Just been thinking about this after reading the "Sessions Variations" thread.
I’m sure this topic will prove controversial but…….. :-P
The act of "Noodling" is frowned upon by most musicians and, in most cases, justifiably so. It can be damned annoying and distracting.
However, I suggest that it could be a useful thing to do between sets providing there’s a reasonable pause and the other musicians are in agreement. I often think that’s a good time to go over a new or tricky phrase of a tune which we’ve just played before it goes out of our heads. Otherwise, the same issue will reoccur next time around.
A similar principle could also apply to workshops and music classes. Nobody dares(It’s at their own peril) to play a note on their instrument between playing tunes. It’s a case of just waiting until the tune is repeated again and again, often ad nauseum.
One SMG tutor in Edinburgh (Only one I can think of to date) allowed such "Noodling time" although she didn’t refer to it by that name. She just allowed the class a few minutes from time to time to work out the tune for themselves including the trickier notes and phrases. In my opinion, it’s helpful to do such things early on rather than having to continually encounter the same obstacles over an extended period.
Of course, many here will maintain that "sessions" aren’t the place for learning tunes and to a great extent, they are correct. I certainly wouldn’t advocate such behaviour in a good going "high level" session but in a more laid back environment it might work. There’s no reason why it couldn’t be acceptable in workshops or classes though if the tutors had the will.