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Even in a living room jam situation with other musicians, there are lots of examples where playing by ear would be a helpful skill.
Playing by Ear and the Tip of the Tongue: Precategorial Information in Poetry.
Although this exercise presents the pedagogical "flaw" of counting beats when playing as analogous to "painting by numbers," through repetition, counting becomes unnecessary as players develop a feel for the phrase; in fact they end up playing by ear which is an essential skill for improvisation.
Mainly self-taught, she doesn't read music and instead has a talent for playing by ear.