The Studio Engineering Program at The Blackbird Academy

The Blackbird Academy’s classes are taught over 24 weeks, hands-on, in studios you’ve heard on countless records. Classes meet five days a week in the classroom (6 hours per day), or five hours a day in the studio. Half of the program (350 hours) is spent in 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 learning lab, also a working recording studio featuring an API console, two isolation booths, and 30 individual Pro Tools stations. Each student in the lab will have access to high-quality gear, including a Universal Audio Apollo interface featuring every UAD-2 plugin the company offers. Students have access to audio labs outside of regular hours to work on assignments and practice workflows. We also have field trips to venues, studios and other audio-related sites where students gain the benefit of learning from working industry professionals.

Blackbird Studio A where students spend a lot of time!


July 10, 2017

October 2, 2017 (wait list only)

January 8, 2018

Experiential Learning at The Blackbird Adacemy

The Blackbird Academy is focused 100% on experiential learning, the same mentor-based mentality that spawned many generations of Grammy-winning engineers now working in the industry. 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 be ready to start working in professional recording studios upon graduation. This is accomplished through regular “Hot Seat” and “Ears On” challenges, where students are taken through time limited, ear-training and operational exercises under real-world conditions. There is a strong emphasis on industry mentorship, so the curriculum includes regular roundtable discussions with engineers, producers and others in the industry, including guest talks from Blackbird Studio’s client list. Classes meet 50% in the classroom, where each student has a recording system that can be fed audio from the room’s API console and two recording booths, as well as being able to record directly.  In-classroom work is split between sessions, demonstrations, guest visits, hands-on and ears-on recording training, and field trips to some of the many incredible studios and facilities in and around Nashville. For the other half of the program, students work in groups of five in one of our studios – the same rooms used to make hit records at Blackbird Studio. Here you’ll record live musicians or learn from guest mentors, giving you maximum hands-on time and contact with the musical talent and instructor.

Students working in Studio A

Here’s what you’ll be learning in the course:

The Blackbird Academy’s program is taught in the same studios, and the same gear you’ve heard on countless records. Top instructors teach skills used by award winning engineers, producers and artists, who will also be on-hand as guest mentors and lecturers. Students will be challenged with regular ears-on and hands-on exercises, the same techniques that trained generations of top music professionals. 

Topics covered include: 

  • Signal Flow
  • Recording, Overdub and Editing and Mixing
  • Troubleshooting
  • Microphone Placement and Comparisons
  • Patchbay Layout and Operation
  • API, SSL and Neve Console Operation
  • Desktop Audio Production
  • Operation of Dangerous Music 2 Bus, Liaison, BAX EQ and Monitor ST
  • Operation of Aviom Cue System
  • Univeral Audio Apollo Interface Operation
  • UAD-2 Plugins
  • Audio Processing Plugins
  • Vocal Tuning
  • Modern Music Production 
  • Fundamentals of Electronic Music
  • Musical Instruments and Vocals
  • Analog Signal Processing
  • Acoustics
  • Careers and Professionalism
  • Recording Theme Analysis and Execution

Guest Instructors

The Blackbird Academy has the unique opportunity to invite an impressive roster of guest mentors from the client list of Blackbird Studios. This rotating cast of expert engineers, producers, writers, musicians and artists include the top names in audio and the music industry. The traditional way to learn audio has been to apprentice, and all our guest teachers have had their own mentors, which explains their willingness to share. At The Blackbird Academy we have a veritable parade of masters, and their time is focused on teaching and mentoring our students.  The ability to get so many perspectives and so much wisdom, in a setting where there are between five and thirty other people in the room, is not to be found anywhere else.

Vance Powell

Grammy winning engineer, producer (Chris Stapleton, Jack White, The Dead Weather, Martina McBride)

Ken Scott

Engineer (The Beatles, Lou Reed, David Bowie)

Nick Raskulinecz

Engineer, producer (Deftones, Apocalyptica, Rush)

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Apply now for the Studio Engineering Program


July 10, 2017

October 2, 2017 (wait list only)

January 8, 2018