On with the show, this is it!

Gould’s got talent and our students put their hearts and souls into every performance and every musical creation. Those interested in the performing arts have choices ranging from music and vocals to theater and dance.

For musicians, classes in theory, music history, digital music production, various ensembles, and individual voice and instrument lessons are among the options. With ten Steinway pianos on campus, Gould shares the All-Steinway School designation with schools such as Julliard and the Yale School of Music.

Two dramatic productions a year expose students to different genres of theater. Recent musical hits include “The Sound of Music” and “Lucky Stiff.”

The Gould Academy Singers perform a range of music from across the world during special events throughout the year in Bingham Auditorium or more intimate concerts in Trustees Auditorium.

Students explore and display different forms of movement through modern dance classes and recitals.



McLaughlin,-JimJames McLaughlin (email)
Chair of Performing Arts Department
Plymouth State College B.S.

Jim was born and raised in Cincinnati Ohio until he moved to New Hampshire in the eighth grade. Jim, having graduated from Plymouth State College 1988 and winning the Granite State Piano Competition the same year, has been involved in music education as a private piano/theory teacher and clinician. He has also spent many years performing as a freelance jazz/rock pianist and vocalist throughout New England, New York City, and various places around the U.S. Jim became the Chair of Performing Arts at Gould Academy in 1998. In his tenure, he has attracted an increasing number of students to the growing music and theater program.

Jim has directed both the band and choral programs at Gould over the years, works as the technical director in Gould’s fall theater production, and directs the pit band in the spring musical. He also serves as an adviser and teaches music in the classroom including classes in Jazz History and Music Technology. In short, he has become a pied piper of sorts, enticing students to try to sing, act, pick up an instrument, or simply enjoy music for music’s sake. Jim is still active as a performer and is successful in bringing his passion for live music to his students. He lives in West Bethel with his two children Tarin ’16 and Finnian.

Yearlong Courses


This is a vocal performance ensemble for credit. You do not need prior musical experience to sing in the chorus. We will learn and perform various musical arrangements in many different styles.  Also incorporated will be methods in sight singing, breathing techniques, and basic music theory.  Students will be assessed on participation in rehearsals and concerts.  Oral playing tests will be given to measure each student’s practice habits outside of the classroom.


This is an instrumental performance ensemble for credit. You need to have some prior musical experience on an instrument to play in this ensemble. We will learn and perform various musical arrangements in many different styles.  Also incorporated will be methods in sight reading, tone production, breathing techniques and basic music theory.  Students will be assessed on participation in rehearsals and concerts. Aural playing tests will be given to measure each student’s practice habits outside of the classroom.

Trimester Courses

The following electives will be offered in the trimesters indicated:

Introduction to Music (Fall, Winter, and Spring)

Introduction to Music is designed for younger students. It is intended to expose students to the many facets of musical study including reading music, music history, music technology, contemporary musical culture, and attending performances.  There is no prior musical experience needed.  It is a prerequisite for Music Theory and Music Technology.

Music Technology (Fall, Winter, and Spring)
Prerequisite: Intro to Music or departmental approval

Music Technology explores the fundamentals of music composition. Student’s work in the MIDI (musical instrument digital interface) lab using software for audio editing, multi-track recording, MIDI sequencing, and loop based composition. Students publish their compositions on the World Wide Web and have the option of recording CD’s or performing their work. Previous musical experience is not required.

Introductory Music Theory (Fall only)
Prerequisite: Intro to Music or departmental approval

Introductory Music Theory is a beginning course in the fundamentals of music notation and theory, designed to develop basic music literacy. Through analysis and application of compositional practices of the common-practice period, the course covers rhythm, pitch, notation, scales, intervals, key signatures, tonality, melody, harmony, and ear training.  Although no previous knowledge of music theory is required, some musical background will be helpful.

Intermediate Music Theory (Winter only)
Prerequisite: Intro to Music Theory or departmental approval

This course is for self-motivated students with some music theory training. In this course the student will build on preexisting tools to analyze and understand music as well as compose original music, building on what is learned in Music Theory.

History of Jazz: The Early Years (Fall and Winter only)

Jazz is “America’s classical music.” This class begins by tracing the pre-history of Jazz from the “Ring Shouts” performed by slaves at Congo Square to the brass bands of the late 1800’s. The class then moves on to follow the development of jazz music from Louis Armstrong to the big band era and onto the stride pianists of the Harlem Renaissance and Duke Ellington. Students gain an understanding of the art of improvisation through the lives and works of the great jazz players and composers as well as a sense of the relationship between jazz music and certain events in U.S History.

History of Western Music (Spring only)

This is a survey course that spans from the development of opera to the modern day musical, with an emphasis on Broadway productions. Aspects of the musical including composition, plot, set design, and technology are discussed.  Beyond that, the course focuses on the context in which the musical developed, looking at the causes and effects of current events on the theater world. This course culminates in a research paper.


performing-arts-violin McLaughlin,-Jim