Social Startups

PluggedIn : Teen Bands Creating Change Through Music

PluggedIn is a non-profit organization that teaches teenagers how to be in a rock band. And at the same time, use their music to make a positive change within society. Performing in a band allows teenage musicians to be creative, make friends, grow musically and have fun. The bands perform concerts to raise money for charity.

PluggedIn started in Needham Massachusetts, as a resource place for teenagers to come together as a band. Starting with 5 students in 1 band in 2002, PluggedIn now consists of 90 students in 25 bands, and has helped raise thousands of dollars for charities all over the world.

Music for a Cause

At the beginning of each program, PluggedIn students get together at an event called “Charity Night” and present to each other charitable organizations and causes that are important to them. Students explain how they learned about the cause, what needs are met by the charity and why they feel it is important to support them.
At the end of the evening, students vote to choose the charity for which the concert will raise money.
The teachers help students develop a set of songs to perform at the benefit concert. Students are mentored by professional song-writers and established musicians who support causes.

Going beyond their musical abilities, several students end up volunteering with non-profits they support, and tutor young students. PluggedIn has supported Amnesty International, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Keep a Child Alive, and Music for Relief (started by Linkin Park), among others.

Looking ahead

PluggedIn is not restricted to the US. They intend to go global. To begin with, they plan to offer a global music camp called “Music That Matters” in the summer of 2011. PluggedIn also plans to conduct cross-cultural programs and annual trips to countries all over the world. This will help students to connect with musicians from different cultures, as well as learn new instruments and styles of music and experience how music can create a positive change across boundaries.

Check out PluggedIn’s website or follow their Facebook page to stay in touch with the bands.

Filed under: Social Startups


Usha Bhende

A free-lance writer and editor for books, journals, brochures, web-mags and websites. Her interests range from human interest stories, sports to Social causes and NGOs, transcripts and content-writing.