Dr. Quentin Angus

Music Theory Learning Pathway

Decode the music you love.

WHo it's for

All levels

Whether you're a seasoned pro who learned by ear or complete beginner, this Learning Pathway is a game changer.


3 Months

Quentin will guide you through 6 grades of step-by-step instruction with daily practice plans and assessments.


Understand music

Transform the way you hear, play, and write music by mastering core theory principles through the lens of guitar.

Keep going

Take the next step

Once you've mastered theory, keep progressing with advanced Master Classes and guided learning paths.

What you'll learn

Who said theory had to be confusing and boring? This Learning Pathway will transform how you play and write music.

  • No prior music theory knowledge needed.
  • Keep the focus on music – apply everything you learn to your guitar with daily guided practice exercises.
  • Analyze real songs from a diverse selection of artists like the Beatles, Post Malone, and many more.
How it works

Your guided learning pathway

In this 3-month Learning Pathway, Dr. Quentin Angus will teach you how to decode the science behind the sound of music.

The Fundamental Elements of Music

Get an overview of the core principles of music, how we define sound, and basic scale construction.

These first 14 days are where you'll learn the basics of music theory and build a solid foundation for advanced concepts in later grades.

Introduction to Harmony and Rhythm

Grades 2 is where the real work begins!

Over 13 days, you'll explore a sampler platter of fundamental theory concepts including how to build chords, analyze chord progressions, and get comfortable with fundamental rhythms.

Unlocking Major Key Harmony

In Grade 3, you’ll focus solely on harmony (AKA chords).

Across 13 days of instruction, you'll learn to create chord progressions in any key and identify the theory behind songs with only your ears. These lessons will have massive implications for how you perceive music with only your ears.

Grade 4. Why is Rhythm So Important?

Hone your sense of rhythm, demystify advanced polyrhythms, and learn some metronome tricks.

Grade 5. Chord Progressions Explained

Explore advanced harmonic concepts and learn how to write beautiful chord progressions while using iconic songs as case studies.

Grade 6. Become a songwriter

Study a series of iconic songs as you work toward composing your own masterpiece!


Stay focused with this step-by-step learning program designed by our expert team of music educators.

3-Month Plan

Grade 1. The Fundamental Elements of Music

Get a gentle introduction to music theory by zooming way in and way out on the core principles of music.


Join your mentor Quentin as he guides you through the basic tenets of music. This is Music Theory 101.

Day 1. What is music and pitch?

Define music and break it down into four core elements.

Day 2. Timbre

Learn about the uniqueness of sound.

Day 3. Duration and Rhythm

Learn about the fundamentals of pulse and meter.

Day 4. Intensity/Dynamics

Learn how changing intensity helps us tell a captivating musical story.

Day 5. Texture and instrumentation

Learn how various musical elements combine to create texture.

Day 6. Form

Learn how a song is organized and analyze your favorite tunes.

Day 7. Genre

Learn the characteristics of various genres.

Day 8. 12 TET

Learn about the tuning system we use in Western music.

Day 9. Finding notes on the Piano

Learn about the tuning system we use in Western music.

Day 10. Finding notes on the Guitar

Apply your piano note-name knowledge to guitar.

Day 11. Tonality

Learn about the aural difference between major and minor keys.

Day 12. Introduction to the Major Scale

Learn the ins and outs of the most important scale in Western music.

Day 13. The natural Minor Scale

Learn how to derive the natural minor scale as a major scale mode.

Day 14. Recap

Review what you learned and pass a series of tests to make sure you're ready for Grade 2!

Grade 2. Introduction to Harmony and Rhythm

Grade 2 is where the work really begins! You’ll leave this level with a rock-solid foundation for rhythm and chord progressions.


This level of the Learning Pathway is all about chords and rhythm. Over the next 13 days, you’ll gain a thorough understanding of these fundamental concepts, learn how they’re used in popular music, and apply them to your own playing.

Day 1. What are Chords?

Gain a deeper understanding of the construction and function of chords.

Day 2. Intro to the Numbers System

Get acquainted with the numbers system – an essential tool you’ll use to identify and play chord progressions.

Day 3. The Numbers System (Continued)

Continue to learn the ins and outs of the numbers system – an essential tool for musical communication and analysis.

Day 4. Applying Triads to the Guitar

Learn how to add spice and color to basic triads.

Day 5. Intro to Seventh Chords

Get started with seventh chords – a colorful and versatile chord shape.

Day 6. Changing Keys and Finding Tonalities

Learn how to transpose music to a new key and distinguish between major and minor keys.

Day 7. Common Chord Progressions

Gain a deeper understanding of songwriting theory by examining case studies of common chord progressions in popular music.

Day 8. Original Progressions

Fuel your songwriting by developing the skills needed to compose original chord progressions.

Day 9. What is Rhythm?

Get acquainted with the fundamental music theory of rhythm – the most important element of music.

Day 10. Whole, Half, and Quarter Notes

Learn the basic theory of fundamental rhythmic subdivisions.

Day 11. Eighth and Sixteenth Notes

Explore more rhythmic subdivisions by learning the theory of eighth and sixteenth notes.

Day 12. Triplets

Learn the theory of the most complex subdivision yet – triplets.

Day 13. Case Studies

Fuel your songwriting skills by analyzing the harmonic structure of iconic songs.

Grade 3. Unlocking Major Key Harmony

In this grade, you'll take a deep dive into major-key chordal concepts to fuel your rhythm playing and songwriting.


Over the next 13 days of instruction, you’ll learn to create chord progressions in any key and identify the theory behind songs with only your ears.

Day 1. Review of the Numbers System

Get a refresher on every songwriter's best friend – the numbers system.

Day 2. Scale-Tone 7ths

Learn how to color in your major-key scale-tone chords with 7th-chord voicings.

Day 3. Lead Sheets and Roman Numeral Analysis

Get acquainted with the basic architecture of a lead sheet and start analyzing songs using the numbers system.

Day 4. Chord Nomenclature and Slash Chords

Develop an understanding of how to name chords and learn how to incorporate colorful bass notes in your chords with slash chords.

Day 5. Circle of 5ths

Study the circle of 5ths to better analyze and understand the movement of chord progressions.

Day 6. Formula for All 12 Keys

Learn how to determine the sharp and flat notes for all 12 keys.

Day 7. Numbers to Chords Practice

Start honing your ability to translate numbers system progressions to chord names.

Day 8. Chords to Numbers Practice

Reverse yesterday's process to adapt a chord progression into the language of the numbers system.

Day 9. Roman Numeral Analysis

Learn how to understand and recognize patterns in numbers system chord progressions.

Day 10. Case Studies

Analyze iconic songs through the lens of the numbers system.

Day 11. Case Studies (Part II.)

Continue analyzing the chord progressions of iconic songs.

Day 12. Aurally Recognizing Chords

Learn how to identify the basic chordal movements in a song using nothing but your ears.

Day 13. Aurally Recognizing Chords (Part II.)

Continue training your ears to recognize chordal movements.

Grade 4-6 – Advanced Rhythmic and Harmonic Concepts

Take your theory skills to the next grade with complex rhythms, industry-standard songwriting techniques and be able to write your own song.

Grade 4. Why is Rhythm So Important?

This grade puts the spotlight back on rhythm – the most important (and often-overlooked) aspect of music. Over the next 14 days, you'll hone your theoretical understanding of and ability to play rhythm on guitar.

Day 1. Whole and Half Notes/Rests

Kick off the grade by further developing your understanding of fundamental subdivisions.

Day 2. Quarter and Eighth Notes / Rests

Continue developing your understanding of fundamental subdivisions by studying quarter and eight notes/rests.

Day 3. Sixteenth Notes/Rests

Speed things up and work on sixteenth-note subdivisions.

Day 4. Triplet Notes/Rests

Tackle the trickiest fundamental subdivision: triplets.

Day 5. Combinations and Practice I (Clapping)

Work on internalizing rhythmic subdivisions through clapping practice.

Day 6. Combinations and Practice I (Guitar)

Work on applying rhythmic subdivisions to your guitar playing.

Day 7. Combinations and Practice II (Clapping)

Continue internalizing rhythmic subdivisions through clapping practice.

Day 8. Combinations and Practice II (Guitar)

Continue applying rhythmic subdivisions on the guitar.

Day 9. Syncopation

Learn the fundamentals of how to dance around the beat.

Day 10. Hemiola

Learn how to apply this specific polyrhythm to your guitar.

Day 11. Time Feel

Gain a deeper understanding of what it takes to play with great rhythm.

Day 12. Metronome Tricks

Hone your rhythm skills with these fun exercises.


Wrap up with a few assessments to benchmark your progress.

Grade 5. Chord Progressions Explained

In this grade, you'll explore advanced harmonic concepts and learn how to write beautiful chord progressions. Over the next two weeks, you’re going to learn a series of harmonic concepts that will seriously transform your compositional skills and chordal playing.

Day 1. Extensions

Learn how to add color to your chords through extensions.

Day 2. Perfect, Plagal, and Deceptive Cadences

Develop an understanding of how specific chordal movements can induce and resolve tensions within a chord progression.

Day 3. Relative and Parallel Minor

Learn how to transition from a major to a minor key within a song.

Day 4. Minor-Key Harmony

Further develop your harmonic foundation by exploring chords in a minor key.

Day 5. IV Minor

Get a quick songwriting technique under your belt by changing the tonality of the IV chord in a major-key progression.

Day 6. Harmonic Suspension

Explore how you can manipulate chords by “suspending” them for added tension and release.

Day 7. Diatonic Substitutions

Explore how to spice up your songwriting with reharmonization.

Grade 6. Become a songwriter

In this grade you can put everything into practice what you've learned so far. This grade starts by analyzing famous songs of various genres to prepare you to write your own song in the second part of the grade.

Day 1. "Wait for the Moment" - Vulfpeck

Together we will analyze "Wait for the Moment" by Vulfpeck.

Day 2. "The Man Who Sold the World" - David Bowie

Together we will analyze "The Man Who Sold the World" by David Bowie.

Day 3. "Fly As Me" - Silk Sonic

Together we will analyze "Fly As Me" by Silk Sonic.

Day 4. "Something" - George Harrison

Together we will analyze "Something" by George Harrison.

Day 5. Ideate your song

Creative mode on! Draft three ideas for your very own song.

Day 6. Refine your song

Listen to your ideas from Day 5, select one and keep working on it.

Day 7. Submit your song

Finish up your composition and submit it to get personalized feedback from the Pickup Music team.

Student stories

Learn how Music Theory Learning Pathway has helped real guitarists break through their playing plateau and realize their potential.

“My favorite part about Pickup Music is probably nerding out in the forum with everyone. Just knowing you have a creative community to reach out to if you have any questions or you're stuck in a rut.”

Vicki Huang

United States

"I would highly recommend Pickup Music to pretty much anyone who has been playing for a few years and doesn't feel like they are getting better any more."

James Harrod

United Kingdom

“One of the things that's been the most fun for me has been the SongSquad challenges... connecting with other people in the Pickup Music community on Instagram and just encouraging each other as we're learning songs and practicing.”

Vin Thomas

United States

"Pickup Music really helped me push my musical boundaries."

Wytse Hokwerda


REAL students

Don’t take our word for it, take theirs

What guitarists love about this course

Read more reviews

What’s in every Pickup Music membership?

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1,000+ Lessons

All skill levels

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If you don’t get better at guitar, we’ll give you your money back

We’re so confident that Pickup Music can help you get better at guitar that we’re underwriting your membership with a 60-day satisfaction guarantee.

Try free for 14 days.

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Annual Plan



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Monthly Plan




Included in your membership:

All-access pass

Learning pathways that get results

Video feedback on your playing

Practice with a live band

Weekly live lessons

New releases every month

Included in your membership:

All-access pass

Learning pathways that get results

Video feedback on your playing

Practice with a live band

Weekly live lessons

New releases every month

60-day money back guarantee

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Today: Unlock instant access

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Plus 60 days worry-free

Don't make progress as a guitarist? Get your money back with our 60-day satisfaction guarantee.

Frequently Asked Questions

If your questions aren’t answered below, please chat with us.

Is Pickup Music right for me?

Are you a guitar player who feels like you haven’t made progress in a few months… years… or even decades? 

You’re probably stuck in what’s called the ‘intermediate plateau’. This is very common and can be very frustrating.

What’s the cause? Well, it’s pretty easy to learn the basics on guitar. Learn a few open chords and you can play Wonderwall and hundreds of other songs. Learn a couple of scales and a few licks and you can play some lead. 

But what then? Triads? Modes? Arpeggios? The phrygian scale?!

Without a clear plan and learning system you fall back to playing the same old chords and licks over and over again. Or you bounce around free lessons online but nothing seems to stick. It’s a recipe for a lot of practice without much progress. 

That’s where Pickup Music can help. We specialize in taking players stuck in a guitar rut and turning them into advanced guitarists.

We do this through Learning Pathways that take you on a step-by-step journey towards fretboard mastery. We give you a highly structured system that shows you exactly what to work on each week to make serious progress. 

These Learning Pathways take the guesswork out of your practice routine. You are guided through a proven grade-by-grade system with daily lessons, play-along practice exercises and interactive workouts. 

But it’s not all about theory. We apply everything you learn to real music. That’s why every grade of our Learning Pathways build up to performing a song with a live backing band. This simulates what it’s like to play a real gig, with real musicians. It’s the absolute best way to learn. 

You also get 1:1 video feedback on your playing from our expert instructors and can attend weekly live lessons. This personal feedback makes Pickup Music the closest thing to taking in-person lessons, but at a fraction of the cost.

So does this method actually work? Will you see results in your playing?

The most common thing we hear from new members is that they’ve made more progress with Pickup Music in a few months than in years of teaching themselves. As one member recently told us, “I'm finally seeing progress for the first time in many years”.

Want to hear about other members’ experiences with us? Read our independent Trustpilot reviews.

Is Pickup Music worth the money?

Private guitar lessons will cost you about $50 per lesson or $2,600 a year. 

Going to a music academy will cost you about $40,000 a year.

A Pickup Music membership will cost you  just $180 for the whole year. 

That works out to 50 cents a day! 

But it’s not just about the money. It’s about not wasting your precious time. It’s about making actual progress on this beautiful instrument. 

By following our proven Learning Pathway system, you can stop wasting your time and effort trying to guess what you should practice next. Our guided programs eliminate the guesswork so you know exactly what you need to focus on each day and week to make lasting progress with guitar.

What makes Pickup Music better than other guitar lesson sites?

Most online guitar lesson sites are very good at teaching one-off songs and licks. Or they get super famous guitarists to record one-hour video lessons talking at length about their particular style and career.

The problem is that these approaches don't stick. They don’t help you to actually get better as a guitarist. You can waste a lot of time bouncing around these types of unconnected, one-off lessons. It’s a recipe for a lot of practice without much progress. 

Pickup Music takes a different approach. We give you a highly structured system that shows you exactly what to work on each week to make serious progress. We take you beyond the basics through a step-by-step journey towards fretboard mastery. 

By following a Pickup Music Learning Pathway, you are getting the most guided way to learn guitar. Over 6 grades, you are taken through daily lessons and practice exercises that carefully explain what’s going on behind the music. 

Each grade then builds up to song performances that apply everything you’ve learned with a live backing band. These challenges - where we simulate what it’s like to play a real gig, with real musicians - is the absolute best way to learn. 

The Learning Pathway method takes the guesswork out of your practice routine. Most guitarists start to see a rapid acceleration in their progress in a matter of weeks.

You can also get 1:1 video feedback on your playing and weekly live lessons. This personal feedback makes Pickup Music the closest thing to taking in-person lessons, but at a fraction of the cost.

Want to hear about other members’ experiences with us? Read our independent Trustpilot reviews.

What exactly do I get from a Pickup Music membership?

When you become a Pickup Music member you get unlimited access to our huge library of lessons:

  • 13 Learning Pathways giving you step-by-step instruction over 3 months
  • 47 Master Classes going deep into different styles over 2 weeks
  • 500+ original songs from some of the world’s best modern guitarists 
  • 100+ essential lick packages to add new flavors to your playing
  • 200+ 5 minute lessons for bite-sized learning. 

You get to enjoy amazing features that create a premium learning experience:

  • day-by-day lessons
  • 1:1 video feedback on your playing
  • weekly live lessons
  • progress tracking
  • interactive TAB
  • multiple HD camera angles 
  • play-along practice exercises
  • downloadable course notes and diagrams
  • quizzes to test your understanding
  • jam tracks with the Pickup Music Live Band
  • exclusive members-only forum, contests and giveaways.

How do the Learning Pathways work?

Learning Pathways are kind of our special sauce here at Pickup Music. They take all the guesswork out of what to practice. 

You get day-by-day lessons, play along practice exercises with your instructor, interactive jams with the Pickup Music live band and you can submit videos of your playing for feedback from the Pickup Music team. 

We designed this system so that you will know exactly what to practice every time you pick up the guitar. This means that even if you only have time to practice with us once a week, you will still make great progress by following a Learning Pathways. 

How often do I need to practice to see results?

Ideally you would practice about three times a week for 30 minutes at a time. But we know that life gets in the way sometimes! So here’s the good news: deliberate practice matters so much more than how often you practice.

After working with thousands of guitarists, we’ve found that the most important thing is to know exactly what you’re going to practice before you pick up the guitar. Even if you can only use Pickup Music a few times a month, you will still make really good progress if you stick to the step-by-step structure of our Learning Pathways.

How long are the lessons? 

Pickup Music's lesson plans are designed to suit the amount of time you have available to practice.

  • Only got a few minutes? Try our 5-Minute Lessons to quickly add a new skill to your toolbox.
  • Got half an hour? Try one of our Essential Lick Packages or original Songs  to expand your vocabulary in different genres.
  • Got a couple of days? Try a Master Class with one of our world-renowned artists. Each class is broken up into short, digestible modules focused on one topic. 
  • Ready to really commit to a multi-week program? Try one of our Learning Pathways. Over 3 months and 6 grades of learning, these detailed courses will take you on a day-by-day journey to master each level in the genre. Learning Pathways include daily practice exercises so you know exactly what to focus on. These courses are the best way to make lasting progress.

Whichever approach you choose, we recommend building the exercises you learn into your daily practice schedule. The best way to improve as a guitarist is through a consistent practice routine rather than sporadic, longer sessions. Learning guitar is a day-by-day, life-long journey.

Can I take the lessons at my own pace?

Everything on Pickup Music is designed to be taken at your own pace. There are no deadlines, so you can work at your own speed. You can stay on a topic until you really understand it before you move on.

While we divide our Learning Pathways into ‘days’ - this is a suggestion only. Some learners might take a few days in one sitting, while others will spend a few sessions on a single day. You can go at the pace that feels most comfortable to you.

How does the 1:1 video feedback work?

We want our members to get the closest thing possible to in-person lessons but at a fraction of the cost. That's why you can now get individual video feedback on your guitar playing from our team of expert instructors.

Here's how it works:

  • Choose a performance piece to learn at the end of each grade of a Learning Pathway.
  • Upload a video of yourself playing the performance piece.
  • An expert instructor from our team will review your playing and send you back a detailed video on what you're doing well and what you need to work on.
  • Repeat for each grade of the Learning Pathway.

Want to see a sample? Check out this recent video feedback from Pickup Music instructor Jack Handyside.

Is Pickup Music good for beginners?

Absolutely! We make learning the guitar fun and simple – the way it should be.

Too many people get frustrated with guitar because they develop bad habits and poor technique. Avoid these costly and time-consuming mistakes by taking Pickup Music's structured and step-by-step approach to learning guitar.

You'll start with Pickup Music's introductory program Beginner Learning Pathway. Over three weeks, we break down everything from simple chords and melodies to rhythm and lead playing. By the end of the program, you'll be able to play any simple pop or rock song (and even write your own).

Most importantly, we make sure you don't get stuck in the beginner's plateau - a common pitfall for guitarists who are just starting out. You'll keep making progress through Pickup Music's guided Learning Pathways. These programs are designed to quickly take you from a beginner player to an intermediate one who feels comfortable across the whole fretboard.

Is Pickup Music good for intermediate and advanced guitarists?

Pickup Music is the best platform available for intermediate and advanced guitarists. Our courses take you beyond the basics to advanced concepts like the CAGED system, triads, arpeggios, modes and improvisation.

The biggest trap for intermediate players is bouncing around from lesson to lesson without a plan or structure to get to that next level. We are known for taking intermediate and advanced players who have hit a ceiling and busting through until they reach the next level.

Am I too old for guitar lessons?

Many of Pickup Music’s members are in their 60s and 70s and have seen amazing success with our programs. Our platform is designed to be user-friendly for all ages and skill levels. And our supportive community is made up of guitar learners of all ages, cheering each other on.

How does the 14-day free trial work? 

When you first sign up to a Pickup Music membership, you enter your credit card but it will not be charged for 14 days. That means that if you decide to cancel within 14 days of signing up, you won't pay anything. 

And we send you a reminder before your trial is about to end so you don’t forget about it. 

If you decide to cancel after that, you won't be charged at your next billing cycle. That means: if you’re a monthly member, you won’t be charged for the next month. If you’re an annual member, you won’t be charged for the next year.

How does the 60-day money back guarantee work?

In addition to the 14-day free trial, we offer a 60-day money back guarantee. If you’re not satisfied with your progress in the first 60 days of your membership, we will give you your money back - no questions asked.

Is it easy to cancel?

Absolutely! You can cancel at any time (although we'd be sad to see you go). Cancelling is easy, no tricks. Just go to your account page and click a button.

You won't be charged anything if you cancel during your 14-day free trial.

If you cancel after your 14-day trial, you won't be billed again at your next billing cycle. Your membership will remain active until it expires on the day it was originally set to renew.

Note: Once your membership expires, we'll save your progress on your Dashboard if you decide to rejoin at a later date.

What’s the difference between the annual and monthly plan?

The only difference is the price. The monthly membership is $29.99 charged monthly and the annual membership is $179.99 charged once a year. 

That means that if you select the annual plan you will pay 50% less and save $180 over a year compared to the monthly plan. 

We'll also send you reminders before we bill you each year so that you don't accidentally forget about it.

We give such a big discount for annual members because it aligns with our long-term vision to inspire and support lifelong guitar learning.

Can I buy lessons individually?

We don’t sell lessons individually. But the good news is you get access to every single lesson on Pickup Music through the one membership. If you’re only interested in one lesson, you could purchase a monthly membership and cancel when you’ve finished it – we have a hunch you’ll want to stick around though :)

How do I restart my membership?

It’s easy to rejoin Pickup Music and we’d be thrilled to have you back! We even saved all of your lessons for you while you were gone on your Dashboard.

To restart your membership, simply head to this page, select the plan of your choice, and sign up with the email address you used to sign up the first time around.

Start free trial