Monkmonk -- the basis of the New England Conservatory method is ear training at it's fundamental core. I remember someone asking Ran Blake (my instructor) "when are we going to learn intervals?" (thinking that was what ear training is all about). Ran answered, "oh, you mean the specific skill of recognizing certain intervals?"
The point being that there is, in fact, a foundation of training one's ear. That foundation, for me at least, directly led to improved recognition, recall and memorization (internalization), which then led to easier transcribing.
Imagine this scenario: that you know a piece of music so well, and perhaps a solo so well, that you can sing it back note-for-note. Writing it down note-for-note is almost a routine exercise at that point. But the real value came from internalizing that fragment.
When I took that course, it was only the introductory course taught through their extension division. The method, though, is fully integrated into the NEC curriculum. For me, it was pretty easy to see how useful it could be.
Here's an article from Ran Blake: Primacy of the Ear