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Newly Relocated Music Lab Builds Momentum and Community

Chris Stup delivers new member orientation to incoming students and parents at the Music Lab.
Chris Stup delivers new member orientation to incoming students and parents at the Music Lab.

“Developing the educational component has really allowed the Music Lab to move to the next level” said, Chris Stup, Executive Director.  “The combination of a cutting edge curriculum with the new Jefferson Center partnership has increased the credibility and community ‘buy-in’.”

This week marks the beginning of the summer semester at the newly minted Music Lab at Jefferson Center.  This innovative model of experiential learning for 6th – 12th graders serves as an extension of the music education area schools provide.  The program helps kids gain unparalleled access to state-of-the-art music production equipment and methods — preparing them for future education and careers in music, digital arts, and audio engineering.

“The program formerly known as the Downtown Music Lab has grown from a great place to hang out and play music to an intentionally designed education experience,” said Stup.

Under the leadership of newly hired Stup, the program includes phased instruction allowing students to design customized programs and select activities to progressively build skills in music performance, recording arts, as well as learn the business side of the music industry.  With an impressive resume that includes JMU and University of Colorado faculty positions, he brings “real life” music industry experience as well – having worked for the likes of Virgin Records and Live Nation – one of the largest concert promoters in the nation.

Last Monday, as Stup delivered an orientation to a room full of interested parents and eager students, he often pointed to the sound proof window where several high school students were laying down vocal tracks for an upcoming recording project.  His presentation clearly defined the expectations of accountability and discipline – leaving plenty of room for creativity and individuality.

“The Music Lab is committed to building a respect for diversity by drawing students and instructors from a variety of backgrounds and communities,” he said.

Whether a student wants to sing, play guitar, make beats, write songs or produce and engineer professional recording sessions – the Music Lab can help make it happen.  With the operational support of The Jefferson Center as well as partnerships with Kirk Avenue Music Hall, public and private schools, area colleges/universities and equipment manufacturers – the image of Roanoke as a musical hotbed is quickly becoming a reality.

“With world class performers just down the hall, you never know who will show up,” said Stup.  “It makes for a unique and exciting experience every day.”

For more information visit: or call 540-343-2624 x209.

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