Meet Our Team


Scott Sayre

  • Piano (Classical, Jazz, Improv, Theory, Composition)
  • Rock Band
  • Jazz Band
  • Recording Studio

Scott received his Master’s Degree in Music Composition from The University of South Carolina in addition to his Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Music Composition from The Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins University.

In addition to teaching lessons, Scott also serves as an artist in residence at Canyon Crest Academy, contributing to the jazz and wind ensemble programs. He composes original music and large ensemble arrangements, often having them performed as special high school productions. He is a North County native, past student of Youth Arts Academy, and a Boys and Girls Club Kid.


Mark Weed

  • Brass Instruments (Tuba, Trumpet, Trombone, French Horn, and more)
  • Jazz Band

Mark Weed is a trumpeter born and raised in San Diego. He graduated from Point Loma Nazarene University in 1997 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Theory/Composition. Mark has been teaching band/brass for 11 years in the San Diego area, as well as performing throughout the county. Jazz Band and Concert Ensemble are his areas of expertise. Mark has been a tremendous help to the Youth Arts Academy, coaching students in the four levels of concert bands and jazz band. Mark runs the Monday Night Jazz Band at YAA as well as the summer Jazz Band Camp.

Mark’s private music lessons are all about relationships. Mark has such a great sense of humor and he knows how to relate to students of all ages that he just connects to every student. He is proficient in Trumpet and a variety of other brass instruments, but he certainly knows how to teach everything else. He teaches throughout the North County at different middle and high schools such as Torrey Pines and Carmel Valley Middle School.  His passion is not just teaching music, but to make an imprint in the lives of his students by spending quality time with them, showing them that he cares and most importantly making music education FUN!

Julia Whelpton

  • Strings (Cello, Violin, Viola)
  • Guitar (including bass)
  • Rock Band
  • Voice
  • Songwriting
  • Piano

Julia’s formal education began when she was seven years old with the Carlsbad Strings Education Association. Julia continued to play violin through high school and on to college where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Studies with an emphasis in violin and voice. During her years in college, she became proficient in piano as well as guitar and many other string instruments. Besides classical musical training, she has performed in many musical theatre performances and regular performance gigs in the local alternative rock band scene.

Violin, bass, piano, guitar, singing, acting and writing are her many talents. Now after 15 years of her own music education, Julia works to inspire other young hardworking individuals into pursuing their dreams too! “Whatever route you decide on taking, remember that there is no wrong way. If you lose interest in a certain instrument or art, the skills you learned from practicing and playing will help you in any another performing arts you choose.” With that in mind, let’s get learning!

Wil Lopez

  • Guitar (acoustic, electric, and bass)
  • Saxophone
  • Beginning Clarinet
  • Rock Band
  • Recording Studio

Wil has been playing music for over ten years. His experience ranges from playing guitar and bass in bands all over San Diego, playing saxophone in multiple jazz bands, musicals and pit orchestras to being recording musician for several artists. Wil played guitar and saxophone for over ten years and bass for the past six years. He attended Mesa College studying Jazz Performance and Recording Arts. Later on transferred to San Diego State University to study music before he realized it just wasn’t for him, due to the way it was being taught. Wil personally believes that music shouldn’t feel like a chore. It should be enjoyable, fun and exciting to learn a new art. That is what he hopes to bring with every lesson.

Josh Jones

  • Drums
  • Guitar (beginning)
  • Piano (beginning)
  • Rock Band

Josh teaches percussion students as well as beginning guitar and piano at YAA.  He holds a bachelors degree from Berklee School of Music in Boston. He has been playing as a professional drummer with various bands for the past 15 years. Josh has taught private drum lessons since 2011 in the Los Angeles area as well as worked as a Percussion coach at Agoura High School and Lindero Canyon Middle School. He recently relocated to San Diego where he is currently serving as the percussion coach at Carmel Valley Middle School as well as assisting at Earl Warren Middle School.

Amanda Buzzell (YAA Program Manager)

  • Piano (Classical)
  • Voice (Classical, Musical Theatre)
  • Early Childhood Music
  • Acting, Theatre, Musical Theatre

Amanda Buzzell has been the YAA Program Manager since February, 2019.  She manages the day to day operations of YAA and oversees program planning and implementation to help grow the school and offer arts programs to more youth through the Boys and Girls Clubs and beyond.  Amanda comes to YAA with over 10 years of experience in arts administration and Creative Youth Development working locally with The La Jolla Playhouse, Old Globe Theatre, and transcenDANCE Youth Arts Project.  She also worked as the Programs and Marketing Director for USO Japan and as a Marketing Manager for Ken Davenport Enterprises- a broadway and off broadway producer in NYC.  In addition, she is an accomplished pianist and has taught piano, voice, theatre, and early childhood music as well as singing in various small group ensembles and choirs.  She holds a B.F.A. in Musical Theater Performance and a M.S. in Arts Administration.  Please stop by the YAA office and introduce yourself to Amanda.  You can reach her at