# Practicing With Computers

I use my computer to solve a mundane practice problem May 18, 2019

I bought Mick Goodrick’s The Advancing Guitarist, and in it he suggests practicing all your modes on one string over a vamp. He also mentions that with six strings and seven modes, there are 42 possible combinations. He mentions several ways to practice:

1. play seven modes in order on each string
2. play six strings in order with each mode
3. write out the combinations on a piece of paper and cut them out so you can practice randomly from a hat.

I thought that the random option sounds a lot better, based on improving desirable difficulty. But, I don’t have a piece of paper in my home that I can use. Solution? Computer, naturally.

`combinations.sh`:

``````#!/bin/awk -f

# combinations.sh

BEGIN {
string = "ionian dorian phrygian lydian myxolydian aolian locrian"
num = split(string, modes)
for (i = 1; i <=6; i++)
for (x = 1; x <= 7; x++)
print i, modes[x]
}

``````

This code makes a loop inside a loop, doing exactly what number two above suggested. What about the “random” part? That’s where the program `sort -R` comes in. Just type `combinations.sh | sort -R > scale-practice.txt` in your terminal and this is what you get:

``````4 phrygian
1 dorian
5 myxolydian
2 locrian
5 locrian
4 lydian
...
``````

In the output, some strings are next to each other, which is a possibility when you’re dealing with random permutations. I’m not sure how I could prevent this from happening programmatically, so I’m just going to deal with it. It’s not so bad, anyway.

That’s enough writing. I need to go practice.

Randy Josleyn teacher-linguist-guitarist wannabe