Wernick Method Teachers by State

Show listing by name

Alaska

Alabama

Larry Kernagis (Mt Juliet TN)

[Email Larry]

Larry Kernagis was raised during the folk revival era of the 60s, cutting his chops on Flatt and Scruggs and the Kingston Trio. Eventually, he became a banjo instructor at the famed Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago. Larry has led Bluegrass jams at festivals across the country for the past 30 years. He now employs his banjo, guitar and vocal skills entertaining with "greengrass" Celtic group Def Leprechaun.

“Larry was an excellent instructor. Patient and kind, he brought the music to life and gave me the tools to do the same.”

“I really feel like I improved and am now able to jam with almost anyone.”

“Larry encouraged us to try and get beyond our fears and try different things. He is very patient.”

“When I was young I was a classically trained violinist, but Larry taught me to play music with the other half of my brain...It's been a great experience.”


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Arkansas

Jeanette Curry (Rogers AR)

[Email Jeanette]

Jeanette Curry began teaching 5-string banjo and guitar in the 1980s and now also teaches beginning mandolin. She has performed at bluegrass festivals and state fairs in the Midwest, and at Silver Dollar City in Branson, has played with bluegrass bands including Flint Hill Flash, Subject to Change, and currently plays with Stained Glass Bluegrass and The Good Shepherd Pickers as part of an outreach ministry. Jeanette studied music at the Hutchinson Community Junior College in Kansas and currently teaches at the Arkansas Music Conservatory in Bentonville and at the Shepherd Music School in Rogers, AR.

“Jeanette is a gifted instructor who is willing to spend the time to teach the fundamentals. I could not have found a more knowledgeable instructor.”

“For a first-time bluegrass player the class was comfortable, positive, and a blast.”

“Jeanette has helped lift the "fog" that surrounds a beginning senior banjo player. I can recommend her as a skilled and positive teacher.”

“Really enjoyed the class. The ability to just sit in with a group and feel comfortable playing is great.”

“Jeanette's positive approach took me from a total beginner to intermediate level playing. Her upbeat personality and general enthusiasm for teaching created an environment I always looked forward to. Some 30 years later I'm a veteran of of several bands and countless jams.”


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Jim Talbert (Cabot AR)

[Email Jim]      [Visit Jim's' website]      [Watch Jim teach]

Jim Talbert has been playing bluegrass music for over 30 years, performing regularly as a multi-instrumentalist with several bluegrass bands including Borderline Bluegrass and Hickory Hill Gospel Bluegrass. Jim has a BA in Music Education and created the Join the Jam program at his hometown public library, helping beginner and intermediate students gain the knowledge and confidence to play with other musicians in a jam. As a certified Wernick Method Instructor, Jim will be working the time-tested Wernick system, teaching jam skills and guiding jammers playing bluegrass in small groups.

“Jim works very well with beginning players.”

“He's always fun and informative. I've learned a lot!”

“Jim succeeded at getting me over my fear of playing in a group.”


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Arizona

Larry Kernagis (Mt Juliet TN)

[Email Larry]

Larry Kernagis was raised during the folk revival era of the 60s, cutting his chops on Flatt and Scruggs and the Kingston Trio. Eventually, he became a banjo instructor at the famed Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago. Larry has led Bluegrass jams at festivals across the country for the past 30 years. He now employs his banjo, guitar and vocal skills entertaining with "greengrass" Celtic group Def Leprechaun.

“Larry was an excellent instructor. Patient and kind, he brought the music to life and gave me the tools to do the same.”

“I really feel like I improved and am now able to jam with almost anyone.”

“Larry encouraged us to try and get beyond our fears and try different things. He is very patient.”

“When I was young I was a classically trained violinist, but Larry taught me to play music with the other half of my brain...It's been a great experience.”


Photos


Mark Miracle (Phoenix AZ)

[Email Mark]      [Visit Mark's' website]      [Watch Mark play]

Mark Miracle plays mandolin and guitar, and has taught at many workshops including the Sorrento, British Columbia Bluegrass Week. With Sawmill Road he has toured the US & Europe, and won Band of the Year at Huck Finn Jubilee.

“Learned a lot. Would never have had the guts to show up at a jam.”

“My objective, getting a lot of jamming done, was met!”

“Mark was superb!”

“The class is just about perfect. Mark did a great job, both with the group and individually. Worth every penny!”

“Very encouraging.”


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California

Andy Lentz (Oakland CA)

[Email Andy]      [Visit Andy's' website]

Andy Lentz started on fiddle with the Suzuki technique, and has been jamming and performing bluegrass and other roots styles for over twenty years. Before recently relocating to Oakland CA, Andy performed in and around Austin TX with Silas Lowe, High Plains Jamboree, and various other groups. In addition to gigging on fiddle, Andy teaches private lessons, presents fiddle workshops, and plays guitar and mandolin.

“As instructor for my daughter, he was encouraging, patient and got results.”

“Andy inspired me to play more, practice harder, and become a better player.”

“Andy is extremely patient with new students, it was very easy to begin learning with him. He has a natural way of providing feedback, very friendly and encouraging.”

“Andy's workshop was amazing... a group with all different levels but he made us all feel equal. His excitement carried over. He was extremely patient which helped me relax and enjoy the class more.”


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John David (Glendale CA)

[Email John]      [Watch John play]

John David is a master on banjo, mandolin, dobro, guitar, and harmonica. He also plays fiddle and bass. He toured with music luminaries the Limeliters, performed with Leon Redbone, and has recorded for many television shows, commercials, and movie soundtracks. John created two instructional videos, on banjo and mandolin, for the Warner Brothers "Ultimate Beginner" series. While the Denver Post describes him as a "guitarist's guitarist", John is also eager to help everyday people with the challenges of learning to jam.

“Had lessons from several teachers in the area—John has been easily the best”

“John's explanations are excellent and easy to follow.”

“The atmosphere at the jam workshop made everyone, beginners and experienced alike, feel welcome and comfortable.”

“I was surprised at how much I learned and how quickly.”

“He showed me simple ways to get around roadblocks that had frustrated me for a long time”

“John made me (and everyone) feel at ease, created a fun atmosphere.”

“He's able to teach and play every instrument, never become annoyed and keep the excitement and energy going all weekend—superb! Organization, clarity, pacing (fast clip, but seemed to work for the group) kindness, this was the best it could have been”


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Larry Kernagis (Mt Juliet TN)

[Email Larry]

Larry Kernagis was raised during the folk revival era of the 60s, cutting his chops on Flatt and Scruggs and the Kingston Trio. Eventually, he became a banjo instructor at the famed Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago. Larry has led Bluegrass jams at festivals across the country for the past 30 years. He now employs his banjo, guitar and vocal skills entertaining with "greengrass" Celtic group Def Leprechaun.

“Larry was an excellent instructor. Patient and kind, he brought the music to life and gave me the tools to do the same.”

“I really feel like I improved and am now able to jam with almost anyone.”

“Larry encouraged us to try and get beyond our fears and try different things. He is very patient.”

“When I was young I was a classically trained violinist, but Larry taught me to play music with the other half of my brain...It's been a great experience.”


Photos


Nate Schwartz and Grant Milliken (Los Angeles CA)

[Email Nate Schwartz and Grant]      [Watch Nate Schwartz and Grant play]

Nate Schwartz and Grant Milliken have played music together since 2010, performing bluegrass as well as jazz, rock, and R&B in some of LA's most prestigious venues. Nate grew up playing mandolin and singing with his family bluegrass band, Oak Grove, recording two records and playing major California bluegrass festivals. Grant—along with 15 years playing acoustic guitar—is an in-demand keyboardist and record producer, helping bands shape their sound and create compelling performances. Nate and Grant live just north of Culver City, where they record, host concerts and jam sessions, and teach out of their homes.

“Grant follows a 'learning music should be fun' philosophy. Even explaining something technical, he doesn’t rely on jargon to get his point across.”

“Nate has a deep love and knowledge of music, yet is very patient and thorough in his explanation of concepts!”

“Grant always finds exciting ways to tie his lessons back to fundamentals, very helpful as I develop my musicianship.”

“When Nate showed me how to solo using the melody it was like a lightbulb went on in my brain! No more jam sessions dreading my turn for a solo ...”

“Grant has really helped me so I can play with other musicians and know the 'lingo'.”


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Colorado

Joe Quesenberry (Grand Junction CO)

[Email Joe]      [Watch Joe play]

Joe Quesenberry started violin and piano at age 6 and discovered guitar as a teenager. He has performed on guitar, fiddle, and mandolin with several bands over the last 40 years covering bluegrass, gospel, blues, country and rock & roll. He hosts a weekly acoustic jam that welcomes beginners to experienced performers, and teaches mandolin and math (!) at Western Colorado Community College.

“I really like this teacher – he is one of the best I have ever had!”

“Great teacher – would love to have again.”

“Joe is an amazing teacher – he works very hard to make sure that we all understand everything.”

“Que rocks!”


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Joel Denman (Parker CO)

[Email Joel]

Joel Denman has been a music teacher in the in the Denver area public schools since 1990. He fell in love with bluegrass as a teenager and now specializes in fiddle, guitar and baritone vocals as a longtime member of Kantankerous and Lannie Garrett's Patsy DeCline show. With a degree from Berklee College of Music, he also plays professionally in bluegrass, blues, rock, jazz, and country bands. As a jam coach, Joel mixes his easy-going personality with a drive to inspire life-long musicians. Joel is currently on the board of the Colorado Bluegrass Music Society.

“Joel is a dedicated and energetic teacher. He gave me the tools I needed to jam and express myself musically.”

“Whether it's guitar, fiddle, mandolin or banjo, he's the best!”

“His depth of knowledge and passion for bluegrass is contagious. Because of Joel, I have the motivation and courage to pick with others and to pursue my dream.”

“Joel opened my eyes. He showed me how to improvise and play by ear.”


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KC Groves (Lyons CO)

[Email KC]      [Visit KC's' website]      [Watch KC play]

KC Groves is an accomplished instrumentalist (mandolin, guitar, bass), vocalist and songwriter at the forefront of Colorado's bluegrass scene. As bandleader of the popular group Uncle Earl for over a decade, she helped bring old-time music to major festival stages in the United States and abroad. Along with founding the successful High Street Concert series in Lyons, KC has spearheaded the long-running weekly bluegrass jam at Oskar Blues and is a member of the Colorado Bluegrass Music Society's Hall Of Honor.

“After only a few mandolin lessons with KC my 9-year-old daughter and I can now pick together!”

“KC has the ability to connect with students at all levels of musical ability. She is incredibly supportive in jams. Most importantly, she makes it all fun.”

“KC's musical expertise, her experience as a performer, and in-depth knowledge of the Colorado bluegrass scene, gives the feel of a "master class" for even the newest pickers.”

“KC is a wealth of knowledge and has a passion for sharing that knowledge with students of all ages in a way that is both fun and very informative.”

“KC helped me understand the basics of singing bluegrass harmonies. I put them to work immediately at the local weekly jam.”


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Kevin Slick (Louisville CO)

[Email Kevin]      [Watch Kevin play]

Kevin Slick has been performing, writing, and recording music for over 35 years. A talented multi-instrumentalist (guitar, mandolin, banjo), he has recorded over 30 albums as a solo artist or as part of a group, and teaches music as well. He plays mostly progressive bluegrass with The Savage Hearts and mostly traditional bluegrass with the Steel Pennies. Kevin is a photographer, visual artist, school teacher and long-term resident of Louisville, CO.

“Kevin's personal warmth and experienced musicianship, as well as his "teacher's heart" makes him a valued part of the Wernick Method system. (Pete Wernick)”

“A consistently caring, warm and engaging atmosphere.”

“Kevin has boundless energy and a vast knowledge of music and music history which he shares with students.”

“Kevin weaves the magic and mystery of learning into an exciting learning experience.”

“I'm impressed by his perceptiveness, intelligence and ability to tailor how he teaches to whoever he is teaching.”


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Sue Coulter (Durango CO)

[Email Sue]

Sue Coulter is a member of Colorado's Bluegrass Hall of Honor, a multi-instrumentalist, and an experienced, much-loved teacher. She has started and guided bluegrass jams for over 20 years, and has played in several bands in Colorado and New Mexico. Sue has led kids' jams, and has served as President of the Colorado Bluegrass Music Society.

“Her patience with learners is exceptional!”

“A natural ability to help people of all experience levels fit right in.”

“Visitors comment on how welcoming our jam is, and Sue is the reason why!”

“An encyclopedic knowledge of bluegrass material and history.”


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Tyler Rennix (Longmont CO)

[Email Tyler]

Tyler Rennix grew up with a mandolin in his hand, and has been adding instruments, material, and skills ever since. Growing up on Colorado's front range allowed him to get one-on-one instruction from many music greats. He was given sponsorship by a prestigious mandolin builder at age 15. In 2015 he won the coveted Rockygrass Mandolin Championship. Tyler has performed with numerous Colorado groups and is furthering his music career in performing and teaching on all fronts. Teaching is one of his favorite things, and facilitating learning for others is a joyous endeavor for him.

“Tyler has been very helpful, helping me learn to play. I am really enjoying the journey!”

“Tyler is warm and friendly and answers my questions with grace and enthusiasm.”

“He's very helpful, patient, approachable and easy to work with. I appreciate his teaching methods and I have come a long way He is very good at keeping me motivated.”


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Connecticut

District of Columbia

Delaware

Florida

Larry Kernagis (Mt Juliet TN)

[Email Larry]

Larry Kernagis was raised during the folk revival era of the 60s, cutting his chops on Flatt and Scruggs and the Kingston Trio. Eventually, he became a banjo instructor at the famed Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago. Larry has led Bluegrass jams at festivals across the country for the past 30 years. He now employs his banjo, guitar and vocal skills entertaining with "greengrass" Celtic group Def Leprechaun.

“Larry was an excellent instructor. Patient and kind, he brought the music to life and gave me the tools to do the same.”

“I really feel like I improved and am now able to jam with almost anyone.”

“Larry encouraged us to try and get beyond our fears and try different things. He is very patient.”

“When I was young I was a classically trained violinist, but Larry taught me to play music with the other half of my brain...It's been a great experience.”


Photos


Georgia

Duck Adkins (Marietta GA)

[Email Duck]      [Visit Duck's' website]      [Watch Duck play]

Duck Adkins has performed throughout the United States and around the world, including Lincoln Center in New York, the San Francisco Wharf, and the International House of Music in Moscow. Jim has taught banjo and led jams since 1975. He is also a world-class duck impressionist--thus his nickname ‘Duck’. Jim makes his home in Marietta, GA and performs with two bands, Cedar Hill and Atlanta BlueGrace.

“Generous, patient, kind and fun to be around.”

“Jim is good with those of us that are new and coming along. I think he is great!”

“Jim has strong leadership skills and is very knowledgeable about bluegrass and jamming.”

“Jim is great at facilitating jams and bringing people together!”

“He is good at bringing out the best in people in a very diplomatic way.”


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Hawaii

Iowa

Idaho

Illinois

David Bragman (Chicago IL)

[Email David]

David Bragman

“David Bragman creates a comfortable learning environment and offers solutions that move you forward musically. Because of David I now consider myself a musician.”


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Jeff Burke (Chicago IL)

[Email Jeff]      [Watch Jeff play]

Jeff Burke has been performing on mandolin, guitar, and banjo since 1999--a sought-after sideman who’s toured the U.S. and Europe with a variety of acoustic and bluegrass acts. A certified Wernick Method teacher, he has hosted bluegrass jamming classes in several states, including at the John Hartford Festival in Bean Blossom, IN and the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, TN. His down-to-earth teaching style and positive approach to learning music have endeared him to students far and wide. Jeff splits his time between Nashville and Chicago where he currently offers jamming classes as well as private instruction.

“Jeff is a great, patient teacher.”

“Jeff did a very good job getting me out of my comfort zone with leading songs and attempting breaks.”

“Great class, I have been recommending it to all my friends that play.”

“Jeff was very accommodating of people at different skill levels, patient with a group of varied talents.”

“Wish I had taken this class years ago! It has motivated me to go to more jams and participate.”

“Jeff is very passionate about music and it shows in the class. He offers positive and constructive feedback. I made huge strides in this class.”

“Jeff is able to convey difficult material into manageable lessons and encourages you to build on what you've learned, even if uncomfortable at first. I highly recommend him!”


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Larry Kernagis (Mt Juliet TN)

[Email Larry]

Larry Kernagis was raised during the folk revival era of the 60s, cutting his chops on Flatt and Scruggs and the Kingston Trio. Eventually, he became a banjo instructor at the famed Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago. Larry has led Bluegrass jams at festivals across the country for the past 30 years. He now employs his banjo, guitar and vocal skills entertaining with "greengrass" Celtic group Def Leprechaun.

“Larry was an excellent instructor. Patient and kind, he brought the music to life and gave me the tools to do the same.”

“I really feel like I improved and am now able to jam with almost anyone.”

“Larry encouraged us to try and get beyond our fears and try different things. He is very patient.”

“When I was young I was a classically trained violinist, but Larry taught me to play music with the other half of my brain...It's been a great experience.”


Photos


Indiana

Russell Paswater (North Vernon IN)

[Email Russell]      [Visit Russell's' website]

Russell Paswater has played and taught bluegrass banjo and guitar for 38 years. He is a songwriter and sings in two bands including the H2O band, second place winner of the Bluegrass Band contest at Beanblossom, 2000. Russell has guided hundreds of jam sessions at bluegrass festivals and always invites beginners because "It’s all about FUN!"

“It was a great experience and Russell was great!”

“Russell was an extremely effective instructor who was interested in the success of each student and demonstrated excellent teaching skills. This was more like a friend helping you learn.”

“A life-changing experience!”

“Really enjoyed his personality. Good positive role model and very patient with beginner players.”

“A very worthwhile experience.”

“I have been a music instructor since 1968. I think you got it just right. I had not played stringed instrument before and this made it easy and comfortable.”


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Kansas

Kentucky

Dave Howard (Louisville KY)

[Email Dave]

Dave Howard has enjoyed years of singing and playing mandolin throughout the U.S. with The 23 String Band - winners of the Louisville Music Awards Bluegrass Artist of the Year - and with the Louisville-based Relic Bluegrass band. He has played and sung on numerous television, radio, and feature film programs. He recently apprenticed as a fiddler, supported by the Kentucky Arts Council. Dave directs the Louisville Folk School, a traditional music education community he founded in 2015, and sits on the board of Bluegrass Anonymous - Louisville's Bluegrass Music Association.

“Dave does a great job of teaching to the appropriate level. Thanks to Dave I now have the confidence to participate in jams.”

“There are good teachers, and good players. Dave is rare in that he does both well. He understands the struggles new pickers face. Dave's friendly and genuine demeanor is welcoming and makes people feel at ease and ready to dive in.”

“A positive, encouraging environment that felt safe. I felt free to experiment and make mistakes.”

“He is very approachable and easy to get along with. The Louisville Folk School is a great asset to our city!”

“The slower tempos allowed for layers of complexity to be added to my experience: sing while playing, paying WAY more attention to other pickers.”


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Louisiana

Massachusetts

Nelson Hiller (Sutton MA)

[Email Nelson]      [Watch Nelson play]

Nelson Hiller is an experienced bluegrass and Americana musician who plays with the trio Sinner’s Pie. His main instruments are mandolin, guitar and upright bass. Nelson enjoys helping less experienced players and has conducted Slow Jam workshops at Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival and Gibson Hill Bluegrass Festival. He also runs slow jams for Rhode Island Bluegrass Association.

“Nelson is a great jam leader. He excels at putting jammers at ease and builds their confidence, allowing them to concentrate on enjoying the music.”

“He never loses sight of the fact that he was once an outsider looking in at bluegrass jams. This informs his approach to teaching and helps him connect with students.”

“Nelson's passion for teaching is clear as soon as you meet him. He is clear and easy to understand and he makes jammers feel comfortable taking chances.”

“Nelson's patience and ability to notice where members of the group needed advice was a huge help.”


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Maryland

Maine

Dave Kiphuth (Eliot ME)

[Email Dave]

Dave Kiphuth became well-known for his banjo work with the respected Connecticut band Apple Country, performing throughout the Northeast and South in the 1970s and 80s. He went on to work with Lonesome Dave and the North Dixie Road Kings, Chestnut Grove, Walt Michael & Company, and the Red Hen String Band. Dave has taught banjo and guitar extensively since the 1960s and ran a popular bluegrass jam in Ballston Spa, NY before moving to Maine.

“David has been a patient and thorough instructor. I feel very fortunate to have found him as a teacher.”

“He's really helped me improve my playing. We also have a lot of fun! I'd recommend Dave to anyone.”

“My experience with Dave has been tremendous. I could not recommend more intelligent, talented, caring, and enjoyable teacher who serves his students.”

“He is patient and very sharing with his amazing musical knowledge. He makes everyone of all abilities feel welcome and encourages them to participate at whatever level they play. It is rare to find someone who is both a fine teacher and a fine musician all in one person.”

“Dave is a fantastic teacher and amazing musician. He made the class warm, comfortable and not intimidating. I learned more than I expected and even dared to lead a few songs.”


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Michigan

Bill Farmer (Elk Rapid MI)

[Email Bill]

Bill Farmer


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Bill Farmer (Elk Rapid MI)

[Email Bill]

Bill Farmer has been playing and performing Bluegrass and traditional music for over 30 years, performing with several bands including the Michigan-based “Raisin Pickers”, the Colorado-based “WhoYaSay”, as well as cajun/zydeco bands Bill’s passion for Bluegrass jamming was ignited when he attended his first Bluegrass festival in 1992, and became a student of Pete Wernick and others, who led Bill deep into the wonderful kinship of Bluegrass jamming. As an experienced Bluegrasser, Bill’s objective now is to share the joy and knowledge he has gained and, through the Wernick Method, to welcome new members into our growing, jamming Bluegrass community.


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Don Julin (Traverse City MI)

[Email Don]

Don Julin


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Minnesota

Graham Sones (Waverly MN)

[Email Graham]

Graham Sones is a more than forty-year veteran of the banjo, a Scruggs-style picker who enjoys his craft and helping students learn to play. Born in Rochester, MN with strong family ties in Des Moines and the Arkansas hills, he grew up with bluegrass music and festivals. His picking, singing, and recording experience includes three years with Monroe Crossing all over the Midwest at festivals, concerts, and fairs, as well as with bands such as DriveTime and No Grass Limit, and currently Dick Kimmel & Co.

“I give Graham high marks for patience. I'm happy to recommend him to anyone interested in learning from a real expert.”

“Graham has great teaching skills. He keeps it fun.”

“Graham was very solicitous of our needs and very willing to accommodate everyone.”

“This is a very necessary element to link me from solo instruction and the woodshed to playing in a jam. Jams are scary and this course helps a lot.”

“I've learned from many teachers, and Graham is among the best. He is patient, forgiving, and inspiring which makes it easy to learn and fun.”


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Missouri

Jeff Elsloo (Kansas City MO)

[Email Jeff]      [Visit Jeff's' website]

Jeff Elsloo has played and taught music most of his life, specializing in banjo, guitar, and steel guitar. Winning or placing in instrument contests from a young age, he progressed in many styles with bands including 3 Trails West, Hula Girl, and Salty Dog. He has run workshops on banjo and the history of bluegrass, and run jams at bluegrass music clubs in the Kansas City area.

“Jeff is a consummate musician. He will get out of that closet, and give you confidemce, and get you jamming with others.”

“Jeff is absolutely the best guy you could have in this situation.”

“He always had time to answer my questions.”

“Jeff has a pleasant demeanor, emphasizing having fun and not taking yourself too serious. He has a great approach on how to practice, and attention to detail”

“He has been an extraordinary teacher, very patient and understanding. He has forced me out of my comfort zone into ear training and learning songs by ear. I would highly recommend him to anyone wanting to learn to play or improve their playing.”


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Jeremy Chapman (Springfield MO)

[Email Jeremy]      [Visit Jeremy's' website]      [Watch Jeremy play]

Jeremy Chapman started playing mandolin at age 10 with his brothers and father in The Chapmans. Winners of IBMA’s Emerging Artist of the Year, the band has performed throughout the U.S., in Europe, and on the Grand Ole Opry. When not on the road, Jeremy enjoys teaching private lessons in Springfield, MO and interviewing bluegrass celebrities on Internet TV.

“Jeremy is an excellent instructor who has taken me from no musical experience (or talent) to being comfortable playing in large groups or jamming at festivals.”

“His love for music makes learning easy to understand, yet challenging and fun.”

“Jeremy is not only a great player, he is also a great teacher. He knows how to work individually with each student to help them achieve their potential.”

“Learning from Jeremy has been a pleasure. His patience and encouragement have kept me motivated to stick with the mandolin, which has not come naturally to me.”


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Mississippi

Montana

North Carolina

Allie Lee (Bryson City NC)

[Email Allie]      [Watch Allie play]      [Watch Allie teach]

Allie Lee is a self-taught guitar player, bluegrass and old-time musician, and former 7th grade English teacher. As a member of the Indiana-based band The Whipstitch Sallies for several years, she sang lead and harmony, wrote songs, and played guitar, clawhammer banjo, and harmonica. Allie also plays in a duo with Frank Lee and in the popular old-time string band The Freight Hoppers, based in western North Carolina.

“You always made class fun and entertaining, and were always motivating. (former seventh grade student)”

“She's very flexible and can cater to different types of learners.”

“Allie does a great job simplifying things for me to understand and she's a true inspiration.”

“She is encouraging and knowledgable. Within minutes, she will make you feel like a rock star, and before too long, she'll help you sound like one too.”


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Buck Thrailkill (Fayetteville NC)

[Email Buck]

Buck Thrailkill was born in Meridian, MS and started playing banjo at age 12. Mentored by his big brother and Lee Jackson (Carl Jackson's Dad), he grew up playing all over the south, touring on the Magnolia State Bluegrass Circuit at age 15. He played and taught banjo and guitar till joining the Army in 1981. After his service Buck settled in North Carolina where he performs and records with several bands ranging from hardcore Bluegrass to Country, Blues, and Folk. Buck owns Fifth String Studio in Fayetteville, NC where he teaches and creates customized “Made in Carolina” leather instrument straps.

“Buck is far and away the best, most patient, thorough, kind, passionate, incredibly knowledgeable and inspiring music teacher I have ever had… always prompt, professional, and makes learning so much FUN!”

“I have never had a better instructor. He can impart ideas very clearly and concisely with attention to detail that puts him very much on the "leading edge" of his craft.”

“Mr. Buck equipped me not only to play, but also to teach myself how to learn. He instilled in me a love for the instrument and the music, just because that is who he is. I am beyond thankful.”

“An inspiring and effective teacher with a kind and easy-going demeanor. His love and passion for the instrument and for teaching is evident.”


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Larry Kernagis (Mt Juliet TN)

[Email Larry]

Larry Kernagis was raised during the folk revival era of the 60s, cutting his chops on Flatt and Scruggs and the Kingston Trio. Eventually, he became a banjo instructor at the famed Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago. Larry has led Bluegrass jams at festivals across the country for the past 30 years. He now employs his banjo, guitar and vocal skills entertaining with "greengrass" Celtic group Def Leprechaun.

“Larry was an excellent instructor. Patient and kind, he brought the music to life and gave me the tools to do the same.”

“I really feel like I improved and am now able to jam with almost anyone.”

“Larry encouraged us to try and get beyond our fears and try different things. He is very patient.”

“When I was young I was a classically trained violinist, but Larry taught me to play music with the other half of my brain...It's been a great experience.”


Photos


Leslie Dare & Susan West (Raleigh NC)

[Email Leslie Dare & Susan]

Leslie Dare & Susan West have found great synergy in working together to teach others the essentials of Bluegrass jamming. Both grew up with music but after being musically inactive for many years, both joined the Bluegrass community through their experiences as Wernick Method campers, re-discovering the joys of music later in life. Leslie plays guitar and Susan plays mandolin and bass. They are both active in the Raleigh, NC-area jamming scene, and are the co-founders of the Wolfpack Pickers Jam at NC State University in Raleigh.

“Leslie is a talented, welcoming leader who makes jamming fun for everyone, regardless of their level of proficiency.”

“Susan West and Leslie Dare are both excellent musicians and teachers. I have been impressed with their ability to help others learn and grow.”

“Leslie has a very calming and positive energy which informs her interactions with other jammers. She articulates clear, encouraging ideas for improvement when I've felt awkward or self-conscious about my performance and skills.”

“Susan is a positive, encouraging, and kind teacher who has a love for the music.”

“Other jam leaders have made me feel intimidated; Susan has such an encouraging approach, and you sense that anything is possible.”

“Both Susan and Leslie are great at leading jams. They are both very relaxed, but focused in Jam settings. They go out of their way to involve everyone.”


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Liam Purcell (Deep Gap NC)

[Email Liam]      [Visit Liam's' website]

Liam Purcell plays all the bluegrass instruments, sings lead and harmony and writes songs. Having grown up in Deep Gap, NC a mile from Doc and Merle Watson, he takes pride in local traditional music and works to keep it growing. Since 2014 Liam has led the band Cane Mill Road, performing at major bluegrass festivals from MerleFest to Silver Dollar City. Mentored since age 10 by Pete Wernick, Liam is the youngest Wernick Method teacher, having taught at over a dozen camps and workshops and teaching old-time classes at Appalachian State University.

“Liam is an amazing coach. He has such a natural talent for teaching, regardless of the age or ability of the pickers he is coaching.”

“So very kind and a natural teacher, one of the most talented people I have met.”

“Liam was a huge help in helping me understand more about fiddle and guitar chords, exactly what I needed to move to the next level.”

“Liam did a great exercise on splitting breaks that was fun and really taught us to listen and jump in at the right spot.”


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North Dakota

Nebraska

New Hampshire

Bob Amos & Alan Epstein (Colebrook NH)

[Email Bob Amos & Alan]      [Watch Bob Amos & Alan play]

Bob Amos & Alan Epstein


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Bob Amos & Alan Epstein & Ellen Carlson (Colebrook NH)

[Email Bob Amos & Alan Epstein & Ellen]

Bob Amos & Alan Epstein & Ellen Carlson


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Ellen Carlson (Nottingham NH)

[Email Ellen]      [Visit Ellen's' website]      [Watch Ellen play]

Ellen Carlson has been performing on fiddle for over 35 years, currently with the acoustic roots band High Range, as well as swing, old country and Irish with Jim Prendergast. She teaches fiddle, guitar and mandolin, both privately and at major festivals including Grey Fox, Joe Val and Pemi Valley. Ellen leads the NH Fiddle Ensemble and runs her own camp, the Fiddleheads Acoustic Music Camp.

“An amazing teacher!”

“Fine teaching skills and many years of music play and knowledge... a nice combination.”

“Her supportive and easy-going personality puts the nervous beginner at ease and helps build self-confidence.”

“Ellen is quite skilled at knowing when to step in, what to expect, how to teach each individual.”

“Learning from Ellen has been such a fun, positive learning experience for me!”


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New Jersey

Barry Mitterhoff (Scotch Plains NJ)

[Email Barry]      [Watch Barry play]

Barry Mitterhoff has played bluegrass mandolin professionally for over 40 years, appearing in 49 states and 18 countries. He has toured with Peter Rowan, Jorma Kaukonen, Tony Trischka, Hazel Dickens, and many bluegrass bands, and performed from the White House to Nashville's Ryman Auditorium and in Moscow and Brazil. Barry has taught privately since the 1970s and at many leading camps and workshops throughout the U.S., in Canada, and England.

“He's a great teacher, patient, encouraging and easy to learn from.”

“He takes a genuine interest in seeing you develop.”

“His personal style is warm, welcoming, gracious to a fault and he's got a great sense of humor. I've never had a teacher that offers genuine encouragement as abundantly and sincerely as Barry does.”

“Barry particularly impressed me with his ability to put his students at ease in a group with such a wide range of skill levels.”

“Exceptional in his patience, true interest in students individually, supportive and encouraging. He is a virtuoso, dedicated to music. Anyone who even has a chance to be his student, should grab it!”


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Dan Whitener (Matawan NJ)

[Email Dan]      [Visit Dan's' website]

Dan Whitener is from Washington, DC, and is currently performing on banjo in the New York / New Jersey / Pennsylvania scene. He has hit the Billboard Bluegrass charts with both the Emmy-nominated bluegrass-hiphop band Gangstagrass and Philadelphia’s own Newgrass Americana band Man About A Horse. Dan has taught banjo, guitar, mandolin, piano, and voice since 2008 up and down the East Coast and enjoys teaching bluegrass fundamentals

“I found Dan very encouraging, patient, and helpful. It was a wonderful experience.”

“Amazing. Dan was a great teacher and very encouraging. I'd seek out another class run by Dan at anytime.”

“Dan was thorough and had great, specific tips and suggestions for each of the jammers.”

“Dan Whitener was a spectacular teacher--approachable, friendly, and super encouraging and positive. It was a joy to learn from him.”


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Heidi Olsen (Manasquan NJ)

[Email Heidi]

Heidi Olsen has long been involved in the bluegrass scene in the Central New Jersey area, playing banjo with her band Heidi Olsen and The Night, and hosting the Bluegrass Jam radio program for 12 years. Heidi's mission in life is to pass on her love of bluegrass by encouraging others to sing and play together. To that end she started a workshop ten years ago which has introduced many students to the joys of jamming. Students praise Heidi's patient teaching style and her ability to get everyone jamming in a non-threatening environment.

“Learning with Heidi has allowed me to develop the confidence to play out with others -- a dream I had all but forgotten.”

“If it wasn't for Heidi, I don't think I would even be playing bluegrass music.”

“I never enjoyed playing or practicing until Heidi made it click for me!”

“Heidi is very enthusiastic, supportive, and encouraging. She makes you smile!”


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Jimmy Heffernan (Haddon Heights NJ)

[Email Jimmy]

Jimmy Heffernan is a multi-instrumentalist, specializing in resonator "dobro" guitar. In bluegrass and country music for over 40 years, he has performed and recorded with top names such as Larry Sparks, Red Allen, Brad Paisley, Charlie Louvin, and many more at venues including the Tonight show and the Grand Ole Opry. These days with the tour bus parked Jimmy focuses on teaching, sharing his music experience with pickers of all levels through workshops and videos.

“I am making great progress and having a lot of fun.”

“You're a truly great teacher.”

“I can tell by the quality of presentation and the level of detail, you have put your soul into helping us.”

“I was able to hook up with some folks and just started playing out over the weekend. Can't remember when I have had this much fun playing music!”


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Scott Wilkins (Cherry Hill NJ)

[Email Scott]      [Visit Scott's' website]

Scott Wilkins has been jamming since 1974, first on bass, then mandolin and guitar. He has been teaching music for decades. He has performed throughout the U.S. and currently plays with numerous bands in South Jersey including The Blind Squirrels, Let's Ride Bikes, and Gladstone Revival. Scott started an after-school program at Lindenwood High School, called "Hey, We're Jammin' " in 2009. Scott's natural tendency is to encourage everyone to play an instrument, and his passion is to help beginners learn the art of jamming. Scott is also the founder of BackstageView.com which interviews artists, showcases bands and keeps up with the Grass Roots scene.

“Scott makes it fun to learn. He got me jamming in no time. Best teacher ever.”

“Mr. W's world is music and his enthusiasm is contagious. He always is fun and he has taught us so much.”

“He's patient and fun. Easy learning. Now I'm a picker.”

“Scott is mister mandolinman sharing his love of music. I couldn't believe I was jamming right away and I love it. 'Hey, We're Jammin'!'”


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New Mexico

Nevada

Larry Kernagis (Mt Juliet TN)

[Email Larry]

Larry Kernagis was raised during the folk revival era of the 60s, cutting his chops on Flatt and Scruggs and the Kingston Trio. Eventually, he became a banjo instructor at the famed Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago. Larry has led Bluegrass jams at festivals across the country for the past 30 years. He now employs his banjo, guitar and vocal skills entertaining with "greengrass" Celtic group Def Leprechaun.

“Larry was an excellent instructor. Patient and kind, he brought the music to life and gave me the tools to do the same.”

“I really feel like I improved and am now able to jam with almost anyone.”

“Larry encouraged us to try and get beyond our fears and try different things. He is very patient.”

“When I was young I was a classically trained violinist, but Larry taught me to play music with the other half of my brain...It's been a great experience.”


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Rick Sparks (Reno NV)

[Email Rick]      [Visit Rick's' website]      [Watch Rick play]

Rick Sparks is equally at home playing banjo, guitar, mandolin, dobro and pedal steel guitar, and singing either lead or harmony. He has developed a reputation as an outstanding teacher on all of his instruments and currently has over 30 students under his wing.

“Rick got us to make music together by the end of the first class--it seemed miraculous to me.”

“Great class, Great fun!”

“Rick is so patient and generous with his time and expertise.”

“Rick did a superb job of teaching a mixed group of mostly beginners (I am one) and intermediate musicians to jam.”

“You know how to put people at ease!”

“Rick's gentle yet persuasive nature is perfect for managing a jam class.”


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Vera Vann-Wilson (Blue Diamond NV)

[Email Vera]      [Watch Vera play]

Vera Vann-Wilson plays guitar, banjo, bass, mandolin, fiddle, and Dobro, and has appeared on the Lester Flatt Show and the old and new Grand Ole Opry stages. After a 20-year hiatus as a middle school special education teacher, she dusted off her banjo and joined her current band Stuck in Reverse. In her spare time (!) Vera runs marathons.

“Vera is very patient and understands how each instrument fits into the music, allowing her to give insight to each student.”

“I appreciate Vera's willingness to help anybody that needs a little assistance.”

“I learned so much from Vera, mainly because of the patience and encouragement she showed me!”

“Vera helped me go from total beginner to playing with a band and jamming regularly with several groups. I'm really getting better!”


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New York

Alan Epstein (Glens Falls NY)

[Email Alan]      [Watch Alan play]

Alan Epstein has played mandolin and sung in bluegrass bands in Colorado, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and New York since the 1970s. A certified Wernick Method jam teacher since 2012, he has taught at camps around the country and hosts jam classes in New York state. Alan excels at helping students master both mandolin and bluegrass fundamentals, giving them the confidence to enjoy a broad range of musical experiences.

“One of the best group experiences I've ever had!”

“It was informative and fun, exactly what I hoped for!”

“Alan was confident, relaxed, encouraging. Couldn't ask for better.”

“Really fun, and I learned a lot in a short time.”

“Alan has such a great manner in his presentation and explanation. He pushes to get the most out of everybody.”

“Learned what bluegrass jamming was about.”

“It was great! Everyone got to play -- very democratic.”

“Alan has great skill in using individual student's capabilities as a tool to help everyone progress. He provides constant feedback on progress and techniques, and provides practice suggestions to improve playing abilities.”


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Bob Altschuler (Delmar NY)

[Email Bob]

Bob Altschuler performs and records on banjo with Thirteen Feet of Bluegrass, Three Quarter North and Shine Hill Road. His picking has been heard on National Public Radio and on radio and TV commercials. An in-demand instructor since the 70s, he has headed the bluegrass beginner track at Banjo Camp North since 2003. Bob has been featured in publications such as Banjo Newsletter and Mel Bay Banjo Sessions.

“Bob has a natural gift for teaching a person of any age.”

“I liked Bob's caring and encouraging attitude and excellent, systematic teaching.”

“Great job of making jamming skills accessible.”

“This was a great class. Thanks for encouraging all of us and creating such a positive learning environment.”

“Bob combines extraordinary talent with compassionate regard for the beginning student- a rare quality.”

“The encouragement and motivation this class has provided has been nothing short of remarkable.”


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Mark Sunderwirth (New York City NY)

[Email Mark]

Mark Sunderwirth has played music for the past 20 years starting with the Brooklyn-based BTF and recently the Sue Batkin Band. Mark began teaching 10 years ago, introducing both kids and adults to the joys of playing bluegrass and jamming together. Mark's entertaining and informative style of teaching stresses fun, success, and growth.

“Just a darn good teacher! I've learned a lot!”

“Mark's classes are always well thought out and organized. I've had more than a few confusing music teachers in the past. He made it so easy to understand. I wish I had started with him years ago!”

“Mark's patience and expertise really helped me make the leap from playing alone to playing with someone else. We started playing together from our first lesson.”

“Mark is just a warm and kind teacher. He's non-judgmental and encouraging. He makes it safe to reach and stretch yourself. I never worried about making mistakes or sounding like a beginner”

“I really enjoy Mark's teaching style. His enthusiasm is infectious, we always have a lot of fun. He can be pretty funny, and that actually seems to make it easier to learn!”


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Pete Mirando (Angola NY)

[Email Pete]

Pete Mirando has been a musician for over 45 years, playing 5-string and plectrum banjo, mandolin, hammered dulcimer and acoustic guitar, for which he has given private lessons since 1974. His banjo class for Hamburg Central Schools’ adult ed program was featured in a national publication and led to a Folk/Bluegrass Jamboree and an introductory instruction class in two local school systems. Pete has played in bluegrass bands for years and now leads the Sunset Bluegrass Band. He also plays with the Buffalo Banjo Band and the Niagara Frontier Fiddle Club, and is the owner and operator of Southtowns Banjo.

“Pete's love of bluegrass is infectious. He is a gifted teacher and musician who relates to students of all abilities. He makes our jam sessions not only fun, but educational too.”

“Pete is welcoming to all players - banjo, guitar, mandolin, etc. The sessions are relaxed and fun. Pete encourages us to do whatever is comfortable and to take lead breaks as we are ready. I recommend him as a teacher.”

“After many years of playing guitar on my own, I joined Pete Mirando's Jam Class and I'm sure glad I did! Pete has a knack for leading groups of mixed abilities. In this fun, relaxed atmosphere, I have grown to love Bluegrass music and am now more confident to play out with other musicians!”

“A wonderful talented instructor. The pace was perfect for us beginners. His relaxed manner and his “you can do it” attitude was refreshing. We never felt intimidated to try something new, make a mistake, laugh and move on.”


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Ron Perry (Webster NY)

[Email Ron]

Ron Perry plays mandolin in the Linabelle Bluegrass band and sings lead and harmony. He has also played acoustic and electric guitar in praise bands, acoustic bass in a performing old-time fiddle club, electric bass in Oldies rock and roll bands, and lead electric guitar in blues bands. Ron offers individual lessons for new students of guitar and mandolin. Ron has been a fine arts instructor in continuing education programs in local school districts and served several years as Adjunct Faculty at Rochester Institute of Technology, College of Design, Rochester NY.

“With Ron's patience and skill, I have learned so much, working at something that is certainly not in my comfort zone. Always upbeat and never discouraging.”

“You can see the passion that he has for both teaching and playing music. Very friendly, very welcoming and very knowledgeable.”

“So patient and encouraging ... Thanks for helping me to hear the melody and turn that into a simple flat picked solo.”


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Ohio

Pat Carine (Medway OH)

[Email Pat]      [Visit Pat's' website]      [Watch Pat play]      [Watch Pat teach]

Pat Carine has been teaching private lessons in his home area of Medway for over ten years, on banjo, guitar, mandolin and fiddle. He plays banjo in a traditional bluegrass band, Storm's Creek, and in a new, more progressive group called Mad River Railroad. He hosts jam groups for the benefit of students and others in the community.

“I learned to play music with other people even if I didn't know the song being played.”

“Excellent job in exposing the bluegrass jam experience and encouraging participants.”

“I enjoyed singing a lot! I felt I was able to build confidence with each class and learn what key I sing best in.”

“Pat is an amazing teacher! He always comes to class with a sense of humor and creates a learning environment that's easy to feel comfortable in.”


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Oklahoma

Larry Kernagis (Mt Juliet TN)

[Email Larry]

Larry Kernagis was raised during the folk revival era of the 60s, cutting his chops on Flatt and Scruggs and the Kingston Trio. Eventually, he became a banjo instructor at the famed Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago. Larry has led Bluegrass jams at festivals across the country for the past 30 years. He now employs his banjo, guitar and vocal skills entertaining with "greengrass" Celtic group Def Leprechaun.

“Larry was an excellent instructor. Patient and kind, he brought the music to life and gave me the tools to do the same.”

“I really feel like I improved and am now able to jam with almost anyone.”

“Larry encouraged us to try and get beyond our fears and try different things. He is very patient.”

“When I was young I was a classically trained violinist, but Larry taught me to play music with the other half of my brain...It's been a great experience.”


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Oregon

Joe Ross (Roseburg OR)

[Email Joe]      [Visit Joe's' website]      [Watch Joe play]

Joe Ross is a multi-instrumentalist who has performed and recorded for nearly five decades in bluegrass and other styles, with such bands as the High Mountain Ramblers, Sagegrass, and Cold Thunder. Joe teaches mandolin, banjo, guitar, bass and is also a well-known journalist. His teaching approach is easy-going, individualized and confidence-building. He emphasizes the enjoyment, fun and camaraderie of making music together.

“Joe is a very patient teacher. He takes time to listen to me and is very knowledgeable.”

“Joe enjoys music and it is infectious! He has the chops and the ability and patience for students.”

“Joe is very adept at sizing up what needs to be taught. He is inspiring as well as enthusiastic.”


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Pennsylvania

Harry Gambrill (Ridley Park PA)

[Email Harry]      [Visit Harry's' website]      [Watch Harry play]

Harry Gambrill was bit by the bluegrass bug early and began playing the banjo at age twelve. He plays banjo with regional bluegrass band The Jersey Corn Pickers. Harry also plays the bass, dobro, and guitar, and has been giving lessons for over 20 years.

“Great class...very challenging, but fun!”

“A wonderful experience. I would highly recommend Harry's class to anyone trying to learn the basics of bluegrass jamming.”

“I wish I had known of this course years ago. It was that good and that beneficial!”

“Harry is an excellent teacher. He exudes a true love for bluegrass music.”

“Harry was a helpful and encouraging teacher, even though I am a rank beginner.”


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Patsy Kline (Lawn PA)

[Email Patsy]      [Watch Patsy play]

Patsy Kline has led mandolin and jam workshops at bluegrass festivals in several different states, and for many years has assisted at Pete Wernick's Gettysburg Jam Camp and at Steve Kaufman Acoustic Kamps. A multi-instrumentalist, her natural teaching ability and empathy for new pickers enable Pat to educate and inspire.

“Best fun ever playing with a group. Thanks Patsy!”

“You make jamming do-able!”

“We couldn't run jam camps without you. The kids really get a kick out of you and they're playing!”

“Miss Pat is kindhearted and understands how to help a beginner player fit in.”

“You know how to explain stuff and make playing with others really enjoyable.”


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Rhode Island

Paul and Erin Dube (Pawtucket RI)

[Email Paul and Erin]

Paul and Erin Dube teach as a team. Paul plays Bluegrass, Folk, Blues, Irish, Cajun and Old-Time music on Guitar, Accordion, Mandolin and Harmonica. He has played in numerous performing bands and has led Slow Jam workshops at the Joe Val and Podunk festivals, and since 2003 the jamming program at the Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival. Erin grew up going to bluegrass jams with her father and over the years learned to play guitar, mandolin, fiddle, and upright bass. Now an English Professor, she combines her love for teaching with her love for music in the Wernick Method.

“Paul is very talented and very personable. He takes time to go over things and makes sure everybody understands before he moves on.”

“Paul is a very encouraging, caring instructor who challenges us without overwhelming us. I feel safe to try things with this group.”

“Atmosphere of the class is EXCELLENT!!! Very relaxed. One of the most enjoyable classes I've ever had.”

“Erin was magnificent. She so cut to the chase and made it all make sense.”

“Erin was an amazing teacher. Had she taught me in middle school I would have had less anxiety and would not have quit.”

“I've been wanting to play more with others but feeling very intimidated. This was a safe encouraging place to start. Loved it!”


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South Carolina

Bob Culver (Charleston SC)

[Email Bob]

Bob Culver teaches violin, guitar, mandolin and piano at Hungry Monk Music and choir and ukulele at the Cooper School. He strives to get his students making music with friends and family as soon as possible. Bob has played bluegrass and other styles with many bands over the years, including The Hungry Monks for over a decade, and The Harrows. Bob builds custom guitars and mandolins under the label Crooked Tune, and offers instruments and classes in guitar construction. Bob is a recovering lawyer who lives on James Island.

“Bob is a kind and patient teacher”

“Bob's lessons are always fun and productive”

“Being fairly new at jamming, I gained quite a bit of confidence by the last class, something I didn't have going in.”

“Super encouraging and friendly.”

“A terrific format to be able to learn, and put into practice, the basics of jamming. I would not have had the confidence or knowledge to jump into a group without having participated in this class.”


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Gilbert Nelson (Boiling Springs SC)

[Email Gilbert]

Gilbert Nelson has been a regular on the jam scene for 30 years, with a passion for jamming, performing and teaching a variety of instruments. Gilbert's teaching is action packed and always encouraging, emphasizing fun and success, providing a safe and supportive learning environment while still finding ways to s-t-r-e-t-c-h comfort zones and bring students to a higher level of musical maturity. Gilbert leads his own band "The Jam Town Grass" as well as coaching other groups in musicianship and stagecraft.

“I can count on one hand the master teachers I've known and Gilbert is one of them.”

“I highly recommend the class and would do it again in a heart beat.”

“Thanks for the help and confidence I received, letting me feel I could do this.”

“He made everyone feel welcome and important to the success of the group.”

“Why didn't someone explain these things to me before?”

“Gilbert and Leigh, you have empowered me this weekend . . . I'll have you to thank the rest of my life.”


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John Holenko (Charleston SC)

[Email John]      [Visit John's' website]      [Watch John play]

John Holenko co-owns and runs Charleston, SC's popular folk music school Hungry Monk Music -- a place to gather with friends and be encouraged to explore a lifelong love of music. He has published several instruction books with Mel Bay and teaches Bluegrass, Irish music, singing, songwriting, guitar, mandolin and folk dance forms at camps in Charleston, Boston and Maine. John plays in numerous bands and performs and records with The Hungry Monks.

“We look forward to the jam sessions with John all month! He is incredibly patient, knowledgeable, and encouraging. I wish I had learned to play music like this.”

“I have a blast playing guitar and singing with John. With John's patience and instruction, I feel like I have a great jam coach.”

“No matter your age or skill level John encourages, gently guides, and finds the joy in making music.”

“John is an approachable and supportive teacher for all levels of students, particularly beginners. He has an easy going nature which helps break down barriers. His love for the music and desire to teach comes through in everything he does.”


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John Holenko & Hazel Ketchum (Charleston SC)

[Email John Holenko & Hazel]      [Watch John Holenko & Hazel play]

John Holenko & Hazel Ketchum own and run Charleston's popular folk music school Hungry Monk Music -- a place to gather with friends and be encouraged to explore a lifelong love of music. The pair teach Bluegrass, Irish music, singing, songwriting, guitar, mandolin and folk dance forms at camps in Charleston, Boston and Maine. Hazel and John play in numerous bands and perform and record with their own band The Hungry Monks. John has published several books with Mel Bay and Hazel has created recordings for children. Hazel also teaches music at The Cooper School and Oak Grove Montessori in Charleston.

“We look forward to the jam sessions with Hazel and John all month! Both are incredibly patient, knowledgeable, and encouraging. I wish I had learned to play music like this.”

“No matter your age or skill level John and Hazel encourage, gently guide, and find the joy in making music.”

“Hazel and John are approachable and supportive teachers for all levels of students, particularly beginners. They have an easy going nature which helps break down barriers. Their love for the music and desire to teach comes through in everything they do.”

“I have a blast playing guitar and singing with John and Hazel. With John's patience and instruction and Hazel's skill as a voice coach, I feel like I have a couple of great jam coaches.”


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Kristin Scott & Wayne Benson (Boiling Springs SC)

[Email Kristin Scott & Wayne]      [Watch Kristin Scott & Wayne play]

Kristin Scott & Wayne Benson are both certified Wernick Method teachers. Kristin is 4-time IBMA Banjo Player of the Year and known for her taste, timing, and tone, and for being a true team player. One of the first females to work in a top-tier bluegrass band, The Grascals, she has performed on The Tonight Show, The Talk, almost 200 times on the Grand Ole Opry, and in concerts for two U.S. Presidents. Wayne is 5-time SPBGMA Mandolin Player of the Year, and in addition to full-time performing with IIIrd Tyme Out he records, freelances, and teaches online and in-person lessons.

“Wayne immediately put me at ease. He has a very calm manner and it's easy to tell he spends his days teaching.”

“Wayne is my favorite mandolin player and I soon found that he's as good at teaching as he is playing.”

“Her easy nature and quick wit had me completely at ease. I am somehow left with a previously unknown desire to practice.”

“Kristin has a genuine warmth that makes you try hard and lures you into believing "I can do this."”

“I was intimidated by Kristin's talent but from the first, she truly welcomed me.”


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South Dakota

Tennessee

Jodi Harbin (Powell TN)

[Email Jodi]      [Watch Jodi play]

Jodi Harbin is a career musician who teaches mandolin, guitar, banjo and bass. She was the founder of the Colorado bluegrass band, Lonesome Traveler, and has continued her involvement in the bluegrass community after moving to the Knoxville area. She now performs with several groups including The Savage Hearts, and with her husband Tim Harbin. Working with Steve Kaufman at his camp every summer has exposed her to a wide range of teachers and teaching materials on all the bluegrass instruments.

“Jodi is so much fun to work with. She is a great teacher and always inspires me to learn more.”

“Her knowledge, patience, and ability as a teacher are second only to her amazing talent as a musician.”

“She has the patience of an angel and the skills of a master craftsperson!”

“She has a wealth of talent, vast music knowledge but more importantly a passion for teaching, as well as compassion, flexibility and humor.”


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Larry Kernagis (Mt Juliet TN)

[Email Larry]

Larry Kernagis was raised during the folk revival era of the 60s, cutting his chops on Flatt and Scruggs and the Kingston Trio. Eventually, he became a banjo instructor at the famed Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago. Larry has led Bluegrass jams at festivals across the country for the past 30 years. He now employs his banjo, guitar and vocal skills entertaining with "greengrass" Celtic group Def Leprechaun.

“Larry was an excellent instructor. Patient and kind, he brought the music to life and gave me the tools to do the same.”

“I really feel like I improved and am now able to jam with almost anyone.”

“Larry encouraged us to try and get beyond our fears and try different things. He is very patient.”

“When I was young I was a classically trained violinist, but Larry taught me to play music with the other half of my brain...It's been a great experience.”


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Perry Brake (Tellico Plains TN)

[Email Perry]

Perry Brake has been playing, singing and performing for most of his life, playing guitar as well as old-time banjo, mountain dulcimer and ukulele. His music of choice ranges from Bluegrass to Folk, Rock and Roll and Gospel. He performs in an acoustic duet and participates at singer/songwriter/performer/teacher workshops and conferences. Perry and his wife Diana have hosted weekly jam sessions at their home in Tellico Plains for several years with great success. Guests come away from the jams with smiles, and he is always willing to work with aspiring musicians to better their ability to play with others.

“Perry makes you comfortable in participating encourages learning and is able to show how to improve in ways that not only foster a desire to improve, but practical means of achieving it. Perry has the patience with students that comes from caring for them and from the love of music.”

“When we jam, Perry is always looking for teaching moments. He has me playing songs without sheet music or tab. It's challenging, rewarding and immensely satisfying.”

“Perry would be a good teacher for ANYONE who is truly interested in learning or improving. He is a long-time player who loves music and is more than willing to share his wealth of knowledge.”


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Texas

Jim Penson (Arlington TX)

[Email Jim]      [Visit Jim's' website]

Jim Penson has played in many Texas bluegrass bands including the Front Porch Boys, and currently plays with DeAnn Spence and Full House. A luthier who repairs and restores banjos, guitars, and mandolins, Jim also teaches banjo, mandolin, and guitar, helping students trust their ears rather than read from tablature. His classes quickly get people jaming with ease, even those with limited instrumental skills.

“Jim works well with every skill level and personality type. He definitely knows how to lead a class!”

“Jim is skilled on all bluegrass instruments.”

“With Jim's teaching and support I feel confident to try taking a break even on songs I am not familiar with. He is a patient, thorough instructor and his mentoring approach has been helpful.”

“I'm free from tablature and can actually solo. I must give a ton of credit to Jim Penson and his Wernick style jamming. Jim is extremely patient, focuses on everyone having a good time, goes slow, and sticks to the basics”


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Larry Kernagis (Mt Juliet TN)

[Email Larry]

Larry Kernagis was raised during the folk revival era of the 60s, cutting his chops on Flatt and Scruggs and the Kingston Trio. Eventually, he became a banjo instructor at the famed Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago. Larry has led Bluegrass jams at festivals across the country for the past 30 years. He now employs his banjo, guitar and vocal skills entertaining with "greengrass" Celtic group Def Leprechaun.

“Larry was an excellent instructor. Patient and kind, he brought the music to life and gave me the tools to do the same.”

“I really feel like I improved and am now able to jam with almost anyone.”

“Larry encouraged us to try and get beyond our fears and try different things. He is very patient.”

“When I was young I was a classically trained violinist, but Larry taught me to play music with the other half of my brain...It's been a great experience.”


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Utah

Ryan Tilby (Santa Clara UT)

[Email Ryan]      [Visit Ryan's' website]

Ryan Tilby is a Utah State contest winner on banjo, mandolin, and guitar, and has worked as a musician or recording engineer in every major studio in Utah. With years under his belt touring with Ryan Shupe's Rubber Band (signed to Capitol Records), Ryan has played venues around the world and recorded on hundreds of projects, including two solo albums. Having recently moved (with his family) to St. George, he enjoys teaching all levels of students.

“Ryan understands my questions and gives me simple answers. He's made mandolin playing simple and approachable.”

“In a few lessons with Ryan I've already been surprised with how quickly the songs are coming along. Playing banjo has always been on my list, and I'm glad I'm finally doing it!”

“Ryan takes the time to find out what I'm wanting to learn and how best to teach me.”

“Unlike most teachers, Ryan has the benefit of being a professional musician. He really knows what he's talking about. And he is a monster musician on multiple instruments and knows the ins and outs of how they all work best together. I feel lucky to get to have a small piece of this passed on to me.”


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Tara Shupe (Salt Lake City UT)

[Email Tara]      [Visit Tara's' website]

Tara Shupe was born into a musical family, starting on mandolin at age 4. She learned fiddle and guitar soon after and began teaching in her teens. Her youth bluegrass band toured the world, played major U.S. festivals and recorded three albums. She has also performed in many rock, Celtic and folk bands and is currently in the folk-rock band Winter Grain, leads her own rock band Shupecabra, and performs bluegrass and folk solo throughout Utah. Her first solo acoustic album will be released in summer 2017. She teaches individuals and groups fiddle, mandolin and guitar in Salt Lake City.

“Not only is she great with kids and beginners, but is extremely qualified to work with intermediate and advanced students as well.”

“My kids really enjoyed having Tara as their teacher. We love Tara.”

“Tara is easy to learn from and to communicate with. She is encouraging. She keeps me making progress on my skills and inspired to take my learning to the next level.”

“Aside from her accomplished playing skills she's been easy and fun to learn from, knows her stuff and is encouraging and patient. Teaching music is clearly in her blood.”


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Virginia

Bruce Gair (Haymarket VA)

[Email Bruce]

Bruce Gair lives in Haymarket, VA, and has picked 5-string Bluegrass banjo for over 40 years, starting while stationed in South America with the foreign service. Upon his return to the US, he took up teaching kids banjo for free. A retired trial lawyer, he has taught for the Fairfax County Recreation Dep’t, at music stores and now privately. He has conducted Bluegrass workshops at his home and at music stores in Virginia. Still working to hone Bluegrass skills, Bruce presently studies with bluegrass great David McLaughlin.

“Bruce excels at teaching a combination of fundamentals, practical techniques, music theory, and when appropriate, advanced skills. Most importantly, he does it in a way that makes the learning process fun.”

“A wonderful teacher, always offering words of encouragement.”

“He is very patient. It is obvious that he loves music and loves to teach. I'm playing songs I never thought I would be doing. I owe all this to Bruce.”

“Bruce has an infectious and obvious passion which make learning all that easier and more fun. I struggled and almost gave up before I found Bruce. Thanks to his depth of knowledge, patience and enthusiasm, I am extremely satisfied.”

“He is the best! I am still amazed at the patience he has always shown with someone like me who has far more stamina than talent.”


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Ira Gitlin (Alexandria VA)

[Email Ira]      [Visit Ira's' website]      [Watch Ira play]

Ira Gitlin is widely known and respected in Washington-Baltimore music circles as a versatile multi-instrumentalist, teacher, and writer. A winner of the National Bluegrass Banjo Championship at Winfield, he has also performed with such nationally known performers as the Johnson Mountain Boys, Laurie Lewis, and Peter Rowan. Ira has taught at many camps and workshops, helping students master the basic skills that will make them a welcome presence at any jam session.

“A wonderfully engaging and informative instructor.”

“The best music teacher in the DC area, maybe even the entire world!”

“Not only knowledgeable but can teach and truly cares about the music.”

“Ira Gitlin is terrific!”

“The no pressure teaching style was an unexpected surprise.”

“Lots of well articulated insights about jamming strategies and rules of the road .”

“Ira's extraordinary knowledge/mastery of 3-4 instruments means that he can accommodate ALL learners.”

“The group jams were a great opportunity for everyone to get lots of practice with whatever they needed. Leading songs, taking breaks, singing harmonies, just building confidence with it all.”


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Lynn Kelley (Virginia Beach VA)

[Email Lynn]

Lynn Kelley took up guitar at age 11 and began playing with others soon after. She performs on and has taught all the bluegrass instruments, with her versatility extending to country, country rock, ragtime blues guitar, contemporary Christian, and Americana. Specializing in flat pick guitar, she has played in bluegrass bands including The Nothin' Doin' Band and The Muddy Creek Band. After teaching for years at Norfolk's Ramblin' Conrad's & A&E Music, she now operates Kelley Music Studios in Virginia Beach.

“Lynn is a great teacher. Of many I have had over the years, she is the best, most knowledgeable, and most fun.”

“Very patient, knowledgeable, and encouraging.”

“With a firm and gentle approach Lynn keeps me on track and challenges me to reach my potential.”

“Lynn feeds off of you, making the learning fun and effective. Very relaxing yet challenging. I learned a lot in a short time.”

“Lynn is a fine, patient instructor! She stresses the basics, yet makes it fun. I highly recommend Lynn!”

“My daughter really enjoys her lessons with Lynn and feels she is learning more with Lynn than in school, especially in the basics. I would highly recommend Lynn to anyone.”


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Sue Custer (Luray VA)

[Email Sue]

Sue Custer started music on piano and guitar. After years of playing just for her own enjoyment, she was invited to join her church band and so started at age 50 an incredible journey of learning to play in a band, eventually learning banjo, fiddle, and bass. The banjo led her into jamming and Bluegrass. Sue now plays banjo and fiddle in the Shenandoah Valley Minstrels, performing Civil War Era shows, Bluegrass/gospel, and folk shows. Sue tells her adult students--it is never too late to start learning to play music and having fun doing so!

“Sue is very patient and creative and has aroused our son's curiosity about music.”

“Because Sue's lessons are fun and I am learning new techniques--different from my previous "violin" lessons--I find I'm practicing more and enjoying it immensely!”

“Sue has patiently helped me work through my timing issues and I am starting to produce more smooth, connected music!”

“Sue does a great job of making learning an instrument fun. She brings the instruction down to the student's age level and their ability. She stays positive and is very encouraging.”


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Vermont

Bob Amos (St Johnsbury VT)

[Email Bob]      [Visit Bob's' website]

Bob Amos was the lead singer, guitarist and principal songwriter of the IBMA award-winning Front Range band from 1988-2003 . The Colorado-based band toured America and Europe, and their 5 Sugar Hill records received airplay on Bluegrass and Americana radio. Sing Out! magazine called Bob “one of the most consistently interesting and intelligent songwriters in American music.” Bob now lives in northeastern Vermont and is enthused to start teaching jam classes.

“Bob's talent allows him to play and teach in any style. More importantly, it was the most fun I ever had in a music lesson.”


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Dave Benway (Underhill VT)

[Email Dave]

Dave Benway started picking rhythm guitar and singing on tailgates, fields, and around campfires some 15 years ago. Bluegrass festivals throughout New England became a passionate summertime experience, with jamming always a highlight. In 2010 David formed the VT-based band "Chasing 440" from fellow parking-lot pickers who stepped out of the field and onto the stage, performing locally. The transition to Wernick Method jam teaching is a natural evolution of his musical direction. David makes no pretense about his instrumental skills: he will tell you that he makes the most of the gifts he has.

“Dave Benway was a great assistant. Very helpful and encouraging!”

“David Benway was great at coordinating and encouraging each member of the group.”

“Dave always encourages folks of all ability levels to join in the jam with a big smile on his face. He wants everyone to enjoy themselves.”

“Dave was so encouraging! He convinced me to let go of my inhibitions and go for it!”

“I had a deer-in-the-headlight experience, Dave sang the notes in my ear as I played what he sang. Quick and effective!”

“Dave is a great fun leader of jams. Besides singing great he really makes sure everyone is on board understanding where we are in the jam”


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Washington

John Treacy (Olympia WA)

[Email John]

John Treacy

“John is not only a fantastic musician, but an incredibly patient teacher whose unflappable nature helps to create a very safe environment to learn new skills.”

“John's teaching was very well organized. His familiarity with a vast range of tunes was clear in his response to more advanced players, and his inviting good nature had beginners singing and playing along.”

“John is a teacher by nature, and it shows in his generosity of spirit, his patience, and in the way he encourages growth without making you feel rushed.”

“... a patient, knowing, flexible, instructor with a willingness to give each student the help they need. He's calm, reassuring, and encouraging. In other words, a great teacher and a great musician.”

“John is relaxed and responsive in encouraging my growth and the challenges I'm working with.”


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Kelly Bogan (Spokane WA)

[Email Kelly]

Kelly Bogan is a multi-instumentalist, accomplished songwriter, and has taught privately for 25 years. Kelly is also active in the Inland Northwest Bluegrass Association, which has named his band Molly & Tenbrooks Band of the Year, with Kelly winning Dobro Player of the Year. He has taught workshops in banjo, Dobro, and vocal harmony at the Blue Waters Bluegrass Festival and at the Sacajawea Bluegrass Festival in Washington. Kelly is very comfortable with new students and enthusiastic about introducing them to the wonderful world of bluegrass.

“Kelly is an excellent and organized teacher and the interaction with classmates was fun and a learning experience.”

“I have been to other "slow jams" before; these have not been helpful. This class was a really great introduction into actually learning how to jam and play with others.”

“I really enjoyed Kelly leading the class. He has so much experence in all aspects and has a great way of teaching. I thought everyone had a fun time and learned a great deal. This jam class opens our eyes and ears to the wonderful fun of playing with others.”

“Kelly's expertise, patience, and experience have given me the success and confidence I've needed as a beginning instrumentalist. His joy of music and contagious enthusiasm have given me a love for bluegrass.”

“He put in the extra hours and we enjoyed the fun. This type of class is something I've been wishing for for quite a while. I more than feel I got a good value out of the deal.”

“Kelly is very exuberant, happy and fun to be with. He is a great jam leader and invites everyone to do solos. Kelly is extremely talented and his example draws us in and invites us to move forward. I never miss the group unless I can't possibly be there. It is an exciting journey with Kelly's leadership.”


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Rex Kerbs (Auburn WA)

[Email Rex]      [Watch Rex play]

Rex Kerbs has attended bluegrass festivals and played banjo at jams in the Pacific Northwest for more than 15 years. Jamming with friends has led to informal bands -- the Orting Valley Pickers and the Second Saturday Bluegrass Boys. A former school principal and teacher in grades K-12, Rex loves to help students succeed and discover the pleasure of learning something new as they find their way in the bluegrass musical community.

“Rex shows endless amounts of patience, helps us learn from our mistakes and achieve goals.”

“I really enjoyed Rex's sense of humor and great teaching skills.”

“Thanks for your dedication to students.”

“Rex is a fun and caring teacher.”

“I appreciate your focus on what really counts.”


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Wisconsin

Jon Peik (Wauwatosa WI)

[Email Jon]      [Visit Jon's' website]      [Watch Jon play]

Jon Peik has performed in bluegrass, gospel, and country bands including the Nob Hill Boys, the Pitneys, and Above the Town. His bands have appeared on Prairie Home Companion and with the Milwaukee Pops. Jon teaches bluegrass banjo (his specialty), mandolin, and guitar. His gentle humor and patience quickly put students at ease.

“Jon inspired confidence in even this faint-at-heart beginning jammer!”

“Jon Peik knows bluegrass, knows how to teach, and is always ready with a smile and a word of encouragement.”

“The consummate teacher. He is supportive and encouraging; instruction and information that is easily understood in a relaxing and comfortable manner.”

“Jon's gentle and supportive teaching style gave me the courage to play with others, improving both my playing and my confidence--not to mention it is great fun!”

“Jon kept us at ease with his sense of humor and his encouragement, while boiling down bluegrass technique into easily understood examples.”

“What I liked best about Jon's teaching style is he always gave specific positive reinforcement. . . nudging me toward new skills, like singing and playing breaks.”


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West Virginia

Larry Kernagis (Mt Juliet TN)

[Email Larry]

Larry Kernagis was raised during the folk revival era of the 60s, cutting his chops on Flatt and Scruggs and the Kingston Trio. Eventually, he became a banjo instructor at the famed Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago. Larry has led Bluegrass jams at festivals across the country for the past 30 years. He now employs his banjo, guitar and vocal skills entertaining with "greengrass" Celtic group Def Leprechaun.

“Larry was an excellent instructor. Patient and kind, he brought the music to life and gave me the tools to do the same.”

“I really feel like I improved and am now able to jam with almost anyone.”

“Larry encouraged us to try and get beyond our fears and try different things. He is very patient.”

“When I was young I was a classically trained violinist, but Larry taught me to play music with the other half of my brain...It's been a great experience.”


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Maggie Moore (Huntington WV)

[Email Maggie]      [Watch Maggie play]

Maggie Moore is a singer/songwriter with Appalachian roots, growing up in Virginia and later moving to West Virginia and Colorado. A music history major, she has sung in gospel, folk, rock, jazz, classical, and bluegrass groups. In Colorado Maggie started performing bluegrass with the Drifter Band, which hosted a regular bluegrass gospel jam. She now teaches mandolin and singing as well as bluegrass jamming. In recent years Maggie has expanded into songwriting. She and her partner, Ricky G Fox, have recorded 3 CDs and are known for their authentic, homespun duo sound.

“Maggie and Ricky were extremely friendly, accepting, enthusiastic, and encouraging. They were also quite knowledgeable of their instruments, the Wernick method, jams, singing, and Bluegrass music. I highly recommend them and their class.”

“Maggie and Rick were very patient and encouraging throughout class and I always left class with a smile.”

“Maggie and Ricky are great, and they made it interesting and informative, and fun.”

“Maggie and Ricky worked well presenting the class. All questions received an informed answer. It was very fun and interesting!”


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Michelle Wallace (Prichard WV)

[Email Michelle]

Michelle Wallace has been active in bluegrass music for more than 20 years. Promoting bluegrass music in eastern Kentucky has been a way of life and goal for her. Hosting the "Bluegrass Sunday" radio program for over 10 years on WMKY and leading her own band, Hazel Holler, has kept her involved with bluegrass music in Kentucky. Michelle has studied at Morehead State University's Traditional Music Program and assisted Pete Wernick with his jam camp in Morehead (Michelle at far right in photo below).

“Always positive and encouraging.”

“Fun for the beginner student as well as the advanced pickers.”

“Easy to understand.”

“Taught me a lot about bluegrass music and how to use a capo.”

“Makes learning fun.”


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Wyoming

Lynn Young (Buffalo WY)

[Email Lynn]

Lynn Young is a veteran musician and Wernick Method jam teacher who has played in bluegrass and old-time string bands around the country during his 38 years with the US Forest Service. He teaches private lessons on several instruments, plays in local bands and is a regular at the famous Thursday Night Occidental Jam in Buffalo.

“The perfect person to teach a class like this.”

“Lynn is always so upbeat and he knows what he is talking about.”

“Lynn is patient, understanding, knowledgeable, and experienced.”

“He did an outstanding job!”

“It was just SO FUN!”


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Non-US

Angelika Torrie (BOTTMINGEN Switzerland)

[Email Angelika]

Angelika Torrie plays fiddle, guitar and bass, having started classical violin at age 10. Discovering how to play without written music, she began jamming and playing with bluegrass bands such as Down Yonder and the Bluegrass Hoppers. As a mother of two, she put aside most band activities, but continues to guest with bands and jams whenever possible.

“I learned a lot and if I didn’t understand something, Angelika knew how to explain it well.”

“I didn’t feel under pressure.”

“I became more motivated to learn.”

“I will have no inhibitions to participate in a bluegrass jam session.”

“Angelika considered everybody in the class and was always aware who needed more attention.”

“I felt respected and welcome from the very beginning.”

“Angelika was always friendly and in a good mood, no matter how everything went.”

“Angelika challenged me and at the same time made me feel nothing can go wrong (even if it did ;-)”

“The Wernick Method came for me at the right moment. Previously I had inhibitions, as "Not virtuoso" to go to jam sessions. not anymore!”


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Gilles Rézard (Igé France)

[Email Gilles]      [Visit Gilles's' website]      [Watch Gilles play]

Gilles Rézard discovered bluegrass music at 16. He started learning guitar, then fell in love with the banjo. His two solo albums and recent cover feature in Banjo Newsletter magazine have brought him international acclaim. Based in Ige, Burgundy, music is his full-time activity, performing with Acoustic Boulevard and Broceliande Bluegrass Band as well as teaching. Gilles has taught hundreds of students (on banjo, guitar and mandolin) in 40 music camps in 15 years. To improve connections between French bluegrass musicians, he has created a map locating all who register by emailing him.

“Gilles is a very good teacher, within reach and tuned to the students. He is very friendly and welcoming.”

“Thanks to Gilles I discovered the happiness of jamming.”

“Great teaching and attentive to each detail.”

“Relaxation, method, friendship, cordiality, theory, practice, serenity ... it looks like happiness ... Thanks to Gilles for all this!”

“The atmosphere was wonderful. The slow jam work benefits everyone (from beginner to advanced). Gilles demonstrates a great pedagogy [teaching method]. He is attentive to everyone.”


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Greg McGrath (Mooloolah Valley QLD)

[Email Greg]

Greg McGrath has been a bluegrass musician and teacher for some 20 years, teaching banjo and guitar during that time. Since attending Pete Wernick's 2007 jam camp in North Carolina, he has hosted numerous jam classes and camps in Australia for beginner musicians. Greg excels at giving students the skills and confidence needed to be a part of—and to feel welcome at—any jam session.

“So patient and encouraging!”

“Displays confidence but with kindness, humility and a natural sense of humour.”

“Committed to bringing out the best in everyone!”

“An amazing, worthwhile experience.”

“Well done, Greg! Great value for the money.”

“I have a rekindled enthusiasm and feel confident about my picking future!”


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Joff Lowson (Bristol UK)

[Email Joff]      [Visit Joff's' website]

Joff Lowson played with top UK bluegrass act The Jalapeño Pickers, has performed on national radio in the UK and Holland and toured Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Holland, and France. He currently teaches banjo, guitar, mandolin and songwriting and performs with top UK old-time band The Buffalo Gals.

“Joff is good company, encouraging and a very patient and intuitive teacher. He sets targets for learning at a very achievable pace whilst being both challenging and rewarding.”

“A highly talented and knowledgeable musician. He can impart information very clearly and effectively. Lessons are enjoyable, and conducted in a relaxed, friendly, non-intimidating style.”

“Joff has a refreshing approach to teaching. Lessons are fun, inspiring and Joff is really patient.”

“Joff is very good at teaching theory through actual melodies, combining the foundations with exciting new songs. He has an extensive knowledge of picking styles, and clearly and patiently explains these during lessons.”


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Michael Jockel (Alsbach-Haehnlein Germany)

[Email Michael]

Michael Jockel began playing music as a teenager, in various Rock, Folk, and Country groups. After discovering Bluegrass and the 5-string banjo at age 18, he has now performed on banjo, guitar and dobro with the German band Grass Unlimited for over 35 years. He regularly attends bluegrass jams in Germany and Holland. Michael teaches guitar and banjo and also runs Pickin’ Rooster Recording Studio specialising in acoustic music recordings.

“Michael’s approach is to encourage playing by ear. I used to learn tunes, now I play music.”

“Michael is very clear and understandable. He additionally is a likeable person.”

“Michael is a great traditional Banjo player and teacher. He teaches me the "Basics" and we have a lot of fun.”

“It was a fantastic experience playing together, and listening to one another. The atmosphere was relaxed. Michael made sure that everyone could participate according their skills. He encouraged everybody to play a solo - thus everyone was able to contribute and the whole session was a huge success.”


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Peter Ruby (Prague Czech Republic)

[Email Peter]

Peter Ruby started guitar in his teens and discovered bluegrass in the 1990s, gaining experience while living in Australia and the U.S., as well as in his Czech homeland. In the U.S. he attended festivals throughout the bluegrass "heartland" and made seven guest appearances at the famous Nashville bluegrass center, The Station Inn. As a lead singer and bandleader in Prague he was named “Discovery of the Year” in 1998 by the Czech Bluegrass Association. In 2004 he started a regular jam session that continues. Peter shares his years of study of bluegrass singing in his instruction book Secrets of High Lonesome Singing.

“.... encouraging, always patient and nice and most of all enthusiastic about the topic of the camp. Ever since I attended the camp my approach to music and Bluegrass has been different. I now know what I need to practice to improve.”

“Jam Camp in Prague was one of the best times I had during almost 16 years in Europe. The best part was when we broke into groups to practice jamming together. Peter Ruby really stood out. He mentored our group with patience, skill, and good humor. No pressure, just strong encouragement. He made me feel at ease so I could give it my best.”


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Petr Brandejs (Nový Jičín Czech Republic)

[Email Petr]

Petr Brandejs has been voted Banjo Player of the Year three times in the Czech Republic. After leading the Petr Brandejs Band (1995-2010), he now performs with the traditional Czech band Bluegrass Cwrkot. He has produced a banjo instruction book in Czech and a DVD, Czech Bluegrass Hits For The Five String Banjo. Since 1995 Petr has organized workshops and taught in Norway, Slovenia, and Slovakia. He is also a former chairman of the European Bluegrass Music Association!

“I’d like to thank you and the others for a great experience at your workshop!”

“I was VERY satisfied with everything, the workshop really helped me a lot. See you next time!”


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Pierre Bastide (Paris France)

[Email Pierre]      [Visit Pierre's' website]

Pierre Bastide (aka ResoMan) has picked the dobro for many years and plays with The Bluegrass Compagnie, The Paris Bluegrass Band, and other bands. He also enjoys playing swing, blues, country and most forms of modern music. He has led several resonator guitar workshops in Europe and coordinates The La Roche Bluegrass Workshop. Pierre is a regular at the famed Walnut Valley Festival in Kansas, where he earned the title of Unofficial Reso Champion 2006. In a news article about WVF campground jams he was mentioned as the "French dobro player that sounded like a Nashville sessions player."

“He is very supportive and encouraging. Pierre knows how to take the time to make sure we understand.”

“Pierre's passion for jamming makes him a good teacher for this. He is patient in the way he demonstrates how a jam works, and what my part is. He also transfers some of this passion onto the students. Makes them want to jam and shine.”

“In a slow jam with different instruments, he welcomes beginners and makes sure the more advanced players will not speed up too soon and take over. He will go through a step by step explanation of what makes a slow jam work and be fun.”

“Pierre Bastide is as dedicated as they come, a strong and sympathetic workshop organiser/teacher and a supportive jam leader with a thoughtful and passionate attitude. His sensitivity when it comes to working with those who are just starting out is second to none.”


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