Roe Goodman began his musical studies on the cello as a child, and then switched to bassoon as a teenager. His father was a pianist and organist who taught him keyboard harmony and composition. He studied bassoon at Florida State University and was principal bassoon in the Florida West Coast Symphony while an undergraduate at Florida Southern College. Subsequently, he studied with Sherman Walt of the Boston Symphony Orchestra while completing a Ph.D. in mathematics at M.I.T.
He has performed extensively in orchestral and chamber music groups in Florida, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York, and was principal bassoon in the Princeton Symphony Orchestra for thirty years. He is a professor of mathematics at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey; his mathematical research and publications are in the area of symmetry groups and harmonic analysis.