Become a BANDmate

September means a lot of things;

as summer turns into fall, students head back to school and Rock to the Future’s MusiCore After School and MobileMusic Workshops start back up after a few months away. At Rock to the Future, we spend the summer planning for the next school year and sprucing up the program sites (plus, we spend two weeks rocking at summer camp). With school back in session and Rock to the Future’s programs kicking off for another school year, we’re more grateful than ever for our BANDmates! As monthly donors, BANDmates help us provide free music programs to Philly students

Monthly donations help Rock to the Future to plan for whatever life throws at us. Funding for arts programs fluctuates, but Rock to the Future is committed to providing quality music instruction to Philadelphia students for free. But we can’t do it without your help.

For the month of September,

 if you sign up to be a BANDmate for $10 or more a month we’ll send you some awesome gifts so you can show off your support for Rock to the Future. Plus, For this month only, all new BANDmates will be matched! When you sign up to give monthly, our rockstar Board of Directors will match your donations – every month.

Join the BANDmates to provide reliable support for music education in Philly.

Become a BANDmate

What does BANDmate stand for?

Be Awesome N' Donate-
Monthly, Actually. Thanks Everyone!


Summer Camps 2019

The new school year is right around the corner, with MusiCore After School starting back up on September 17th. The summer is almost over, and we had a blast at GuitarStars and Rock*A*Delphia summer camps this year!

GuitarStars and Rock*A*Delphia are week-long day camps at Rock to the Future’s Kensington location. Campers practice their choice of instrument in group lessons, learn vocal techniques in the choral ensemble, and attend workshops and performances from professional musicians. Both camps end with a performance of the camp bands’ original songs, played live on stage for friends and family!

Rock*A*Delphia campers recorded their original tracks at Headroom Studios. You can hear their songs on Rock to the Future’s Bandcamp page. It’s always amazing to see campers write whole songs from scratch with their new bands – in under a week.

Rock to the Future summer camps use music to inspire kids and teens to find what they love and who they want to be. Be sure to sign up for our email newsletter to be the first to hear when 2020 summer camp registration opens. Thanks for rocking with us this summer!



Once again, 100% of graduates

of Rock to the Future’s MusiCore After School Program have professional career plans for college, trade school, or the military.

In June, Rock to the Future awarded the third year of Higher Education Fund scholarships. The fund, established in honor of Jaime and Andrew Katz, provided $4,250 in scholarships to four graduating seniors from Rock to the Future’s MusiCore After School Program. The awards honor the students’ academic and personal achievements made in their time at Rock to the Future.

Keyboard student Camila is studying pre-med in Chicago.

Drummer Shem is pursuing an engineering career with the US Navy.

We’re so proud of these talented students. It’s always bittersweet to see a student graduate- because even though we miss rocking with them at MusiCore, it’s exciting to see them grow and flourish.

Learning to express yourself through music can be a powerful tool. As bass student Destiny said, “playing my bass guitar has brought more comfort and makes me understand that I am loved and appreciated. I try as often as I can to tell those that have helped me along the way that they are appreciated as well.”

Destiny joined Rock to the Future in September 2018, when the MusiCore Kensington program moved to Kensington High School. She had never played bass guitar before, but instantly fell in love with the instrument. Applying to colleges while navigating the foster care system was difficult, but Destiny felt supported by Rock to the Future’s staff and teachers. “Sometimes I just decide that I want to come. I fight my urge to stay home, and it makes more of a positive impact on me because the setting is a lot smaller than the environment during school days. I love the feeling I get when I arrive; it kind of feels like I can leave all of my problems.”

Drummer and guitarist Ethan is studying audio engineering at the Community College of Philadelphia.

Bassist Destiny is enrolled at the Community College of Philadelphia.

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 underserved 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.

All photographs by Chris Kendig Photography


Listen to this year’s student songs

Every year, Rock to the Future students head into the recording studio to professionally record their original songs.

MusiCore student bands vary as widely as the students in them, and it shows! This year’s tracks cover genres from hip hop to metal. The songs are free to stream and download, so find your summer jam!

Teamwork plays an important role in any band, and Rock to the Future’s student bands are no exception. Rock to the Future students need to work together to write a song, perfect their parts, and play on stage. As a result, students learn that success depends on working together to build the best team.

MusiCore Germantown

Students from MusiCore Germantown recorded their original songs at Retro City Studios, where they got a look behind the scenes in a professional studio. Their album has four tracks that were written separately but flow together to create a view of life as a student living in Philadelphia in 2019 – the album blends the infectious joy of “I Like to Rock” with the pressure and frustration of “School Stress” and explores the effects of gun and police violence in “Solutions” and “Equals.”

MusiCore Kensington

The MusiCore Kensington bands get political too, in songs like “Collateral Damage” and “8 Foot Man,” gets romantic with “The Dove,” and gets romantic about food with “Milkshaek.” There are two instrumental tracks on the album- “When I Saw You” and “Don’t Worry.” MusiCore Kensington students recorded their songs at Miner Street Recordings, where the Student House Band recorded their original songs “Coldstone” and “Without You.”

MusiCore will start back up in September. If you are interested in learning to play drums, guitar, bass guitar, or keyboards (plus forming a band, writing and recording music, and learning about music theory and digital music), register for a 2019-2020 MusiCore program.

All photographs by Chris Kendig Photography


Rockstar Ethan wins Scholarship from D’Addario Foundation

When Ethan was 11 years old, his mom Karen watched him keep the beat while playing Rock Band in their home.

She was impressed with his drum skills, and she knew he would benefit from drum lessons. She searched for a music program where Ethan could grow as a musician, and found Rock to the Future.

Rockstar Ethan and Rockmom Karen Testimonial Video

Eight years later, Ethan has definitely grown as a musician. He plays drums and guitar, and he’s learning bass. This year, he joined a touring metal band and has been playing live shows.

As impressive as his musical chops are, Ethan’s journey has been about more than music. Through Rock to the Future, Ethan has made lasting friendships and discovered new ways of expressing himself. He’s just graduated high school and plans to study music at the Community College of Philadelphia. Through music, Ethan gained the self-confidence to succeed as a performer and student, both now and in his future academic and professional careers.

We’re so proud that Ethan was chosen as one of ten recipients for a 2019 D’Addario Foundation Scholarship. The scholarship couldn’t have gone to a more deserving student, and we’re thrilled to see Ethan be honored and receive extra support for his ongoing education.

It’s always bittersweet when a Rock to the Future student graduates. Of course we’re sad to see Ethan off to college, but we’re so excited to see what his future holds.

Check out Ethan’s MusiCore Kensington band Rat Corpse – their original song “Collateral Damage” is free to stream and download on our Bandcamp.


Making the Song – Coldstone

Rock to the Future’s student house band

brought the house down at the Music for All Ball with their original song Coldstone- a metal track with complex rhythm changes, shredding guitar, and layered vocals.

Coldstone was inspired by bassist Will’s part-time job. It’s a fantasy most wage workers know by heart- leaving your job and the city behind and moving to the desert. In Coldstone’s version, the idyllic freedom of life in the desert soon turns into a nightmare, as the protagonist gets hopelessly lost, eats poisonous plants to try and survive, and ultimately realizes that he can’t escape from his own mind. So, a pretty basic high school experience.

The student house band collaborated to write the song, with vocalist Nia taking the lead on lyrics with help from new bassist Brandon. Guitarists Franklin and Chanel are both in their first year with the student house band, which is amazing considering how much they shred. Nia, Will, and drummer Ethan all returned for the second year recording with Weathervane Music Organization, having recorded last year’s original track, Without You. This year is Ethan’s last with the student house band- the high school senior is graduating this year and heading off to Community College of Philadelphia.

Behind the scenes: Rock to the Future students on writing and recording the original song Coldstone.

Weathervane Music Organization helped the House Band record and mix Coldstone professionally at Miner Street Recordings. Band members had a first-hand lesson in the technology and techniques involved in recording a single. You can check out their final product and download Coldstone from Bandcamp for free.

Rock to the Future believes in the power of music to transform lives. We use music education as the foundation for academic, emotional, cultural, and intellectual growth. Your donation helps us provide free programs for underserved students in Philadelphia.


Thank you for rocking the Music for All Ball 2019

You rock!

Thanks to you, this year’s Music for All Ball raised over $45,000 to support Rock to the Future’s free music programs. That is way above our goal!

Thank you for supporting us at The Music for All Ball, and for making the night so memorable. The Ball was full of love and support for Rock to the Future’s student performers. We hope you had as much fun as we did!

Step and Repeat photos by Kindly, Colleen

This year’s Music for All Ball featured amazing performances from our students in the Rock to the Future Student House Band, Midnight Roses from MusiCore Kensington, and Chapters from MusiCore Germantown. The students were joined on stage by musicians like acoustic-trap soul artist Cvgebird (Selina Carrera),Shane Henderson(of pop-punk band Valencia), classical pianist and School District of Philadelphia music teacher Barron Lacy, and singer-songwriter Julia Rainer, plus hip hop artist Chill Moody returned as this year’s emcee and guest performer.

Preparing the next generation for every stage.

At Rock to the Future, we believe that music education should be as diverse as the kids we serve. By providing free to low-cost music experiences for under-resourced youth of all skill levels in Philadelphia, we inspire self-expression, build confidence, increase academic performance, and foster teamwork. Our students learn skills that they need to succeed- on stage and off.

Your support means so much to us. We couldn’t provide our programs without your help. Thank you!


Music for All Ball 2019

The Music for All Ball is fast approaching!

The Music for All Ball supports Rock to the Future’s mission of improving the lives of Philly youth through free music programs. Join us as we celebrate music education! Featuring a 90-minute live concert with Rock to the Future’s talented students alongside Philly musicians:


Acoustic-trap soul artist Cvgebird (Selina Carrera)
Shane Henderson of pop-punk band Valencia,
Classical pianist and School District of Philadelphia music teacher Barron Lacy
Singer-songwriter Julia Rainer

Plus hip hop artist Chill Moody is returning to emcee this year’s festivities in Drexel University’s Mandell Theater.

Stay for the after party and enjoy wine from Bota Box, beer from craft breweries like Sterling Pig, specialty cocktails, and the silent auction.


The 90-minute variety show will feature classic covers, original songs, and a Hall of Fame induction. This years’ event celebrates Matt Ramer, Principal at MOR Wealth Management, who has donated his time and talent over the past 4 years to help Rock to the Future reach new heights, and Syderick Rabusa, a volunteer who has mentored and tutored Rock to the Future student’s for the past 4 years.

See you there!

Acoustic Session @ Jacobs Music

To celebrate an exciting year, Rock to the Future supporters came to an exclusive acoustic performance from the Student House Band at Jacobs Music.

After unveiling our new logo designed by Brolik, guests spent the evening surrounded by music in Jacobs Musics’ beautiful Art Deco piano showrooms.

The night ended with an impromptu jam session with the Student House Band and Rock to the Future piano instructor Barron Lacy. Check out Barron and Nia’s in-the-moment Sarah McLachlin cover:


Rockstar Rian- the Rock to the Future alum on college, creativity, and growing through music.

“Growing up can be weird. 

Sometimes as adults, we forget the challenges we face when discovering and developing ourselves, our coming of age. It’s important to explore our interests and have the confidence to fully express ourselves during this crucial time.

At Rock to the Future, uniqueness and diversity is celebrated, and personalities are given the opportunity to shine.

As a former student of the Philadelphia Public School District, I have unfortunately directly been impacted by budget cuts in the art departments of Philadelphia schools and know what it’s like to have a creative outlet be oppressed or limited. I was a shy kid that would shut myself away from people as I grew up. But because of the opportunities provided to me by Rock to the Future, I was able to really develop myself as an artist and dive deeper into the world of music, opening myself up and learning to express myself through something I was passionate about.

Not only was I able to benefit from this program by learning how to read music and play an instrument, I was also shown how to collaboratively work with others, perform and publicly speak, and improve my academic performance. I also took with me things that I will hold close to my heart for the rest of my life–I was able to enhance my interest in the music industry, I’ve bonded and made friendships with people who I now consider my RTTF family, and I value the importance of educating our youth and giving back to the community.

Because of the opportunities and experiences provided to me through Rock to the Future, 

I am able to continue my guided passion for music industry operations through my education provided at The University of the Arts, majoring in the Music Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology program and I plan to graduate this coming spring.

Without Rock to the Future and all the opportunities and support given to me, I’m not sure if any of this would have happened. I have this program to thank, it’s truly changed my life and I am sincerely grateful.”

– Rian Iwer