Meet Our Instructors
Scottsdale Music Academy is honored to have the best in the business on its teaching staff. All of our music industry certified instructors have real-world music experience and a passion, as well as knowledge, for music education. Of course having the skill to play like a pro is a requirement for all SMA instructors, however we all know that being a great musician does not always make for a great instructor. That is why every SMA instructor is not only required to have the skill and facility of a professional musician but the patients and heart of a teacher. Adult and youth students can be confident that your SMA instructor will be dedicated to YOU and YOUR goals and will help you reach them in the most efficient and effective way possible! And have fun in the process!
John Davis, Owner & Lead Instructor
John Davis is the proud (yet extremely humble) owner and lead instructor of Scottsdale Music Academy. He genuinely believes in giving students the experience of learning music they truly enjoy. He understands the benefit of allowing students to play amazing music together. His mission is to set every student free from the “rat box” approach to music lessons. Bye-bye scales in a vacuum! Hello stage, screaming fans, and spotlight-worthy solos.
John is one of those rare natives of Arizona. After studying with various guitar instructors, he ventured out to sunny Hollywood, California where he attended the renowned Musicians Institute-G.I.T. After graduating in ‘96, John began living the dream of playing professionally and teaching guitar lessons to eager, young “guitar-lings.”
On the international level, John has co-written and recorded two major releases and filmed several MTV music videos with the band F5. He knows all too well what it’s like to travel in a bus with 8 smelly dudes, because from 2005-2007, the band went on a U.S. tour. Besides learning how to hold his breath for a really long time, he had the great honor of playing alongside great bands and artists such as Alice Cooper, Staind, 3 Days Grace, Tesla, Alex Skolnick (Testament), David Ellefson, Jack Blades, and Tommy Shaw.
Last but not least, John has recorded with some of the industries leading producers, including Bob Marlette (who recorded Tracy Chapman, Wilson Philips, Alice Cooper, and Shine Down) and Ryan Greene (producer of No-FX, Lita Ford, and Dishwalla).
With all this professional experience on his resume, you’d think he’d walk around like one of those rock stars with his head in the clouds. But no! John is one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. Stop by SMA and take a guitar lesson with him. You’ll learn from one of the best guitarists in the Valley, and have a really great time while you’re at it.
Saydi Driggers, Voice, Guitar, Bass, Keys, Recording
Saydi has a budding career in all aspects of music. Playing piano since she was four years old, Saydi studied classical piano at the University of Utah and further taught herself pop and contemporary styles of music. Saydi was trained in speech-level-singing before moving on to performing and teaching professionally. She is proficient in voice, piano, bass, and acoustic guitar. Not only does Saydi play and sing music, she is also an accomplished songwriter and producer with song credits for other artists across the globe.
Utilizing her degree in Audio Production Technology, she simultaneously works as a sound engineer and session player for recording studios across the valley. She is also a featured bass player and singer for weddings and high-end private events with local Scottsdale-based band, Sapphire Sky.
Now with her original band, WHSTLE, she has forced her way into the depths of the music industry to further acquire valuable knowledge and insight.
Tim Obrien, Drum Instructor
Tim OBrien has been drumming for over seventeen years, and teaching for over ten. He is from a small town in northwest Indiana, and began his career as a drummer by simultaneously studying rock drum set and playing in middle and high school symphonic bands there. He continued his endeavors in high school marching band, yielding him spots with Pioneer Indoor, and Pioneer Drum & Bugle Corps. (World class DCI and WGI ensembles.) After his years with drum corps, he was asked back to his hometown to instruct his old high school drumline, only being a few years older than the other drummers. At that time, Tim was also a student at Columbia College Chicago focusing on drum set performance before relocating to the west.
Tim eventually would move to Arizona to study music performance and education amongst many other things of personal interest at ASU, all while gaining experience writing, recording, and performing with various original bands.
Tim’s current drumming endeavors consist of playing with a local professional recording artist throughout the southwest United States and northern Mexico, as well as studying tabla drums and Indian Classical Music under Sri. Prafulla Athalye as a student of the Phoenix Gharana. He is a well-rounded percussionist and incredibly insightful teacher, bringing influences to his teaching style from many walks of life.
Chris Bandusky, Guitar & Bass Instructor
At the age of 22, international RCA recording artist Trik Turner hired Chris as their lead guitarist. Over the next four years, Chirs toured, wrote, and recorded with Trik Turner, which developed his playing skills and allowed him to gather valuable life and guitar experience.
During this time, Chris earned a double Bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University; receiving degrees in Business and in Music. His dominance in Music Theory allowed him to tutor others while continuing to excel at his own classwork. Chris believes that there are three facets to life and music and he strives to mold all three; theoretical, spiritual and physical states when he performs. Being whole in all three states is when one is at their best, and this philosophy has allowed Chris to enhance his playing style and sound.
Chris is recognized as an extremely talented musician who prides himself on his work ethic and professionalism. Many experts in Nashville and other musical cities rely on Chris’ unique talents for both recorded and live performances. Chris always maintains a consistent, upbeat and positive attitude no matter what the circumstance. His character is strong and enduring, and he always carries himself in a professional manner. These qualities continue to set Chris Bandusky apart as one of today’s most sought after guitarists.
Brian Bookman, Guitar & Bass
Brian is a guitar & bass instructor with many years teaching experience. Brian started with classical studies on upright bass at 9 years old. Within a very short time was playing and then privately studied contemporary 6 string guitar. Over the years Brian has been able to draw from his live performance and studio experience to bring a unique and fresh perspective to his students. Brian enjoys working with all ages and musical styles. I’m fortunate to enjoy a full roster of students and the ability to play live music 7 nights a week”