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Online jam sessions a huge hit for people with learning disabilities

PUBLISHED: 11:10 19 October 2020 | UPDATED: 11:39 19 October 2020

Ipswich musicians Jay Goodrich and John Randall have started online jam sessions for children and adults with learning difficulties. Picture: WIKID MUSIC CIC

Ipswich musicians Jay Goodrich and John Randall have started online jam sessions for children and adults with learning difficulties. Picture: WIKID MUSIC CIC

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A group of Ipswich musicians have started running hugely successful music sessions for children and adults with learning difficulties by streaming live online.

Ipswich musicians Jay Goodrich and John Randall have started online jam sessions for children and adults with learning difficulties. Picture: WIKID MUSIC CICIpswich musicians Jay Goodrich and John Randall have started online jam sessions for children and adults with learning difficulties. Picture: WIKID MUSIC CIC

Jay Goodrich, former bass player of Suffolk band Rosalita, and fellow musician John Randall run Wikid Music CIC – running workshops for children and adults with disabilities and additional needs.

The pair were unable to carry on their work during the Covid pandemic so decided to create an online activity to bring people together virtually with the help of local musicians Adam Walden and Aaron Hall.

The jam sessions are streamed live from The Smokehouse in South Street, Ipswich, every Thursday from 11am until 2pm and draw in over 60 people each week.

“We originally did pre-recorded videos, but then found they weren’t very interactive,” Mr Goodrich explained.

Ipswich musicians Jay Goodrich and John Randall have started online jam sessions for children and adults with learning difficulties. Picture: WIKID MUSIC CICIpswich musicians Jay Goodrich and John Randall have started online jam sessions for children and adults with learning difficulties. Picture: WIKID MUSIC CIC

“There were concerns about a lot of people suffering from low self esteem and mental health issues during the pandemic and for people with autism and other learning difficulties it’s really hard not having their usual routine in place.

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“It’s pretty cool to be able to give them a few hours to enjoy music together and join in or request certain songs.”

The sessions flow very freely with live comments from participants dictating everything that happens.

There are frequent requests for shout outs and opportunities for everyone to join in – Mr Goodrich compiles a weekly highlight video which mashes together the live footage, comments and videos sent in by the group.

Lisa, a manager from Thornham disability charity Beyond The Wall, got involved with a group of young people and commented on a video saying: “The way that the session was conducted through shout outs and communication with our members really got them involved including some of the members who can be quieter at times.

“They really were excited shouting out ‘I am famous on the TV’ ‘they said my name’ ‘tell them I love the beat’.”

Steve, a parent from Stowmarket, commented saying: “Thursdays are now special again for my son ... he’s loving the drumming. Long may it continue.”

To get involved in the online jam sessions, click here.


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