Rocking from home at the Music for All Ball

Another year, another Music for All Ball! Every year, Philadelphia musicians join Rock to the Future students for a variety show to support Rock to the Future's mission of providing free, student-driven music programs for youth in under-resourced schools and communities.

This year, performers included Seraiah Nicole, Rogers Stevens, Namarah, and Rock to the Future students Nia, Nielle, Patricia, and Tavis. Check out their performances during the show!

Our supporters, community, and sponsors helped us raise over $23,500 for music education. Thank you for helping us provide Philly students with opportunities to rock!

Thank you to our 2021 sponsors: FS Investments, MOR Wealth Management, EisnerAmper, Circle Thrift, and the Katz family.

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VibeXChange virtual music festival – benefit concert raises $1,600 for music education!

The VibeXChange Virtual Music Festival in March raised $1,600 to support our free music programs for Philly-area students. One of those students is Nia, a graduating senior who performed during the concert. Check out her cover of Jeff Buckley's version of Hallelujah!

"My favorite experience by far has been being in the Student House Band. Student House Band meant being able to expand the types of songs I could perform and exposed me to more varied performance settings than just my school's auditorium."

Nia C. D, Rock to the Future student

As a member of our Student House Band, Nia has spent the last few years performing live on stage throughout the Philadelphia area and beyond (like the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame!). During the pandemic shutdown, she's been performing virtually. The opportunity to perform live on stage, recorded by Forward Theory Studio's talented production team, was an exciting change!

Thank you Forward Theory Studios, the 16 musical acts who performed, everyone who worked behind the scenes, and everyone who tuned in and supported our free music programs!

Benefit concerts help us continue to provide free music programs for Philadelphia students. For more information about hosting a fundraising concert, memorial fundraiser, or social media fundraiser, check out our fundraising guide.

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Teamwork, Communication Confidence & Patience

Last Wednesday, We participated in a food drive with Rock to the Future's Teen Leadership Council and ENG Nonprofit. During the event, we passed out food to people that needed it.

We used teamwork by working together to sort the bags and created an assembly line to put multiple items in the bags. We also used communication because we had to let people know about the event, during the event we communicated and told each other where certain food should go, and let the community know about the free items.

We had to be confident in talking to strangers, and recording Facebook Live videos inviting people to come get the food. We used patience by waiting for other team members to complete packing the bags and setting up the table before we got the bags to put in our items. We also had to be patient, waiting in the COLD for people to come pick up food.

All in all, this was a great community service event that utilized the leadership skills we are developing.

Join Rock to the Future's Teen Leadership Council! Dates and details are on our registration page.

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Winter Showcase and Winter Jams

Winter Student Showcase

Rock to the Future students took to the virtual stage in December for the 11th annual Winter Showcase!

Like other Winter Showcases before it, the 2020 showcase brought Rock to the Future's community members, volunteers, staff, and supporters together to celebrate our talented students. Classes played together, in videos of the songs they learned during this semester's virtual programs. Students who created their own original songs in the Hip Hop, Digital Music, and Create with a Pro Musician classes heard their tracks come to life with graphics and animation. The Art and Music and Video Game Creation classes showed off the products of their hard work, and the Ready for the Future club and Teen Leadership Council introduced themselves and let viewers know what they spent the semester planning and learning. To cap it all off, State Representative Mary Isaacson presented Rock to the Future with a Pennsylvania State Citation to recognize 10 years of service in providing accessible music education. Check out the full showcase below, or head to our Youtube page to see individual class performances.

We weren't able to meet in person for our usual pizza party and potluck after the show. Instead, we took the party to Zoom! It was great getting to see everyone's faces, even virtually. Several staff and students performed, including 12th grade student Nia, who blew us all away with her cover of Jeff Buckley's Hallelujah:

Winter Jams 2020

Rock to the Future students released another Jams album! The album is filled with original songs and beats, and was featured in XPN's The Key. Like all student albums, it's free to stream and download on our Bandcamp page.

Thank you students, families, staff, volunteers, and supporters for rocking with us in 2020! We're looking forward to spending another exciting year with you in 2021. Registration for winter semester classes ends January 6, and our next student showcase is right around the corner in March. Plus, don't forget about the annual Music for All Ball in April! Here's to another rocking year!

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Rockstar Nia on Rock to the Future

Guitarist, singer, and high school senior Nia D. performed a cover of Sticky Fingers' Cyclone for Keep Music Alive's virtual Sip, Savor, and Song gala in November:

Nia joined Rock to the Future to explore her passion for music. Since joining, she has played on stage at Union Transfer, World Cafe Live, the Fillmore, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and more as a vocalist for the Student House Band.

Now in her senior year of high school, Nia reflected on her time in Rock to the Future and her hopes going forward:


"For me, Rock to the Future means being able to continue my interest in music. I've always been involved in music, so when there came a point where I no longer had that creative outlet that I needed, my mom searched around and found Rock to the Future. I was able to continue with singing and performing as I had been, and even picked up a few instruments along the way."

"My favorite experience by far has been being in the Student House Band. Student House Band meant being able to expand the types of songs I could perform and exposed me to more varied performance settings than just my school's auditorium."

Nia performing her original song D.I.E. (Does It End) at the 2019 Music for All Ball.


"After my senior year I plan on traveling a bit, then later setting up a home base for any business endeavors and music based things I'd want to do. I'd like to think that I'll become more involved in the management of venues, and maybe even get a chance to regularly perform in them too. Really though, I'm just excited to start trying things out."

Help students like Nia learn, grow, and rock with a donation to Rock to the Future. Your support helps us keep our music programs free for Philly area youth.

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Give the gift of music

Over the past ten years, thousands of children and teens have benefitted from Rock to the Future’s unique and innovative programs. We have seen the magic of music time and time again -- 100% of graduates of our MusiCore After School program have pursued post-secondary education.

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“When I registered Max into Rock to the Future, he did not want to join any programs. I told him, ‘Give it a try, if you don’t like it then you don’t have to do it,’ but I secretly knew that he was going to enjoy it. What I didn’t know was how much it would help him. After he started I noticed that he became more responsible with his homework, schoolwork, and chores, became more social with his fellow classmates, and even acquired time management skills.

- Yudeliz V, guardian of 9th grade student Max

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While gearing up for our ten year anniversary celebration, the pandemic put our plans on hold. With your support, we launched online programs in April to keep students like Max connected, learning, and creating from home through instrument lessons, classes in music production, and one-on-one academic tutoring. Donors like you ensure that we can give every new student an instrument. We are proud to continue our free music programs so that every student in Philadelphia has the chance to find their voice. Max is able to continue learning music with us online during the shutdown, and we gave him a guitar and drum set to play at home.

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“Max has created a studio on the third floor of our house. He loves to practice and play his instruments. He has learned how to tune and repair them and is not afraid to ask for help when needed. He tells me what he has learned everyday and shares his new learned skills with such joy and confidence that he can accomplish anything.” - Yudeliz V.

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Funding for the arts fluctuates, but Rock to the Future provides consistent music education because all kids need the skills and life lessons learned on stage. Your gift to Rock to the Future helps Philadelphia students to learn, grow, and rock.

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Thanks to two generous donors, all of the donations received before the end of 2020 will be matched up to $40,000. That means your gift is doubled!

Give the gift of music to a Philadelphia student and help the next generation to keep rocking!

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Rocking at home – Instrument Pick Up Day!

Teen holding a pink guitar with matching face mask

With our fall-semester virtual classes starting up, we need to make sure all of our students are prepped and ready to rock! Some awesome volunteers spent a Sunday in our office above Fireball Printing in Kensington to spruce up our instrument collection. With our ukuleles, guitars, bass guitars, keyboards, and drums cleaned, repaired, and organized, we spent the last week of September passing out instruments to students.

Some students and their families came to our office to pick up instruments. All our instruments were sanitized before being given out, and students signed up for time slots to enforce social distancing. It was great to meet new students, and see returning students in person! We're always happy to see our students through the computer screen, but it's still nice to see our students try out their new instruments in person.

Chief Music Officer Josh also hit the road in the Rock to the Future van to bring instruments to students. With their new instruments, our students are all ready to learn and rock from home!

Thank you to all our instrument donors! Instrument donations help us provide free instruments to Philly students. If you have a guitar, bass, keyboard, or drumset to donate, fill out our online form to donate it to a Philly student. Special thanks to Keep Music Alive, Hungry for Music, and Shane from Swarthmore Boy Scout troop 112, who donated a truck full of instruments as his Eagle project!

Thanks to the volunteers who helped us get instruments ship shape! Because of our awesome volunteers, donors, and supporters, Rock to the Future students are ready for a new semester of rocking from home. You can help us repair donated instruments, purchase instruments and supplies, and pay for deliveries with a donation to Rock to the Future.

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Our Impact! 2019 – 2020 School Year Impact Report

Hello Rock to the Future family,

In 2010, I left the financial services industry to start Rock to the Future as a volunteer organization with only 13 students after school. Through hard work, support from our community, and generous funders, we are now serving hundreds of youth each year through programs in-school, after, school, during the summer, and online. 

Rock to the Future made huge leaps this school year. We won a competitive contract with Philadelphia’s Department of Human Services, developed our third strategic plan with team members, students, volunteers, and board members, and expanded our programs -- including opening our first partner location in West Philly!

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While planning for our 10th year anniversary celebrations, the unexpected COVID pandemic put our physical programs on hold. With feedback from our students and families, we launched online programs to keep students connected, creating, and learning, while also planning for our future. Our virtual programs are helping us reach more students, are supporting digital equity, and are teaching vital digital literacy skills. 

Over ten years our organization, team, and students have achieved so much more than I could have ever imagined.

I can’t wait to see what the next 10 years has in store for us - bring it on!

With Gratitude,

Jessica Craft, CEO and Founder of Rock to the Future

Read the full Impact Report
Check out our 2020-2023 Strategic Plan

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Cool down with chill beats

Cool down with chill beats!

Every year, students in Rock to the Future's MusiCore After School Program record their original songs in professional studios around Philadelphia. Our students weren't able to head into the studio this year, but that didn't stop them from putting out an amazing album!

Check out Summer Beats, a collection of 20 beats made by students in Rock to the Future's digital music production classes. The album is free to stream and download. Give it a listen and find your new summer jam!

Want to make your own beats? We're planning our schedule of virtual music programs for the fall. All of our programs are free for Philadelphia students in grades 4-12, and we have classes for all levels of experience, from beginners to beatmaking pros. Check out our calendar and register today - some classes are listed now, and more are on the way!

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Summer Beats

Rock to the Future's online classes in digital music production teach students to use music software programs, like Soundtrap and Garage Band, to create original songs, beats, and loops. Students learn about music structure, explore the history of digital music production, increase digital literacy, and learn to use computer programs for creativity. Some students try new things and create new beats every class, and others work on their songs until they have a completely finished project. Either way, students are able to try new things. With both month-long classes and drop in workshops, students can create everything from short loops to full songs- all from home!

Check out this video that Rock to the Future student Tavis made showing off one of his beats, followed by beats from some other Digital Music Production students:

Rock to the Future keeps youth connected, creating, and collaborating online! Our virtual music instruction and live streams are made for all levels and some don’t require any experience or instrument ownership. Check out our class schedule and register online.

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