From its humble beginnings in St. James AME Church’s Sumpter Hall in East Liberty in 1982, to its current permanent location on Hamilton Avenue in the Homewood neighborhood of Pittsburgh, the Afro-American Music Institute has provided Pittsburgh residents with engaging youth programs, competitive music instruction, and an abundance of spirit. Founders Dr. James Johnson (affectionately called Dr. J) and his wife Pamela oversee this educational enterprise as a labor of love.
Open to everyone, AAMI offers rigorous instruction for musicians of all ages. From tiny tots to seniors, there is something for everyone: lessons in a variety of stringed and percussive instruments, ear training, music theory, and voice. Students can be found rehearsing in the Jazz Lab, singing perfect harmonies in the much-acclaimed Boys Choir of Pittsburgh, or participating in the Summer Music Intensive program. Performances happen either on site or at venues throughout the city.
By Cecile Shellman, independent curator