Music Department


Our faculty members are all active performers in local venues.

Ben Graves, Music Instructor

Graves is an alumnus of the Berklee College of Music and has performed internationally both as a solo act and as a multi-instrumentalist/vocalist with artists as diverse as Kid Rock and the late Modern Jazz Quartet bassist Percy Heath. In addition to being passionate about music education, he is active as a session musician, sideman and songwriter.

Lynn Peterson, Assistant Professor

Peterson is a versatile performer as well as an accomplished teacher. He's performed with jazz, rock, country, and classical ensembles as well as Justin Tubb and the Texas Troubadours. He has performed on The Grand Ole Opry and the Nationally Syndicated Midnight Jamboree Radio Show. He has served as president of The Tennessee Songwriters Association International and has been teaching music at Vol State for 27 years. He taught in the Johnson City Tennessee area for 13 years before coming to the Nashville area. He is an ex-Minister, Choir Director and Youth Director.

Nancy Slaughter, Assistant Professor

Slaughter, a soprano, is a singer of great lyricism and musicality. She has studied with several highly acclaimed voice teachers and coaches, nationally and internationally, and has performed at the American Institute of Musical Studies, Graz, Austria. She is a captivating performer and teacher.

James W. Story, Professor

James W. Story, Jr. is Professor of Music and and current Chair of the Visual and Performing Arts Department at Volunteer State Community College in Gallatin, Tennessee. After graduating from Tennessee Technological University (1977) and completing a Master degree in Music Education from Austin Peay State University (1987), Story began his teaching career as band and choir director at White House High School in Tennessee. He later taught band and chorus at Gallatin High School. In 1997, Under Story's leadership, Volunteer State Community College now offers a comprehensive music program with an Associates of Fine Arts in Music Education, Recording Industry Management, Bluegrass and Songwriting degrees. The recording program has received national recognition from the League for Innovation in the Community Colleges and was a Bellwether Award nominee from the Community College Futures Assembly for the “Interdisciplinary Collaboration CD Project". Story's professional affiliations include NAfME and ACDA and he served as guest panelist for the 2013 Summer Nashville NAMN convention. An international lecturer and performer, Story has taught music in Ireland through the Tennessee Consortium for International Study and has been instrumental in securing grants from the Tennessee Community Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts for cultural and community events. Professor Story has taught a wide-array of students from diverse genres. Many are working recording artists, instrumentalists and teachers, at institutions around the world. This year marks Story's 37th year as a music educator.

Story is current a semi-finalist in the Grammy Educator of the Year Award 2015.