FAQs | Quinn Guitar | Finest Guitar Lessons in San Diego

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1. What styles does Tim Quinn teach, and what is his professional experience?

I am an accomplished performer and teacher of almost every style of guitar playing, including jazz, rock, electric blues, acoustic blues, steel-string acoustic fingerstyle, metal, fusion, shred, country chickin-pickin’ and pedal-steel sounds, bluegrass, and traditional classical guitar. I have been playing guitar for 42 years, since I was 12. I am a admirer and listener to so many musicians, in all genres: John Coltrane, Joe Pass, Wes Montgomery, Barney Kessel, Bud Powell, Wynton Kelly, Wayne Shorter, Lightning Hopkins, Muddy Waters, Rev. Gary Davis, Robert Johnson and all the Delta blues guitarists, B.B. King, Albert King, Albert Lee, Jimmy Page, Chet Atkins, Miles Davis, Chet Baker, Andres Segovia, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Pat Metheny, Eric Clapton, Eric Johnson, Jimi Hendrix, Joe Bonamassa, Slash, Eddie Van Halen, Joe Satriani, Guthrie Govan…on and on. I play virtually every style of guitar playing (except Flamenco). I was not born in Spain, but in Kansas. I did seriously study the 4-string and 5-string banjo for several years in my youth.

Rock was my first love (Aerosmith, Van Halen, ZZ Top, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, Joe Walsh, Foreigner, The Doobie Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Ted Nugent, Foghat, AC/DC, Thin Lizzy, Rush, Styx, Cream, The Eagles, The Police, The Allman Brothers, Journey, Blue Oyster Cult, Bachman Turner Overdrive, Steve Miller, Tom Petty, CCR, The Doors, etc.).

Upon graduating high school, I went on to study music at numerous music universities. I chose to major in jazz and classical guitar, as they did not offer a degree in “rock” guitar. Upon graduating from UNT with a B.M. in Jazz Performance, I went on to perform in almost every type of band…rock, blues, jazz, pop, funk, country and more. My personal credo became…”I want to be able to play ANY style of guitar, and do each style well”. I have accomplished that with almost 3,000 professional gigs.

While I play and teach all styles, jazz music remains the style of guitar that is most interesting to me at this stage in my career, and I currently perform solo jazz guitar gigs (mostly corporate events). However, I think I will soon be returning to my roots with a new Rock/Motown/Soul band which will cover a very diverse range of songs by Govt. Mule, Steve Morse, Cee Lo Green, The Temptations, Daryl Hall... a strange combination, perhaps. We'll see what happens by Summer 2018. Larry Carlton was a big inspiration for me in my youth. He was the consummate studio musician who could play any style on the spot, and do multiple studio sessions in one day. As a kid, I wanted to be like him, to be able to walk into a studio, any situation, and lay it down. 

2. Why should I study with Tim Quinn?

I am a scholar of music in general, and I am highly skilled at playing and teaching many styles of guitar playing: electric blues, acoustic blues, slide guitar, jazz improvisation and comping, classic rock, modern fusion shred, hot country pickin’, acoustic fingerstyle, classical and more. I can play almost any style with a highl level of proficiency. 

One of my greatest assets is being born with and having cultivated a very academic approach to my own learning and teaching. I am very attentive to the needs of each individual student. My creative teaching palette is immense. Yet, I am a very methodical teacher. I was offered a guitar teaching position at SDSU while I was pursuing my M.M in jazz there (alas, I did not complete my master's degree, as life got in the way). However, the year I spent at SDSU was very transformative for me. I am my own teaching institution. I care very deeply about each student. In my teaching history, I have worked with many students of all different skill levels.

After having studied music at University of Denver, Berklee College of Music, University of North Texas, and San Diego State University, after performing almost 3,000 gigs, and with 30 years of teaching experience, my understanding of learning and teaching the guitar is highly developed. I have studied the great masters of music, going back to the 10th century. I have studied the development of composition and the the origins of music at an academic level, including contrapuntal music, Bach, Beethoven, Schubert, Schoenberg, Webern, and all the great masters of Western Classical Music. I have also studied the music of India, and have been a part of two performance groups playing Indian music, comprised mostly of musicians from India.

Many of my students have gone on to become prominent professional guitarists and teachers. There are many teachers and professional performers, (here in San Diego and elsewhere) who are my former students. When searching for a guitar teacher, you should really look closely at their credentials. Do they have an extensive performance history? Extensive teaching experience? What are their qualifications and achievements?

3. What clientele do I prefer?

Actually, I prefer to teach adults, of all ages, from 18 to 88. I find great enjoyment in teaching adults, no matter what skill level. From complete beginner, novice, intermediate, advanced, to working professional guitarists. Somtimes, I do accept minors 12 years and up. These are usually either exceptional kids, or kids with a sincere passion for learning guitar. I expect more from kids as students. Now, among the young students whom I have taught have been some very exceptional students, including Joshua Ray Gooch who has been the regular touring guitarist with Shania Twain for the last four years. Josh studied with me regularly and consistenly for two years, from age 14-16 (he took approximately 50 lessons with me). I also have two young students who have been selected to be in jazz virtuoso Gilbert Castellanos’s esteemed “Young Lions” institution here in San Diego. One has gone on to become a young professional performing guitarist in San Diego, and the other is now 12, and is currently attending a performing arts middle school while simultaneously studying with me. But, I mostly work with adults. I seek students who desire the very best personal guitar instruction available. That is what I offer. The quality of my guitar instruction is unparalleled. 

4. How much do lessons cost with Tim Quinn?

Each lesson is 80 minutes in duration (one hour and 20 minutes). This allows us to really do substantial work in each lesson. One-hour lessons are slightly restrictive; its simply not quite enough time to go deeply into what needs to be done, from my perspective. The cost for each 80 minute lesson is $100. If you break it down, I am charging $75 per hour, but I usually do not teach one-hour lessons, because 80 minute lessons work better. The additional 20 minutes really makes a difference. Results! That's what we want. 

The majority of my students attend every other week, which works well, since my lessons are learning intensive. A also have several students who attend every week. My service to you for each lesson includes our in-studio time together, as well as my preparation and delivery of customized audio and video presentations pertinent to what you are working on. I spend a lot of time and attention beyond your ‘in-studio time’… to provide you with all of the customized printed, audio, and video instructional materials to support what we have covered in each lesson. This is very time consuming. To my knowledge, no other guitar instructors operate this way, but I do. My teaching system has been developed over 30 years of teaching and performing. Payment is to be made at the beginning of the lesson. It is not unusual for me to give extra time to the student, beyond the 80 minutes. At 70 minutes into the lesson, during the last 10 minutes, we begin to wrap up, summarize what your tasks are, and answer any final questions you may have for that lesson. You will not find a more dedicated, knowledgable, resourceful, and highly skilled teacher than me. One lesson will show you the efficacy of my abilities and resources. 

Understand, that if you are really serious about advancing on the guitar, you should try to find the very best instructor. I truly believe that I can help almost any student advance as quickly as possible, providing a very direct line course of comprehensive instruction. What if I can get you where you want to be with your music 3-6 months? This, as opposed to if you study with a cheaper, much less skilled, less knowledgable teacher, who may simply not get you there at all. There are many guitar teachers in San Diego County, probably 40-50 individuals who advertise themselves as guitar teachers. A few of them seem to be adequate teachers and nice people, but the majority of them are simply not in my league of expertise. I am among the very best. I would put myself in a class of perhaps three or four of the very best, elite guitar teachers in town. These other elite teachers I am speaking of are very well-known, world-class professional performers and educators in San Diego. But, I doubt you will receive the level of attention even from them that I offer, because I put so much time and focus on my teaching. When I take you on as a student, I am fully dedicated to providing you with the best opportunities to learn. I am simply a very good guitar player who has dedicated his life to the art of playing the guitar, as well as to the art of teaching others how to play and learn. I will help you reach your potential, and I have much to offer.

5. Where does Tim Quinn teach?

I teach primarily out of my home student at my house. It is fully equipped with a large collection of guitars, amps, and my computerized technology. Incorporating technology into my teaching is something I have become very good at. I use audio, video, and various softwares in my studio to make your lessons as effective as possible. I also have a huge library of archived instructional materials and music recordings.

6. Does Tim teach via Skype?

Yes. I teach via Skype. It is very effective. I have students in Belgium, Germany, Italy, Spain, and all around the USA. This is not my primary teaching format, but I do indeed teach this way. With technology being so efficient, it works very well. If you want to study with me via Skype, I do ask that you have a good hi-def camera and a high-speed internet connection. As per the camera, built-in computer cameras usually do not provide a clear image. I recommend the Logitech C920. It costs about $55, and easily mounts on your computer with no hassle.

With Skype teaching, I provide you with a full side-by-side video recording of each lesson. So, if you desire the best teaching experience within your home, we can do it. I am well-accustomed to this. If you are a business professional, and want the finest and most caring teacher to come to you…this is how we do it. Right in your home, with ultra convenience and efficiency. Try one lesson with me and judge for yourself.

7. How much do I need to practice as a student?

This is different for every student. Each student is an individual with unique goals, time constraints, budgeting, and other obligations. This subject is best discussed between me and you, the student. I have a lot of various resources to help you figure out a personalized practice regimen for your development. I do not operate with a "bootcamp" mentality toward my teaching. You will get out of the lessons whatever you put into it. Studying with me is like walking into a superabundant diamond mine. The diamonds are there, but you have to work at it a bit to dig the diamonds out of of the rocks. In other words, you must practice if you want to get better. I will make the diamonds available. Some of my students are very diligent in their studies, and others are much more casual. Either is fine with me. Whatever level of intensity you want to move at, I can work with you to make it a comfortable and rewarding experience. Some students just want to play songs, or just to brush up on certain skills. That is all, nothing too intense. On the other end of the spectrum, I have students who are very serious about becoming professional musicians. I am simply here to offer you the best guitar learning experience possible. I am a teacher/guitar coach/mentor. I like to keep a lightness in the lessons. Humor and a relaxed atmosphere is what I offer. That, along with a lifetime of guitar playing knowledge and skills.

8. What methods of instruction does Tim Quinn use?

I have great flexibility in my teaching methods, because I know a lot about playing the guitar in many styles, and I have keen insight into how to learn to play the guitar well. Initially, I definitely want my students to have a conscise, basic and comprehensive foundation of various aspects of playing the guitar, which applies to all styles of playing and music in general. Then, based upon your stated goals (which we establish at the beginning of our studies), I will lead you in a logical, step-by-step course of learning to make you into the best guitarist you can become. It is a very creative process, and I am not locked into any one method of teaching. You may have several goals, and we can have several areas of study going on simultaneously. I have been creating instructional guitar pedagogical materials for decades. Every week I create new videos and new written materials for teaching guitar. In addition to my own materials, I also use existing books written by other authors, as well as online resources in my teaching. In this day and age, I would be a fool not to. I am here to help you realize your potential. I have the ability to do this.

9. What is the benefit of studying with Tim Quinn vs. online programs?

I am a guitar coach/trainer/mentor. I offer “boutique-style” lessons. I have decades of performance experience and decades of teaching experience. I am the author of many books. Four of my books are published with Mel Bay Publications, Inc. Other books I have are self-published, and cover a vast range of topics. I believe there is a lot of great content online. As a private teacher who teaches students one-on-one, earning a living by meeting with individuals in my studio is being challenged by what anyone instruction or information for free on YouTube or other sites. Every private music teacher is feeling this. But, the function and value of meeting with a private teacher regularly cannot be replaced (yet) by online resources. In private lessons, there are so many aspects of an individual's unique challenges, difficulties, and questions that come up, and can only be addressed and solved by live teacher in front of you. Imagine trying to learn a martial art from YouTube videos. Or, how about learning to become a qualified surgeon by studying online. Playing a musical instrument is a craft and an art. Yes, you can learn much from videos. But, in addition to using that information, most people will benefit greatly by studying privately with a teacher. That is why you should ve VERY selective when choosing a guitar teacher. It is easy for anyone with at least mediocre skills to label themself a "teacher", and advertise and take on students. The question is (if you are seeking a teacher), do you want a mediocre teacher? Or do you want the very best. If you seek to study privately with one of the finest guitar teachers available anywhere, you have found him. Me.

10. What is Tim Quinn’s view of online teaching institutions?

I think the the internet is a vast ocean of information, but it can easily become overwhelming and counterproductive. I can help you utilize it to its maximum while not getting "lost-at-sea". I, myself, study music on the internet. I am a perpetual student. Most professional musicians see themselves this way, always wanting to learn more. But, I am selective with how I spend my time on the computer. Studying in-person, face-to-face with a master teacher/player such as myself cannot be replaced by online resources. Studying one-on-one with a live teacher brings with it a sense of accountability (very important!), inspiration, and crucial personalized assistance in helping you with the countless details of learning that are unique to you. YOU become the focus of the lessons, not a video. Get it? If a video is the main focus of your learning, there is something missing. I am speaking generally on what most people experience. Online resources can certainly be implemented into our lessons, but the main guidance and source of knowledge comes from me. I also utilize certain books written by other educators, at times, for teaching specific subjects. 

There are also many online teacher recruiting companies that basically recruit young, lesser experienced “teachers”, and the main function of these sites is to give these “teachers” a platform to get new students. The company takes a percentage, promotes the “teachers”, and essentially lure the innocent and unaware customer. I do not participate in these sites.

11. Who were Tim Quinn’s most important musical teachers?

  • Tom Wasinger (three-time Grammy Award winner)
  • Tom Johnson (Prof. of Classical Guitar, UNT)
  • Jack Petersen (Prof. of Jazz Guitar, UNT)
  • Rich Matteson (Prof. of Jazz, UNT)
  • Dan Haerle (Prof. of Jazz Piano, UNT)
  • Bob Boss (Prof. of Jazz Guitar, SDSU)
  • Barry Greene (Prof. of Jazz Guitar, UNF)
  • Jake Schneider (multi-instumentalist: piano, guitar, banjo, accordian, saxophone)
  • Rick Gazlay (singer, songwriter, guitarist)
  • Billy Thompson (singer, songwriter, guitarist)
  • Paul Horn-Muller (percussionist, steel drummer, educator
  • all of the professional musicians I have worked with, admired, and studied
  • all the musicians whose playing I have studied from recordings and videos
  • all of my students
  • me

12. What is the success rate that Tim Quinn has with his students?

Most of my students are very happy in their studies with me. I am not like any other teacher. I meet any student at their level, wherever they are. This is my gift. Not only am I a very accomplished performer of many styles of guitar playing, but I am also a very gifted teacher. I have learned from the very best teachers in my music studies and performing. It all comes together for me as a teacher. What is your level and what styles are you interested in learning?

I am the perfect teacher for absolute beginners, intermediate, all the way to touring professional guitarists and recording artists. The touring guitarist for Shania Twain is my former student. He has been with her for about four years now. I also have two young students who are involved in Gilbert Castellanos’s “Young Lions” institution here in San Diego. Several full-time professional touring musicians, who are based in San Diego, are currently studying with me, as of April 2018.

Beyond that, I have worked with many students with special needs, such as bodily injuries and learning disabilities. I am a teacher of the highest order, and I will meet you at whatever level you are at. Then, together, we will design a custom lesson plan for you. I am here to help you get to where you want to be with the guitar.

In addition, I am a longtime student of different forms of meditation. If requested, I can give rudimentary guidance in mindfulness meditation, focused on increasing inner peace, calmness, and improving concentration, as well as dealing with performance anxiety.

13. What forms of payment are accepted?

  • Cash
  • Checks
  • PayPal
  • Venmo
  • Credit Card

14. Is a contractual agreement for a certain number of lessons required?

No contracts. Most of my students pay by the lesson. Others choose to pay for a bulk of lessons. It makes no difference to me.

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