Freeway Music School Expands Virtual Services and Offers Scholarships


COVID 2020 course

Freeway Music, Columbia’s first locally owned music school, launched new virtual and social distance technique lessons, presentations, recitals, studio time and music videos, as well as new scholarships, having a positive impact on hundreds of students across the region.

As a small business, Freeway Music is rooted in face-to-face interaction and in-person teaching. After the COVID-19 pandemic limited its ability to open the doors of its studios at its five Columbia locations, the music school brought instruction and opportunities to the homes of its students by incorporating virtual lessons. , showcases and recitals in different formats. He also introduced new technologies to make lessons even more productive.

“Music is a vehicle for creativity, healing, emotional expression and more,” says Don Russo, Founder and COO of Freeway Music. “It offers hope and is vital in these times of isolation. We are committed to showing our musical family that they don’t need to be physically together to play together.

Virtual lessons with founder Don Russo

Virtual lessons with founder Don Russo

Founded in 2011, Freeway Music provides student-centered music education that also benefits the wider community, making a positive impact through classes for all skill levels and ages, as well as music therapy, theater, showcases, recitals and partnerships with various charities, organizations, and community events. Freeway Music has locations in downtown Columbia, Lexington, Irmo, Northeast, and within Sims Music.

In addition to its virtual services, Freeway Music now offers in-person lessons, social distance, and free studio time as a new experience for its students, allowing them to take home their own recordings. The school also uses technology like Sound Slice, which allows students to view their graded music online, control tempo and which loop sections they may struggle with.

This summer, Freeway Music students hosted social distancing outdoor concerts at Steel Hands Brewing and Market on Main in downtown Columbia, giving kids the chance to perform in public safely under supervision. of an adult.

Student performance at Freeway Music

Student performance at Freeway Music

“Our goal is to create opportunities for our students to continue learning and showcasing their work during this hectic time,” said Tony Lee, co-founder of Freeway Music. “Music and creative expression must be accessible to everyone, which is why we create safe and innovative solutions to meet the needs of every family. “

As the pandemic began to change the lives of businesses and families, Freeway Music recognized a need within its own music community – there are families who can no longer afford classes and instructors who have lost their jobs. . As a result, Freeway Music has created “Jam for the Fam”, a virtual concert for the benefit of those in need. Local musicians volunteered to perform, and the event provided 10 scholarships for students to continue their classes and benefited four instructors who recently suffered a major loss.

“Freeway Music is more than a music school: it’s our extended family,” says the mother of a scholarship recipient. “When COVID-19 hit and my family had only one income left, they stepped in to help my daughter continue her education with a special scholarship. With their help, my daughters were able to continue doing what they love, making music.

Freeway Music believes that music transcends barriers of all kinds and unites people from all walks of life, and the school uses its resources to uplift and encourage the entire Columbia area and beyond. Its philanthropic support for local organizations and community outreach includes the following:

• Co-partnership of the Freeway Music Festival, which brings together the musical community and celebrates local and regional talents. The 2019 event raised funds to help build a new greenhouse at City Roots Organic Farm.

• Fundraising and performing for many local causes and charities including The Conner Foundation, Palmetto Children’s Hospital, Harvest Hope Food Bank, The Women’s Shelter, Pets Inc., Pawmetto Lifeline, Trustus Theater, Girls Rock Columbia, the Hootie & the Blowfish Foundation, and the South Carolina Philharmonic, among others.

• Class donations and performances for local schools including Bethel-Hanberry Elementary, St. John Newman, Heathwood Hall, University of South Carolina, Columbia College, Blythewood High School, Irmo High School, St. Andrews Middle School and many others.

• Volunteering and supporting local events including Tree Festival, Rooftop Rhythms, St. Pat’s in Five Points Parade, Palmetto Christmas, MG&C Long Run, Heart and Sole Run, Get in the Pink Race , Vista Lights, First Thursdays Principal, and more.

• Music scholarships, including the Friends Scholarship in partnership with the Christopher Conner Foundation to help students who cannot afford music lessons, and the Davis Cripe scholarship, established at the dissertation by Freeway Music drum student Irmo / ballentine Davis Cripe.

For more information on Freeway Music, visit or dial 844-537-7661.


Perry A. Thomasson