The concept of thinking while you play comes up a lot in this forum. For the most part, my conscious thinking is before and after the fact. I use thinking to understand how chords work, etc. After the gig, I use thinking to understand what I did well and what I stumbled on. Actually, I do worse than stumble: I avoid things that have a high likelihood of making me stumble. That is a terrible thing to do, as it suppresses creativity. I used to play a lot of rhythm in different genres: blues, rock/pop songs, big-band Freddie Green style, and small ensemble comping. I had a lot of reflexes back then, but not so much now. Whenever I do pick up my guitar and just dork around with diatonic chords, my ear and brain are in sync. However, there is one move that sometimes stumps me for a second. In classical music theory and analysis, they call it V/V, or five of five, or a secondary dominant. In C major, that would be something like: C Am D G. The D major is not in the key of C, but it is in the key of G. More significantly, it is the dominant of the key of G. You could say that in D G, you have modulated from the key of C to the key of G. But, usually something as local as this, it wouldn't be right to think that we are in a new key. rather, all we did was tonicize the G. To tonicize something is to give it a stronger emphasis. To modulate, you need to stay in G for a little while, usually playing D G not once, but twice. The second time would be called a confirmation of the new key. In the classical tradition, confirmation is necessary if you are playing in the new key. Anyway, when I pick up my guitar and just idly strum some chords, sometimes I will hear (or pre-hear) a secondary dominant. For some reason, probably because I play so little rhythm nowadays (please, please, please don't chastise me; I've played as much rhythm as anyone in the forum, I'd bet, just not now), when I hear the secondary dominant, I hear it as V/V but not as D, when I am in the key of C. This means that I hear the function of what is coming up, but I don't reflexively play the D chord. Instead, I quickly ask myself what the dominant of G is, then play that. I literally have to think it through like this. If the tempo were really fast, I would stumble (or avoid). Now, I am a pretty fast thinker in terms of theory, but I'm not fast enough to pull this off at fast tempos. The solution is easy: just make up some exercises and play them for a few days. Then I'll have it. I just think this is interesting and thought I would share it. In my jazz days, we would communicate chords onstage using roman numerals, not literal chords. I would have to get back up to speed if I wanted to play jazz again.