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What alumni are saying about MPI

Lee Roy Parnell Sessions August 7-9, 2015 at Sound Emporium Studios, Nashville, TN

The Lee Roy Parnell session was my second visit to MPI, the first being in 2012 for the Duane Eddy / Dan Dugmore portion of the Buddy Emmons tribute album “The Big E”.  The fact that I was prepared to travel from Toronto Canada on two occasions for this experience speaks to the value that I place in attending an MPI event. The opportunity to watch and learn as music industry professionals of the highest calibre work their magic in the studio is as fascinating as it sounds. Whether one is an aspiring record producer, studio engineer or perhaps a musician interested in the recording process, this is an unforgettable and invaluable experience. MPI sessions are a comfortable blend of informative discourse with producers, engineers and artists, coupled with the opportunity to just sit quietly and observe the recording process right there in the studio as it is happening. If you intend to make a living in the music business, consider this a real investment in your career. If you just want to hang with some of the coolest people you will ever get to meet,  learn more about their craft, and leave inspired to do bigger and better things with your own music, an MPI session is money well spent.
Colin Bradley
Guitarist – Niagara on the Lake, Ontario, CANADA.

Duane Eddy & Dan Dugmore's June 22-23, 2012 Sessions at Sound Emporium, Nashville

"Music Producers Institute provided a perfect opportunity to intimately watch and learn the art and technology of music production during an actual top level recording session with a favorite artist. The learning aspect alone was invaluable and when combined with the opportunity to listen and learn from my favorite artists, taken as a whole the whole experience was truly priceless. I would most highly recommend an MPI session for anyone who has a serious interest in music production or with a need to learn quickly how modern recording sessions are planned, performed and engineered to produce a final, marketable product at the industry’s highest level. I found my time well spent and left revitalized with a much better understanding of the music production process and the fine people involved."

Dr. David W. Hobson

San Antonio, Texas


Radney Foster's "Del Rio Revisited" Sessions March 2-4, 2012 Cedar Creek Recording, Austin, TX

"The MPI session was an amazing experience. Being able to watch an artist work close up was a huge boost for me personally as well as professionally. On top of being a huge Radney Foster fan, I am an even bigger fan of music, and being able to watch our engineer and production team at work was fun and enlightening. It was well worth the cost, and Radney was more than gracious about answering questions, signing autographs,  and talking to attendees about everyday things. It was a family-based, fun atmosphere and a great opportunity to enjoy music at its most intimate level. As a music student, I loved the process of production and enjoyed watching some of the best session instrumentalists in the business perform. Steve was nothing but a gracious host, providing healthy snacks, answering questions, and being a “tour guide” for the weekend. I would definitely recommend this to anyone with a passion for music, a family looking for a weekend getaway, or just a fan wanting to watch his or her favorite artist at work in the studio."

Tommy Lewis

Alvin, TX

The Del McCoury Band Sessions May 2-4, 2011 Sound Emporium Studios, Nashville, TN

I just wanted to drop you a line to tell you how pleased I was with the Del McCoury Band session. I was so impressed with the warmth and generosity of all involved and the amazing people I've met during these past three days. Just the studio banter between Del and producer/engineer David Ferguson was worth the price of admission and to see up close one of the top bands at their peak was an experience I will never forget! Thank you for opening a door that few will ever get to walk inside. Please keep me on the mailing list, I would do this again in a heartbeat. Please thank Del and the Band, the Sound Emporium and all the rest for an unbelievable three days!

Tom Weiss
Bellows Falls, VT

"I am a music performance coach and producer based in Portland, Oregon, and it was my pleasure to travel to Nashville to attend the MPI sessions with Todd Snider at the Sound Emporium.  As I have long been a great admirer of Todd’s work, I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to spend three days observing his fascinating creative process.

In addition, my conversations with Steve Fishell were nothing short of enlightening and entirely inspirational.  It is refreshing to encounter someone who has been in the industry so long and so successfully but who is still completely down to earth and altruistic.  Steve truly is one of the good guys, and I applaud the vision and the mission he brings to MPI. I came away with a renewed sense of excitement and purpose for my own career, and I highly recommend this experience to anyone who needs the same."
Vicki Ambinder
Portland, Oregon


Asleep At The Wheel sessions October 5 - 7, 2009 at Bismeaux Studio, Austin, Texas

I recently travelled from England to Austin, Texas to attend the MPI / Asleep At The Wheel session at Bismeaux Studio.

All the attendees had their own reasons for coming to the session; in my case I am not a musician but a lifelong music fan with a longstanding wish to learn how the production process works. From start to finish the whole event was organised in a professional and friendly way by Steve Fishell, who gave everyone the benefit of his many years of experience as a musician and producer at the top level of the music business. The hospitality shown by Asleep at the Wheel and the relaxed expertise of top engineer Sam Siefert supported Steve’s aim of giving attendees three years of production experience in three days.

For my own part, I had a blast and have come away with knowledge and insight that I could not have gained in any other way. I have no hesitation in recommending Steve and MPI to anyone with an interest in studio production.

Chris Baker, Chichester, United Kingdom


 Robert Earl Keen sessions August 3-5, 2009 at Pedernales Studios, Spicewood, Texas

The MPI session that I attended was an invaluable experience. . . everything from the terminology learned to the undiluted experience in a recording studio with Grammy winners who were accessible and more than willing to share their music production wisdom.  I never stopped taking notes, and I feel that I have learned enough to significantly improve my own studio experience and know the difference between a good sound and a great sound.  Thank you for taking me to the next level! 
Heather Lingle
Butte, MT


Jason and the Scorchers sessions March 26 - 28, 2009 at Ocean Way Nashville with producers Brad Jones and Warner Hodges  

From Jason Ringenberg of Jason and the Scorchers:

"I have to say that our experience with the MPI sessions could not have been more positive.  Since Jason and the Scorchers had not recorded new material in over 12 years, we needed a creative sympathetic system and MPI more than supplied that. The studio was first class, the staff was completely supportive and professional, and most importantly the attendees of the session actually added to the vibe of the experience. They were completely into the process, and having an audience actually intensified the energy and atmosphere for our band. Let’s face it, all musicians love a sympathetic audience!   On top of all that, the financial aspects of the program are very artist friendly.  I wholeheartedly endorse MPI and believe in what they are doing. In fact, I feel they played a key role in getting us back into the studio."


Just back home after a terrific week in Nashville at the Ocean Way Studios for the MPI session with Jason and the Scorchers. This was an absolute delight! Steve Fishell does an amazing job of putting these unique MPI sessions together. The guys in the band—Jason, Warner, Al and Pontus could not have been more accommodating and friendly. Watching magnificent producer Brad Jones at work was a treat, and he did everything possible to explain any part of the process and  patiently answered our questions.
The folks at Ocean Way were most hospitable, and with a nice sense of humor, as well. On day three they presented Jason Ringenberg with a Certificate and a Trophy proclaiming Jason and the Scorchers the “Loudest Band to Ever Record at Ocean Way.” Quite an honor!
The tracking session produced quite a number of great new tracks. I know I’ll be looking forward to the CD.
If you have an interest in music production, or are just a big fan, an MPI session may be one of the best experiences you can ever have.
Thank you, Steve… MPI rocks!
---Bo Barber, San Antonio, TX

Sam Bush sessions at Ocean Way Nashville with David Sinko engineering February 28-March 2, 2009:

Just a note to thank you for making a dream possible.

MPI turned out to be the perfect choice for learning – in 3 days – the essentials of the recording industry with an emphasis on producing.  It was fast paced, in a professional setting, comfortable and best of all held alongside a long time musical hero of mine, Sam Bush. While learning we got to interact with Sam, his outstanding band, his engineer and road manager.  And Steve you were an excellent teacher and host.  I could not have asked for more!

At first I was a little dubious when receiving your E Mail but I soon discovered MPI is the “Real Deal” and offers a nice blend of clear academic benefits and close up session experience in Nashville where venues are captivating for all music fans.  I would recommend MPI anytime to an individual who wants to delve deeply into the development of recorded music while fulfilling a musical fantasy.

Having walked away with all kinds of ideas, I will be using this MPI journey to improve my personal home recording skills.

Thanks again Steve for making it all happen, you are to be commended for creating such a unique and valuable program.  I would endorse MPI anytime.

Ray Garon

President/General Manager  

Manchester Radio Group

I confess, when I first heard about MPI through an email blast, I was very skeptical. I wondered if it was above board or some kind of scam. After reading the information at the MPI website and finding all the details on the musician’s website, I felt more confident. Still, I went further and talked with a member of the band’s road crew. He said, “If you can’t come to MPI for this session, look at the rest of the line-up for someone else you want to work with. This is a great program.”
I attended MPI sessions with the Sam Bush Band in February/March of 2009. As an aspiring producer, there’s no better way to get a “big picture” view of the process without also having the producer’s responsibilities while you learn-on-the-job. As a music fan, it’s a great way to be on the “inside” learning about the process that professional, working musicians go through to put their music together for the listening public.
Steve Fishell offers a relaxed, yet focused curriculum that covers all the areas of production. Then you go into the studio, stay out of the way, and keep your eyes and ears open for two days of recording/overdubbing. Don’t blink or you’ll miss something critical! Music Producer’s Institute is well worth the course fee and is a vital source of information for anyone who wants to become a producer. With this course you can take advantage of Steve’s years of experience and avoid a lot of time consuming trial-and-error. Whether your intention is to become a record producer, or spend some time with your favorite musicians, you won’t walk away unchanged. MPI delivers what it claims and much more. I highly recommend it.
~Sonnie Brown
Public Radio producer and host of The Minstrel Song Show

Steve, thanks for sharing your knowledge and expertise with me, my wife Becky, and all of the students who attended the 3-day recording/producing session with Sam Bush, his recording engineer Dave Sinko, and his band.  The lectures, open discussions, listening sessions on vocal comping, technical discussions and explanations regarding compression/limiting, autotune, and the psychology of the "herd" mentality in the music business were real attention getters and very valuable for me as a musician. Not a dull moment the entire weekend.  We also enjoyed getting to know everyone from Sam and his band to the hard working technical guys, and most of all getting to know Steve Fishell. You are a truly nice guy and you have a passion for what you do.

thanks again so much,
Bo and Becky Carneal

Springfield, VA

Jerry Douglas Sessions with engineer Bil VornDick February 9-11, 2009:


As a non-professional musician, I found this session to be one of the most informative and valuable music experiences I’ve ever attended.
The atmosphere generated by Steve, Jerry, Bil, Maura, Bob and the rest made me feel at home immediately.  The first day discussions were casual yet very informative about what a producer contributes to the recording process.  The side stories of personal experiences were insightful as to what really happens “behind the scenes”.
The following days in one of the best Nashville studios watching masters at work and being able to ask questions was remarkable.  Watching Jerry interact with the engineer, the band and Maura showed how a Grammy-winning producer gets it done.  Bob Ezrin’s words on quality were right on the mark and inspiring.
I’d recommend this experience to anyone who wants to learn how the pros do it and gain insight on the technical and person skills necessary to be successful in today’s music business.

Dave Takacs

Campbell, California


I just wanted to thank you for the extraordinary three days I just spent at Ocean Way.
In these times when inexpensive technology enables, and indeed requires, us to be writer, musician, engineer, producer,  the course worked for me on each of those levels and more.
While it was great to chat ‘audio-geek’  with Bil and Jerry and Kyle Ford and Jacob, the whole three days was a fantastic reminder of the human interactions that must always lie at the heart of great music ( Jerry shouting "yee-haw" through the talkback to Maura during the instrumental break when she was half way through her great take was one particular highlight).
The days in the studio with Jerry and Bil were obviously the highlight, but the sheer affirmative power of producer Bob Ezrin’s wise (and kind) words will stay with me for a long time, as will the spine-tingling vocal from Maura when she nailed the song.
And let’s not underplay your own contribution, the first day was an excellent overview. Don’t change the loose rambling presentation, I enjoyed the tangents, tangents are good!!!!!!
It was great to see how the big boys play with their toys, it’s not that different, they just play better and with bigger toys. And ‘playing’ is what it is. Like Jerry said a few times, it’s got to be fun otherwise there’s no point in doing it....
So thanks once again, please feel free to refer any prospective attendees to me if they need a testimonial from a veteran...

Lennie Harvey

London, England


Delbert McClinton Sessions  December 9-12, 2008:

Say you are a huge music fan, and would like to get a chance to be there, watching and listening, as the magic of recording takes place. MPI will give you an unparalleled chance to do just that.
But if you are a musician, or a recording engineer with a desire to start on the road to understanding not just the science, but the art of producing great musical recordings, then MPI may be the very best place to begin that journey. Its an extraordinary experience.
Steve Fishell has an impressive resume as a producer. He understands and teaches this whole mysterious process, and he serves it up with a wonderful mix of good humor, warmth and hospitality. You’ll feel at home and welcome in the first minutes, and the lessons you’ll take with you are priceless.
Don't miss this singularly unique opportunity. 

San Antonio, Texas

Raul Malo Sessions  November 20-23, 2008

Thank you so much for the opportunity to attend your M.P.I. class last week. Knowing your program is designed for music record production and engineering studies, my wife and I are grateful for you allowing us as music fans to join. All connected to M.P.I. did a fabulous job and made us feel very welcome. M.P.I. was absolutely first class all the way.

As you know, for us the draw was an opportunity to spend time with Raul Malo, a world class artist and his band. Being able to spend time with both a Grammy Award winning artist and record producer was a must do. It is a kind of “Bucket List” item.

Raul has been a favorite of ours for years. His beautiful eclectic music has constant play at home and in our cars.  To watch as Raul and his band members constructed a song from the ground up was amazing. The intimacy of the studio and control room was unexpected. Spending so much time, even meals, with the musicians and production people was over the top. Every question I ever had about recording was answered. The opportunity to speak with Tracy Gershon from Warner Brothers Records was icing on the cake. Her knowledge of the inner workings of the record companies was enlightening. She did a great job.

I have enjoyed music, according to my mother, since I was three years old. The radio was my baby sitter. I have played in a band and been to live performances since I was 10 or 12. Live I have been fortunate to see the likes of Ray Charles to Stevie Ray Vaughn. Alison Krauss to the Bee Gees to Liberace. The Beach Boys to Bread. From Chaka Kahn, Earth, Wind and Fire to having season tickets to the Seattle Symphony. I’ve been blown away by Joe Cocker, the Moody Blues, the Guess Who and Raul, and been thrilled by a list too long….but I have never enjoyed any music performance as much as the time I spent in your class with Raul.

Steve, I will never be able to thank you enough for a lifetime memories. From a fans point of view, I would encourage anyone who loves music to become involved with M.P.I. They will be thrilled!  

       --- John C. Plasker  Pasco, Washington

I wanted to thank you again for the great time John and I had in your MPI class.  Learning about producing, recording, mixing, and mastering a track was very informative. The Warner Brothers A&R speaker Tracy Gershon also contributed a great deal to the class. 

When John and I made the decision to sign up for your class we attended first as fans of Raul but found your class extremely educational, entertaining, and we thoroughly enjoyed every minute.  At first I was a little concerned it might not interest me as much but found that was not the case.  Everyone involved made it a great experience, one that won’t soon be forgotten.  Even though the class is geared towards engineers or those in the “recording” business I would not be afraid to recommend attending your MPI session to any music fan, and if the artist just happens to be a “favorite”, all the better.

Steve, please be sure to forward our thanks to Raul, all the band members, the studio employees, and especially everyone associated with the recording of Raul’s track. 

       --- Vickie L. Plasker  Pasco, Washington

Radney Foster Sessions  October 23-26, 2008:

"This was a great opportunity for anyone who’s an aspiring music producer, or anyone that’s interested in learning what goes on behind the scenes. It gives you a whole new perspective—from the stories, and insight, and advice given from the individuals who’ve been in the business to observing what goes on during a master recording session. Much thanks to you, Radney Foster, Darrell Brown, Niko Bolas, and everyone else who helped create this wonderful experience. A truly inspiring weekend. This is the stuff they don’t teach you in school. It exceeded all expectations and I came away with knowledge that I couldn’t have gotten from any college course, learning more in those four days than one semester.  Truly something I’ll remember forever.

Thanks so much, Steve, for putting this program together!"      

       ----Casey from Detroit, Michigan

"The MPI session with Radney Foster was a fantastic experience. I came in
baffled by the music production process. We first learned about "Critical
Listening", how to listen to music through the ear of the producer. We used
our "new ears" through out the entire process of song production - from
acoustic demo version of 2 songs, to recording with the band, comping
vocals, adding sounds and backing vocals, mixing down and finally mastering.
It was amazing to hear the differences in the songs throughout the process.
Artist Radney Foster, producer Darrell Brown, engineer Niko Bolas, and of
course Steve Fishell all added their insight while attempting to de-mystify
the process.

Now, when I listen to the radio I am very aware of how they make the songs
sound they way they do. Newly recorded songs are all trying to win the
LOUDNESS War. Now I know why."

      ----Doug Keiles  Princeton, New Jersey


"Thanks so much or creating such a great program!  The entire 4 days couldn’t have been more inspiring.  Between Radney, Darrell Brown, Niko Bolas and yourself, I felt like I just got my MBA in how to put together a great record.  Everyone was so accessible and open, it made the experience exceed my wildest expectations."    

      ----Steve Mochel, New York


June 2008 Sessions:

"Taking the MPI class has been motivating and inspirational. As a songwriter it's invaluable to see the "high end" of the spectrum of recording with Steve Fishell as producer at the helm, and top notch engineers from tracking to mastering. The best thing about the whole experience is that -- as I return to my own home studio recording -- I realize I've learned more than I ever thought!  Besides the specific questions that are answered during the course of the class, it's the overview that is just as important. There is no longer a "mystery" regarding how great recordings are made, but rather a great aspiration to come a bit closer to the ideal. Thanks Steve!"
          ----Jeanette Freant, Nashville, TN

"The MPI opportunity to record 1 song, from song selection to mastering, for four days, with...
1.    A great recording artist
2.    A Grammy-winning producer,
3.    Nashville’s “A” list engineers,
4.    Nashville’s “A” list session players
5.    Nashville’s “elite” mastering engineers
6.    MPI special guest speakers
7.    Surprise “Celebrity & Insider” drop-ins and personal introductions
8.    At (multi-platinum producer) Garth Fundis’s studio (Sound Emporium)
9.    And the # 1 mastering facility on Music Row (Georgetown Mastering)
10.  Free (healthy) snacks & an assortment of beverages all day an extraordinarily, rare privilege. I was BLOWN AWAY…Thank you, Steve."

          ----James Rea, RAMA / Executive Director A&R / Creator / The Producer’s Chair

"First of all, thanks for everything!  This week has been quite the ?experience and I learned a lot about how making a record goes down.  ?Having the opportunity to work with top class musicians, The Levees, ?Reece Wynans and Joanna Cotten, top class engineers, Dave Sinko, David Leonard, and Andrew Mendelson ?and a fine producer and instructor (that would be you) was just ?awesome.  As for being part of the first class of MPI, I think your ?program will only grow.  I think that bringing in people in the ?industry like Tracy Gershon and “Here, There and Everywhere” co-author Howard Massey gives us an inside look into the music ?industry and the machine that it is.  After taking this class I feel ?like I will be more confident when I start my career as an engineer/?producer.  Also, I have another year of school to work on the things ?I've learned from you which will help me be better prepared when I ?graduate.  Keep doing what you're doing, I ?think MPI has a bright future.?"
             ----Alex Gilson,  University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC

"The entire week was a complete thrill and I really enjoyed everything. Thanks for all of your hard work in putting such a great program together. It was great to see how a producer works in a studio."
            ----Jackson Floyd, Trinity University, San Antonio, TX

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