Of all the categories of music, musical theater is one of the most challenging and rewarding. It's your duty to tell a story and convey emotion while singing. This takes appropriate technique and for many folks, extensive training. Fortunately, you can dazzle audiences onstage with your voice if you take into account these key concepts.
For starters, know how to get your sound out. As any vocal music teacher will stress, you should open your mouth. With musical theater, you should not only drop your jaw; you should lift up the corners of your mouth into a grin. This is known as the singer smile.
Use this technique the entire time you sing. It's often helpful to do facial exercises so this comes more naturally to you. It may seem counter-intuitive to "smile" when you're doing an angry or sad scene, but as long as you stretch your mouth horizontally and upward, you should still achieve the desired effect with the appropriate emotion.
Enunciation is essential in this arena so make sure you're heard correctly. You may wish to try out pronunciation exercises. Try saying "the lips, the teeth, the tip of the tongue" repeatedly and quickly. This will test your ability to speak fast and clearly. You can also try singing scales and the alphabet simultaneously.
There are certain words you would say differently onstage. Note that closing your mouth impedes sound. If the lyric is an "-ing" word like "singing," you'll produce more sound if you say "signin'." Make sure your jaw is lowered for most of your piece.
Also, it can be helpful to add more letters to each word. For instance, you can add in a "wuh" sound at the end of "you." Your audience will understand you better when your words are more drawn out and pronounced.
Last, know how to effectively use your instrument. It's a common misconception that your sound comes mostly from your throat. Unfortunately, relying solely on this part of your body can strip your vocal cords.
That's why it's imperative that you use your diaphragm. Take deeper breaths and feel the sound rise from your stomach. This allows support, another term referring to having enough breath to release sound. Effectively using your diaphragm should create rich music that projects.
As you can see, musical theater takes a good amount of technique. If you take the time to practice these concepts, you should be closer to the results you seek. Consider attending music summer camps to learn more about how to improve your musical ability.