The History of Shiloh Music Center
“Music is the grinding of the universe. There’s nothing else like it. It’s a different language. You don’t invent music. It comes to you…bombarding the heart all the time,” so says owner, founder, heart, and soul of Shiloh Music, George Hedges.
His understanding and appreciation of all that music is and can be has guided his life and helped him create a music store that’s more than a store. It’s a haven for all ages, all experience levels to discover, refine and rediscover music for the first time or the thousandth.
Founded in 1974 Shiloh Music has always been owned and operated by the Hedges family. After leaving the Navy, George asked his brother if we wanted to open a store.
“Sure,” was the monumental response that set it all in motion.
“We had no clue what we were doing,” George says with his signature self-self-deprecating humor.
Yes and no.
While they hadn’t run a music store per se, the family knew music.
His father was an accomplished musician, and George was surrounded by expert players, guitar makers and luthiers from childhood. He picked up the craft early, honed it over the years and passed it down to his own sons, both of whom also work at and help run the store.
James, an in-demand guitar luthier, and tech, who has traveled with the likes of Paramore, Relient K, Lady Antebellum, among others, oversees the service department, which takes pride in delivering expert repairs on a range of instruments.
Paul, the older Hedges brother, oversees the management and operation of the store, from inventory to rentals to sound-system installation and repair. It’s a rare day not to find Paul behind the counter. Chances are, however, if you don’t see Paul, you’ll probably see at least one of his sons hard at work in the family store. That makes four generations of Hedges to have a hand, and their heart involved somehow, someway with Shiloh.
Though if George is the heart and soul of the operation, his wife, Karen, is the heartbeat and at the very center of what makes Shiloh an indelible, integral part of the Mount Juliet community—the school.
When Karen met George at the store over 40 years ago, the two had an instant connection, married just a few months later, Karen started teaching piano lessons at the store and has been doing so ever since.
Today, over 450 children from Mount Juliet and the surrounding areas receive high-quality lessons from over 17 of the most accomplished music teachers in the Nashville area. At Shiloh, they don’t merely hire good musicians—they look for people who know how to teach technique, theory and performance skills while fostering the natural curiosity of young minds and instilling a love of music that will last a lifetime.
“It gives kids something positive and life skills they will have forever,” says Karen. “Whether it’s choral music, piano, guitar, band if they can get plugged in with music it gives them a place to belong.”
Over the years, as the numbers of students have grown, the building has followed suit with a major renovation several years ago.
“I wanted people to walk in and say, ‘Wow!’” George says.
The store, which initially had just four teaching rooms divided the space to accommodate more teaching rooms, each one constructed for optimal sound-quality and sound-proofing, and all residing in an area separated from the main store.
The time, effort and commitment to the quality of each room reflects that of the overall store and its owners. As is the music that flows in and out of the hallways, the store, and teaching area always in flux, ever-changing and improving.
“We’re always looking for ways to be better,” says George. “It’s kind of like a big studio.”
Acoustically, technically, logistically the store and teaching area are indeed like a high-quality studio. But they are so much more.
“This store is more than a job,” says George, choking up a bit. “It’s not about the money. It’s the feeling of seeing all these kids. If you just stop and listen…what would they do if we weren’t here?”
Fortunately, it’s a question no one has to answer anytime soon. Shiloh Music is a legendary, historic place. Yet, it’s also relevant, cutting-edge and agile, moving with ease as one generation rolls into the next.
As the music of the universe continues to fall upon this earth, the heart of this store will continue to beat strong inviting all who are near to step inside, tap their foot and learn to make music of their own.
George: When George Hedges opened Shiloh Music in 1974, he was carrying on a musical tradition that began with his father and has now passed along to George’s sons and grandsons, not to mention the 450 kids who take lessons at Shiloh throughout the year. Over Shiloh’s existence, George has worn every hat from the manager, salesman, repair-man, janitor, President, and CEO. Today, the accomplished luthier continues to oversee one of the area’s most robust musical inventories, meticulous and proficient repair and service department, as well as the teaching program, which, under the guise of his brilliant wife, Karen, is one of the largest providers of music education in the Mount Juliet region. Committed to servicing every customer and treating them like family above all else, George is the heart and soul of what has become an indelible fixture in the Wilson County area and beyond.
Karen: For over 40 years, Karen Hedges and her husband have owned and operated Shiloh Music Center. Throughout that time, Karen, an accomplished musician, pianist, and teacher has taught multiple generations of children about piano, music theory and a little bit of life on the side. Her guiding principle is to instill a life-long love of music within each child that comes through the door. A proud mother of two boys who are also part of the lifeblood of Shiloh, Karen met her husband when she ordered a James Taylor songbook from him at the store over 40 years ago. She lives in the Mount Juliet area and is an active member of her local church as well as a member and officer of several local and national music societies.
The oldest son of Karen and George Hedges, Paul Hedges has been the engine behind the mechanism that keeps Shiloh Music running day-to-day. As store manager, Paul keeps tabs on everything from inventory to equipment sales and rentals, sound system installation and repair and much more. Like his prolific parents, Paul has been an accomplished musician much of his life, having picked up a guitar before he could drive. He has also served our country, completing two overseas tours with the army. While not on active duty, Paul would split his time between managing the store and working full-time as an army mechanic. Today, Paul is continuing the proud family tradition that distinguishes Shiloh Music with his sons also working in and around the store. An integral part of the function of the store, Paul also embodies and infuses his work with the work ethic, love of music and passion for people that put him, his family and Shiloh in a class all their own.
James Hedges has been a fixture at Shiloh Music since he was about ten-years-old. That was about the time he started helping his dad, George Hedges, work on guitars. As James says, “that led to the next thing and the next thing,” and today James is one of the most accomplished guitar luthiers in the Nashville area, as well as an in-demand guitar tech out on the road. Having toured with the likes of Little Big Town, Lady Antebellum, Paramore, Audio Adrenaline, Dashboard Confessional, and Relient K, James’ experience, combined with the education, experience, and encouragement commonly experienced within the Shiloh Music family make him an invaluable addition to the store and the greater Mount Juliet area.
He's fixed the unfixable he's straightened the un-straightable. Needless to say, he is a legend in himself and he resides behind the bench at Shiloh Music Center.
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4056 N. Mt Juliet Rd
Mount Juliet, TN 37122
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