Rachel Mason, is an award-winning songwriter, musical director, arranger and vocal coach. She was an expert judge for Sky One television’s National Television Award-nominated show, Sing: Ultimate A Cappella during which she worked with musicians ranging from Midge Ure to The Vamps.
She is a renowned show choir and a cappella specialist and has judged competitions including The Voice Festival, The ICCAs, The AVAs the CARA Awards, Masters of Show Choir, The UK Choir Festival and more.
Rachel is honoured to be returning as a judge for the WellChild School Choir of the Year Competition and is excited to hear all the choirs sing.
Rachel’s Five Tips for School Choir Success
1. Warm up: Get the choir to have a good stretch and shake out any worries from their body before they start to sing. They’ll feel more relaxed when they start the vocal and breathing exercises. It’s important for them to warm up their bodies and voices before any rehearsal or performance so they feel energised and in good voice.
2. Understand the song: It’s always important to look at the lyrics of the song and work out what they mean. Reading the lyrics as a poem without singing the tune is a good exercise as singers then think about what the words mean rather than concentrating on the tune without understanding the emotion of the song. Choirs who understand what the song is about tend to give a more honest performance and really sing from their heart.
3. Play to your strengths: What is it about your choir that makes it special and unique? For example do you have someone who can rap, freestyle, play the drums, guitar or even breakdance? Are your group good movers or more comfortable standing still to sing the song? Using your assets can make for a memorable performance and help you stand out to the judges
4. Concentrate on details: If the overall singing is great you can concentrate on working on small details such as dynamics, vocal entries and the ends of phrases. These small details can make a choir sound much more polished and professional.
5. Enjoy singing together: When a choir clearly loves making a joyful sound together it really comes across to an audience and makes everyone feel happy. The WellChild School Choir of the Year Competition judges love to see a choir enjoying themselves. A smiling panel of judges is always a sign of a great performance!