Samuel J. Hamm, Jr. Sam Hamm

Associate Professor of Music
B.M. University of Alabama
M.M., Ph.D. University of Florida
Losekamp Hall 33


Dr. Sam Hamm joined the RMC faculty in 2006 after holding prior teaching positions at the University of Florida and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He teaches courses in music theory and music history, as well as private lessons in composition, euphonium, and tuba. Dr. Hamm also plays bass in the RMC faculty jazz quintet.  He is a composer of acoustic, electroacoustic, and mixed-media music within a variety of genres including concert music, theatre, film, and dance.  Dr. Hamm completed a PhD in music composition in 2005 at the University of Florida, where his dissertation advisor was James Paul Sain. He also holds a BM degree in composition from the University of Alabama (1991) and a MM in composition from the University of Florida (1995).  In addition, Dr. Hamm studied composition with Cort Lippe at the University of Buffalo.  He served as editor of the bimonthly Newsletter for the Society of Composers, Incorporated (SCI) from 2006 to 2008.  He currently serves as Secretary for the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the College Music Society, and previously served as chapter Treasurer. Dr. Hamm is affiliated with the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP).

Courses Taught

Music Theory 1 & 2
Music Through the Centuries 1 & 2
History of Rock
Counterpoint 1 & 2
Form and Analysis
Orchestration and Arranging
Private lessons in composition, euphonium and tuba

What advice do you have for prospective students?

Music is a highly rewarding but highly demanding academic field. It may not appear at first glance to lead to direct employment after graduation, but for people who are consumed with study and performance of music, there are a multitude of career options. A desire to be the best must be central to the motivations of a music major, though. The field is simply too competitive to be anything less than the best. Those of us who teach music at Rocky know how to help you achieve your goals and see the big picture of a career in music.

What is your favorite class to teach and why?

I love teaching courses in music theory. It was in my sophomore year of undergraduate study that I took my first music theory course on a whim, and I knew right away that I wanted to make a career of music. Music theory is where practical skills, stylistic awareness, and historical knowledge of music all converge. The music theory classes are the most important courses in the development of mature musicality, and I am endlessly delighted to share the magic of how music works.

What is on your iPod?

I have more than 15,000 songs and compositions on my iPod. I am a ravenous listener of music, transcending all styles from rock to jazz to country to art music. When on "shuffle," my iPod can play anything from the Allman Brothers to Beck to Beethoven to Béla Fleck to Berio to Frank Zappa. I believe that constant and engaged listening is central to the development of a musician, and that listening to music in a variety of styles is essential.

What is your favorite thing about RMC?

I love the flexibility and freedom of teaching at RMC. It is distinctive, and allows every course, every semester, to adapt to the needs of the individual students in the class. The small class sizes at RMC allow for a much greater amount of direct student interaction than at the other schools where I have taught.