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.


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.


“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


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.


“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.


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.


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!


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.