Meet Our Instructors
Scottsdale Music Academy is first and foremost ALL ABOUT OUR STUDENTS and PARENTS. This is why we 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, so that our students can learn form someone with a deep understanding of their instrument. 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.
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”
Lizzie Shafer, Guitar, Bass, Drums, Voice, Keyboard & Ukulele
Singing since she started speaking, Lizzie Shafer has since been involved in countless musical activities from a young age. She participated in choral ensembles, musical theatre, jazz and show choir groups around the valley as a high school student, and was also a cellist before switching to guitar. She placed first chair in the Arizona regionals twice in a row and traveled across Europe with the Arizona Ambassadors of Music before graduating high school.
Lizzie then attended the University of Southern California, graduating Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Music and receiving the Outstanding Bachelor of Arts award. A student of the vocal arts major, Lizzie studied opera; performing in operas such as Albert Herring and Spanish Zarzuelas and even a mirco-tonal choir.
While at USC she discovered a new love – pop music. Diligently working with a completely different skill set, Lizzie was soon performing as a pop musician and working as a musical director. Since then, she has been gigging as a vocalist, guitarist, and pianist in various styles from rock to country to contemporary christian to audiences of up to 20,000. She also has developed her chops as a writer and artist and writes, records and performs her own original music as well as for other artists.
Equally as passionate about teaching as performing, Lizzie is thrilled to have the opportunity to help guide other musicians on their musical journey. Her greatest joy as a musician is being there when someone else finally ‘gets it’ when working through a new concept or song, and gets to share a unique joy only experienced through music. Whatever your destination, she can’t wait to encourage you along on the journey of a lifetime!
Maggie Berry, Ukulele, Voice & Keyboard
Maggie Berry is a music major at Arizona State University completing her Bachelor’s in Music in Music Education with an emphasis in voice. She is excited to be teaching voice and piano at Scottsdale Music Academy and begin practicing the music education career for which she has been preparing.
Maggie has been studying voice and piano for the last eleven years and has completed both undergraduate and graduate level classes in vocal pedagogy, the study of the art and science of teaching voice. She has studied piano privately and has been honing her teaching skills as part of her degree.
Maggie mostly sings classical and musical theatre, but also enjoys jazz, pop, and contemporary christian styles. She regularly performs as part of choral ensembles, a 4-part Christmas caroling group, as Disney characters at parties and events, and with her church’s worship band where she sings background vocals and plays keyboard.
She enjoys teaching all styles of music to budding musicians. She one day hopes to pursue her master’s in vocal pedagogy with an emphasis in Contemporary Commercial Styles. Currently, she looks forward to graduating from ASU at which point she will teach and perform full time.