The Americana Music Academy was conceived as a folk music school when it was founded in 2002. The Academy seeks to improve the quality of life through music instruction. It is housed in a large wood framed house at 1419 Massachusetts which is used for instruction and performance purposes. Co-director Christy Miller is a Kansas native and holds a Doctorate Degree in Musicology from the University of Kansas. Miller studied mid- century folk music and did her dissertation on folk legend Woody Guthrie.
The Academy has expanded its teaching function to include classical, jazz, blues, rock and song writing. Student numbers vary between 115 and 140 and there are 23 teachers working as independent contractors. Ages of students range from seniors with no music background to the very young. Accessibility, affordability, and belonging are the guiding principles of the Academy. Fees, donations and grants fund the work of the Academy and there is a robust scholarship program that awarded $16,000 last year. The Academy sponsors house concerts, work shops and jams in the Lawrence community.