The Ballarat music group has given people like Brandon an outlet to express their feelings and creativity.

According to Jade, team leader at Ballarat Lifestyle Options, it has been a great way for people to engage. “I think it’s something we all share – a love for some form of music,” she explains. “Other than that I have seen it build confidence in the people we support.  Some of the participants are initially too shy to get up and sing a line but after a few more sessions I can’t get the microphone out of their hands!”

The group runs every Monday morning with a group of around 10 people. They brainstorm ideas, write and play music together. The music they create and the topics they cover are broad and varied. Sometimes it can be quite personal, for example, a song about saying goodbye to a loved pet. Other times, the subject may be more light-hearted such as about Mexican Food. A particular favourite is a Scope song they wrote. It’s about the rules at their program and how they should treat each other. They also do covers of songs such as Vance Joy’s ‘Riptide’ or Ben E. King’s ‘Stand By Me.’

The group has a huge amount of instruments including a drum kit, djembes, keyboard, harmonica, shakers, two microphones, and a full PA set up.

The Ballarat music group also do live shows. They performed at the opening of their new building, at Autism Awareness Day, as part of IDPWD, and have many more performances planned for the future.

The only thing they’re missing is a band name – that’s next on the list!