Music education fosters success in academics and in life!

In the weeks leading up to the New Year, the staff of Rock to the Future were brainstorming new ways to showcase the amazing benefits of music education. The #rocktoMYfuture hashtag was created to showcase how music education affects the lives of children for the better and helps them succeed later in life, no matter what career they select.

In mid-January we began sharing old photos of our staff and volunteers on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter using the #rocktoMYfuture hashtag. In the following weeks we moved on to student photos and their future career aspirations. Below are just a few examples of how music education can inspire youth to work hard and achieve their full potential!

To get the students thinking about the future, we asked them what their #1 career choice is as of right now. Here are their responses:

Rock to the Future’s program encourages students to work hard and set goals -musical or otherwise! Regina has been inspired by the program to pursue music and singing in the future.

Learning music can drastically improve spatial intelligence, the the ability to perceive the world accurately and form mental pictures. This skill will come in handy for Jaden and his future clients in his future real estate career.

Rock to the Future aims to enrich the artistic spirit of every student! Richard is very interested in visual and performing arts and hopes to pursue a variety of subjects in the future!

Learning music develops a sense of craftsmanship and the ability to accept constructive criticism; students learn how to critique their own work as well. Riorden hopes to utilize these skills he learns at Rock to the Future as a successful novelist!

Music and art programs foster an interest in culture and give students the opportunity to see how culture and art are related. Sanaayah has developed an interest anthropology, the study of humanity and culture, and hopes to be a forensic anthropologist in the future!

By studying music and the arts, students exercise their creative skills and learn to think outside the box. Natalia has already started using these skills on Youtube, and hopes to someday produce videos as a career.

Rock to the Future encourages students to explore a variety of career options, although we love it when the program inspires students to pursue music! Jamiyah sees singing in her future!

Learning an instrument exercises a student’s memory; memorization skills are very helpful in academics and beyond! Lewis hopes to be a zoologist in the future and will need to remember countless scientific names for animals!

Studies have shown that students who study music display improved math skills. Music theory includes several mathematical elements and involves using multiple cognitive processes simultaneously. As a future aerospace engineer, Gerry will need to take rigorous math courses in college.

Jenna hopes to be a vet tech or fashion designer. Through music, Jenna motivates herself to work hard at everything she does!

Zylan has been inspired to pursue music, rock music of course! He is currently part of a band and is well on his way to achieving rockstar status!

Our staff and volunteers demonstrate how music education and supportive environments can lead to a successful future. One week we featured (from left to right) board members Levi and Bill, and volunteer Adam.


Levi had the opportunity to learn an instrument in a supportive environment, and as a result he developed a great appreciation for music and art. Today, he is the Director of Business Operations for The Center for Art in Wood, as well as a RTTF board member.


Pictured above is Bill Mecaugey (a RTTF board member) at age 15, recording on an old-school reel-to-reel. Today, Bill has a successful career in business and finance, and continues his love of music by supporting Rock to the Future and our mission to provide free music education to the next generation!


Pictured on the bottom right is our own Adam Rivera with his family Growing up, Adam had big dreams of becoming a musician and he has certainly achieved them. Adam has has worked as both a volunteer and staff member for Rock to the Future and has proved to be a vital asset to our program.

Jessica and Josh Craft, our Founding Executive Director and Program Director, respectively.

Howdy Partner! Believe it or not, this is our very own Program Director, Josh Craft! Josh participated in music and theatre programs as a kid, and developed a passion for teaching performing arts. Today, he organizes the musical aspects of our program, and insures the program is as fun as it is educational.

Pictured on the right with her sisters is our very own Founding Executive Director, Jessica Craft. Growing up, Jess and her sisters were involved in music programs, marching band, and drumline. Now she leads the charge in the fight to keep music education available to all of Philly’s youth!


Student Spotlight: Sam


Rock to the Future firmly believes arts programs are a necessary element of a well-rounded curriculum. Not only do we offer free music education, we offer a safe and supportive environment for our students to learn and succeed despite life’s many challenges. Sam Villanueva, 15 years old, is one of our many students who has benefited from our multi-dimensional program.

Sam’s musical abilities have grown tremendously at Rock to the Future. He began with guitar 4 years ago and switched to his preferred instrument, piano, after 3 years. Although Sam joined at 11 years old, his love for music began at an even earlier age. Growing up in a very musical family, he was exposed to a variety of artists and genres. He names his grandfather (Pop) and uncle, both self taught musicians, as his biggest musical influences. A fanatical Beatles fan, Sam’s grandfather would often teach him parts of his favorite songs. Unfortunately Sam’s grandfather passed away, but he left Sam a lasting passion for music.

Although Sam misses his grandfather greatly, he finds comfort in one of his grandfather’s favorite songs, “Strawberry Fields” by the Beatles. Played at Pop’s funeral, the song has a strong sentimental value. “I feel like when I listen to it the memories we shared with that song are still there.” Through music, Sam is able to celebrate his grandfather’s memory and maintain a positive outlook.

Music has clearly given Sam an outlet for creativity and expression. And when Sam has a difficult transition to middle school, Rock to the Future was there to offer academic, music, and social support. Sam continued with his appreciation for Rock to the Future and voiced his concerns that many Philadelphia schools do not offer enough arts programs. “It’s a good program because of all the budget cuts in schools and all. A lot of people do love music but don’t really have places to go. Things they don’t consider curricular are the first to get cut.”

You can give the gift of music to students like Sam by supporting Rock to the Future and our mission of providing free, contemporary music education for underserved Philadelphia youth. Give the gift of music today to inspire a youth for a brighter tomorrow!


Sam's guitar playing days. Since then he has added piano to his repertoire. He has come so far!


Student Spotlight: Lily

“It’s really important because music is my outlet. A lot of people don’t have a way to let their emotions out and that’s partly why the world can be dangerous.” Lily, 17

Here at Rock to the Future, we strive to inspire passion for music and education. One of our many successes is 17 year old Lily Albright. Here is her story.

Lily’s story is a prime example of how music education can drastically improve an adolescent’s life. For years she struggled in school due to ADHD and dyslexia and experienced delays in her reading abilities. Lily expressed interest in music at an early age and at 10 years old began learning how to play the guitar through a family friend.

In 2011 when she moved on Philadelphia, Lily joined Rock to the Future. At the time, she was enrolled in an online educational program and had difficulty feeling motivated and keeping her grades up. Since joining Rock to the Future, Lily has seen several academic improvements. “I came here mid year, I was really behind and they caught me up. I didn’t have to repeat freshman year and now I attend a private Catholic vocational school,” Lily said. She is now studying cosmetology and makeup artistry at her current school and is on honor roll.

L ily has also grown tremendously as a musician in her 4 years at Rock to the Future. With the aid and support of Rock to the Future staff, volunteers, and peers she has expanded her talents to also include singing, bass, and drums. She has recently won the national scholarship to attend the Crown of the Continent Guitar Workshop in Montana where she opened for Dweezil Zappa. “There were only 8 scholarship students from all over the world. I was the only girl, and I was the youngest. That was really cool,” Lily said of the experience.

Her phenomenal achievements during the workshop led to a $10,000 scholarship for Berklee College of Music’s online program, in which she is currently enrolled and taking college courses while still in high school.

You can give the gift of music to students like Lily by supporting Rock to the Future and our mission of providing free, contemporary music education for underserved Philadelphia youth. Give the gift of music today to inspire a youth for a brighter tomorrow!

Click Here to Give the Gift of Music

SAVE THE DATE – 9/19/15!

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The Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy’s announced the Performances in Public Spaces program this past February and Rock to the Future was fortunate enough to be one of the 23 grantees selected from more than 180 applicants! Performances in Public Spaces is funded by the Mayor’s Fund for Philadelphia and the National Endowment for the Arts. We are so excited to be teaming up with Clark Park Fest this year to create a truly special community event – with lots of live performances from diverse local acts, kids music activities and more!

The goal of the Performances in Public Spaces is to create a sense of community within Philadelphia. The performances are to provoke conversations about art in our city. With this exciting collaboration, Philadelphians will get a chance to see their city in a new light and hear new artists with different styles while bringing a sense of community to their local parks.

“We hope that this program will demonstrate the breadth and vitality of Philadelphia’s artistic community, encourage people to explore their interests in performance art and inspire continued creative use of public spaces beyond this program” said Mayor Michael Nutter.

Exciting announcements will be released between now and the festival so please follow us on social media using the links below to get all of the exciting news and updates on our programs and events!

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Spreading Music Education

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Weekend Festival Overview

Rock to the Future kicked off the start of the summer season by promoting and performing at two exciting music festivals.

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Firefly Music Festival

From June 18th to the 21st RTTF’s founding director, Jessica and development director, Katie were in attendance at Firefly Music Festival to reach a new demographic of supporters.  We were lucky to share a tent with Barring Eyewear, a new local startup company in Philadelphia. Barring Eyewear is a great supporter of RTTF and decided to donate proceeds from their product sales to help our cause. We are intensely grateful for their kindness, support, and donation. Firefly Music Festival allowed us to reach new people who share a common interest with us; a love for music. We gave over 400 promotional materials to the festival goers!. In addition we expanded our contact list of people who want to support our cause. Attending Firefly Music Festival was a great experience for us. Can’t wait for Firefly 2016!

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Clark Park Music and Art Festival

This past Saturday, Rock to the Future teamed up with Clark Park for their 44th (45th?) annual Summer Music and Art Festival.  Members of the Philadelphia community were treated to an all-day event filled with an assortment of unique vendors, delicious food stands and trucks, and of course, an eclectic line-up of talented local musicians. Included in the mix were two of Rock to the Future’s student bands.  Alex, Jarod, Katherine, Luna, and Toni of Viva La Pluto and Lily, Regina, Riordan, and Sam of Big Neon Spoon rocked the stage with their original songs and covers of popular tunes.  RTTF staff was also busy making music shakers with some of the younger festival-goers and spreading the word about our summer camps and after school programs. We are looking forward to partnering with Clark Park again for their Fall Festival on September 19th!


Say hello (and goodbye) to our graduating seniors

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June is an exciting and yet bittersweet time at Rock to the Future. It is marked by celebrations of the many accomplishments of our students, and difficult partings as we say goodbye to our four graduating seniors: Destinee, Luna, Regina, and Rhiannon.  We have enjoyed watching them grow over the past few years, not only in their musical abilities but also in their academic performances. We wish them all the best of luck in their post-high school endeavors and look forward to what the future holds for these talented students!

Meet our Seniors!

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has been playing piano and guitar at RTTF since our opening day 5 years ago. When asked what she will miss the most about the program, “I will miss everything the most.  I’ve been here for 5 years and it’s been nice to see the program grow… I’m going to miss coming home from class and going right to Rock to the Future everyday.”  Destinee plans to study psychology at Penn State York this fall.


has been playing the guitar in RTTF’s after school program for the past 2 years.  She said that she is going to miss riding shot-gun in the band van on the way to concerts the most.  She loves live music and local pop-punk band The Wonder Years and Fall Out Boy.  Regina will be studying sound engineering and audio production at The Art Institute of Philadelphia this summer.

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started playing bass with RTTF 4 years ago.  She aims to break the mold and prove that females should and can be accepted in the music industry, specifically in live sound and recording.  Rhiannon will be attending The University of the Arts after graduation for sound engineering.  She also recently started working as a sound engineer at New Leaf Club music venue in Bryn Mawr.


started RTTF as a guitarist this past year after attending our Rock*A*Delphia summer camp.  This past year, she has written incredible songs about materialism and America’s obsession with pop culture.  She is planning to study business at The Community College of Philadelphia to help kick-start her fashion and music business.


Rock to the Future Student Wins National Scholarship

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Rock to the Future’s own Lily McAndrew wins national scholarship from The D’Addario Foundation!

Sixteen-year-old Lily McAndrew has been given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity by The D’Addario Foundation to attend the Crown of The Continent Guitar Workshop & Festival in Bigfork, Montana from August 30th – September 6th. Lily was selected from our MusiCore after school program over other students around in the nation because of her undeniable talent and passion to pursue music as a career.

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Lily with her mom and best friend Holly.

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“I’m really excited about winning the scholarship and feel privileged to work with such experienced musicians. I hope to be a full-time musician one day, and I can’t wait to learn more skills to make that dream a reality,” says Lily.

Growing up, Lily has struggled with dyslexia and the many challenges that come from being in a single-parent household. Lily has grown into a confident young woman, and we couldn’t be more proud! In addition to be an amazing lead guitarist and songwriter, Lily gives back to her community and even volunteers at our summer camps helping young students learn to rock. Lily’s dream is to become a professional, world-renowned musician, and, with the help of Rock to the Future, Lily has been able to keep her life and aspirations on track.

“It was very important to us as an organization to choose a student that has really dedicated him or herself to music in spite of the fact that he/she may not have the means … We are hoping that an experience like this will really inspire her in her pursuit of music and beyond” said by Suzanne D’Addario, Executive Director of the D’Addario Foundation.

The Crown of the Continent Guitar Workshop is an intense week long instructional guitar program and music festival. Last year 79 students were invited the attend the workshop and festival. This year’s festival will have appearances by Dweezil Zappa, Brett Dennen, and legendary jazz guitarist, Lee Ritenour.


Summer Camps Almost Here!

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Give your child a once in a lifetime opportunity at a chance at music education!


For an entire week this summer, your children can learn an instrument, collaborate with peers, and write music. At the end of camp, campers will be in the spotlight performing live for family, friends, and peers!

The fee for a week of camp is only $250. No purchase of musical instruments is required. Rock to the Future provides all instruments. No experience is necessary to attend Rock to the Future camps.

In August, Rock to the Future is bringing back Rock*A*Delphia. Rock*A*Delphia is a week long summer camp offered to 13 to 17 year olds. During the week campers learn how to write songs, play music, and have the chance to collaborate with other musicians. Campers have a choice of learning between guitar, bass, keyboards, or drums.

Dates: August 17 – 21, 2015
Time: 9:00am – 4:00pm

GuitarStars Summer Camp gives the opportunity for children 7 to 12 to learn how to play electric and acoustic guitar or bass guitar. GuitarStar Summer Camp runs for four days in July. At GuitarStar the campers will learn basic cords, techniques, exercises, and basic music theory. Campers receive daily lessons, learn popular songs, and write original music.

Dates: July 20 – 24, 2015
Time: 9:00am – 4:00pm





Original Songs Released.

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Over the past year students have been writing, composing, and collaborating to write original songs that define their band and themselves. Each song has a different meaning and message that the bands want their listeners to hear and understand.

“Children are dying, mothers are crying, instead lets talk about what Kim Kardashian is buying” is a power lyric written by the band, Viva La Pluto from Rock to the Future. Each song is unique and never heard before now.

Mad Dragon Records at Drexel University donated time in their recording studio to our seven bands. In addition to recording their original songs, Drexel students engineered their songs to perfection.

All seven songs will be executed at the Year End Showcase at World Café Live on May 30th. Each band that takes the stage will perform new covers of favorite songs throughout the years in addition.




5th Annual Year End Showcase @ World Cafe Live!

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End of Year Showcase is fast approaching and our rockers couldn’t be any more excited. At the end of month the MusiCore after school program from Rock to the Future will be performing live at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia on May 30th. Starting at 12:30 p.m. seven bands from the MusiCore program performs live for three hours for your enjoyment.

The seven bands will perform all genres of music throughout the showcase. Original, amazing songs written by the students themselves will be performed in addition.

A ceremony will take place at the end of showcase to award and congratulate our students for their hard work over the past year in improving in school and in music.

At the end of this upcoming school year four of our students will be graduating, we are sad to see them go but we know they are off to bigger and brighter things.

The End of Year Showcase is a great way to see the progress of our students over a year’s span of hard work and dedication. The students at Rock to the Future have learned and dedicated their time to improve their lives and musical talents. Check it out for a great time and chance to rock out.

Rock to the Future is celebrating its fifth year anniversary making this year’s End of Year Showcase increasingly more magical.

Buy tickets now!!