by Author sam dook

Published on

You are here:

International songwriter; reflecting on a long distance collaboration

Carousel House Band members playing a keyboard

At the beginning of this project i wrote the following introduction:

The Carousel House Band (an integrated band of music facilitators and learning disabled musicians based in Brighton) has been busy this year working on a new project called International Songwriter. We are working in collaboration with a band from Helsinki, Finland called the Resonaari group. The members from each respective band in the UK and Finland have never met in person, speak different languages and have a variety of support needs. We are excited to see how figurenotes can be used creatively as a shared language for creating music together. I will publish a series of blogs to track the progress of the project.

We have now completed this this project and worked remotely to create a song called 'The Summer of Love' You can hear it here

Reflecting on this project:

A long distance collaboration is an exciting prospect;  You are able to explore collboration in a unique way passing ideas back and forth and creating an original composition combining the ideas of people from different geographical locations. In the case of this particular collaboration I believe working with a group two groups with additional support needds and overcomeing a language barrier through the use of Figurenotes notation system was particularly exciting and satisfying an experience for everyone involved

Once we had established a way to work which was a simple framework for exchanging ideas, it was exciting to explore the possibilities of fusing musical ideas. Although we had some communication limitations because of a language barrier we explored everything from musical styles to lyrical themes in this project. The end result was a song that had equal contributions from both groups. As well as finding the use of figurenotes to be a very successful tool we also discovered other ways to make the project exciting such as exchanging video clips and pictures. Once a composition was created we decided to reach beyond our initial aims and use the internet to make a collaborative recording. Exchanging tempo maps and audio files and using recording software we were able to successfully meld the consituent parts of a recording together to create a unified master recording. I think this had great impact as both groups were able to delight at a fully formed product emerging from the collaboration.

I would certainly reccomend this project idea to other creative music groups. It is an exciting and relatively resource light project. Here is some feedback from others that took part in the project:

Interviewing the Resonaari band:

1.    What does collaboration mean to you?

“It is fun to make music with friend from abroad.” 

“It is good to learn how to share instrument parts with another band.”

“It is good when we learn from Carousel band and they learn from us”

2.    What has been your favourite part of this collaboration?

“It is new for us when we have not seen the Carousel band members – only video clips.

It has been fun to make musical ideas for the song and also for lyrics/theme of the song.”

3.    What do you think about the song ‘The Summer of Love’?

“We like the song. Would be great to have singing parts both in English and Finnish.”

4.    What do you think about using figurenotes to exchange ideas with musicians from a different country that speak a different language?

“All players will understand colors and shapes in similar way despite language is different. We can communicate with the help of FigureNotes. It is a big help.”


From Joonas and Markuu, music facilitators in Finland supporting Resonaari group:

1.     The collaboration with Resonaari has been a very exciting project for the Carousel House band. As a tutor at Resonaari can you tell us your thoughts on this project? How have you seen it impact on the Resonaari band?


Artistic collaboration between bands is really exciting for tutors but also for musicians. Technical solutions are helping and make this kind of long distance collaboration possible.

This kind of collaboration is making new friendships possible and is a new way also in artistic and musical learning.

For us this collaboration is also interesting development project. We want to see this collaboration as pilot project and looking forward for next steps – more songs, meeting and performing together…

There had been also positive vibes in Resonaari group when singing and playing song’s in reggae style. Project has developed also musician’s personal musical skills, like guitar, bass or drum playing in reggae style.

Joining in songwriting process has also cheered up musicians.  Recording parts has also developed musician skills, and knowing better the process of recording


Feedback from Carousel House Band members:

‘I enjoyed listening to Resonaari’s version….we made our own version!’

‘I want to say thank you to Resonaari for the song that you did and all the recording of your music to our music. We did it all together and that was brilliant and I loved the title’

Carousel House band member


‘Resonaari, I’ve been working with and playing drums…I can count in Finnish!’

Carousel House band member


‘Thank you Resonaari for all the songs we did and I loved the title Summer of Love. I liked Juho playing the guitar on his lap’

‘I really like making the song, we all sang it together’

‘I want to do more singing of the new song’

‘I did my recording with the shaker today. I love my band, I like making all of the songs in the band. Last week I played the keyboard for the music and I loved it’

‘Today we are recording the singing for the song. I cant wait for me to sing along to it with all of my friends too!’

Carousel House band member