Freeway Music School Celebrates 10-Year Anniversary
October marks the 10 year anniversary for Freeway Music School—an incredible milestone and achievement. Freeway opened in 2011 and since then hasn’t stopped growing while still maintaining its core values, one of them being to help students reach their musical goals. “Freeway Music goes beyond your traditional music school,” says Don Russo, Freeway Music’s co-founder and chief operating officer. “We are a hub for building deep relationships between teachers, students and the community-while staying focused on being innovative and adapting to the world around us.”
From the start, Freeway Music has encouraged instructors and students to cultivate their musical talent, and also to showcase it in the studio as well as on stage. The combination of dynamic teaching, and the dedication of each instructor to their students’ progress creates a rich learning environment. Now that there are six locations in and around Columbia, this level of student focused instruction is available for many throughout South Carolina’s Midlands, and beyond. “Adapting to virtual lessons and other programming has opened many doors for our students and teachers,” says Tony Lee, Freeway Music’s co-founder. “It’s allowed us to expand our way of teaching, as well as introduce new technology that gives us the capacity to teach anywhere in the world.”
Both Tony Lee and Don Russo are committed to helping students, of any age (there are students in their upper 80’s taking lessons) achieve their musical goals. And you can see that same drive mirrored in the instructors there as well. In the past 10 years, Freeway Music instructors have taught upwards of 10,000 students nearly half a million lessons. Take these examples for instance, Neoni –the alternative pop rock band with over a million monthly listeners on Spotify, or Jonathan Wyndham, who performed on The Voice in 2014 and is now an independent vocal artist. From their first lessons at Freeway Music, to now, the level of their success is exemplary. Sydney and Caitlin Powell, the sisters who together form Neoni, say of Freeway, “We could not be more proud to be Freeway Music alumni and to think it all began ten years ago in a lesson room to music becoming our entire career is truly amazing.” But, as praiseworthy as those accomplishments are, the other side, the one we don’t hear about that often, is as equally notable—throughout the years, Freeway has raised and donated more than $60,000 to local nonprofits, and also volunteered countless hours to the community. You’ll hear the phrase, “Freeway family” a lot around the studios. Family and community are both words that are often associated with the school’s fundamental values. “Supporting our community is part of who we are—it’s embedded in the fabric of our DNA,” says Russo. “We’ve seen music transcend barrier, transform lives and unify people of all walks of life.”
Other ways that Freeway Music has expanded their outreach to help the community are:
- Co-partnership of the Freeway Music Festival—uniting local and regional musicians
- Music scholarships to support youth who may not be able to afford music lessons
- Participation in local fundraising and performances for nonprofits such as: Palmetto Children’s Hospital, Harvest Hope Food Bank, The Conner Foundation, The Woman’s Shelter, Pawmetto Lifeline, Trustus Theatre, Girls Rock Columbia, and many others
- Supporting local schools with free lessons and performances including the following: Columbia College, Irmo High School, Bethel-Hanberry Elementary, St. John Newman, Heathwood Hall, Blythewood High School, St. Andrews Middle School
- Helping with local events: The Festival of Trees, Rooftop Rhythms, St. Pat’s in Five Points Parade, Palmetto Christmas, the MG&C Long Run, the Heart and Sole Run, Get in the Pink Race, Vista Lights, First Thursdays on Main
Freeway Music is More than Just a Music School, that much is clear. Whether it’s through community outreach, supporting nonprofits, or helping anyone who aspires to become a musician achieve their dream, Freeway is in many ways an incredible “family”. The same level of enthusiasm and creative drive that instructors have in the studio classroom is also put into every (recital) student showcase. At the end of the day, it has always been about developing talent, and sometimes helping students find talent they never knew they had. All of the student showcases in October 2021 will celebrate, not only the amazing student performances, but also this milestone anniversary of 10 years of Freeway Music School.
Check out all the events for dates and venues: https://freewaymusic.net/events/ . These showcases are crucial to students’ development, honing and showing off their skills in “real life” settings and are essentially live music concerts.
To learn more about Freeway Music and register for classes with year-round enrollment at https://freewaymusic.net/.
About Freeway Music
Founded in 2011, Freeway Music in the Columbia, S.C., region’s premier music school with five locations in downtown Columbia, Lexington, Irmo, the Northeast, and within Sims Music. Freeway music offers lessons for all skill levels, styles, and ages on a wide range of instruments, including piano, voice, guitar, ukulele, drums, bass, strings, woodwinds, horns, mandolin, banjo, and more. Freeway Music’s mission is to equip students in music and life to make a positive impact in their community. Freeway Music is the exclusive music school partner of Sims Music, a locally owned and nationally recognized music store. For more information visit https://freewaymusic.net/ or call 844.537.7661.