Music at Roanoke

Our music program provides a nurturing and creative home for you, whether you want to focus on performance, composition, or research into the theory and history of music.

The music program provides a dynamic and creative home for students who wish to focus on music performance, composition or research. Our faculty are active in their fields, regularly performing, publishing and debuting new work. Our Resident Artists provide high-caliber instruction in their specialized performance areas. Our curriculum is designed to give you a foundational education with courses in history, theory, and musicianship.

You'll get a wealth of musical experience in and out of the classroom. Music students are required to perform in ensembles and take lessons to further their performance education. You'll find quite a range of music here in the Roanoke Valley, from classical and jazz to folk and bluegrass.

Roanoke music students have recently pursued graduate studies at the Aaron Copland School of Music, Carnegie Mellon University, Pomona College and University of Chicago. Music graduates are working as professional performers and teachers, as well as in fields as diverse as mental health counseling and wilderness engagement.

We offer both a major and a minor in music.

They make beautiful music together

Watch Video overhead shot of the roanoke college choir
The Roanoke Choir is widely recognized for its versatility, innovative programming and professional sound.

Roanoke offers outstanding performance opportunities on campus, in the community and through concert tours.

We have musicians of every stripe

You’ll find a wide range of musical experiences at Roanoke

Photo of the choir performing at a concert


Both the Roanoke College A Capella Choir and the Oriana Singers are recognized for their their beautiful sound, and they often collaborate with professional musicians to provide outstanding concerts.

Photo of Dr. LaChance conducting an ensemble

Instrumental Ensembles

The College's jazz, wind and chamber ensembles offer students the chance to rehearse and perform music ranging from a Count Basie big band tune to a classical masterpiece.

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Music students have recently interned at Mill Mountain Theatre, Roanoke Symphony Orchestra and Flat Five Press and Recording Co. 

Closeup photo of student playing the piano

Independent studies

We encourage you to pursue your research and creative interests projects. Recent topics include computer-assisted composition, old-time mountain music, music education in early childhood and 21st -century song cycle.

Students performing in a chapel in Ireland

International travel

Our choirs tour locations both domestic and abroad. International destinations have included Italy, France, Ireland, Germany Brazil, England, Scotland, Wales, the Netherlands, Belgium and the Czech Republic. 

Musician-Composer-Researcher Brings Creative Talent, Theory to Classroom

An understanding of how other musicians practice their craft can help enrich the experiences and work of students. Dr. Gordon Marsh, professor of music at Roanoke College, provides a unique classroom experience by being a musician, composer, and a researcher. In his research, he studied the works of Alfred Schnittke, and developed "a theory of understanding how Schnittke approaches musical form." In his compositions, Dr. Marsh writes for many instruments other than his own. When doing so, Dr. Marsh says that, "it's empathy, it's identification, it's knowledge, it's understanding, it's research."


‘Intense’ opera experience inspires Thompson to pursue music

Annalee Thompson, a history major, hopes to follow her ‘true calling’ of music after years of voice lessons and five weeks at a renowned opera program.

Alumni News – June 2021

Maroons are newsmakers! Read about the latest accomplishments of Roanoke alumni.

Sample Course Offerings:

  • MUSC 150: Fundamentals of Music
  • MUSC 240: Music and Culture
  • MUSC 262: Music History II: 1700 to 1900

    View all courses

We offer lessons!

Closeup of student playing a clarinet

Looking to take your performance to the next level? Want to learn a new instrument? We offer a full range of applied music instruction no matter what major you are. Lessons can be taken for credit or for fun! Check out lessons and instructors

Ryan Hunt at a piano with Dr. Marsh

Unlikely path to hip hop producer

Ryan Hunt really doesn't look the part of music producer for rapper Tyga, but that's what he is. He's also now a music major studying composition with Dr. Gordon Marsh and jazz piano with Dr. Joe Blaha. Hunt's path in music started with piano lessons at five, then playing for his church and with his high school choir.

As a teenager, Hunt got into hip hop and music production, which allowed him to combine his knowledge of music with hip hop. He used Twitter to connect with various hip hop artists and submitted beats to several rappers. In 2012, Tyga used one of Hunt's beats for the song 500 Degrees, featuring Lil Wayne, on the Hotel California album. Hunt enjoys many different genres: hip hop, pop, rock music from the 60s to the 80s, jazz, as well as movie soundtrack music. His plan is to pursue writing music, either in the pop or hip hop genre or for TV and movies.