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, 30 – 40 hours per week. Alternating about every two weeks 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/learning lab, also a working recording studio featuring an API console, two isolation booths, and 30 individual Pro Tools stations.
Each student has their own workstation, including a Universal Audio Apollo interface featuring an extensive collection of plugins. Students have access to audio labs and equipment outside of regular hours, to work on assignments and/or practice recording and mixing. Students also benefit from working alongside industry professionals in the classroom, plus onsite visits to other studios, mastering houses, venues, equipment factories, and other audio-related sites.
Experiential-based Learning at
The Blackbird Adacemy
The Blackbird Academy is focused 100% on experienced-based learning – the same mentor-based mentality that has created many 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 become ready to start working in professional recording studios upon graduation, through regular training under real-world conditions. We keep a strong emphasis on industry mentorship through regular discussions with engineers, producers, designers and others in the industry, some guest talks drawing from Blackbird Studio’s client list. Classes alternate between the classroom and Blackbird Studio about every two weeks. In the classroom, each student has an Apollo/Pro Tools recording system that can record from the room’s two booths through the API console and outboard equipment, 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. During the other half of the program students work in groups of five in the same studios used to make hit records at Blackbird Studio, recording live musicians, giving you maximum hands-on time and contact with the musical talent and instructor.
The Blackbird Academy’s program is taught in the same studios and on 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 are challenged with regular ears-on and hands-on exercises, the same technique that has trained generations of top music professionals.
Topics covered include:
Instructor, Director of Education
Mark Rubel has taught audio, music technology, music business, and the history of rock to thousands of students since 1985. He has taught at various colleges and universities, and served as the Audio and Recording Director at Eastern Illinois University’s $70 million Doudna Arts Center.
Mark has recorded and produced extensively since 1980, both at his Pogo Studio in Champaign, Illinois and elsewhere. His list of clients includes Hum, Alison Krauss, Rascal Flatts, Fall Out Boy, Ludacris, Adrian Belew, Luther Allison, Jay Bennett, Melanie, Ian Hobson, Henry Butler and many more. For the Wall to Wall/Ellnora Guitar Festival, he has recorded Los Lobos, Calexico, Ani DiFranco, The National, Junior Brown, Derek Trucks, Taj Mahal and many others. He serves as panelist, moderator, lecturer, workshop leader and recording judge at numerous audio conferences, including national and regional Audio Engineering Society Conferences, the Tape Op and Potluck Conferences, SXSW, and many more. He is on the national board of SPARS (the Society of Professional Recording Services) and also belongs to NARAS, AES, ASCAP, MEIEA and EARS.
Mark is a musician, recording engineer and producer, and also works as a consultant and legal expert witness in the fields of audio and copyright. He has written occasionally in such publications as Mix Magazine and for Tape Op Magazine, for whom he interviewed Les Paul.
Instructor / Studio Engineer
Jeremy Cottrell has worked for Blackbird Studio since it opened in 2002 and for The Blackbird Academy since it opened in 2013. His engineering credits include Sheryl Crow, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Martina McBride, Keith Urban, Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, Alison Krauss, Big & Rich and Jars Of Clay. Jeremy is originally from Oklahoma.
Instructor / Studio Engineer
Kevin Boettger is an audio engineer with over ten years of professional studio experience. After spending time in New Haven, CT working at Trod Nossel studios and studying Audio Engineering at the University of New Haven, Kevin decided to move to Nashville to pursue an audio engineering career at Blackbird Studio. Kevin has had the opportunity to work with artists such as Kacey Musgraves, Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney, Paramore, Capital Cities, Dan + Shay, Willie Nelson, and more. In 2018, Kevin had his hands on three projects that won Grammy awards: Willie Nelson’s ‘My Way’ (BEST TRADITIONAL POP VOCAL ALBUM), Dan + Shay ‘Tequila’ (BEST COUNTRY DUO/GROUP PERFORMANCE) and The Travelin’ McCoury’s self-titled record (BEST BLUEGRASS ALBUM). After spending some time pursuing an apprenticeship at Georgetown Masters, Kevin is back at The Blackbird Academy sharing his knowledge and experiences with students.