Freeway Music celebrates 10 year anniversary

Freeway Music a locally owned music school is celebrating 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 volunteer hours to the community and has collaborated with many partners to bring music to the region.

“Freeway Music goes beyond your traditional music school,” said Dan 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. We use the power of music to develop and grow our students and ourselves.”

Now with six locations throughout the greater Columbia metropolitan area and optional virtual lessons, what began as chance encounter by two local musicians, Dan 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.

“Adapting to virtual lessons and other programming has opened many doors for our students and teachers,” said 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.”

Over the past 10 years, Freeway Music has made 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 lesson 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 many more.
• Volunteering and supporting local events, including 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 and more.

Showcasing Talent on The Big Stage

Each season, Freeway Music presents music showcases that are free and open to the public at various large venues in the region. These showcases are crucial to students’ musical development and allows an opportunity for them to show off their skills in “real life” settings for an experience similar to professional music performances. Support local students and enjoy live music by attending a Freeway Music showcase this fall.

• Downtown: September 26, 2-5 pm, Tin Roof, 1022 Senate Street, Columbia
• Lexington: October 31, 2-4 pm, Ice House Amphitheater, 107 W. Main Street, Lexington.
• Northeast: November 21, 1-6 pm, The Senate, 1022 Senate Street, Columbia.
• Irmo: TBD. Check the Freeway Music calendar for updates on this showcase.

For the latest on upcoming event dates and venues, visit

To learn more about Freeway Music and register for classes with year-round enrollment at