Meet Our Team

The staff and instructors at Dark Horse Institute are each passionate about the creative and business sides of music, and about helping you succeed in your chosen field. All of our instructors are working professionals in the field, which means you will be learning the best and most relevant information in the music world.

Staff, Robin Crow

Robin Crow

Founder & CEO

Robin Crow is the Founder and CEO of three uniquely successful companies: Dark Horse Recording and Dark Horse Institute in Franklin, TN, and Luxury Mountain Rentals in Telluride, CO. As an RCA recording artist, he drew rave reviews for his musicianship while touring relentlessly. As an in-demand public speaker, he has delivered over 2,200 keynote speeches to major corporations and is the author of seven books, including the USA Today Bestseller, Evolve or Die.

Staff, Cathy Baird

Cathy Baird

VP of Academic Operations

Cathy Baird has worked in the field of college admissions and operations for more than 14 years, including as Director of Enrollment of the Chef’s Academy at Harrison College, and Director of Admissions at Daymar College and Southwestern College, both in Kentucky. Baird holds degrees in Business Administration and Management from Volunteer State Community College and Triton College in Illinois. Driven by a desire to help students get on track with their educational goals, she was recently promoted from Institutional Director to Vice President of Academic Operations.

Staff, John Proctor

John Proctor


John Proctor started out as a typical Tennessee farm boy, but after he completed his degree at MTSU in Agricultural Business he found he had a gift for growing not just crops, but careers. He has worked in sales, customer service, recruiting, management, and college admissions, and joins the Dark Horse team with a big heart and a wealth of resources to help you plan and succeed in your future career.

Staff, Courtney Miarka

Courtney Miarka


Courtney is a Nashville native and Army veteran with a wide background in sales, recruiting, research and operations. Raised by two aspiring artists and with a brother who toured and played for years, Courtney has always been around musicians and dream-chasers. She has a strong desire for connecting with others and is excited to continue that passion here at DHI by helping students enroll and gain the hands-on experience they need to launch their careers in the music industry!

Staff, Lauren Adkins

Lauren Adkins


Musician, producer, and singer-songwriter Lauren packed up her car and moved to Nashville from native Cleveland to help artists like herself tell their stories. She’s worked for Jimmy Kimmel Live, edited sound for the Emmy winning TV show “The Deadliest Catch” and assisted in the production of the Bonnaroo Music Festival in 2016. Lauren’s passion and experience provide students with excellent resources to plan a successful career in the industry.

Staff, Michael Elliott

Michael Elliott

Student Career Services

Michael Elliott is a multi-talented producer, engineer, and musician from Milwaukee Wisconsin. With a certificate in audio engineering from the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences and a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Business from Middle Tennessee State University, Michael offers a first-hand understanding of what lies ahead for Dark Horse Institute students after graduation. Since moving to Nashville, Tennessee seven years ago, Michael has worked in several large-format studios across Nashville Tennessee and Milwaukee Wisconsin. With a passion for helping others, Michael is excited to provide counseling and one-on-one career development for students and graduates.

Staff, Austin Bryan

Austin Bryan

Student Career Services

Austin Bryan holds bachelors degrees in 'Business Administration' from 'Birmingham-Southern College' and 'Music Business/Music Production' from 'Belmont University'. Austin loves connecting potential students to Dark Horse Institute and seeing our graduates utilize their skills learned in "real-world" scenarios. When not in the office, Austin loves to play electric guitar, modify / build / and repair guitar effect pedals.

Staff, Dave Hagen

Dave Hagen

Instructor / Lead Engineer

Dave graduated from Missouri State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Audio/ Electronic Arts before interning at Dark Horse Recording. In 2011 he became a staff engineer and in addition to teaching Audio Engineering and Producing has recorded dozens of bands on Sony, Capitol, Gotee, and Tooth and Nail including Ashley Judd, OneRepublic, Relient K, Matthew West, Jeremy Camp and For King and Country.

Staff, Matt Sepanic

Matt Sepanic

Instructor / Engineer

Matt Sepanic has been professionally producing and recording for over 19 years. Sepanic has worked with such notable artists as World Under, If Ever Was a Fire, The Envy Corps, Decoy, Johnny Reeferseed, and Slipknot, including recording their Platinum album All Hope Is Gone. His work with many of the artists has been showcased in various movies and television shows. Matt is deeply versed in both Pro Tools and analog recording.

Staff, Sam Falle

Sam Falle

Instructor / Engineer

Sam was born and raised on a small island called Jersey which is located between England and France. Prior to moving to the U.S. in 2016, Sam studied Popular Music and Sound Technology at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts and spent the last 10 years working as a professional freelance Engineer in various studios across the U.K. He operated as house Engineer for Irish singer-songwriter Gilbert O’Sullivan at his own private studio located in Jersey Channel Island as well as an engineer at Mothership Studios for English Producer Ray Hedges. Other credits include Mercury Records, Sony BMG, ITV television, Syco Music, X-Factor (UK), The Struts, Joe McElderry and Mauro Picotto.

Staff, Dennis Ritchie

Dennis Ritchie

Instructor / Engineer

During Dennis’s diverse career he has created charting hits in Pop, Rock, Country, Gospel, Blues, and Bluegrass as well as commercial music for radio, network television, and movies. His Grammy-nominated skillset runs from studio design to final mastering. A small sampling of his credits include Johnny Cash, Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris, Charlie Daniels, Michael Martin Murphy, Ricky Scaggs, Tanya Tucker, Delbert McClinton, and New Grass Revival.

Staff, Peter Wahler

Peter Wahler

Instructor / Engineer

Peter is originally from St. Louis, MO, but moved to Boston, MA to attend Berklee College of Music. After graduating with a degree in Production and Engineering, he moved to Nashville, where he has had the opportunity to work with a wide variety of artists including Keith and Kristyn Getty, Ricky Scaggs, Steven Curtis Chapman, John Patitucci, Richie McDonald (Lonestar), Ashley Judd, and Alison Krauss. In addition to playing bass and engineering in Nashville, including during his time as co-owner of a local recording studio specializing in rhythm section tracks, Peter has toured globally, playing in esteemed venues such as Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, and Royal Albert Hall.

Staff, Jamie Nehasil

Jamie Nehasil

Music Business Instructor

Jamie Nehasil brings decades of entertainment business experience to DHI students, having formerly served as Owner and President of Common Grounds Entertainment, VP of Strategic Partnerships at Black Fuel Music/220 Entertainment Group, and Director of Music and Marketing at Tri Star Sports and Entertainment Group. Previous clients have included personalities at the highest levels in music, acting, modeling, publishing, politics and professional athletics. He holds an MBA from the Massey Graduate School of Business, and a BGS in Business Management and Marketing from the Univ. of Minnesota.

Staff, Randy Sabiston

Randy Sabiston

Online Music Business Instructor

Randy is a veteran of the music publishing business having worked for many of the major publishing companies including EMI Music Publishing, PolyGram Music and Warner/Chappell Music in New York. He started Sabco Music & Management in 2015 and relocated to Nashville in 2017. His various signings and projects over the years include The Lumineers, Gavin DeGraw, Will Hoge, Lifehouse, The Hold Steady and Quicksand among many others.

Staff, Michelle Hilton

Michelle Hilton


Michelle attended the University of Florida before setting down roots in Nashville. For over a decade she has been managing the finances for many of Nashville’s biggest stars. When she’s not at DHI keeping the books, she’s hanging out on her farm with her thoroughbred horses.

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