Rock to the Future provides student-driven music programs in a safe and supportive environment at no cost for Philadelphia youth. We prepare the next generation for every stage.
We envision that all youth in Philadelphia will unlock their fullest potential through the benefits of learning music.
A song only works when everybody plays their part. We foster teamwork to ensure that when our students take the stage, it’s not how well they play, but how well they play together that matters.
Dedication and hard work apply even after the set is over. Our programs teach students skills to help them grow in school and life.
It takes guts and grit to take the spotlight. Stepping on stage requires the support and freedom to take risks, and we work with our students to feel confident to explore beyond the scales.
We champion the diverse voices of our community. Rock to the Future makes a formal promise to improve our culture, practices, and approaches to uphold diversity, equity, and inclusion at all levels of our organization — knowing it requires sustained commitment, courage, and optimism.
Living life to its fullest means owning your solos and expressing yourself. Creative expression is the true soul of music, and we encourage students to discover their unique identity.
THEORY OF CHANGE
Youth will build vital life skills to support current and lifelong well-being through music programs designed for access and equity and paired with asset-based youth development strategies.
♪ Strategically located at schools and community locations in high-poverty neighborhoods
♪ No cost for students to participate
♪ No auditions required - beginners are welcome!
♪ Rock to the Future provides students with all instruments and supplies
♪ We provide student meals and transportation
♪ Focus on original songwriting, peer collaboration, and live performance
♪ Direct academic and post-secondary education support
♪ Student-driven - youth are included in decision making and program design
♪ Team members are trained in trauma informed approaches, restorative practices, mindfulness, and differentiated instruction to create a joyful and supportive learning environment
Research shows that learning music has dozens of positive benefits for youth. You can read the various studies and benefits here.
We know the magic of music is incredible and we see it in the students we serve every day:
♪ Improvements in social emotional learning (SEL) skills like self-awareness, relationship building, communication skills, and responsible decision making
♪ Improvements in executive functioning skills like goal setting, time management, and personal accountability
♪ Growth in confidence and self-expression
♪ Development of technology and workplace-readiness skills
♪ Building school and community pride through celebrating youth accomplishments
♪ Breaking down barriers by bringing students from various neighborhoods together
♪ Since our founding in 2010, we are proud to report that 100% of graduating MusiCore After School students have gone on to post-secondary education
Our students have a choice of what they learn and create. Working together with their peers, students write their own original music, record in professional music studios, and perform at venues around Philadelphia and beyond.
These exciting experiences bring students through the doors so that our staff can also provide individualized academic and social support. In our MusiCore After School program, we provide direct academic assistance through homework help, tutoring, and post-secondary education assistance; including college and trade school visitations, FAFSA nights, scholarship writing clubs, and application help.
As Rock to the Future students collaborate, create, and perform, they learn life skills, gain confidence, learn motivation, and feel pride. Through music, our students are empowered, learn self-awareness, and learn to appreciate diverse backgrounds and opinions.
We create an environment where students of all ages and abilities feel safe, respected, and confident enough to perform on stage. No matter what instrument or style of music they choose, we create the support structure that allows our students to learn at their own pace and in their own way. The confidence needed to be a musician, bandmate, songwriter, and performer transfers to all stages of life.
Rock to the Future was founded in 2010 as a volunteer organization to combat the effects of poverty and violence in neighborhoods that have been stripped of funding and resources through community-based music programs. Beginning in Kensington (North Philadelphia) with 13 students in MusiCore After School, enrollment rapidly grew and the observed impact was immediate as students continued to return day-after-day. In 2012, Rock to the Future received a gift of $214,000 from Macquarie Group, which allowed for significant expansion including the hiring of staff, improving program design, and the creation of a three-year strategic plan. To meet demand, in 2014 Rock to the Future established Rock*A*Delphia and GuitarStars summer camps, serving grades 3 - 8 and 6 - 12 respectively, and launched MobileMusic, which provided music programs at school and community partner locations during or after the school day.
Demand has continued to grow and physical locations are now in North, Northwest, and West Philadelphia with hundreds of students from more than 40 underserved zipcodes participating through in-school, after school, summer, and online programs at no cost to participants. Thousands of community members enjoy free concerts annually and celebrate the accomplishments and growth of youth.
In 2019, board members, staff, volunteers, students, and guardians created a third strategic plan with our first external facilitator Fernando Chang-muy. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Rock to the Future transitioned to online music and academic programs in April 2020, which will continue even when physical programs reopen.
EQUITY AND INCLUSION COMMITTMENT
We recognize the deeply entrenched practices, cultural norms, and social structures that perpetuate inequities. Rock to the Future, in our work with youth from underserved neighborhoods in Philadelphia, is committed to eliminating those inequities. Rock to the Future makes a formal promise to improve our culture, practices, and approaches to uphold diversity, equity, and inclusion at all levels of our organization — knowing it requires sustained commitment, courage, and optimism.