Hard as it is to believe, last week marked the beginning of my 89th semester of teaching audio!

I taught recording classes through a college at my recording studio from 1985 through the summer of 2013, five sections over three semesters a year. I have taught recording, music technology, music business and the history of rock at universities since 2001. In so doing, it has always been my pleasure to learn from my students- thousands of diverse, talented, knowledgeable and interesting people.

Now at the Blackbird Academy, I find that my learning process has accelerated exponentially. New technical and human surroundings, more time to explore the geometric possibilities, and the freedom to go in depth in all aspects of listening, expressing and doing. Every day here I end up with pages of notes of things I’ve learned, and want to explore further. I learn so much from the engineers here at Blackbird, who are incredibly good, fast, knowledgeable, personable ninjas. The assistants, the staff, and my co-director Kevin are all walking encyclopedias.

Last week, our students and we got to spend six days with Ken Scott, who has the most illustrious resumé in record-making, up there with Tom Dowd, Eddie Kramer, and Glyn Johns. It is illuminating to see him cut so quickly to the heart of the matter, to get an incredible sound with incredible speed, and to see him display the finesse and mastery that only someone with that much talent and experience can have. Today we were visited by Sheryl Crow- so eloquent and passionate in her understanding of music and the recording process, not to mention her production prowess and gear knowledge.

There is something transcendent about being in the room with an excellent person, getting to observe their real-time interactions and decision-making- perhaps it’s brain wave synchronization, or the three-dimensional experience, but it far exceeds what on-line media or books can deliver. I feel so lucky to get to absorb some of the wisdom and mojo of our many guests. It is enriching. This is the essence of mentorship, and at the heart of what we do here. I hope that you will be fortunate enough to join us.

I learn from them, and through the process of learning to explain the many processes and technologies, the history, philosophy and interpersonal intricacies of the creative musical process. To try and encompass the many facets of our craft, and to explain its social and cultural context is a constant learning process, indeed.