Since we can’t fully hear ourselves, and since we might decide we can take excessive vocal risk based on transitory feelings, we have to have a process that includes certain rules. We then rely on these rules to guide us through challenging situations where our present emotions might encourage us to behave differently:
- “I breathe here. No matter what.”
- “I round my lips here. No matter what.”
- “I wear my ear plugs for this piece. No matter what.”
- “I only give 85% of my max volume here even though it says ff. No matter what.”
- “I maintain some squillo here, even though it says ppp. No matter what.”
- “I modify the vowel here. No matter what.”
- “I check in with the conductor here. No matter what.”
You’ll develop these rules on your own given your own strengths and weaknesses and the challenges of your given circumstances. When should you make such rules? Here are a few over arching times:
- When you keep forgetting something that you know will help you.
- When you have shifting circumstances such as room acoustics.
- When you have very difficult music, especially music that presents a risk of early vocal fatigue.
Behind all this is the idea that your practice is mindful, so that you can develop rules in advance in order to fully integrate them. But late-developed rules are better than none at all.