David Neves

  • Coordinator of Music Education
  • Phone: 401.874.2001
  • Email: dneves@uri.edu
  • Office Location: Fine Arts Center, D106


Dr. David Neves is currently the Director of Youth Wind Ensembles for the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra and Music School and an adjunct instructor with the University of Rhode Island and Rhode Island College Music Education Departments, along with serving as a Music Education Consultant, Conductor, Clinician, Performer, and Private Instructor. In June, 2017, Dr. Neves retired from his position as Director of Fine and Performing Arts for the Needham Public Schools, Needham, Massachusetts, completing 41 years of full time work in public school music education.

Prior to Needham, Dr. Neves served 29 years as a Music Teacher, Supervisor and Director of Bands in Scituate, Rhode Island. While in Scituate, Neves also taught jazz ensemble, orchestra, middle school band, chorus, general music, and strings. During this time, groups under his direction received consistent Superior, First Place, and Gold ratings at state, regional, national and international music festivals. As supervisor, he developed curriculum assessments and strategies that still serve as models throughout the region. Neves received his B.M. in Music Education from the Berklee College of Music and his M.A.T. from Rhode Island College, concentrating on saxophone performance. In 2006, he received his Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Johnson & Wales University. Neves’ primary research was focused on the factors that influence parents’ decisions to enroll their children in instrumental music programs.

While in Needham, Neves focused on expanding the high quality of the Visual Arts and Music programs, while greatly expanding experiences in theater. A prime focus of his leadership was in ensuring that all of Needham arts programs maintain the unique quality of arts education while also becoming authentic standards based academic programs that utilize best practices consistently in all areas of instruction and assessment. He is especially proud of the expanding interdisciplinary nature of Needham’s programs as reflected via the STEAM Art and Music classes in the elementary schools and the middle school interdisciplinary art program. Under Neves’ leadership, Needham’s participation in statewide adjudication and assessment events, such as MICCA, Scholastic Art, District/State/National honors groups expanded exponentially resulting in consistent national, regional and state level awards for excellence.

Neves was selected as the Massachusetts Music Educators Association Visionary Leadership Award in 2017; Rhode Island State Teacher of the Year in 2002; and a National Milken Educator Award in 1991. In 2004, he was named Rhode Island’s “American Star of Teaching” by the United States Department of Education. In 1999, Neves was selected as “Outstanding Band Director, Rhode Island” by School Band/Orchestra Magazine. Neves has been an adjunct professor at the University of RI, Providence College and Rhode Island College and a guest lecturer in music education throughout the northeast. Neves was the coordinator of the design team for the Music Proficiency Standards that became part of the Fine Arts graduation mandate for all students in Rhode Island.

From 1984 through 2005, Neves served the Rhode Island Music Educators Association in numerous positions, from Board Member through President. He instituted the first corporate sponsorship for all-state, elementary music festivals, and standardized adjudication procedures for all Festivals. He was elected to serve as the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) Eastern Division President from 2008-2010, serving as a voting member of the National Executive Board for NAfME. Presently, Neves continues to serve the Massachusetts Music Educators Association as instrumental editor for Mass Music Educators Journal, and as Chair of the Symphony Hall Scholars Committee, a charitable organization dedicated to bringing high quality music education opportunities to all students in Massachusetts.

Neves continues to present in-service workshops/clinics throughout New England on wind band conducting/rehearsing, music proficiency, curriculum, assessment, and arts integration. As the Music Director for the Rhode Island Philharmonic Youth Wind Ensembles Program, he directs its premiere ensemble, the Symphonic Winds, He is also the founder and director of the Needham Community Band. Dr. Neves resides in Cranston, RI with his wife Janice. They have had the pleasure of raising three daughters: Kristin, who is the Director of Orchestras for the Westborough Public Schools in Massachusetts, Jennifer, who is a conference developer and technician, and Amanda, who is a free-lance vocalist and violinist in Rhode Island, as well as a string teacher in the Bristol-Warren RI Community String Project.


  • Doctorate in Educational Leadership, Johnson & Wales University
  • M.A.T., Rhode Island College
  • B.M. in Music Education, Berklee College of Music