Take a deep breath and take a moment to appreciate the role music has had in your life ( TAKE THAT BREATH) This was the first thing I did after attending the Arts and Business Council of Greater Philadelphia’s 34th annual award ceremony back in May of 2019. I was inspired to appreciate music’s role in my life after watching a short video celebrating the work of Jessica Craft. Jessica is the Founding Executive Director of Rock to the Future. The video showed their program in action and I was immediately inspired to get my students involved in volunteering for their non profit organization. Rock to the Future has been around since 2010 and they have made it their mission to provide free access to music programs in order to combat the inequalities that exist within our neighborhoods. A long with all of the life skills one can learn through music education, Rock to the Future also helps students with school work and college readiness. Our student Kassim made us laugh after being introduced to their program by using one word to describe the work they do… “Epic”.
The reason I agree with Kassim, about Rock to the Future being epic, is because I understand the impact music has in young people’s lives in Philadelphia. Over my six years of teaching it is easily the career that most high school students are interested in pursuing. Rock to the Future gives them the opportunity to try the industry out by having them put on a live show from start to finish. My students and I recently attended one of their summer programs at Kensington High School to volunteer for their showcase. Students created bands, logo’s, song names, and an original song to perform to an audience of people. Throughout the program students learned instruments and were engaged throughout the entire process. Public speaking/performing in front of people is consistently mentioned as a big fear in the eyes of Americans. The young people of Rock to the Future smash that fear within a couple of weeks and the confidence we witnessed before and after their performance is , as Kassim put it, “epic”. It was a reminder to the students of We Love Philly that we all have that confidence inside us and it was a great teachable moment for me because we were able to reflect on the preparation the Rock to the Future students achieved before their performance. “The constant pressure of caring what other people think, as my student Kay put it, is what stops me from achieving my goals and it seemed like the young students of Rock to the Future have conquered that fear”. It is amazing what you can learn from young people and we thank Rock to the Future for letting us volunteer and leave a little bit more confident. If you’re interested with volunteering with Rock to the Future send them an email at info@rocktothefuture. Check out our podcast interview with their Chief Music Officer Joshua Craft at the top of this page and check out the volunteer video we made for them below.