It’s Like Learning a Musical Instrument

A month ago many of you who read this blog were either sitting in sessions, half-way through the last PASS Community Summit, or were hearing about it though Twitter, blog posts, etc. 

So, what have you taken away from those sessions? 

We all leave these events with minds full and fingers itchy; ready to get back into the mix at our offices, puting our new-found ideas to use in a practical manner.  So many ideas can lead to misapplied energies however.  “Where to begin?” 

“Oh, I forgot this on the plane ride home!”

“I should have asked this question!  Now I’m stuck!”

We’ve all been there.  This year fortunately we have tools to stay in touch with one another – even those who conducted the sessions.  We don’t have the excuses of forgetfulness and distance we had in the past thanks to Twitter (and possibly Google Wave.)  Therefore, by now you must have at least been able to test and adopt some new practices in your environment.  I was reminded of this earlier in the week when I attended my oldest son’s first band concert.  Three short months ago he had never played a trombone in his life.  He noodled around on my guitar and our piano, but the trombone was completely new and the scales didn’t match between the other instruments so it was really not an advantage to know the piano and guitar in any measure.  Going in expecting the worst I was pleasantly surprised at not only how well he did, but how the other 139 kids did as a whole.  Most of these kids were like Austen – had never picked up the instrument they played this early December snowy night before they started the school year.  We were entertained with the first piece of music they started with, a mechanical and plodding rendition of Darling Nikki Mary Had A Little Lamb.  They finished, 14 songs later with a bluesy tune that highlighted just how far they had come in the last three months.

Oh, and they were so large, they had only practiced as a full group three times in those three months; trodding over to a neighboring, vacant elementary school in order to use their gym due to their numbers.

I started to ask myself where I have advanced my skills in the month since the PASS Summit 2009.  I have access to most of the speakers through Twitter and this blog.  I’m able to collaborate with my friends, the other attendees at the Summit. 

I have no excuses to why I am still playing Mary Had A Little Lamb.  I should be moving onto that bluesy little number by now.