News & Resources
The Ambassadors’ Exchange: The 2022 Composition Relay
Axelle Miel, Program Manager, The Ambassadors
After two years of pandemic life, we students have become accustomed to different ways of learning. Gone are the days when education occurred within the four walls of a classroom—when information was relayed to us by someone standing just a few feet away. Since then, we have taken classes over Zoom, worked on self-paced modules, and even spent an entire school year without ever setting foot on campus.
So when we were working on our collaborative composition with El Sistema Greece’s Young Leaders, we wondered whether we could adapt our process based on what has worked for us in other situations. Several of our Ambassadors had become busy with school, concerts, and auditions, and were unable to attend every meeting. Others had to stay up late at night or get up really early in the morning to participate. We asked ourselves: what if we created our entire composition asynchronously, to make it easier for everyone?
Helen Faucher (Canada) and I researched different asynchronous learning strategies and talked with each other about our own educational experiences in the pandemic. Eventually, we came up with an idea called the composition relay. Our goal was to have each Ambassador contribute to the creative process in their own time, and then pass it to someone in the next time zone. This way, there would be no specific day on which everyone had to be present, and each musician could work on the piece independently.
Though the first few stages have gone well so far, we have run into a few communication and timing issues. Like any relay, our process relies on a fast start; if our first group is exceptionally busy during their time with the piece, the whole cohort becomes delayed. We are still ironing out wrinkles like this, but I’m glad to see our group become more flexible and accommodating as we go along!