Psychoacoustics

WHAT THE STUDIO ENGINEERING GRADUATES SAY

Upcoming Start Dates


Date
status

September 28, 2020
FULL

January 4, 2021
WAITLIST ONLY

April 5, 2021
OPEN

July 6, 2021
OPEN

100% Experiential-Based Learning

The Blackbird Academy is focused 100% on experienced-based learning – the same mentor-based philosophy that’s created generations of Grammy-winning engineers and producers. You will learn from and have access to real professionals with lengthy credits: engineers, producers, artists, technicians, acousticians, and other audio pros currently working in the industry. You will graduate ready-to-work in professional recording studios, through regular training under real-world conditions. We keep a strong emphasis on industry mentorship through regular discussions with engineers, producers, and others in the industry. Some guest lectures draw from Blackbird Studio’s client list.

As a student, your schedule alternates every two weeks between the Classroom and Blackbird Studio. In the classroom, each student has an Apollo/Pro Tools system that can record from the room’s two iso booths through the API console/outboard equipment, as well as record directly. Classroom work consists of sessions, demonstrations, guest visits, hands-on and ears-on recording training, and site visits to many of the incredible studios and facilities in and near Nashville. In the Studio, students work in groups of five in one of Blackbird’s many world-class rooms recording live musicians – giving you maximum hands-on time and contact with the musical talent, instructor, and guest engineers.

Do you have what it takes?

Find out how well you would do under pressure with our Studio Etiquette 101 quiz.

experience the studio

Graduate ready to work! Sessions fill up quickly.
Reserve your seat today.

apply now