Get to know Lynn Peterson

Lynn Peterson

Last week’s mystery item belongs to Lynn Peterson, music instructor, band director and head of Volunteer State Community College’s bluegrass department.
Peterson also teaches songwriting and recording industry management classes.  He has been at Vol State since 1987.
Peterson earned his first music degree from East Tennessee State University and his second from Tennessee State University.
He said that the choice to become a music instructor was easy.
“Actually, the field chose me. My first job offer after I got out of the Army was as a private guitar teacher at the Cates School of Music, in Johnson City, Tennessee.
“I’ve never wanted to do anything else but teach,” he said.
Vol State’s bluegrass degree program was inaugurated in 2011, with Peterson as adviser.
The school’s interim president, Dr. Bruce Scism, was instrumental in the creation of the program.  He said that the school’s talented students, staff, and proximity to Nashville made it a natural addition.
Peterson is a working musician and songwriter as well, and at one time served as president of the Tennessee Songwriters Association International.  He has experience performing many styles, including jazz, classical and country, but considers himself a rock musician foremost.
Peterson takes Vol State songwriting students to perform at the Whippoorwill Café in Gallatin on the third Wednesday of each month.  The school has a commercial music ensemble, known as Worse Case Scenario, which performs locally, as well.
“I like to experiment with different ways of delivering information to students but the number one way is always ‘hands on.’  I’m always looking for projects that yield results outside the classroom,” he said.
Ally Smith, who completed Peterson’s songwriting class, said that the songwriters’ night is a great chance for the student-songwriters to get out and play.
The item pictured is a phonograph record.  This was one of the earliest recording methods, dating to the late nineteenth century.  According to the University of California at Santa Barbara, Columbia Records produced the cylinders until 1909.  After that time, the more familiar disc-style records became standard.
The 1907 recording features the song “No Wedding Bells for Me,” by Bob Roberts.  The song was featured in the film “The Orchid.”  The cylinder was donated to the school by Cracker Barrel restaurants.
The next songwriters’ night event is at 7 p.m. on Feb. 15 at The Whippoorwill, 118 North Water Ave. in Gallatin.   Worse Case Scenario is performing later that evening, along with the band Rockwood Terrace.


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