Our Staff – David Montoya

Manager, Repairs, Band & Private Instructor – Woodwinds

David Montoya has been involved in the music community for the past 6 years. He specializes in teaching flute, clarinet, and saxophone to students of all ages. He has coached for various different schools including: Mission Hills High, La Costa Meadows Elementary, Aviara Oaks Middle, and Pacific Ridge School. He is currently a group and private lesson instructor for San Diego Music Studio.

David performs regularly as a multi-woodwind player for different types of settings like musical theater, symphony orchestras, wind ensembles, and various solo instrument and choir events.

He has been apprenticing to become an instrument repair technician for the past 3 years and has experience repairing various different woodwind and brass instruments.

Our Instructor – Kristin Benes

Strings & Private Instructor

Violist Kristin Benes was born and raised in the Chicagoland area. She attended Western Michigan University where she completed her Bachelor’s degree in viola performance with emphasis in early music studies. During her undergraduate program Kristin served as principal violist for the West Michigan Opera Project. In 2013 she was awarded the WMU Fine Arts Faculty Fellowship grant which allowed her to travel to Russia and create a feature-length documentary. She has performed with the West Michigan Symphony Orchestra, The Moscow Ballet, Early Music Michigan, and the MiraCosta Symphony Orchestra. Kristin serves as the violist for Zene Strings Quartet based in San Diego and teaches the strings program at Double Peak School in San Marcos, CA.

Our Instructor – Alix Acuna


After being inspired at a young age by jazz music and technique, Alix Acuna began to study the art form of jazz interpretation and improvisation. She currently plays with the Palomar Night time Jazz Band, Palomar Symphony Orchestra, and Palomar Brass Ensemble. Alix Acuna has been studying Palomar College for her Bachelor’s degree in music education with emphasis on keyboard education. She hopes to transfer to California State University Northridge to further her educational training. Alix hopes to lead high school jazz bands and wind ensembles after attaining her bachelor’s degree and credential. Alix has been with SDMS since January 2018.

Our Master Repair Technician – Mario Martinez


Mario Martinez, AKA “Super Mario” is our on-site master repair technician at San Diego Music Studio and has over twenty years of instrument repair experience. He is a certified member of the National Association of Professional Band Instrument Repair Technicians (NAPBIRT) and specializes in the care of brass, woodwind, and string instruments. Mario mentors our other repair technicians and offers top quality, lasting repairs using the best tools, supplies, and parts, all while offering fast and reliable estimates and services with a guarantee of satisfaction.

Our Instructor – Nicole Blue


Pianist Nicole Blue was born and raised in Carlsbad, California. From the age of six she has studied classical piano, and participated in the Piano Guild for eight years. She attended San Diego State University where she completed her bachelors degree in Humanities with a minor in Classical Piano. In her free time, Nicole leads elementary school tours at the Museum of Making Music in Carlsbad. She has previous experience in conducting, accompanying, and teaching music to middle and high school students.