Detroit Drumline Academy: Impacting Detroit with education and entertainment

Arts / Article

This month, five Detroit arts groups are vying for the Knight Arts Challenge People’s Choice Award, a $20,000 prize the winner can use for a project of their choice. The award is one of the ways Knight aims to bring attention to small arts organizations and their impact on the city. Here, has a quick word with Robert Gordon of nominee the Detroit Drumline Academy, a group that wants to prepare the next generation of percussionists by teaching and mentoring middle and high school students.To vote for them, text Detroit5 to 22333 and learn about the other nominees at

Q. What do you love most about your arts group? A. What I love about my organization is our ability to affect our community using education and entertainment that gives our youth life skills and experiences they’ll never forget.

Q. What would you do with the $20,000 People’s Choice Award? A. If I win the $20,000 I am going to do three things: pay a portion of it to a few other music mentorship programs, develop an alternative music instructors group to provide instruction throughout Detroit, and throw the first Music Education Production & Business seminar at COBO Hall sponsored by my company Artisthead.

Q. Who, or what, inspires you as an artist? A. What inspires me as an artist is others, as well as my own ability to create.

Q. What’s the best thing about Detroit’s cultural community? A. The diversity of artistic ventures, and unique qualities people apply to their craft.

Q. What was your proudest moment as an artist/organization? A. Seeing the mass of drum students, mentors and instructors I gathered from Detroit, performing at halftime with Nickel Back for the Lion’s game on Thanksgiving 2011.

Q. What’s a skill of yours that has nothing to do with your profession, but that you’re glad you have? A. Carpentry.

Q. What is one aspect of your personal life that has the greatest impact on your professional life? A. One aspect of my personal life that has the greatest impact in my professional life is my obedience to the word of God.

Q. Why is the work you do important to your audience? A. It fills a void in our performing arts community.

Q. How does your work make a difference in Detroit? A. My work makes a difference in Detroit because it provides lots of opportunities to our youth and replenishes music programs that are no longer in the schools.