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Here is a method I use to train the ear for progressions.
Take a tune you know already and play the playalong recording once just listening not playing. Then play once along with the playalong. Then start the recording again and after 8 bars of the progression has played then turn off the volume as the music plays muted for a while. Then raise the volume and improve picking up at the point where you recognize where the changes are. Soon your ear will only need a 1/2 bar or one or two chords to jump back into most progressions. That helps overcoming the fear of getting lost and needing sheet music. Watch great soloist as even they stop and bob their head or pat their foot and listen to a chord or two hearing the progression point. Sometimes musical ecstasy will have us playing random things like upper extensions, chord substitutions and other spontaneous things that take us to new places in a solo. Then getting back "In" after playing "Out" or getting lost usually just takes focusing on a chord or two or a few Bass notes that our ear quickly recognizes in the progression. Training the ear to just need a 1/2 bar or two or three chords of the progression point is the goal of this method. Hope this helps improve the ears of some players. I see fast improvement with most players I show this method. Try it and if you like it share it with students and other players wanting to improve their ability to follow chord progressions. This helps those who want to play without looking at the sheet music although using the sheet music to play melody if needed is ok until the melody and changes are memorized.
 
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