There are too many examples to count of musicians who play by rote. There are still certain things one has to have some musical knowledge to do. Like Eddie said, how can you enter a chord if you don't know what a chord is? What is a quarter note, what is a quarter note rest, etc...........? You can't play with a band that uses charts to play without knowing how to read. Count Basie's band didn't have music on their stands but they had all the charts memorized. So many instances where one has to have some musical knowledge.
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