Questions & Answers

We’re thrilled that you want to know more about getting your Audio Engineering and Music Business education at Dark Horse Institute. 

Below you’ll find a list of some of the common questions we get about the admissions process, job placement, our education department, financial aid, student resources, and more. If you don’t find the answer you’re looking for, call us at (615) 791-7020.

Why should I choose Dark Horse Institute as my music production school?

At DHI our instructors are working engineers and music industry executives, we keep our classes small to ensure that our students get plenty of one-on-one time with their instructors, that our audio engineering students are trained on professional studio equipment, and that we offer a comprehensive career development program—all of which give our students an edge in this highly competitive industry. Our goal is to provide you with the working knowledge and marketable skills you need to step into a wide range of positions in the production or business facet of the music industry. We specialize in training our recording arts students for production, as well as engineering, which consists of three major elements: the creative skills of a producer, the technical skills of an engineer, and the business skills of an entrepreneur. Our music business students will graduate with the knowledge and skills to either get a job or start your own music business.

What makes DHI different from other audio engineering or music business schools?

There are many reasons why DHI may be a superior choice: professional instructors with real-world experience, world-renowned facilities equipped with industry-standard equipment, more opportunities for independent studio time, and hands-on learning of the business, smaller class sizes, and career services to name a few. Most of all, we are a professional recording studio and an indie record label, not just a school. When comparing other schools to our professional program, we suggest spending some time researching these critical components:

  • Faculty. DHI’s instructors include professional, working engineers and producers as well as leading music executives. These pros have worked on many of the gold and platinum records which hang on our walls, and developed many of the careers you’ve read about in Billboard and other music trade magazines. Music is their livelihood.
  • Facilities and equipment. DHI has 4 recording studios and multiple computer workstations that serve as classrooms and training areas. We believe students learn by doing. Audio Engineering students also have access to professional grade equipment from day one. Students also have the opportunity to record their own music without additional hourly rates, rental fees, or long waiting lists.
  • Career preparation. DHI’s programs are designed to prepare you to launch a career immediately out of school. Our career services department helps you sharpen your cover letter, résumé and interviewing skills and contacts employers to find entry-level positions or internships in the industry. We also encourage you to start a target list of employers you would like to work for so we can assist you in preparing a campaign that puts you on their radar.

Would I benefit coming to DHI right out of high school?

Many people don’t have the time or funding to go to a 2- or 4-year program for a degree that is not required for audio or music business professionals. Our program is designed to benefit someone right out of high school wanting to learn new skills as well as a professional wanting to sharpen their skills. We accept students of all ages and levels of experience.

Should I combine DHI’s program with completing a college course?

It’s always good to have some business education under your belt. Part of being a good engineer is having a good business background. Many students take our program after graduating from high school or college and launch a career afterward. Some college students often take a semester off and attend DHI as a supplement to the college degree they are seeking.

Straight Answers to Tough Questions

Why should I choose Dark Horse Institute for my audio engineering and music business education?

Our programs cut out the fat and give you not only a thorough understanding of your chosen field but hands-on experience doing the things that will make you successful.

What will a certificate from DHI get me?

The two things that will make the difference in a successful career in the entertainment industry are your level of competency with the skills we teach you and the relationships you make.

Will I get a job in the entertainment industry right away once I graduate?

On average, it will take one to two years of consistently working on your craft, along with networking and building relationships. This is why we allow our graduates to record at Dark Horse Recording for free for a year after graduation. And that’s why we currently have a 78 percent in-field placement rate that is far beyond the industry standard.

Why should I take the DHI Music Business program when I really just want to be an engineer?

No matter whether you are an aspiring artist, engineer or producer, you will be more successful and better able to monetize your efforts if you have a deep understanding of how the music industry operates.

Why should I move to Nashville?

There are countless benefits that come from living in Nashville. You will dramatically stack the deck in your favor by immersing yourself where all of the action is.

What does the future of the entertainment industry look like?

All sectors of business are moving towards a more entrepreneurial approach and there is an unprecedented shift towards freelance work. From indie artists to Uber drivers to independent consultants, more and more people are choosing the freedom of being self-employed. The entertainment industry is no exception. We help you prepare yourself to be a small business owner, and your product is YOU.


What are the basic admissions requirements?

Basic admissions requirements are as follows:

  • A high school diploma (or GED).
  • We seek students with the dedication and discipline to become good students at DHI as well as successful entrepreneurs in the entertainment industry.
  • You must have a phone or in-person interview with the Admissions department and be recommended for acceptance.
  • Ability to meet tuition requirements.

What is the interview about?

Our admissions team meets with each student individually for an informational dialogue. The interview gives you the chance to learn about our program in detail, have your questions answered, see the studios and workstations and determine if DHI is the right choice for you. The interview also gives DHI the opportunity to ascertain if you’re the right candidate for our program. Interviews typically last between 60-90 minutes. If a class is in session while you are visiting the campus, there may be an opportunity to sit in on a session to further experience our creative learning environment.

Do I need an appointment to schedule a tour/interview?

All interviews are scheduled by appointment with Admissions by calling (615) 791-7020. Because our goal at DHI is to provide the education and experience necessary for you to have a long-term career in the industry, we’re looking for people that are dedicated and passionate and who are ready to roll up their sleeves to obtain the professional skills needed to be successful in the music and entertainment business. We conduct private daily tour by appointment only. We will do all we can to accommodate your schedule.

Do I need to bring a parent along to my meeting with an admissions representative?

Most parents are involved in the decision-making process. If they will be helping you financially, we do require that you bring one or both of your parents. It is also to your benefit to have anyone helping you make this decision understand DHI’s credentials and career possibilities.

Do I need a demo to get accepted?

A demo of your work is not required. Experience is certainly helpful but not necessary. Many of the skills you will need to be successful in the industry are taught here at DHI. You bring the passion and we will do the rest.

How do I get started toward enrollment?

After your interview with a member of our admissions team, the first step is to submit your application and application fee of $250. The application doesn’t commit you to attending our school, nor does it commit DHI to accept you. An application submitted with an application fee holds a place for you in a future class and locks in the tuition rate at the time your application is received. Early application submission is encouraged in order to secure the start date you prefer. Please note sessions populate well in advance and start dates are subject to availability at the time a deposit is made.

What happens after you receive my application?

Once we receive your application, you will work together with your admissions representative to complete all tasks required to start school. Also once you submit your application you will have special invites to open house events, barbecues and other activities hosted by DHI prior to session starts.

What’s next after I’m accepted to DHI?

Should we agree on a mutual fit and you are admitted to our program, you will pay your application fee. Any tuition fees will be set up in a payment plan. Your first payment will be due on the first day of class. Those who need housing will be given information on housing costs, transportation, and room sharing. You will be given a student handbook and study materials on your first day of class.

Should I graduate high school first before I send my application?

While a high school diploma or GED is required to start DHI, many prospective students submit their applications before they graduate from high school. The college planning process can be lengthy, so it may be worthwhile to apply and work toward acceptance while still in high school.

Why would I travel away from home to go to a school?

Those who are serious about becoming successful in the music business will do whatever it takes to get the proper professional training to position them for success. Much like an aspiring actor or actress would travel to Hollywood or New York City to maximize their chances for success in film; our students come from all over the country and around the world to learn from our esteemed instructors in our world-class facilities in a city where most of the world’s music is produced on a daily basis—Nashville!

Job Placement

Does DHI offer career assistance?

Like so many industries, it’s who you know and what you know in the field of music and entertainment. DHI has an aggressive career assistance program that prepares both students and graduates to search for various job opportunities. Career assistance is not just a department – it’s a class with reading materials and workbooks. In the career assistance class, you will be taught how to write a memorable cover letter and comprehensive resume. You will learn interviewing skills, etiquette and decorum as well as follow-up methods you can utilize subsequent to your job interview. While we can’t guarantee a job, our career services department can be a valuable resource throughout your career development. We know securing a job encompasses so many factors including educational training, level of experience, networking abilities and presentation skills. We hone in on these elements in our training classes to give you every advantage to learn how to present yourself in a professional manner and optimize networking opportunities.

What can I expect from the Career Services Department at DHI?

We will work with you one-on-one to assist you in your search for employment, internships, or freelance opportunities relevant to your education and experience. We can also assist you with résumé writing, interviewing and follow-up procedures. The DHI career services department also offers assistance long after you graduate.

What kind of jobs do you train for?

Our goal is to impart a greater depth of knowledge and a broader range of skills encompassing the music and entertainment business as a whole. Our students have found opportunities in audio production (film, TV, video, radio, commercial advertising, music recording) and entertainment businesses (live sound, record labels, management, promotions). There is a wide array of prospective employment for trained engineers and executives in industries that should not be overlooked such as business management and sales, product and lifestyle marketing, sound for websites, churches, hotels, vineyards, cafes and restaurants, parks and recreation, street fairs, cruise ships and speaking engagements. Don’t limit yourself. Audio and business are not just about music.

Education Department

What is the length of your program?

Our music business program is 12 weeks and our audio engineering program is 20 weeks in length. Our curriculum is focused. We cut out the fat and unnecessary general electives. We teach audio engineering and music business in a vocational setting. DHI graduates who have what it takes are often out in the field working in their trade long before their peers who remain in lengthy traditional learning environments.

How much homework or work outside of class will I have to do?

We do NOT assign regular homework. There will be reading and listening assignments, but we believe in hands-on learning. Just as you cannot drive a car by reading about it—you must experience driving—so it goes in audio and the music business. You must be in the office, or on the consoles, working with patch bays and signal flow and perfecting Pro Tools.

What is a typical class size?

Classes at DHI are taught in both lecture and lab/studio format. The majority of your classes will be in a recording studio, our music business office or another hands-on environment. We keep our classes small to ensure that our students get plenty of one-on-one time with their instructors as needed.

When are classes held?

DHI is a full-time school. Morning Classes in Audio Engineering are in session Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Lunch is on your own between 11:30 am and 12:30:00 p.m. Music Business classes are in session Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Lunch is on your own between 11:45 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. When class is dismissed, students are welcome to stay after to take advantage of the music business office or free studio time to work on projects and improve skills. Evening Audio Engineering classes are in session Monday through Friday from 3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Dinner is on your own between 6:00 pm and 7:00 p.m.

Will I need to purchase my own computer to complete my DHI assignments?

Music Business students are required to bring their own laptop computer with Microsoft Office software. Audio Engineering students can use the computer labs throughout the day and book studio time for projects according to your schedule. Those that wish to purchase professional recording equipment are eligible for student discounts through the DHI’s industry contacts. See our Campus Director for discounts at local establishments.

Finance Options

How much is tuition?

Tuition at DHI is $15,000 for the 20-week Audio Engineering course and $10,500 for the 12-week Music Business course. A dual Audio Engineering and Music Business program is also available for $22,500. Textbooks, syllabi, and handbooks are included.

What financial options are available to me?

We welcome any scholarships for which you may qualify. We have four payment options to choose from that pays off your tuition in 3, 12, 24, or 36 months. For more details, please contact Admissions at (615) 791-7020.


Is it necessary to be a musician to be admitted to DHI?

You do not need to be a musician to attend our program. Our focus is on the technical and business sides of music, not the performance side. Musicians, however, do benefit from our program in that although we do not teach performance, what you will learn in our business program will help you manage your career, and what you will learn in our audio program will help you develop your ears and allow you to better communicate with an engineer at their level when you are trying to get just the right sound you want out of a recording. Students who play instruments are encouraged to bring them to class.

Student Resources

Does DHI help find housing?

While DHI does not have on-campus housing, we work with all students individually to find housing. We have great options for local housing, whether you want your own apartment or want to keep rent low by sharing with other DHI student roommates. The facilities we recommend are close to our studios in upscale communities that offer a wide array of shopping, dining and entertainment options. Contact us to discuss housing options.

Where do students park?

There are two large parking lots on campus and parking is free.

How do I get to your school?

We are located at 230 Franklin Rd, in Franklin, TN, just south of Nashville. We recommend using the specific directions available on our directions page.

What is there to do in Nashville?

Nashville is a growing metropolitan city of about one million residents, but many surrounding areas still retain a small-town feel. Overall, the city has been exploding on the entrepreneurial front in recent years with many magazines rating it a top 10 city for business growth, artistic ventures, and low housing costs.
  • Music: There is a vibrant and diverse music scene, with live music at a variety of clubs and concert halls. Obviously, we are the home to both the Country Music and Christian Music communities, and the capital of the music-publishing world. In recent years noted celebrities such as Kings of Leon, Jack Black, Sheryl Crow, Faith Hill, and Tim McGraw, Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman, Jewel, Bon Jovi, The Judds, Taylor Swift, and The Black Keys have called Nashville their home.
  • Entertainment: If you like the outdoors, you’ll enjoy ample opportunities for camping, hiking, bicycling, boating, water skiing, and more. There are also plenty of other features, including professional sports teams, great radio stations, shopping and nightlife. Our people are friendly too. Perhaps you’ve heard the term, “Southern Hospitality”? It’s alive and well in Nashville!

What’s the weather like in Nashville?

Spring and Fall are especially comfortable. It can get a bit hot in the summer months. Tennessee’s changing seasons can paint a picturesque landscape in the late Summer and Fall. The winter months are cool to cold with a few beautiful snowfalls.
Scroll to Top