High School Student is Outlining a Musical Future

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Amy Forman

Jewish Journal Staff

SWAMPSCOTT — Noah Gopen loves talking about music, and taking three music classes at Swampscott High School this year has only whett the senior’s appetite for more. With a strong foundation of music behind him, as well as a recently released CD featuring an eclectic array of guitar music, Gopen is currently auditioning and applying to study music next year in college, and anticipates a career in music.

A self-described slow starter, he recalled being "forced" to take guitar lessons by his parents, Jeffrey Gopen and Karen Bradford. It wasn’t until he attended summer programs at Berklee College of Music in Boston that Gopen realized the extent of his interest. He switched focus from electric guitar to acoustic and classical, intensified his music studies, and is now considering a career in film score or composition, or possibly teaching music at the college level.

In addition to private lessons at Marblehead/Salem School of Music, Gopen has had a number of interesting musical opportunities within the Swampscott school system. He is the only guitar-playing member of the marching and orchestral band, and has undertaken a yearlong independent study of music theory. To augment his music knowledge, he has taken both Piano Lab 1 and, this year, 2. He also recruited enough students for the school to offer AP Music Theory this year, a class that he is thoroughly enjoying.

Not surprisingly, music is the focus of Gopen’s extra curricular interests. He plays at various local venues, including Victoria Station, Gulu Gulu Café and the Hawthorne Hotel, all in Salem. He also spent much time working on and selling his first CD — titled "Outline" — that includes classical compositions, singer-style songs and some jazz. Nine songs are original. He has partnered with some local singers on some of the songs.

This fall, Gopen donated the proceeds from the sale of the CD, totaling more than $2,000, to "The One Fund," which helps victims of Boston’s Marathon bombings.

"My CD was released around the same time as the Boston Marathon bombing," he said. "It had a huge impact on me, so I decided it was the right thing to do."

Gopen has found great value in learning and playing the piano in Piano Lab.

"Every musician can benefit from learning piano," he said. "The piano is universal. At Berklee, every classroom has one. It really helps me visualize because all the keys are laid out, and it has helped me with theory."

Gopen has even found a way to merge his love of music with his aptitude for physics and science. In addition to taking a semester-long audio engineering course at Salem State University as a junior, he also was one of four students selected to participate in an intensive, three-day physics lab, Optics Lambda, at MIT.

"I don’t view music as just fun," Gopen says. "Practice is still practice. But I always love being around musicians and talking about the music, Even though there is still a lot of hard work involved, I have a strong passion for music, and wouldn’t want a career in any other field."

Last modified on Thursday, November 21, 2013 - 06:00

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Published in Youth


Swampscott High’s Noah Gopen released his first CD,

Swampscott High’s Noah Gopen released his first CD, "Outline."


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