A routine that I have found very beneficial is the Transcribe/Technique cycle. With this cycle we choose one activity that involves a technical musical problem and another that involves transcription. This creates a balance and the two activities are different enough that the attention can hold for long periods. I generally like to work on some music fundamentals or something I’m trying to push myself to get better at for about ten or fifteen minutes. Once that time has elapsed I switch over to the listening transcribing for about the same time period. When transcribing I listen all the way through the recording. I pick up the melody, changes and maybe some of the solos. I then go back through stopping and starting the music in an effort to get really specific with what’s going on with the melody, harmony and rhythm. If I’m really interested in some of the lines from the solos, I like to work on those as well. With the musical problems, technique, and fundamentals I set out to have a really specific issue to work with. I also try to set some type of limitation. For example, I may try to play through a set of changes in only one position with only one chord type. There are many options. It’s a good idea to stick to what ever it is you chose to do unless it is not challenging. I have found switching back and forth between these two broad categories very rewarding. Listening to recordings of great players is really good for the ear. We can listen for phrasing, time-feel, dynamics and just the overall experience. Working on exercises, technique and fundamentals allow us to have greater freedom when performing. This helps us get to a higher level over time. To sum up, listening and playing with recordings helps us develop our intuitive sense while practicing and working with drills helps develop our technical side.