The COVID lockdown has restricted performing arts in unimaginable ways, but the Cosmo Philharmonic Orchestra found opportunity during the crisis to have a virtual exchange with an orchestra from the other side of the world. Students from our own Cosmo Philharmonic Orchestra joined a zoom conference with students from Harare, Zimbabwe who also play in their school Orchestra, the Hellenic Academy Strings. During the team building time, students discovered that they have school colours, playing an instrument, and a love of sports and snacks in common. They also learned that the climate is quite different on the other side of the equator and that the students from both groups spoke a diverse set of languages. During the second half of the zoom call, students separated into breakout rooms based on instruments and worked in student-led sessions on practicing their parts for two pieces of music: Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto no. 3 and Taylor Swift’s song Shake it off. Making new friends and connections through digital learning is certainly helped by the universal medium of music making. After the joint-rehearsal, student feedback was collected, and the verdict is in: The Zoom collaboration will go on. Stay tuned for exciting developments in this project. 

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