Mar 27, 2006
Press Release


NASHVILLE-U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper joined with music students at Hillsboro High School as well as award-winning Nashville musicians and songwriters today to recognize the important role music education plays in a student's overall learning experience.

"In Music City we all know music is good for the soul and for the heart but now we also know that students who participate in school music programs are less likely to be involved in drugs, gangs or alcohol and they have better attendance records," Cooper said. "The focus and discipline that are part of music education benefit all areas of study."

Cooper recently introduced a Congressional Resolution that points out that skills gained through sequential music instruction, including discipline, the ability to analyze, communicate and work cooperatively, are vital for success in the 21 st century. He said his goal is to encourage more schools to develop music programs similar to that currently offered at Hillsboro.

Shannon Sanders, a 1989 Hillsboro High School graduate who is a Grammy-winning record producer, joined Congressman Cooper for the music event. He told music students that the foundation in music he gained while at Hillsboro is responsible for his music achievements today.

"I am so thankful for the education I got here at Hillsboro," Sanders said. "I was in the band and studied creative writing and singing. At that time I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do but I was able to study a lot of subjects that I now use in my career. This is a great place to learn because there is an emphasis on diversity here - a diverse group of students and areas of study that are unique."

Sanders said that he started out thinking he would pursue a career as a performer but now spends most of his time working as a music producer. He won a Grammy in 2002 for producing India Arie's R&B Album of the Year, ‘Voyage to India.' He also won a 2005 Dove Award for work with Nicole C. Mullen. He produced and engineered Heather Headley's current hit, ‘In My Mind,' which has been the #2 R&B song for the past two months. He has also worked with The Temptations, Marc Broussard, Jonny Lang and CeCe Winans, as well as produced the soundtrack for "Shark Tale."

Sanders also told the students that they don't have to move to Los Angeles or New York in order to build a successful music career. "It's all here in Nashville," Sanders said. "You can travel to New York and Los Angeles when you need to but there are great professionals and great opportunities right here in Nashville. Just remember to be realistic about your expectations. I think it is important to do what you want to do with your life but always remember to be realistic and open to opportunities around you. You may discover that what you thought you wanted to do is really not what you're best suited for but that another area of the music field is what you enjoy most."

In addition to Sanders, the students heard from Bob Regan, noted songwriter and President of the Nashville Songwriters Association, International (NSAI) and Debi Cochran, Emmy Award-winning songwriter. Regan invited the students to get involved in the Nashville music community and attend some of the programs throughout the city in the coming days at Tin Pan South events kick off.

Congressman Cooper, Sanders, Regan and Cochran enjoyed an outstanding performance by the Hillsboro Chamber Choir during the visit, as well as a tour of the school's professional recording studio facilities. Hillsboro is one of a small number of schools in the state to offer students the opportunity to work on their music and recording skills with access to a state-of-the-art recording studio.