At the end of a long day in the office, I like to get out of my head. When I’m working, my clients are my top priority and I give them my full attention. But when I go home, I need to decompress and use my brain in another way. Sorry clients, with rare exceptions I don’t think about your case around the clock. I love spending time with my wife and my 4 year old son, I play fantasy baseball, and I volunteer with several nonprofit and political organizations. But one of my favorite ways to get out of my head is singing.
I started singing in high school with my school choir. Later, I performed in some musicals. After high school I stopped singing for a while. In 1998, I began singing with the South Seattle Community Choir as a tenor. After refreshing my music reading and getting my voice back in shape, I found that I really enjoyed singing.
After a few years with the Community Choir, I was invited to audition for the Seattle Symphony Chorale, the official choral group of the Seattle Symphony. I was conflicted. On one hand, they needed me in the Community Choir. On the other hand, how could I possibly be good enough to sing with the Seattle Symphony? After a bit of hemming and hawing, my wife convinced me that I’d be crazy to pass up on this opportunity. I auditioned and I got in! I even got to sing as a featured soloist in the Seattle Symphony’s 2005 performance of Schumann’s “Mannfred”. Next weekend, June 13 and 15, will be the final performances of my 11th season with the Symphony Chorale.
There is something sublime, almost spiritual, about singing the greatest choral works ever composed, with a world class orchestra, in a hall filled with 2,500 paid audience members. Even the rehearsals almost always completely get me out of my head. Not to say its easy. Learning new music can be challenging, and often requires immense amounts of concentration, but it is a different kind of concentration than what I do in the office.
Most recently, I’ve joined the musicians at Bet Alef Meditational Synagogue for their Friday night services. I find this experience as transformative and uplifting as I do the singing with the Symphony.
Singing is one of the most rewarding ways I have found to refresh my mind from the sometimes intense focus required by the practice of law. After singing I’m able to return to work ready to face whatever challenges arise with energy and creativity. It also helps me to be more attentive when I’m with my family. I simply can’t imagine my life without singing.
So what do you do to get out of your head? If you don’t have something, find one now. I guarantee it will improve your quality of life.