Preston music group launches for people with learning disabilities

Posted on - 14th February, 2024 - 12:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Arts, City Centre, Music, Preston City Centre, Preston News, Things to Do in and around Preston, What's On in Preston
A selection of instruments used at Jubiloso music group for people with learning disabilities
Jubiloso sessions use a variety of instruments Pic: Jubiloso

A participatory music group has recently launched in Preston with the intention of being accessible to people with learning disabilities.

Participants of the weekly Jubiloso sessions are guided in playing simple pieces of music using a variety of instruments including voice, chime bars, hand percussion, boomwhackers (plastic tubes that make a pitched sound when struck against something) or instruments that they bring along themselves.

The group has emerged from one-to-one sessions between Jon Aveyard and Jen Blackwell. Jen is known in Preston as one of the founders of Dance Syndrome, the local dance group for people with and without disabilities, but she is also a flautist who has been keen to return to group music-making.

Jon is a local community musician who leads the Worldwise Samba Drummers, Preston Handbell Ensemble, Preston Scratch Band and other participatory music groups. Following several music-making sessions together, Jon and Jen were then joined by other people and are keen to welcome more to come along too.

Read more: Communal music-making session Preston Scratch Band gets new home at The Ferret

Jon said: “The word Jubiloso is a musical term meaning jubilant and was chosen to reflect our joy at making music together as well as matching the first letter of the names of the two co-founders.

“Rather than playing along to recordings, the music is entirely generated by the participants. There is music notation for those who can read it but other parts have simple patterns that can be memorised or can be improvised.

“With each new person that comes along, I’m keen on finding out what sort of music they like listening to and would like to play themselves so that I can prepare music to suit their tastes. Sophie enjoys singing nursery rhymes so we have added a few of those to our repertoire. On Jen’s suggestion, I’m working on a version of Abba’s ‘Lay All Your Love on Me’ for us to begin soon.”

The group has recently relocated to The Mandala Centre in the city centre, a space usually used for yoga and counselling sessions but now also providing a quiet and controlled environment in which the Jubiloso music sessions can take place.

Jubiloso meets at The Mandala Centre, 18 Derby Street, PR1 1DT on most Fridays between 10am and 11am. The cost is £5 per session.

For more information, visit the Preston Music Workshops website or email Jon at

New members are welcome at any time though it is recommended that you contact Jon ahead of your first visit to check dates and pass on any specific requirements.

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