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 in almost every style of guitar playing, including rock, jazz, fusion, shred, electric blues, acoustic blues, Nashville country chickin-pickin’ and pedal-steel sounds, bluegrass, steel-string acoustic fingerstyle, and traditional classical guitar. I have been playing guitar for 42 years, since I was 12. I am a devoted fan of all the greats, including Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Jimmy Bryant, Chet Atkins, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Eric Clapton…on and on. 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-sting 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.

Jazz music remains the style of guitar that is most interesting to me at this stage in my career, although I think I am returning to my roots with a new rock band which will cover songs by Govt. Mule, Leslie West, Steve Morse and the like. 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. I wanted to be like him. Able to walk into a studio, any situation, and lay it down. Tommy Tedesco was also a huge inspiration of mine. I knew Tommy, and attended several of his clinics in Boston. What a great musician he was.

I must mention the great Howard Roberts, as well. Howard Roberts founded GIT, which has become MIT. Howard was a consummate player, educator, and recording artist.

2. Why should I study with Tim Quinn?

I am a scholar of music in general, as well as all styles of guitar playing. 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 damn near any style on a virtuosic level. Just not Flamenco. That is my one exception. I cannot play Flamenco. Everything else, I can do the job in a performance setting.

One of my greatest gifts 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 palette is immense. Yet, I am a very methodical teacher. I was offered a guitar teaching position at SDSU, but I turned it down because the pay was very low. As the author of four books with Mel Bay Publications, Inc., I do not need to fit into any institution. I am my own teaching institution. I am simply a lifelong, career guitarist and teacher. I care very deeply about each student. In my teaching history, I have worked with many students of all different skill levels.

Do know, that after studying music at University of Denver, Berklee College of Music, University of North Texas, and San Diego State University, that my knowledge of music and teaching is very comprehensive. 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, Zappa, 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 with mostly musicians from India.

3. What clientele do I prefer?

Actually, I prefer to teach adults, of all ages, from 18 to 88. I find greater enjoyment teaching adults. I do teach a select group of kids. These are usually either gifted kids, or minors with a sincere passion for learning. 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 is now the touring guitarist with Shania Twain.

4. How much do lessons cost with Tim Quinn?

My standard format is $100 for a 90 minute lesson. This 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 90 minutes. At 80 minutes into the lesson, we begin to wrap up, summarize what your tasks are, and answer any final questions you may have for that lesson.

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. I use audio and video in my studio to make your lessons as effective as possible. I also have a huge library of guitar books, archived instructional materials, music recordings. You simply cannot get the unique level of service I provide from anyone else in San Diego, except maybe from Peter Sprague. He is a consummate musician in every way. I consider my teaching service to be at the very top-of-the-elite. There are so many under-qualified local guitar teachers and online hack teachers. That is how I feel.

That said, I have had many student go on to become prominent professional guitarists and teachers. There are many teachers and performers who are my former students. Among them is Mike Austin, whom I recommend many prospective students to when my schedule is too full. He is a fantastic performer and teacher. Also, Joe Rogerson, who now runs the guitar school at a university in Norway. When searching for a guitar teacher, you should really look at their credentials. Do they have an extensive performance history? What are their qualifications and achievements?

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.

8. What methods of instruction does Tim Quinn use?

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, there is an ocean on online content. I navigate this realm, and I will include it in your lessons as needed and when appropriate.

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.

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

I look at them in two categories:

  • There are some really good ones out there.
  • There are some really punk-ass ones out there.

There are also many online teaching websites that basically recruit young, lesser experienced “teachers”, and the main function of these sites is to give these lame “teachers” a platform to get new students. The company takes a percentage, promotes the lame “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?

  • Jake Schneider (multi-instumentalist: piano, guitar, banjo, accordian, saxophone)
  • 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)
  • Rick Gazlay (singer, songwriter, guitarist)
  • Billy Thompson (singer, songwriter, guitarist)
  • Paul Horn-Muller (percussionist, steel drummer, educator)
  • Mark Kotaska (professional bassist)
  • Bernard Battle (professional keyboardist)
  • Aristotle Georgio (blues harpist)
  • Paul Kimbarow (drummer)
  • Johnny Viau (saxophonist)
  • 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.

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 interested, I can give instruction 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
  • 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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