One of my primary philosophies about the vocal instrument, is that technique is built as behavior, from the inside out, not something you put on as a prop.
Behavior has its beginning in the mind: the understanding of the physical, and then, behavior begins to find its way into the physicality of the instrument.
EVERY genre needs this, because no matter what you are singing, you need your voice, and therefore your BODY.
No matter how badly I want Michelle Obama arms, I will not get that from wishing. I will only find MY arms by working those muscles into behavior to find the best form I can find.
So it is with vocal behavior. We are dealing with muscles FIRST! Again, why am I blogging about this? In the operatic world, this issue doesn't seem to be so much a concern, as we are fully aware of how much time it takes to build the voice (the opera world has its other issues to be sure...ANOTHER blog! lol)
I am concerned with the theatre/music theatre world, due to the nature of the 16 bar audition. I cannot, in good conscience, take you as a student when you call and say "I have never taken voice lessons, but I have an audition and I need you to teach me my 16 bar cut".
Although I do coach material, I am primarily a voice teacher - I work with the VOCE - building, developing technical behavior.
My response is thus: if you have never taken voice lessons you have NO BUSINESS auditioning with your voice!"
It would be the same idea if I went to one of my wonderful dancers who teaches dance and said "I have never danced but need to have a ballet routine ready for Tuesday".
And YES it IS the same. Disciplines take time - they take focus - they take development and nurturing and YES, this is building craft!!!! Do not assume that because your voice lives with you, that you have ANY idea how it works until you truly take the time to discover it.
Muscular behavior takes time to develop - and often we see that development, sans pathology, begin to physicalize and respond in 3 week/6 week umbrellas.
So - those of you in music theatre - PLEASE find a teacher for that voice!!! BUILD it! This is just the beginning, but do not think that 16 bars and a cloud of dust will keep you going. The truth will come out when/if you book that show and suddenly have to deliver 8 shows (or more) a week and have NO physical craft.
What you might be able to fake in 16 bars is not a voice. FIND YOUR VOICE! CLAIM IT! DEVELOP IT! Have pride and commitment to what you claim to follow - a path to further artistic development - and make this earth a better place because you were here!