the blackbird academy foundation series

MONTCLAIR, N.J. –  Advances in technology and the wide availability of affordable recording software and gear have made it possible for everyone to record and produce their own music, audiobooks, voiceovers, and other audio projects. However, achieving a professional sound requires a firm grasp of the fundamentals of audio production and sound reproduction.

The Blackbird Academy, the premier school of audio, provides these fundamentals for every beginner and existing recordist in a new online video series: The Blackbird Academy Foundation Series.



The series is the first to be launched under Pensado’s Strive, an innovative multi-format educational initiative developed by Penwick Media, creators of Pensado’s Place (the acclaimed weekly educational web series), and Hal Leonard (the leading publisher of books and digital content on the music business, audio technology, and related content.) The series’ high-quality instructional videos and tutorials were written and filmed using the gear and workflow at Blackbird Studio. Blackbird is a world-renowned recording facility in Nashville where artists such as Taylor Swift, Martina McBride, Kings of Leon, John Mayer, Keith Urban, Kelly Clarkson, Bruce Springsteen, Snoop Dogg, and countless others have recorded.

“Our mission for The Blackbird Academy and The Blackbird Academy Foundation Series is to advance the quality of audio education through a professional training curriculum,” said John McBride, Owner and President of Blackbird Studio and The Blackbird Academy. “Thanks to the cooperation with our partners at Hal Leonard, the Pensado Team, and Groove3, it’s now possible for young musicians, aspiring engineers, and producers worldwide to benefit from this level of first-class audio education. No matter what their experience, no matter where they live, this program can be a great first step in starting a life-long career.”

Each video in the series is an easy-to-digest tutorial led by Kevin Becka, Co-Director and Instructor at The Blackbird Academy. An experienced musician and recording engineer, Becka designed the course for anyone aspiring to learn about audio engineering and sound production, whether working in a home studio or aspiring to work in a professional environment. The courses are designed for anyone wishing to record audio – musicians, composers, producers, songwriters, remixers, audiobook creators, voiceover artists, and singers – and wants to gain more professional results when recording, overdubbing, and mixing their production.

The Blackbird Academy Foundation Series will teach operational skills and understanding of basic to advanced recording concepts including:

  • Signal flow
  • Critical listening
  • Using a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)
  • Console basics and operation
  • Microphone choices and advanced placement
  • Using plugins and analog processors
  • Understanding digital conversion
  • Developing skills such as mixing, editing, and processing
  • Using shortcuts to build speed
  • And much more!

The Blackbird Academy Foundation Series gives viewers a rare look inside Blackbird Studio and its treasure trove of modern digital and vintage analog equipment. Viewers can access an impressive range of valuable information only known in the inner circles of production in the heart of Music City USA.


The first five courses of The Blackbird Academy Foundation Series’ 17 titles are now available on The 30-Day pass is $15, and the One-Year Pass is $150. Both passes give access to the entire course offering at Learn more about the Series here!

About the instructor/author:

Kevin Becka has been a recording engineer for over 25 years, working with the top names in music, including Kenny G., Quincy Jones, Michael Bolton, George Benson, George Lynch, and more. An experienced educator, Kevin is currently the co-director and instructor at The Blackbird Academy in Nashville. He has also taught advanced recording at Belmont University, taught surround recording and lectured at the Danish Rhythmic Music Conservatory in Copenhagen, and was director of education and instructor at The Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences for ten years. Kevin is also an audio journalist who has worked as the editor of the Pro Audio Review and Audio Media USA magazines. Since 2003, Kevin has been the technical editor of the industry-leading Mix Magazine, where he writes features, product reviews, and a monthly column. Kevin is a voting member of The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS), the Country Music Association (CMA), and is a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP).