Phillip Riggs

Phillip Riggs

Band Director
NC School of Science and Math


Phillip Riggs, winner of the 2016 GRAMMY Foundation Music Educator Award, recently retired after 30+ years as a band and choir director In North Carolina. His last appointment was as the band director at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM) in Durham, NC.

Prior to joining the NCSSM faculty, he was the first band director and fine arts chair at Ronald Reagan High School in the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School System. Phillip worked in partnership with the Winston-Salem Arts Council to establish the City of the Arts Jazz Festival. Mr. Riggs was the first faculty member selected to the Reagan High School Hall of Fame, (Fall, 2015). Before assuming that position, Mr. Riggs taught in Davidson County for sixteen years. Twelve of those years were with the Ledford Bands. During his tenure with the Ledford Bands, Phillip was selected as the Jaycees Young Educator of the Year and as the Ledford Middle School Teacher of the Year. In 2003, the Ledford Wind Ensemble was selected to perform for the North Carolina Music Educators Conference with guest conductor/composer, Mark Camphouse, guest conductors Dr. John Locke and Dr. William Gora, and guest artists, The Lenoir Sax Ensemble.

Phillip currently serves as a guest conductor and administrator with the World Adult Wind Orchestra Project (WAWOP) held in Austria each summer. He has also served on the Jury for the Mid-Europe Music Festival and the Suma Cum Laude Festival at the Musikverein in Vienna. Phillip is a co-founder and conductor of the North Carolina Youth Wind Ensemble. He was also a co-founder and conductor of the Wachovia Winds Youth Wind Ensemble (2004-2008).

Mr. Riggs is a Past President of the North Carolina Band Directors Association. He also served as chair of the North Carolina High School All-State Band (8 years), chair of the NCMEA Technology Committee and founding chair of the NCMEA New Teacher Committee. He was the coordinator of the National Association for Music Educators, (NAfME) National Wind Ensemble at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. (2011, 2012). He served as the Southern Division Representative on the NAfME Council for Band and is the state chair of National Band Association.

Mr. Riggs has served as a cooperating teacher for student teachers from Appalachian State University, Elon University, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina Greensboro, and Western Carolina University. Phillip, a national board-certified teacher, received his undergraduate degree from Appalachian State University and his master’s degree from the University of North Carolina Greensboro.

Phillip is active as a clinician and adjudicator throughout the United States, Austria, and China. His professional affiliations include; North Carolina Music Educators Association, Phi Mu Alpha Music Fraternity, National Band Association, and in 2005 he was voted into the American School Band Directors Association. Phillip’s wife, Carol is a retired choral director. She is also active as a choral clinician and adjudicator. She served as chair of the North Carolina High School Honors Chorus for 14 years. Carol was inducted into the North Carolina Choral Director’s Hall-of-fame in 2016.

  Session Titles

Guest Adjudicator


As a guest adjudicator I always include commentary that reinforces the musical things that ensembles are doing well and offers suggestions/strategies to improve weaker parts of an ensemble's performance.

Honor Band Conductor


I always approach conducting clinics as opportunities to encourage student leadership when they return to their home school and offer ensemble techniques that directors can incorporate as well. While it is wonderful to get work with advanced ensembles, my specialty is younger, less advanced, rural groups.

Admin Speak


This session explores the various constituents we must educate and offers strategies to build support for your program.

I'm a Survivor: Navigating the amazing race of instrumental music teaching


It is easy for teachers to put on blinders when it comes to defining what success looks like in their classroom. Success may be different from school to school and from teacher to teacher. The purpose of this session is to examine some common misconceptions teachers have when setting expectations for their students, identifying what it means to be successful in the classroom, and exploring ways of creating and maintaining high (realistic) expectations.

Musical Transformations: An interdisciplinary approach to transformations of functions.


Maria Hernandez, Presidential Award of Excellence Math Instructor, and I have created a musical composition/transformation of functions lesson. Our hope is that music teachers will work with members of their math faculty to incorporate this lesson in their math and music classes. Details are found at the following site: