5 Ways to Help Keep Rock to the Future’s Music Programs Free for Philadelphia Youth

At Rock to the Future, we believe in the magic of music. We believe that learning music is not only a transformational journey for the artist, offering them essential tools to grow and express, but their journey is also transformational to the consumer, as the artist captures the emotions and experiences that we sometimes struggle to articulate. Most importantly, we believe music should be accessible to all!

Unfortunately, many children and teens in Philadelphia do not have access to music programs due to financial barriers. That's why Rock to the Future provides our innovative programs for free to all students. In addition, there are no auditions to join - we are many students' first music class!

The reason we can keep our music programs free is because of support from people like you. Your support helps us launch music, mentoring, and educational programs that have reached over 500 students over the last school year.

This year we are aiming to raise $50,000 for our Give the Gift of Music fundraiser!

Here are five ways to support our goal and help keep our music program free for Philadelphia youth:

  1. Help Raise Awareness: We are confident that when people become aware of our mission and programs, they will be eager to become involved in supporting the growth of Philadelphia's children. One of the best ways to help is to engage with our content by liking, sharing and commenting on Rock to the Future's Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Linkedin pages. When you engage, you help us raise awareness because based on the algorithm of most social platforms and the content being on your page, our content will also be more likely to appear on pages of your friends and their friends! Even better, when you make a conscious decision to engage with our work, you will get an inside look at the moving stories of our rockstars!
  2. Donate an instrument: One of the best parts of our program is giving instruments to our students to keep! Your donated instruments help us provide students with take-home instruments to practice on, and our schools and program partners with instruments for our program spaces and music rooms. Learn more about how to donate an instrument today!
  3. Please donate to our Give the Gift of Music fundraiser and start your own Peer to peer fundraiser: Help us reach our goal of $50,000! Every dollar counts, and now we offer opportunities to increase your impact. The first is when you donate before December 31, 2021, we will match your donation up to $25,000. Choose this option and double your impact. Also, you can quickly start a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign by using our Givebutter fundraising tool. With a single click, you will have the tools to share our Give the Gift of Music fundraiser directly with your network via text, email, and social media. Give the Gift of Music today!
  4. Host a special event fundraiser: Do you have a birthday, wedding, or other special event coming up? Instead of asking for gifts directly, ask your family and friends to support a cause you love by starting a fundraiser on behalf of Rock to the Future. Just direct them to our donate page or start a fundraiser on Facebook.
  5. Attend an upcoming Rock to the Future event - See our students rock out during their winter showcases or join us for our Music For All Ball. When you become directly involved with the work we do and see our Rock Stars live, we are confident you will want to continue to support the impact we make on Philadelphia youth. Plus, attending our events is an excellent opportunity to connect with like-minded folks who have a passion for music, support Philadelphia's youth, or both. Visit our event page to stay up to date on our upcoming events.

Our supporters help keep our programs running! Will you join us to help meet our $50,000 fundraising goals to help keep our music programs free? To start today, choose one of the options above or contact our Donor Relations Coordinator at Christine@RocktotheFuture.org.

Learn, Grow, and Rock – measuring our impact

Rock to the Future is excited to share our supporter impact report for the 2020-2021 school year! This past year has been challenging and exciting in equal measure. Thanks to your support, we were able to reach more Philadelphia students than ever before with free music programs and academic help.

Read the full impact report to measure the impact you had for Philly students this year: Supporter Impact Report 2020-2021

Last school year, Rock to the Future's volunteers, team, and supporters helped 523 Philadelphia students to learn, grow, and rock! That's over 500 students who experienced the magic of learning music through our free and accessible programs - 75% of who would not otherwise had access to learn music. We worked with over 20 school and community partners to provide fun, enriching, and equitable music programs.

Our volunteers rock! Over the past school year, volunteers provided 336 hours of personalized, one-on-one academic support and instrument help. On top of that, 8 professional Philly musicians spent 98 hours writing and recording original songs with students in the Create with a Pro Musician class! Thank you to all the rockstar volunteers who helped Philly students to grow this year!

To help students learn from home, Rock to the Future gave students 244 instruments to keep - at no cost. Having an instrument at home is an important tool for growth and creative expression!

Taking the stage takes confidence. The value of music education lies not only in learning how to play, but in nurturing a performer who is willing to take the risk and step out on stage. Every year our students play live in front of their friends, family, and community - last school year, Rock to the Future students took part in 7 virtual performances.

We're so proud of out 2021 graduates! This past school year was tough, but our seniors pushed through, worked hard, and are on to the next stage. Once again, 100% of MusiCore After School graduates are pursuing post-secondary education, like college or trade school.

Better Day – Rock to the Future student performs at City Hall

stop killing us rally

5th grade Rock to the Future student Naheim aka Young Hill performed his original song Better Day at the Stop Killing Us rally and march in front of Philadelphia City Hall. His song is inspired by the effect that Coronavirus, police brutality, and gun violence have had on his community and mental health, and his hope and commitment to work for a brighter future for his community.

Read about Young Hill's performance and the Stop Killing Us rally and march on the Philadelphia Inquirer.

They take too many lives away
We can’t go outside and go play
This has been happening since May “Black Lives Matter,” we say

We see all these people dying
We see too many mommas crying
Love is what we’re finding
We’re gonna make it a better day
We’re gonna make it a better day

Look at our past — Corona is hard We’re wearing a mask
Stop the violence
We need to do it fast
We’re gonna make it a better day
We’re gonna make it a better day

"Better Day," Naheim aka Young Hill

In Rock to the Future's music programs, Philly students learn to express themselves and gain the confidence to perform on stage. Our fall programs are enrolling now - learn more and join us!

Higher Education Scholarship Winners – $6,000 to graduating seniors

Congratulations to the winners of Rock to the Future's 2021 scholarships! This year, we gave $6,000 to graduating seniors to help with the costs of pursuing higher education.

All graduating seniors also got a new laptop to help with schoolwork. Once again, all of the graduating seniors who participated in the MusiCore After School program are headed to higher education, like college or trade school.

"The Rock to the Future’s Ready for the Future Club not only prepared me for college, but has also given me a purpose to succeed further in life. Hearing from [nursing student and Rock to the Future graduate Cheyenne] really helped me decide which college I wanted to pursue. I was undecided at first where I wanted to go, but hearing her experiences at the college she went to finally made me pick Thomas Jefferson University as the college that I would attend this fall.

Overall, the Ready for the Future Club was a perfect fit for me because I was struggling to find scholarships online. But after I joined this program, I have applied to over 12 scholarships through the links which Ms. Kaami has provided.

Participating in the Rock to the Future guitar class has sharpened my concentration skills, helped me remember information better, and also has relieved my stress. Practicing my guitar skills almost everyday has helped me prosper overall as a person. And turning my mic on once a week and showing off my guitar skills also gave me a boost of confidence to not be afraid to express my talents.

Jessalyn M

We're so proud of our seniors, and we're excited to see what they accomplish!

At Rock to the Future, we know that the lessons that students learn on stage can apply throughout their lives. That’s why our programs are completely free for Philadelphia youth. At Rock to the Future, students learn that being a rockstar requires dedication, practice, and hard work. As a result, Rock to the Future students are prepared to take on any stage.


Support for Rock to the Future's Higher Education Fund comes from FS Investments, The Hamilton Family Charitable Trust, and the Katz Family. You rock!

Rocking out with our virtual students!

Thanks to all who joined us to celebrate Rock to the Future students’ hard work at the Year End Showcase! Students in our virtual classes performed original music and their favorite cover songs from their own home. They also shared the final projects from the Music and Art, Lyrics, and Music Influencers classes. Check out the full video!

This school year was tough! All of us on Rock to the Future's team are so happy to have been part of our students' school year, and we're proud of what you all accomplished under intense pressure and uncertainty. We've gotten great feedback from families and students, so we know how important Rock to the Future's free music classes have been to Philly students. Music is a valuable tool to help us express ourselves and cope with change. It's been so powerful to see our students make new friends, grow as musicians and students, and learn new skills. Thank you for sharing your time and talent with us this school year -

You Rock!

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.


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.

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.

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!

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.