Scott D. Laird is an Instructor of Music and Fine Arts Chair at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics where he directs the orchestra and teaches courses in Recording Technology, Classical Guitar and Piano, and Music History. A native of Indiana, PA, he earned his B.S. in Music Education and his M.A. in Violin Performance from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He is an active string educator, performer, recording artist, and conductor. His orchestras have been recognized at the local, regional, and national level for their superior and musically mature performances.
Prior to his appointment to NCSSM in 2001, Laird was director of orchestras for Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt, MD from 1992-2001 and the district-wide string teacher for the Palmyra, PA school district from 1986-1992. Highlights of his years as Orchestra Director at ERHS include concert tours of Scotland in 1999 and the Yucatan Penninsula in 1997, a featured performance of Dave Brubeck's Mass, To Hope, as part of the MENC 2000 National Conference in Washington, DC, and numerous performances for dignitaries in the Washington DC region. While in Palmyra, he founded the Palmyra Bluegrass String Camp, a camp to teach string players with classical backgrounds the fundamentals of bluegrass music.
He is a member of Music Educators National Conference and The American String Teachers Association. He served as Chair of the North Carolina Music Educators' Association Orchestra Division from 2006-2008 and continues to play an active role in that organization. Additionally, he was President of the NC Chapter of The American String Teachers' Association (2008-2010), Chair of ASTA's National Committee on School Orchestras and Strings and Co-Chair of the 2013 National Solo Competition. He is a frequent presenter at ASTA's National Conferences, speaking on topics ranging from electric strings to traditional pedagogy to more philosophical sessions that deal with student motivation and curriculum. He is the recipient of ASTA's 2022 President's Award for Outstanding Service, the North Carolina Symphony's Maxine Swaline Outstanding Educator award for 2016 and the American String Teachers Association Elizabeth A.H. Green Award for Outstanding Achievements in K-12 String Education for 2017. In 2018, Laird received the NCSSM Teachers Award for Exceptional Outreach. Laird is the 2019 recipient of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors Excellence in Teaching Award. Additionally, he was named the NCMEA Eastern Region director of the year n 2011.
Laird is nationally visible as a Education Specialist for D’Addario Strings, NS Design Violins, and Coda Bows where he is a noted as an authority on string education, electric and MIDI string instruments and their applications in the classroom. He has conducted many high school and middle school orchestra festivals throughout the United States and is in demand as a guest conductor of honors youth orchestras. In recent years, he has appeared in all-state events for Maryland, South Carolina, Colorado, Indiana, Georgia, Vermont, Florida, South Dakota, and Michigan. He has held summer faculty positions at Interlochen Summer Arts Academy, UNC School of the Arts, Lamar Stringfield String Camps at Meredith College, The Alaska String Camps, Arlington Echo String Camps, and others.
He is also an active adjudicator having served as a judge for a variety of orchestra and solo and ensemble festivals throughout the United States. He has studied conducting with Mr. William Hudson of the Fairfax, VA Symphony and the University of Maryland. Laird is the recipient of the 2015 NCSSM Excellence in Teaching Award and the 2010 NC School of Science and Math Award for Exceptional Contribution in Classroom Innovation, an award based on curriculum development with emphasis on innovation and technology, innovative teaching strategies, and innovative teaching activities. Laird was a founding member of the Board of Directors for KidzNotes, a not-for-profit El Sistema USA organization that promotes classical, orchestral music training for children in Durham’s poorest neighborhoods. He currently serves on the National Board for El Sistema USA, is the Finance Committee chair, and a mentor for the PRESTO Mentor Grant Program.
Laird is an electric violinist and recording artist and has appeared on the Motown, REX and Roadrunner record labels. He has performed for many years in the Triangle Area with a variety of bands and singer/songwriters. His last solo CD entitled, "Simple Gifts," features his writing and performing on a variety of string instruments with an emphasis on the electric violin. He is also well known for his electric violin work with the progressive thrash metal band, Believer and he continues to keep a close relationship with the band. The Gospel Music Association nominated their album, Dimensions, for a Dove Award in 1993. In the early 2000's, Scott collaborated with Motown artist and former student, Mya, writing and performing the orchestration on the song "Nothing at All." He has shared the stage with other well known artists including Dave Brubeck, Lost in the Trees, Mike Marshall, Joey Calderazzo, Jon Metzger, Reliably Bad and others. He, his wife Barbra, and their sons, Matthew, Joseph, and Cael, reside in Durham, NC.