Todd C. brought up a very interesting point in another post that read and I think it might make good conversation on its own.
His point was that it's easier, faster and therefore closer to instant gratification to learn music and improvise with your eyes instead of the ears. However, the real fun and art is when you choose your music with your ears. It might take a little more time to get there(sometimes) but in order to find the real music, it's the only way. I'm sure everyone here probably agrees with that in theory but we've all traveled the other path on many an occasion; probably out of impatience. It's just another example of "slow and steady is eventually faster". I'm interested in hearing some new, basic and perhaps innovative approaches to this.