Give Shaun the Magic of Music

Five days a week, a 9th-grader named Shaun travels an hour by bus from Germantown to meet his siblings Myriah and Jamaine at Rock to the Future (RTTF). This is Shaun’s second year attending the MusiCore after school program in North Philadelphia.

Shaun comes to RTTF every day because he loves to play the drums. He starting playing drums when he was three: “Whatever I heard in my head, I started playing. I’d play on the table, on the floor.” Now, he looks forward to spending his afternoons “drumming and making friends.”

Shaun struggles in school, but last year he improved his grades in all of his core classes. He has shown the RTTF staff how seriously he is trying to exceed the program’s academic expectations; now he’s focusing on his biology grades. He’s also working to meet his own musical goals. Shaun has set a personal goal of joining the RTTF student house band this year as a drummer. He recently mastered paradiddles, and he’s learning “Detroit” by Red Hot Chili Peppers to play in his upcoming recital.

Every year, he looks forward to performing on stage: “They turn on all the concert lights on the stage. I liked how the lights were shining on me.”

When asked what he wants to be when he grows up, Shaun has lots of ideas; the possibilities now seem endless. As a RTTF student, Shaun is learning valuable skills that go beyond music, like teamwork, self-confidence, and how to set and achieve goals. With the life skills he’s learning at RTTF, Shaun will be ready for every stage.

Thanks to our generous supporters, Rock to the Future is able to offer free programming and music education for hundreds of students like Shaun every year. By supporting RTTF, you help us:

  • Provide free music education programming for over 300 youth in 2017
  • Create an environment where kids of all ages and abilities feel confident, safe, and respected enough to share their voice
  • Provide pathways out of poverty using music. Since inception, 100% of our MusiCore after-school program graduates have gone on to college or trade school.

At RTTF, we know that music can inspire and motivate kids and young adults to achieve. Your support of our year-end giving drive will help us to meet our $25,000 goal, which will be matched this year by a generous donor – that means that your donation is doubled!

Will you give the magical gift of music this year to help kids like Shaun?


Teen Music Lounge Starts September 29

Join us on September 29th for our first session!

Rock to the Future is proud to present our new free Teen Music Lounge! This weekly Friday program provides teens with a safe and positive space to learn music, create their own projects, collaborate with other teens, and opportunities for monthly exhibitions. Each month will feature a different guest music teacher and exciting workshops on hip-hop, songwriting, voice and vocal improvisation, instrumental instruction on guitar, bass, drums, and piano, recording, digital music and technology, the influence and power of music to make change, and more.

If you’re a Philly teen between the ages of 13 to 17, come to our information session on September 29th, 4-6pm! We’re going to introduce the candidates for this year’s line-up of potential guest music teachers and ask you to help us pick the finalists. No prior musical experience is necessary and beginners are welcome. Food will be provided also.

Let us know if you’re coming! The Teen Music Lounge is a drop-in program, so you don’t need to RSVP for our regular sessions (every Friday from 4 – 6pm), but we’d like to know in advance for this first event. Teen Music Lounge takes place at 2139 E Cumberland St, Phila, PA 19125. Contact or 215-302-9633 x710 for questions or concerns. 

Please share this opportunity with Philly teens.Teen Music Lounge is supported by the Bartol Foundation.

RSVP for Sept 29

Rock to the Future partners with the Philadelphia Eagles

The Philadelphia Eagles are renowned for the philanthropic work they perform through their Eagles Care initiative. For the past three years, Philly’s NFL team has partnered with five local nonprofits around the city to positively impact the surrounding community. This year, Rock to the Future is one of them along with MANNA, After School Activities Partnerships, Living Beyond Breast Cancer and Summer Search.

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  • We’re incredibly excited for this opportunity! As a 2016-2017 Eagles Care partner, Rock to the Future will receive a generous grant, peer-to-peer networking, professional development from Eagles’ staff, access to events such as NFL games and various other benefits (hopefully an opportunity for our students to perform at the Linc!) We are proud to partner with the Eagles and look forward to spending the upcoming year with their winning team. We’ll have a lot of exciting announcements over the coming months–so stay tuned!

Apply now for our MusiCore after school program

After a long day in the classroom, playing music can be the perfect way to unwind. From September thru June, Rock to the Future makes this possible by way of our MusiCore after school program. On weekdays from 3 to 6 pm, we offer private instructional lessons on contemporary musical instruments (guitar, bass, drums, piano) as well as lessons on music theory, band practices and much more. Our students even perform at REAL venues and record their original music in professional studios. The program provides a full music experience in a judgement-free, positive environment!

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  • Our MusiCore students also receive daily homework help, subject specific tutoring, and even college application assistance for high school seniors. Many MusiCore students increase their grade point average and a whopping 100% attend college.

The MusiCore program is provided at no cost for underserved Philadelphia youth in grades 6 – 12.

We are currently accepting applications for the MusiCore program at Rock to the Future. Click for more information on the program here, including requirements for participation, and sign-up below!


Rock to the Future is now on Bandcamp

Not only does Rock to the Future teach underserved youth contemporary music, but it also provides many other amenities typically reserved for real rock stars. For instance, students are given the opportunity to jam, write and perform music live with peers–all awesome opportunities to anyone with a passion for performing music.

For the fifth year in a row, our bands had the chance to record an original song live at the studio. You can hear each band’s performance as part of our annual release, titled “MusiCore Original Songs 2015-2016,” over at our Bandcamp page.

  • The coolest opportunity Rock to the Future provides, however, may be ability to record original music in a professional music studio.
  • This is possible because of MAD Dragon Studios, an operation of Drexel University. It seems fitting that the largely student-run studio is the perfect place for our own students to record their original music to tape!

Rock to the Future– a proud part of Women Making History

On Sunday, July 24th, a handful of Rock to the Future members were privileged enough to provide live music for the Women Making History Celebration and Awards Ceremony. Taking place at The Walnut Club, the event celebrated women’s accomplishments across various fields.

Four young women from our house band contributed music to the occasion. Their set featured covers of two native Philadelphian women, P!NK and Joan Jett, as well as an original track written by Rock to the Future House Band vocalists/guitarists Lily and Cheyenne.

View a video commemorating the live performance below!


We brought Rock & Roll to the Camden Children’s Garden

July 23rd and 24th saw Philadelphia sweat through the hottest weekend of the year. Just across the water, we set-up shop at the Camden Children’s Garden in support of WXPN’s XPoNential Festival. From Saturday through Sunday, we gave over 100 youth an introduction to music through our Instrument Zoo and Shaker Station.

At the Instrument Zoo, children could try out instruments such as guitar, bass, keyboard and various pieces of auxiliary percussion (maraca, tambourine, etc.). A very special feature was a PVP Pipe Xylophone made by our very own Cameron Dewhitt. Beside the Instrument Zoo was the Shaker Station. Here, children could make shakers out of toilet paper rolls, raw macaroni and some creative spirit.


Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Performance

The sun shone brightly on the early morning of June 10th. On that Friday morning, a van was packed outside an old church – Rock to the Future’s Headquarters – in the Fishtown / Kensington neighborhood in Philadelphia. Inside the van? All the makings of a rock & roll show—electric guitars, basses, keyboards and drums and seven young rockers from the Rock to the Future student house band eager to play.

Over the course of the day, the van carried these young rock stars across new terrain, 440 miles to rock & roll’s greatest monument: The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The Hall represents one of the highest achievements a modern musician can obtain. After a seven hour trek, the seven rockers arrived at the Hall’s gates, ready to immortalize themselves in their own way.

Rock to the Future’s House Band was a featured guest at the showcase, the lone representative of Philadelphia amongst a series of acts from all across the country. The set (listed below) spanned fifty years of rock and pop, taking the audience all the way from Barret Strong’s 1959 hit “Money” to The Black Keys 2012 jam “Gold on the Ceiling. By the end of the set, the house band stepped off stage satisfied—they had made themselves, Rock to the Future and Philadelphia proud before the massive Cleveland monument.

The trip to Cleveland was highlighted by the house band’s participation in the Hungry for Music Showcase and instrument drive on June 11th. Hungry for Music, a Washington D.C.-based organization that provides musical instruments to those in need, has supported Rock to the Future since 2014, providing musical equipment like guitars, drums, keyboards, bass guitars and amps for the MusiCore after-school program, summer camps, and in-school electric guitar classes. Rock to the Future would like to personally thank Hungry for Music and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for the incredible opportunity!
RTTF House Band Setlist:
Money by Barret Strong (1959)
I Saw Her Standing There by The Beatles (1963)
My Girl by The Temptations (1965)
Paint It Black by The Rolling Stones (1966)
I Want You Back by The Jackson 5 (1969)
Walk This Way by Aerosmith (1975)
One Way or Another by Blondie (1978)
I Love Rock & Roll by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts (1981)
Under Pressure by Queen & David Bowie (1981)
Old Time Rock and Roll by Bob Seger the Silver Bullet Band (1978)
Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana (1991)
Gold On the Ceiling by The Black Keys (2012)


Music for All Ball was a Ball for All

We got glamorous at the Glam Rock-themed Music for All Ball benefitting Rock to the Future.

On May 7th we got all dolled up and headed for the Mummer’s Museum for the Music for All Ball. This yearly event is a major drive for Rock to the Future, a 501c3 nonprofit organization. This sold-out event was attended by fans, friends, supporters new and old, and Rock to the Future students and nearly doubled what we raised last year (and 6x what we raised the first year!) Thanks to all of our incredible sponsors, staff, supporters, attendees, and everyone else who had a hand in making this 3rd annual event the most successful yet.

Our goal of $30,000 raised was surpassed, as we hit $31,000 by the end of the night.

Frank Machos, Director of Music Education at the School District of Philadelphia

Frank manages music education for over 250 schools in the Philadelphia School District. We would like to take this opportunity to thank him for his support of our MobileMusic in-school guitar programs at Hackett Elementary and Conwell Middle School and for his work in creating partnerships so youth can continue to learn music. We are so grateful for this successful partnership, we can’t wait to unveil future expansions in the coming year!

Connor Barwin, Defensive End for the Philadelphia Eagles

Balancing a successful NFL career with intense charity work is no east feat, but Connor manages to do it all with a smile! We thank him for his support of our mission to provide free music education in Philly, and for giving our students the opportunity to attend games and meet with him in person! In addition to his partnership with RTTF, Connor founded the Make the World Better Foundation (MWBF) which supports the community through arts, athletics, and environmental responsibility.

Thank you to all of our sponsors!!!


Philly POPS Collaboration

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&lt;h5&gt;&lt;strong&gt;Thank you to The Philly POPS for this amazing opportunity!   &lt;/strong&gt;&lt;/h5&gt;
&lt;strong&gt;Rock to the Future&#039;s House Band&lt;/strong&gt; recently opened for &lt;strong&gt;The Philly POPS&lt;/strong&gt; performances of The Music of Billy Joel at the Kimmel Center! These performances featured a selection of classic hits from The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Hall &amp;amp; Oates, Jackson 5, and more!

Sunday&#039;s performance featured a special collaboration with &lt;strong&gt;Tune Up Philly&lt;/strong&gt;,  a youth program under the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra that teaches classical instruments to underserved Philly youth. Middle and high school students from Mariana Bracetti Academy&#039;s brass ensemble joined Rock to the Future for a classic rock and Motown collaboration! If you missed the performance, make sure to check out the video on our &lt;a href=&quot;; target=&quot;_blank&quot;&gt;YouTube page&lt;/a&gt;.

These performances demonstrate all musical genres have a place and purpose, and any style of music can greatly enrich the development of a growing mind.

Music in itself is healing. It&#039;s an explosive expression of humanity. It&#039;s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we&#039;re from, everyone loves music."Billy