When a person grows up and learns to speak, they are learning from masters of the language. Their parents, and older siblings already know how to use the language. People learn their words, how to form sentences, grammar, etc. all from masters of the language. The same should be true in music. The conversation of music takes place in what is known as the jam session. In a jam, tunes are played and music is created from all the members. To grow as a musician, one must do more than just practice. Get used to performing music, playing what you hear, and creating coherent musical ideas. Of course, as with language, play with the best players you can. You will learn so much from musicians that have more experience playing than you do. Every musician should learn from everyone they play with, but imagine how much you can learn from playing with better players. You can also play with great players through records. Transcribe solos, tunes, chords, grooves, whatever, then play that part from your favorite records. If you are playing what Miles Davis played on Kind of Blue, in a way you’re also playing with Coltrane, Bill Evans, Cannonball Adderley. Learn the solo exactly as they played it. Every note, rhythm, articulation, dynamic and tone should be as close to theirs. The music should also be repeatedly played from memory. You will find that the more you do this, the more ideas and aspects of their playing will come out in your playing. Jamming with other people is creating a conversation musically, and the better the players, the more interesting the conversation becomes.
As always, happy practicing!