Columbia Star

1963        Celebrating 60 Years      2023

Freeway Music celebrates 10-year anniversary

Freeway Music’s Showcase at Market on Main in November 2020

Freeway Music’s Showcase at Market on Main in November 2020

Freeway Music— Columbia’s locally owned, premier music school— celebrates 10 years of bringing music lessons, programs, and events to students across the Midlands region. Since opening its doors in 2011, Freeway Music has taught nearly 10,000 students through nearly half a million lessons, has donated more than $70,000 to local nonprofits, has given countless volunteer hours to the community, and has collaborated with many partners to bring music to the region.

Now with six locations throughout the greater Columbia metropolitan area and optional virtual lessons, what began as chance encounter by two local musicians, Don Russo and Tony Lee, has flourished into the fastest growing music instruction school in South Carolina. Freeway Music offers private music lessons for all skill levels, styles and ages on a wide range of instruments, including piano, voice, ukulele, drums, bass, strings, woodwinds, horns, mandolin, banjo and more.

From day one, Freeway Music has challenged its music schools and teachers to be innovative and responsive to the needs of their students. As a result of COVID-19, Freeway Music adapted its traditional in-person lessons and now offers the options for virtual lessons, showcases, and recitals. Additionally, Freeway Music offers music lessons in participating Midlands area schools and through a long-standing partnership with The Columbia Children’s Theatre.

Freeway Music has been the catalyst for many of the region’s top music talent—many of which have gone on to pursue their musical careers on a national stage.

Over the past 10 years, Freeway Music has been making a positive mark on the community in countless way, including:

•Donating nearly $60,000 to local charities through its co-partnership of the Freeway Music Festival, which unites the music community and celebrates local and regional talent.

•Providing music scholarships to support youth who may not otherwise be able to afford music lessons.

•Participating in fundraising and performances for many local nonprofits, including The Conner Foundation, Palmetto Children’s Hospital, Harvest Hope Food Bank, The Women’s Shelter, Pets Inc., Pawmetto Lifeline, Trustus Theatre, Girls Rock Columbia, the Hootie & the Blowfish Foundation, and the South Carolina Philharmonic, among others.

•Supporting local schools with free lessons and performances, including Bethel-Hanberry Elementary, St. John Newman,

Heathwood Hall, the University of South Carolina, Columbia College, Blythewood High School, Irmo High School, St. Andrews Middle School, and more.

Freeway Music will present a music showcase Sunday, September 26, 2–5 p.m., at Tin Roof, 1022 Senate Street.

For more information, visit

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