project leader
Robert O
303 Horton St.
(North End)
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the project

The Underground Music Academy (UMA) is a Detroit-based community music hub that aims to build the future leaders of electronic music through its distinctive educational curriculum and mentorship model, rooted in Detroit’s Black electronic music legacy. 

UMA is located in Detroit’s North End neighborhood, at the intersection of the city’s new technology corridor and a boulevard rooted in music history – just a few blocks down from the original Motown headquarters, and on the same block as the world’s first techno museum, Exhibit 3000, housed on the ground floor of Underground Resistance’s complex. This location is no coincidence, as we plan to both literally and figuratively continue down this road honoring the legacy of those who came before us while supporting the next generation of electronic musicians. 

Our vision for electronic music in the future is one that puts the values of originality, quality and diversity at its core, in realignment with the genre's origin. Our goal is to provide accessible and affordable music education to residents of Detroit, and ultimately, the world. We will accomplish this goal by teaching the two pillars of electronic music: DJing and music production.

We believe that creating a safe space for people to explore and find themselves will help them channel their creativity. We also know from experience that access to mentorship and advice from working professionals can accelerate growth but historically too few people have had access to this kind of mentorship. This is the foundation of the Underground Music Academy approach.

the steps

Phase 1: Construction 

Work on our physical space in Detroit’s North End continues. We’re working as quickly as we can while maintaining safe operating procedures to make up for lost time.

Phase 2: Content & Curriculum 

Curriculum development is underway for both online and in-person classes. We have a slightly different approach to education than the myriad online schools, built from years of experience – we’re working to formalize this approach for consistency without losing the proverbial magic. 

Phase 3: Grand Opening

Online and in-person preview events are being planned to introduce our physical and digital experiences in the run-up before we officially open our physical doors in 2023.

why we're doing it

The Genesis

The concept for the Underground Music Academy is one that had been bubbling in the minds of the team of community leaders in the North End of Detroit for years.

Borne from their shared experiences informally mentoring up-and-coming Detroit artists, as well as touring the world as professional musicians and multidisciplinary visionaries, the team saw the potential of creating something local in Detroit that could connect to their global community. The idea became reality in 2015, when the organization acquired a historic building that once served as the headquarters for the NAACP in Detroit’s North End. 

The Present

Like nearly everyone else, our last few years didn’t quite go as planned. With staff safety our top priority, and global supply chain breakdowns resulting in unpredictable materials shortages, our construction schedule faced delays and work stoppages. We’ve shifted to an agile approach to minimize further delays as the world slowly returns to some version of normal, with plans to open the doors to our physical space in 2023.

As our construction team works to finish building, we’re also making progress elsewhere: everything from research and refinement of curriculum via focus groups to setting up the infrastructure to hit the ground running when we open our digital and physical doors.

The Future

The Underground Music Academy mission to build the future leaders of electronic music through education and mentorship remains, but we’re thinking bigger. Our dream is to create a more inclusive global dance music community that’s more aware of its roots. We will start online, reaching students from around the world, until it's safe to offer a best-in-class educational experience in-person in Detroit.


$15,000.00: interior construction, equipment to build out the space i.e. doors, windows, plumbing fixtures, office and classroom furniture

$10,000.00: exterior construction, i.e. repairing concrete steps and porch, reinforcing safety of hallway staircase

$5,000.00: support for our pilot summer program and funding upcoming curriculum - purchase of music equipment for students, paying instructors, funding student participation

ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) N/A
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $928

Please note, fees are estimated here and final numbers may change based on the final amount raised by this campaign.


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  • Alicia A.