Sam gained a first-class BA (Hons) in music and an MPhil on chamber music in interwar Britain, both from the University of Wales at Bangor. He then undertook AHRC-funded doctoral research on the music of Arthur Bliss. He lectured in music at Bangor for eight years, latterly serving as an advisor in arts pedagogy at the Higher Education Academy. Sam came to Scotland in 2013 as a senior lecturer at Glasgow Caledonian University, specialising in professional learning and the pursuit of expert practice. He has since written and spoken extensively on curriculum design. Sam is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. He joined RCS in 2019.

As Associate Head of the BMus programme, Sam works closely with School of Music staff in the delivery of the BMus curriculum. He plays a key role in ensuring the continued academic and professional relevance of the curriculum, and he also teaches across a range of core and option subject areas.

In addition, Sam is an external examiner at Ulster University.