Frequently Asked Questions
What is MPI?
MPI is an experiential production school that gives you an insider’s look at how artists record and produce their music.The premise is simple: the best way to learn about the recording process is to see your favorite artists record in the studio. The curriculum mainly focuses on the creative process of producing, rather than the technical process of engineering.
What will I learn?
For three days you’ll study record production by watching “the real-deal," from pre-production and arranging to tracking, overdubbing, mixing and mastering. You’ll attend a full day of lectures covering all aspects of the production process, guided by Grammy-winning producer Steve Fishell. Special guest lecturers like Bob Ezrin (Pink Floyd, Peter Gabriel, Alice Cooper), Nathan Chapman (Taylor Swift, Sara Evans) and Dan Dugmore (famed “A” team Nashville studio musician) drop in to share their experiences and advice. MPI is like gaining three years of producing experience in three days.
How much do sessions cost?
Each session is priced individually based on the artists's project budget plus the number of days spent in the studio, usually between one and three days. Tuition generally ranges between $400 and $1200 per each artist studio session.
Why do artists allow me to attend?
Artists are generally very social people and they enjoy teaching and mentoring others about how they record their tracks. It’s a very difficult, time-consuming process, and artists generally appreciate having a few interested people at the session, rather than singing to the four walls. And sometimes students even get into the act. On special occasions, artists have invited the class to sing choir-like harmony parts or add percussion to a track. But mostly, students sit quietly and observe the session in the control room with the engineer and producer.
Will I be able to talk with the artist?
The artist’s principal goal in the studio is to record new music, and they must work hard to reach their goals. But the studio vibe is always relaxed and it’s common for artists and students to mingle, especially during their lunch break between sessions.
Are cameras allowed during the sessions?
In the age of youtube and Facebook, video cameras and recorders are strictly forbidden at MPI sessions. Still cameras are sometimes allowed, but only with the artist’s permission. Cell phones are forbidden in the studio and must be turned off at all times.
ARTIST & MANAGEMENT QUESTIONS
What is MPI?
MPI is an experiential producing school that gives an insider’s look at how artist’s recordings are made and how their tracks are produced.The premise is simple: the best way for students to learn about the recording process is to see their favorite artists record in the studio.
Why would I grant access to my sessions?
MPI is a new way to record: it’s a lot of fun and also helps artists on several levels. With MPI you’re able to mentor young students and help them better understand how you make your recordings. Also, MPI is a brand new way to reinforce ties with your fanbase. Plus MPI can significantly lower your own recording costs: it’s like a free recording fund. In fact, most artists find that their sessions are completely paid for by MPI attendees.
How does it work for me?
For artists, it’s like any other day in the studio; it’s not a classroom. You record in the studio of your choice with your entire team: your producer, musicians and engineers. It’s your session. You can record anything you want: masters, demos, bonus tracks, free downloads, soundtrack recordings, anything. One band recorded seventeen master tracks in only two days (The Del McCoury Band in May 2011). It’s your canvas. Paint it any way you like.
Students attend your sessions for two days, from 10am until 5pm. Afterwards you are free to work into the evening as late as you want.
Will the students interfere?
No. In fact, artists find they perform on a much higher level with a few very interested people observing. Students generally sit between the glass and the console and observe silently -- with great respect. Questions are allowed at specific times – about once every two hours -- for ten minutes, but otherwise the students are silent. Anyone who interferes with your session will be given a refund and asked to leave, although this hasn't happened yet.
These artist masters were recorded at MPI:
"Goin' Home" Kenny Wayne Shepherd Released May 19, 2014
"Tarpaper Sky" Rodney Crowell Released April 15, 2014 Available at iTunes and Amazon.com
"Old Memories: The Songs of Bill Monroe" The Del McCoury Band Released September 27, 2011 Available at McCoury Music Records and iTunes All 16 tracks were recorded at MPI on May 5-6, 2011. *Album nominated for a GRAMMY for "Best Bluegrass Album" 2012
"It's Already Tomorrow" Foster & Lloyd Effin Ell Records Released May 27, 2011 Available at iTunes and Amazon Five tracks on this album were recorded in December 2010 at MPI.
"Circles Around Me" Sam Bush* From the Sugar Hill album "Circles Around Me" Released October 20, 2009 Available at iTunes & Amazon *Album nominated for a GRAMMY for "Best Bluegrass Album" 2011
"Blue Mountain" Sam Bush*From the Sugar Hill Records album "Circles Around Me" Released October 20, 2009 Available at iTunes & Amazon *Album nominated for a GRAMMY for "Best Bluegrass Album" 2011
"Get Your Kicks (On Route 66)" Asleep at the Wheel and Leon Rausch From the Bismeaux Productions album entitled "It's A Good Day," released July 20, 2010. Recorded at an MPI session in October, 2009 at Bismeaux Studios Austin, TX
"Halcyon Days" Jason & The Scorchers From Mammoth Records. Released March 2, 2010. The entire 15-song album was tracked at a 3-day marathon MPI session in March 2009. USA Today Pick of the Week.
"People Just Love To Talk" Delbert McClinton From the New West album "Acquired Taste" Released August 18, 2009 Available at iTunes & Amazon
"Deep Blue Summer Day" Robert Earl Keen From the Lost Highway Records album "The Rose Hotel" Released September 29, 2009 (Amazon "MP3 Exclusive Track" with album purchase)
"A Little Revival" Radney Foster & The Confessions From the Devil's River Records album "Revival" Released August 25, 2009 Available at iTunes & Amazon
"Second Chances" Radney Foster & The Confessions From the Devil's River Records album "Revival" Released August 25, 2009 Available at iTunes & Amazon
"New Years Eve" Jerry Douglas (with Maura O'Connell) From the Koch Records album "Jerry Christmas" Released October 13, 2009 Available at iTunes & Amazon