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Idealism Rocks - Music from the Idealist's Journey

City Year is proud to announce Idealism Rocks! Music from the Idealist’s Journey Volume IV. Singers, songwriters, rappers, and musicians are invited to submit their creative efforts to compete in the second annual song writing contest for City Year corps and staff!

We’re thrilled to announce that this year’s

competition will feature a celebrity judge:

Michael Peterson, Chart-Topping Country Music Star

and Distinguished Educator!

Here’s what you need to know:

Music changes the world. From the simple folk music of Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan, to the melodic harmonies of the Beatles, to the provocative rap of Public Enemy, music has been an integral part of movements for change. It has challenged the status quo, created communities, inspired heroism, given voice to the marginalized and oppressed, and provided hope, comfort, and joy in challenging times.

The Idealist’s Journey is City Year’s leadership development model. It is based on the conviction that the inner work of leadership development is as important as the outer work of social change. In other words, the voices and inner lives of our corps members matter, not only because those voices will influence personal development but also because they are certain to influence America’s future.

Music is about voice and personal truth. So is the Idealist’s Journey. Once again, we are bringing together these two powerful forces of personal and social change.

Interested in hearing all the winning tunes from past year?

Check them out here!

What is the purpose of this contest?

We believe in the power of voice—both individual and collective. And we know that every City Year corps includes many individuals who seek to express their service experiences through music. We want to both encourage this creativity through this contest and collect the best creations to share with the entire City Year community. With IDEALISM ROCKS! we seek to achieve the following goals:

  • Unleash the creativity of the City Year network
  • Build community
  • Inspire idealism
  • Share the power of the service experience with the world

What are the categories?

This year, we are creating three categories:

1) Corps Member Compositions

2) Student Compositions (written by students at schools served by a City Year team)

3) Alumni Compositions

What are the criteria for eligible submissions?

To be considered for inclusion in the competition, submissions must meet the following criteria:

1) Work must be an original creation of the contributor

Since the goal of this contest is to capture the voice and creativity of idealists engaged in a year of service, we are looking for original compositions. Covers of popular songs written by others will not be accepted in this contest.

2) Compositions may be up to five minutes long;

Submissions that go over this time limit will not be accepted.

3) Compositions must uphold City Year standards

The results of this competition will be made available to the entire City Year community and beyond. For this reason, submissions must uphold the spirit of City Year’s professional standards. Songs must present a positive public image; they must exhibit idealism; they must be respectful and inclusive, and cannot include swears or glamorize prohibited activities like drug use.

How do I submit my recordings?

Submissions must be uploaded to SoundCloud. A link to the song should be emailed to Max Klau ( by the competition deadline.

What is the submission deadline?

All submissions must be received by midnight on FRIDAY, MAY 4th, 2012!

Want to learn more or submit a tune? Please contact Max Klau ( for more information!