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Brotherly Love: Teaching Rock To The Future

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(credit: CBS) Ukee Washington
Ukee Washington anchors Eyewitness News This Morning on CBS 3 and...
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By Ukee Washington

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – For school kids, homework can be a drag, but not for the young people you’re about to meet. They’re not just learning reading and writing, but singing and rocking.

Inside a church in Fishtown, you can feel the noise! Welcome to Rock to the Future, a free afterschool program for underprivileged students ages 9 to 17.

“I wanted to play guitar,” said Imani Parks, an 11th grader.

Students agree to meet every afternoon for lessons. They learn how to read sheet music, learn all sorts of instruments, and work together to form their own bands.

Richard Valdez, a 12th grader who is learning guitar, said, “I know how to read notes, and I can play them on the fret board and everything.”

Philadelphia musician Jessica Craft founded Rock to the Future. She used to work at an investment firm, but she saw too many kids growing up without the music she had in school.

“I was in the drum line and the orchestra and the jazz band,” Craft said. “That’s why I decided to leave my corporate job took a pay cut, a drastic pay cut.”

The goal is not just musical. It’s educational. Craft said, “Research proves that music education actually increases grades, standardized test scores.”

Sophia Monteiro, 13, said, “It’s helped my grades go up a lot.”

Samira Long, also 13, said, “I’m advanced in math and proficient in reading and it’s never – ha – that high!”

Jessica Craft started with 13 students three years ago. Now it’s up to 33! For the first time Jessica has enough sponsorship to draw a salary for her and her staff. That means more success stories.

Rhiannon Iwer, a 10th grader, said, “I thought I could never be, like, musical, but I learned that I can.”

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