Routines are often helpful patterns we use to repeat tasks in such a way as to make sure they are done correctly. A couple of quick examples might include shutting down a computer or washing one’s hands after going to the bathroom.
Rituals, on the other hand, are often unnecessary routines we practice to feel good: checking in the mirror the state of one’s hair before exiting the car, throwing salt over your shoulder, or patting your back pocket to make sure your wallet’s still there.
As Audiophiles, we often are routine and ritual bound when it comes to the playback of music. When I relied upon a turntable as my main music source it was rare I didn’t clean the needle and coat it with a brush full of Last even if it didn’t need it.
When I am recording at Octave Records it is routines that make life easier. You only have to forget to arm the record buttons once to miss out capturing the beginning of the track (and potentially f’ing up the session).
I haven’t been around the recording studio long enough to have developed much in the way of rituals but I suspect they won’t be too long in coming.
In the early stages of any new project or endeavor, it is learned routines that bring stability to an often chaotic new experience.
Once the routines morph into rituals you know you’ve mastered the new.