Duncan Haynes


• This is a collection of assorted resources - not a complete, step-by-step system!
• Free for personal use (if you share please attribute me).
• The key is to explore & internalise the ideas before applying them to your instrument.

To the right you'll find assorted study resources grouped fairly randomly.
Below I've spelled out some of the fundamental precepts I live by as a musician.
I hope you find here something useful, interesting, debatable, indefensible. Enjoy...


•  Music begins in silence; every note must have a meaning, add something critical to the total sound.

•  Aside from the content we must imagine the architecture of 8 bars, a chorus, a solo, a song, a set, an entire concert: Where are we in the overall arc at this moment? What does the music need?

•  Listening = 80% ; attention to yourself = 20%

•  Consider your role; everyone must contribute and support creatively; sometimes that means not playing.

•  It is fundamental to have memorised/internalised the melody, the harmony, the structure.

•  If you cannot play without the support of another musician neither you nor he/she can enter completely in the musical moment.

•  Irrespective of style there must be a common language across all the instruments in the group.

It doesn't matter what genre, what instrumentation, what type of performance. With these priorities you will allow the opportunity for MUSIC to happen, to feel connected to the other musicians, for the audience to connect with you.

Humans have a fundamental need for this connection; to be taken (even for a moment) on a journey away from the self-obsessed conscious mind, then to return feeling changed in some way. This is our role as musicians.

Some favourite quotes...

I began to understand art as a kind of black box that the reader enters. He enters in one state of mind and exits in another... What's important is that something undeniable and non-trivial happens to the reader between entry and exit.
George Saunders

Human speech is like a cracked kettle on which we tap crude rhythms for bears to dance to, while we long to make music that will melt the stars.
Gustave Flaubert (Madame Bovary)

Art arises where the arbitrary and the predictable are superseded by unpredictable inevitablility.
Hans Keller

All my life I have sought the essence of flight. Flight, pure joy!
Constantin Brancusi

Every word is like an unnecessary stain on silence and nothingness
Samuel Beckett

All poetry has to do is to make a strong communication. All the poet has to do is listen. The poet is not an important fellow. There will also be another poet.

...where virtuosity within sentences meets the unplannable energy of the imagination, harnesses it to a narrative and enacts an entirely new and exhilarating occurrence dedicated to renewal.
Richard Ford

Music doesn't come from music.
Keith Jarrett

...in the midst of an age of 'work', that is to say, of hurry, of indecent and perspiring haste, which wants to 'get everything done' at once, including every old or new book: this art [philology] does not so easily get anything done, it teaches to read well, that is to say, to read slowly, deeply...
Friedrich Nietzsche

Cease conceiving of education as mere preparation for later life, and make it the full meaning of the present life.
John Dewey

When ideas fail words come in very handy.

Optimise your practice

First principles

Working forwards

Working backwards

Architecture of tunes & solos

Voicings & comping

Also on the way is a book on my concept the


This approach visualises harmony as a journey through a landscape defined by the specific harmonic elements of the music.

Because we don't experience music vertically - in slices of time - but as horizontal through time, that is to say as a narrative in which temporal context gives meaning to what came before and what we expect to follow, it makes no sense to think of music as vertical when we perform it.

In this concept I will do away with vertical notions such as substitution considering instead the infinite possibilities of journeying through the same harmonic terrain.