About Us

Every student in our program receives a full scholarship...we’re really a program that believes in music access and availability for everyone, with no hurdles.
— Alexander Peña, Former Director of ROCmusic

Tuition-Free Classical Music Instruction

ROCmusic is an El Sistema-inspired after-school and summer musical education program in Rochester, NY, that provides tuition-free classical music and instrument instruction to urban youth in the neighborhoods in which they live.   The cost of instruments, materials, lessons, field trips, and more are all covered under a full scholarship for each student in the program.  We are an innovative arts-outreach program that engages children and their families in the experience of making and appreciating classical music. The program is designed to instill a love of learning, responsibility, respect, and academic success, ultimately positively affecting social change in our students and the communities surrounding them.

ROCmusic is a partnership between the Hochstein School of Music & Dance, Eastman School of Music (University of Rochester), Eastman Community Music School, Gateways Music Festival, City of Rochester, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Rochester City School District.

The David F. Gantt Center was renovated in 2010, and is one of ROCmusic’s home sites. This video describes the renovation project, and includes an interview with ROCmusic Director, Alexander Peña.


ROCmusic is Offered at 2 Downtown Recreation Locations:

Gantt R-Center // 700 North Street // Mon, Wed, & Fri 4-6pm
 Grades 1-12 focus

Edgerton R-Center // 41 Backus Street // Tues, Wed, & Thurs 4-6pm Grades 1-8 focus

Program Details

ROCmusic has three levels of training:

Readiness – Beginning general music instruction | introductory recorder instruments & "box-violin" lessons.

Concertino – Beginning to Intermediate | string-instrumental instruction, with small group-lessons.

Orchestra – Intermediate to Advanced | mixed-group string rehearsals, with solo lessons.

Interested in ROCmusic? Get involved!


Interested in ROCmusic's free classical music education?  We are accepting applications for the 2017-18 school year on the basis of rolling admission.


ROCmusic is so grateful for the many amazing volunteers that help out with events, lessons, and rehearsals.  Interested in applying to volunteer?  Let us know!


The generous support of our many sponsors and donors makes it possible for ROCmusic to provide tuition-free music education.  We appreciate donations of any sizes!