School of Music, Theatre and Dance

Oakland University and DIME celebrate successful first year of collaboration

icon of a calendarAugust 18, 2021

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Oakland University and DIME celebrate successful first year of collaboration
Oakland University and DIME celebrate successful first year of collaboration
A collaboration between Oakland University and DIME enables students in performance, songwriting and music entrepreneurship to study for a Bachelor of Arts degrees that focus intensely on forging careers in the commercial music industry.

In September of 2020, the Detroit Institute of Music Education (DIME) announced its ground- breaking collaboration with Oakland University, enabling students in performance, songwriting and music entrepreneurship to study for a Bachelor of Arts degrees that focus intensely on forging careers in the commercial music industry.

At that point, no one could have foreseen the challenges of the global pandemic and its impact on academic study. However, despite the ensuing difficulties COVID-19, DIME students have successfully completed their fall and winter semesters in a predominantly online format without missing out on opportunities to work collaboratively and take part in real-world activities within the Detroit music scene.

“Despite the many challenges of the pandemic, we’ve had a very successful first year and are excited about our relationship with DIME students and faculty,” said Amy Hardison Tully, director of OU’s School of Music, Theatre and Dance. “DIME’s profile as leaders in the world of commercial music, combined with their community involvement in downtown Detroit is something that the School of Music, Theatre and Dance is eager to be part of and reflects the wider values of the university. We look forward to the additional opportunities that await our students, faculty, and community members as we move to a more campus-based delivery in September.”

Sarah Clayman, founder and managing director of DIME, acknowledged OU’s support in unprecedented circumstances.

“We worked hard with our colleagues at Oakland University to ensure students had the best educational experience possible during these difficult times, also recognizing that home-study was a challenge for some,” Clayman said.

All OU@DIME students had synchronous lessons and access to both OU and DIME’s virtual learning environments, where they could review recorded lectures and access course content in their own time.

“We will be maintaining our online resources while we focus on transitioning lectures back to the physical campus in fall 2021,” Clayman said. “Also, we’ll continue to provide students with real-life experiences via events and masterclasses.”

The creativity of OU@DIME faculty members allowed them to quickly to adapt the existing curriculum to the online format and maintain the ethos of collaboratively working for students.

For example, Live Performance Workshop teacher Nate Winn utilized an online digital audio workstation which enabled students to simulate live recording sessions.

“The students exceeded my expectations,” Winn said. “With a class that was designed for in-person interaction, having to adapt to a virtual setting was not easy by any means. But the students rose to the occasion in every way with their individual and group projects.”

Similarly, Session Styles teacher Drew Schultz used the same format to facilitate the co-writing and performances of original compositions.

“Even though we could not be in the classroom together, the use of our online DAW allowed students to collaborate outside of class time on their own schedules, singing or playing pieces that created a larger picture of music composition, arrangement, and performance,” Schultz said. “During class, it allowed me to share my screen as instructor and spotlight parts or mix/match different combinations of student contributions, giving real-time feedback on how their recorded parts impacted the song as a whole.”

In line with the DIME ethos of education leading to employability, students took part in real-world work within the Detroit community. Most notably, the ALIVE Detroit livestream was planned and organized entirely by the students as part of their Music Industry Event Management class under the direction of OU@DIME faculty member Joe Choma, a music industry veteran and the owner of the Detroit-based Grand Circus Media.

The ALIVE Detroit event featured a number of Detroit artists including DIME graduate Ally Evenson and Detroit artist Au Gres, and livestreamed from local venues including The Underground (a venue located on DIME’s campus), PJ Lager House, El Club and Otis Supply.

“It was really cool how we all pulled together to text, email, call and basically blow-up people’s phones to make this event happen — we wanted to pull this off, and we did it,” said student Delaney Natke.

The proceeds gathered through merchandise sales and donations went to local artists and venues to support Detroit’s legendary live music scene. As a result of the experience gained on this event, students have made strong working connections with local festivals such as the Electric Forest.

“We have a really unique opportunity here at DIME to do a lot of incredibly in-depth theoretical projects in the music business, and this class has presented us with the opportunity to be taught by Joe (Choma) and mentored by Madison House Productions as we move out of the theoretical and strive to produce events that we want in see to the city of Detroit,” said Luke Koucky, a senior majoring in Music Industry Studies. “It’s exciting to be able to use the skills we’ve honed these past few years and turn it into something that we can deliver to a live audience.”

New students can enroll at Oakland University and DIME to study for a Bachelor of Arts degree in either Commercial Music Performance, Commercial Songwriting or Music Industry Studies. All DIME classes will take place at DIME Detroit, which is located at 1265 Griswold Street in Detroit, and students will have the option to study these classes online. All general education classes will take place at Oakland University. All DIME classes will be available in-person and online in Fall 2021. Students will also be invited to participate in masterclasses and any safe, in-person events.

To enroll at OU@DIME, visit

For more information on the OU@DIME enrolment process visit or email

About DIME Group (DIME Detroit, DIME Online)

DIME is a group of music institutes dedicated to teaching the next generation of modern musicians and entrepreneurs. DIME Group has been named in Billboard’s Top Music Business Schools for the second year running (2020 & 2019). DIME is a Pathway Partners for DSA providing lessons and curriculum in songwriting, the art of emceeing, music production and music business.

Founded by music industry veterans Kevin Nixon and Sarah Clayman, DIME offers advanced music students a unique study experience in contemporary music, with expert musicians and music industry professionals teaching programs in guitar, bass, vocals, drums, songwriting and music industry studies. Nixon and Clayman launched DIME Detroit in 2014, joining the effort to revitalize and reinvigorate Detroit’s music landscape.

DIME Online programs are delivered entirely online, allowing students true flexibility in their studies. Among the higher education awards that will be offered to students via DIME Online are: RSL Level 4 Extended Diploma in Creative Industries, and RSL Level 5 Extended Diploma in Creative Industries. DIME also owns Original 1265 Recordings, an independent record label distributed worldwide by Caroline/Capitol Music Group.

About Oakland University

Oakland University is a doctoral, Carnegie Classification R2 “High Research Activity” university located in Oakland and Macomb counties, Michigan. The main campus is located on 1,443 acres of scenic land in the Southeast Michigan cities of Rochester Hills and Auburn Hills. The university also maintains program space at the University Center in Clinton Township and at the Anton/Frankel Center in Mount Clemens.

Oakland University offers bachelor’s degrees, graduate degrees and certificate programs, and is dedicated to delivering a distinctive college experience. Oakland University is organized into the College of Arts and Sciences (which includes a School of Music, Theatre and Dance), the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine, and the Schools of Business Administration, Education and Human Services, Engineering and Computer Science, Health Sciences, Nursing, and The Honors College.

At Oakland, the student experience is enhanced as students work alongside inspired faculty and community mentors in laboratory, field and corporate workplace settings. Students enjoy small class sizes, countless research and social opportunities, and a high rate of job placement after graduation. In fact, 96 percent of OU graduates stay and work in the state. This rich campus atmosphere is complete with residence halls, Greek life, Division I athletics and more than 300 student groups that lend to the total college experience. Learn more at

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