Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Lose the Sheet Music

About a billion years ago I was a young punk playing a bugle in the Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps at Keesler Air Force Base.  I got into the Corps by sheer luck — I hadn’t picked up a horn since elementary school, but the brass section was way undermanned so they took me in.  My past horn experience was in a concert band, and the Knights did marching, so I had a big hill to climb.

I learned how to not make a fool of myself and screw up performances while marching, and I even got my music memorized.  Despite memorizing the songs, I kept hanging on to my sheet music as a security blanket.  The sheets were actually a distraction because our horns didn’t have any attachments for clamps, so you had to contort your hands around to hold the music while playing the horn.  Not the best thing when you need to focus and get in the zone for a performance.

One night at practice our Music Director, Hal Doyle, finally got fed up with my sheet music distracting me.  He grabbed my music holder and winged it across the parking lot and yelled something along the lines of “You know this stuff. Lose the music and step up to the plate!”  That was the last time I used the music, and guess what? My playing and marching noticably improved.

OK, so you’ve been patient with me so far and are wondering where the hell I’m going with this.

I’m finally tossing off my metaphorical sheet music in regards to our .NET group and am putting on a presentation at next month’s meeting.  I’ve got a fairly long background of speaking in various venues on different topics, but have held off on talking anything about development or .NET at our group just because I felt insecure about it.  I’ve done a couple Grok talks, but those were a short ten minutes. 

Now it’s time to lose the music and step up to the plate for a full presentation.  My topic’s nothing earth-shattering (Introduction to Security), but it’s a good way for me to get into the swing of things for “real” presentations.

Too often, getting comfortable means getting stale.  I’m looking forward to knocking out this talk.  Hopefully it doesn’t suck.  “Heh,” as Instapundit would say.

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