Wernick Method Teachers

Show listing by state

Aaron Dorfman (Buffalo Grove IL)

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Aaron Dorfman is a full-time freelance musician in Chicago, proud to make music education the primary focus of his career. Aaron played guitar for the well-known Chicago-based bluegrass band, Henhouse Prowlers for 3 years, touring the US, Europe, and with the US State Department in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Uganda, Kenya, Pakistan, Russia and Kyrgyzstan! Aaron offers private and group lessons on multiple instruments, with the goal that all his students have as much fun as possible through their exploration of their instrument.

“Aaron has me doing things on the guitar that I only dreamed about doing. He is THE BEST.”

“Aaron Dorfman is an amazing musician and one of the finest teachers I've ever had the pleasure of working with. I run an educational non-profit and the energy and passion he brought to our organization pushed the quality of the entire program forward.”

“I’ve worked with many guitar instructors and Aaron is by far the best.”

“Aaron is a wonderful teacher for both adults and children. He's a talented musician and good guy.”

Andy Lentz (Oakland CA)

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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'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.”

“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.”

Annie Savage (N Liberty IA)

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Annie Savage is an enthusiastic instructor and performer of bluegrass, as well as old-time and classical music. She believes that the art of music is most thoroughly enjoyed when shared with others. A prize-winning contest fiddler from the age of 8, Annie has performed with Aretha Franklin, Ricky Skaggs, and as a member of Jeff Scroggins and Colorado. She holds degrees from the Interlochen Arts Academy and the Boston Conservatory/Berklee College of Music, as well as serving on the teaching staff of bluegrass camps from Tennessee to Canada!

“Annie has patience, intelligence, talent and most importantly a passion for teaching music. Young or old are in great hands with her care for helping others. (Steve Kaufman, Kaufman Kamp)”

“Annie is fun and full of energy. It was a very positive experience.”

“Annie is a very patient and attentive teacher. She knows a lot but doesn't overwhelm you.”

“Annie is fantastic and we really appreciate her commitment, talent, and joy of teaching!”

“She taught a difficult subject to many levels, with love, enthusiasm, patience, passion, and humor.”

“Annie is an excellent music teacher and delivers in a clear, concise and very understandable way. She has wonderful ability to put students at ease and make them believe in themselves and feel that they can learn.”

“Annie exudes positive energy and has a boundless belief in her students, which is quite contagious.”

Austin Scelzo (Danbury CT)

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Austin Scelzo has played music since age 11 in a variety of styles, first in a folk/singer songwriter band and currently in bluegrass bands the Angry O’Haras and On the Trail, performing traditional and cutting-edge bluegrass including original music, on fiddle, mandolin, bass, and guitar. A full-time public school music teacher in Darien, Austin has a Bachelor of Science in Music Education and is certified in the American Music System and the Mark O'Connor Method. He is passionate about empowering others and inspiring lifelong participation and love of music.

“Austin is a gifted musician, teacher and just all around good guy.”

“A dedicated and enthusiastic teacher.”

“Austin was a fabulous teacher. He was able to help everyone in the class, with all their levels of expertise.”

“The atmosphere among all of us was very collaborative, supportive and fun, and Austin did a super job of setting that tone and keeping up a strong pace of learning at the same time.”

Barry Mitterhoff (Scotch Plains NJ)

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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.”

“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!”

“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.”

Billy Lee Farmer (Elk Rapids MI)

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Billy Lee Farmer has been playing Bluegrass and traditional music for over 30 years, and performing with several bands including “Raisin Pickers” (Michigan) and “WhoYaSay” (Colorado), as well as cajun/zydeco bands. Bill’s passion for Bluegrass jamming was ignited at his first Bluegrass festival in 1992, where he studied with Pete Wernick and others, leading him 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.

“Bill looked for ways to compliment everyone in the small groups.”

“Very helpful and informative.”

“Bill was very nice. Calming personality.”

“Bill was great!”

Bob Amos (St Johnsbury VT)

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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 enjoys performing with his daughter Sarah as a duo and in a bluegrass band format. He also enjoys teaching guitar, banjo, singing and songwriting.

“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.”

Bob Barrett (Punta Gorda FL)

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Bob Barrett began playing guitar in high school more than 50 years ago. Over the years he has performed in folk, bluegrass and rock ‘n roll bands. For the past 30 years Bob has been very involved in the bluegrass scene in Southwest Florida. He is the past president of the Southwest Florida Bluegrass Association and founded the Acoustic Music Society of SW Florida. Bob teaches banjo, guitar, dobro, and mandolin at Ace Drums music store in Port Charlotte, Florida. He is a regular at weekly Bluegrass jams at Gilchrist Park in Punta Gorda and at Heartland Bluegrass Association’s monthly Bluegrass Bash in Arcadia, Florida.

“Bob has been instructive and patient with me. With no musical background, I feel like I have accomplished a lot.”

“Bob is a patient, thorough teacher. Playing with Bob, and under his leadership, is an inspiring experience.”

“Bob is a master teacher and an incredible musician. The progress my 13-year old has made in such a short time is amazing.”

“Bob's easy manner and knowledge make lessons truly something to look forward to”

Buck Thrailkill (Fayetteville NC)

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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 a great instructor, in a way that even absolute beginners can understand. He took a group of various experience levels and little to no jam experience, and had everyone in good solid jams and coming together as a group.”

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

“He can impart ideas very clearly and concisely with attention to detail that puts him 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. 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.”

“Buck is a great instructor. He really does an outstanding job teaching in a way that students, even absolute beginners can understand. He took a group of students of various levels of experience and little to no jam experience, and had everyone participating in good solid jams and coming together as a group. Great job! Can’t wait to do it again.”

Charlotte Ivy (Denton TX)

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Charlotte Ivy was introduced to bluegrass in 2012 while visiting Virginia friends, which renewed her interest in playing guitar. She attended a Wernick Method workshop and from then on she was hooked. She took lessons, attended jams and workshops and discovered that playing with others was definitely for her! After a move to Denton Texas in 2018, Charlotte started leading a local jam and a traditional, bluegrass “Driveway Band” created to take music outside to neighbors. She is always ready to play with and mentor anyone who wants a playing partner. Charlotte loves the fun, music, and friendships that come from playing music with others.

“Charlotte adapts to what you’re doing musically and is able to also entertain you with background stories. This gives students incentive to play better.”

“Playing with you is one of the best things that has happened to my music.”

“Friendly, encouraging, and energizing for getting better and better.”

“Charlotte has helped my playing tremendously, especially getting my timing in line. She has the ability and the patience to work with us learners.”

Chris Armstrong (Henderson KY)

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Chris Armstrong is a multi-instrumentalist who has performed and taught private and group lessons for over fifteen years, and is now teaching at the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Owensboro, Kentucky. He can be seen playing guitar, banjo, mandolin or bass on the KET television program, The Lanham Brothers Jamboree and has played bass on the Kentucky Opry. Chris currently performs in the local production of the Steve Martin musical ”Bright Star.”

“An excellent teacher! As a professional musician he is passionate about music and knows his stuff! And is still patient with students.”

“Chris Armstrong really has a passion for music! He truly engages the learner, helping them to take their musical ability to the next level!”

“Chris is a great teacher! He believes in his students and does anything he can to help his students with their learning.”

“Amazing talent and patience. I would recommend anyone wanting to play a stringed instrument to him.”

“Chris is a wonderful instructor! He is able to teach a variety of ages, skill levels and instruments. We feel so lucky to have Chris as an instructor!”

Chris Brashear (Amherst MA)

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Chris Brashear plays fiddle, mandolin and guitar and sings lead and harmony parts. With over 25 years of professional experience as a performer, producer, teacher, recording artist and songwriter, he also maintains a veterinary practice! Chris has performed in numerous bands including Robin and Linda Williams, Kentucky Rose and the Maurizio Geri Swingtet. He is a popular instructor at camps and festivals nationwide, including Augusta Heritage, the Joe Val Bluegrass Festival, Banjo and Mandolin Camps North, Berea College Music Festival, and the Berkeley Old Time Music Convention.

“Best class at any camp I've ever been to.”

“Wow! Chris Brashear gives a lot of himself to his students. Really felt that he gave some thought to what he wanted to teach.”

“Chris is fantastic-- articulate and eloquent. Great song choices, great singing, great guy, great advice.”

“A wonderfully warm and encouraging teacher. He conveyed so much passion and affection for the music that I am inspired to listen to this music more.”

“Very accessible class, great instructor! I loved the balance of singing and storytelling/ historical content.”

“Chris is a very likable and knowledgeable guy. Feedback to students was sensitive and insightful. Really nice class.”

Chris Roszell (Denver CO)

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Chris Roszell is a recent arrival in Denver from North Carolina. He has played bluegrass banjo professionally for over 15 years with many bands including Colorado's Blue Canyon Boys, Scott Slay and The Rail, and Big Fat Gap. He spends a lot of time thinking about teaching and about music. Since picking up the banjo he has taught a wide variety of students, hoping to instill in them the confidence and ability to play with others and to foster a love for bluegrass music. During that time, he also spent 7 years as a middle school math teacher.

“Chris is a great guy, a fantastic teacher, and an awesome player. The lessons were fun and he was able to easily grasp my skill level and tailor the instruction to me.”

“Chris is a lot of fun and was able to hone right in on my skill level. I feel he is approachable for any skill level. He challenges me to become better but in a friendly way.”

“He is very professional and his enthusiasm is contagious! The progress is amazing: I started as a beginner. Now I can pick along full-speed to loads of bluegrass songs and regularly attend local jam sessions.”

“Chris made learning very easy and fun, he was very reliable and was an amazing teacher.”

“Chris is a great guy, a fantastic teacher, and an awesome player. The lessons were fun and he was able to easily grasp my skill level and tailor the instruction to me.”

Dan Whitener (Matawan NJ)

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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

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

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

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

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

Dave Howard (Louisville KY)

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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.”

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

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

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

“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.”

“It was my introduction to really learning how to play in a group. I enjoyed it tremendously. Great teachers and even got to sing several songs.”

“The class was really fun. What the world needs now is more people playing music together. This class helps the cause.”

“We all were brave and reached out beyond our comfort zone in order to get a little better at playing music.”

“The FOLK SCHOOL is a great place and Dave and his assistants were all excellent teachers and experienced musicians who love the music and enjoy teaching it.”

“The instructors were fantastic. I feel lucky that they were willing and able to spend time sharing their amazing skills with us.”

“I loved the way it made jamming seem much simpler than I had imagined. It inspired me to learn more music and practice more.”

“A fun and productive weekend. True beginners were encouraged throughout.”

“Dave and his fellow coaches were excellent, patient instructors.”

Dave Kiphuth (Eliot ME)

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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 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.”

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

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

“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.”

“Everyone left with a better understanding of the dynamics of playing music with others in a jam.”

“He was very professional, talented, welcoming, and provided a wonderful and warm jam setting.”

David Benway (Underhill VT)

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David 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.

“David 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.”

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

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

“David 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”

Debbie Wagner (Appleton WI)

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Debbie Wagner was introduced to guitar in grade school and quickly developed a love for the instrument. She has led jams for over 10 years, teaches guitar to beginning adults, and performs in a duo in her local community for charity events. Debbie enjoys many different music styles, and bluegrass became a favorite in 2013 at her first bluegrass camp, which she attends each year. She has recently taken up mandolin, learning by Skype from another Wernick Method teacher in Tennessee. Debbie is thrilled to introduce the Wernick Method to the Fox Cities area.

“It was always a daydream of mine to be moseying around with a guitar and spreading smiles through song. Debbie has made that a reality for me. Her unique ability to teach & inspire is remarkable. I had no idea what I was doing, but the way she was able to read me as a person and design a road map for my learning is truly a gift.”

“My husband and I have been attending her jamming get-togethers for over four years. Debbie accepts everyone at their own level and encourages us all to give our best, no judgement. The first time I attended, her enthusiasm and upbeat personality drew us back. Debbie is fantastic as a leader with musical skill, solid singing voice and an invigorated attitude that never wavered.”

“Debbie is a friendly, welcoming and effective jam leader. I didn’t know anyone at first but Debbie made me and everyone else feel very welcome. I like the way she runs the jam. I recommend her as a jam leader for any instrument, at any level.”

Debbie Wagner & Charlotte Ivy ( )

[Email Debbie Wagner & Charlotte]

Debbie Wagner & Charlotte Ivy

Derwin Hinson (Lebanon TN)

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Derwin Hinson grew up in North Carolina playing and singing in his family's gospel band. In his early 20s he joined Charlie Louvin’s band and the next week played his first time on the Grand Ole Opry. For years he worked as a sideman in Nashville and hosted a weekly bluegrass night at the Bell Cove Club, where Bill Monroe was a frequent guest. A multi-instrumentalist, Derwin has taught lessons since 1977. For years he has toured as the "One-Man Gospel Band”, hosted a weekly bluegrass jam, and makes merry as a premier Santa Claus.

“Derwin is the best! Supportive, encouraging, has great stories. He makes sure EVERYONE in the group (jam and breakout) “gets it” and gives individual help where needed. He made my week!”

“Derwin is the best I have ever had as a teacher and makes you feel special.”

“Derwin Hinson is excellent, jolly, very informative, helpful, never made you feel out of place or less adequate.”

“Derwin - We should be a little intimidated by his talent, but he's so good at sharing and encouraging.”

“Derwin is well known throughout the area as an excellent musician and teacher.”

“I don’t understand how a man with his talent can listen and play with a smile on his face while his students fumble through the chords.”

“He is a patient teacher and has endowed many of his students with a never ending love for music.”

“Derwin always takes an interest in each student and makes sure his teaching is tailored to each person’s desires and abilities.”

Don Julin (Traverse City MI)

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Don Julin

“Don was fantastic, I learned so much and enjoyed his teaching method tremendously.”

“Don was a jewel of a teacher.”

“Don Julin - awesome, offered great advice, helpful in all aspects.”

“Done is a great musician. Listens carefully and offers great tips and feedback.”

Duck Adkins (Marietta GA)

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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.

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

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

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

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

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

“You would not believe what you did for me: for you and Pete Wernick. I just finished my first weekend in a play called Smoke On The Mountain. I don’t act but play backup on guitar, mandolin and banjo, I even have a banjo solo.”

Ed Harvey (Fort Collins CO)

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Ed Harvey has been playing, writing, performing and recording music since the 1990s, mostly on acoustic guitar and upright bass. He also plays banjo, mandolin, mountain dulcimer, autoharp, and fiddle at the beginner level. Ed is a geologist, water scientist, and former university professor, and now also plays upright bass with the Nebraska Bluegrass Boys band. He’s released a CD, Stories Seldom Told, featuring his original folk and bluegrass music. Ed jams regularly, attends several bluegrass camps each year, and hosts a weekly bluegrass jam in Fort Collins for beginner and intermediate players.

“Ed has an extensive background in music and his knowledge and teaching style were educational and entertaining.”

“Ed is a helpful mentor who loves to share his enthusiasm for music with others.”

“He promotes a welcoming and friendly atmosphere where players can relax and have fun making music together.”

“Ed is an excellent and very supportive teacher and he always made the class fun, interesting and informative.”

“When I was struggling to understand chord transposing, Ed took the time to explain to me how it worked in a friendly and understandable way, without making me feel like a musical idiot.”

Ellen Carlson (Nottingham NH)

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Ellen Carlson With a Master's in Education and 15 years of teaching math, Ellen knows what it means to be accountable for students learning what she teaches. Having started fiddle at a young age, she is a versatile and in-demand performer as well as a sought-after teacher. She has taught bluegrass at Fiddle Hell, festivals including Grey Fox and Pemi Valley, and with Pete and Joan Wernick at their Jam Camps. She runs her own camp as well and leads the NH Fiddle Ensemble, a 100+ member "orchestra". Ellen performs bluegrass with High Range, Rock Spring, and EC & The Darrellicks.

“An amazing teacher!”

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

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

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

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

“The class was organized, expectations were discussed and made clear. We knew what was planned for each class, what we needed to do.”

“Ellen and this workshop have given me the confidence to sing in front of others. Ellen was always encouraging us as well as gently pushing us. This was a fun and rewarding experience for me.”

“I definitely stepped out of my comfort zone, knowing that it was a safe place to do it.”

“This is one of the best things i've done for myself. I have so much more confidence. I feel much more relaxed when I play and sing.”

“She did a great job working with the various skills levels.”

“Ellen was great fun but at the same time knew when to be stickler for the concepts.”

“Ellen is amazing! She is an incredible player and teacher! She is so encouraging, she explains things in a way that I am able to understand,”

“All the little details Ellen taught me mean so much when playing with others.”

“Thank you, Ellen, for leading the way!”

“She did a great job... very gentle and motivating with her feedback. It was a lot of fun.”

“Ellen was great fun but at the same time knew when to be stickler for the concepts.”

“Ellen has such an encouraging safe way of challenging me to stretch. I love that. She is also extremely knowledgeable about music. She is wonderful to learn from!”

“Very special instructor. Patient and yet encouraging to get the student to move to the next stage. It is obvious that she enjoys and is good at what she does, and relentlessly tries to move (some very reluctant) students onward.”

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

“It really is truly amazing how quickly I learned these techniques of how to jam in a Bluegrass session. All of a sudden I really understood patterns. Already, last week I was able to play with a new circle of musicians and follow the chords, and keep up on both my fiddle and mandolin. And I stepped forward and introduced a song to the group & it went very well.”

“Had a great time. Only wish I had begun doing this when I was a child.”

“It really is truly amazing how quickly I learned these techniques of how to jam in a Bluegrass session. All of a sudden I really understood patterns. Already, last week I was able to play with a new circle of musicians and follow the chords, and keep up on both my fiddle and mandolin. And I stepped forward and introduced a song to the group & it went very well.”

Ellen Carlson and Melissa Bragdon Caron (Nottingham NH)

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Ellen Carlson and Melissa Bragdon Caron co-direct the New Hampshire Fiddle Ensemble. Ellen has been performing for 35 years, currently with High Range. She teaches fiddle, guitar and mandolin, privately and at major festivals. Melissa, a versatile fiddler and music teacher, helped develop the 317 Main Community Music Center in Yarmouth. She teaches at her home studio, and plays with the Jerks of Bluegrass.

“Melissa has a gift for teaching and playing music. She is patient, knowledgeable, encouraging and kind.”

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

“Melissa carries a vast knowledge of music and is easy to learn from. She lights a spark in her students that never leaves, and gave me countless opportunities to grow as a musician.”

“Ellen is an amazing teacher!”

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

“Melissa is incredibly talented, and gifted working with all ages. I always felt encouraged. She makes it easy, and most importantly, she makes it fun! Melissa is caring, enthusiastic, and delightful to be around.”

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

Erik Yates (Oakland CA)

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Erik Yates has been singing and playing the banjo for the past twenty years as a means of self-expression, a way of connecting with tradition, and surprisingly, as a way of making a living. He tours nationally with California-based Hot Buttered Rum (a group he started in college), plays around Colorado with both his own quartet and the Lyons Bluegrass Collective, and has appeared with touring acts such as Rapidgrass, Railroad Earth and Peter Rowan. He also maintains an active schedule teaching banjo, rhythm guitar, dobro and vocals.

“Erik brings a mountain of knowledge, passion, and patience to his lessons, I highly recommend him.”

“Erik succeeded in giving me new tools to use.”

“I learn something new every time. He makes learning fun.”

Fred Staunton (Reynoldsburg OH)

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Fred Staunton was first taken by bluegrass in 1980 while attending the Skyline Bluegrass Festival in WV, seeing and hearing John Hartford and the Osborne Brothers. Twenty years later he was playing electric and acoustic guitar in a worship band at church. Fred took up banjo in the early 2010s, playing in a group from his church playing Bluegrass arrangements of gospel hymns at nursing homes and various church events. He's looking forward to sharing the Wernick Method for bluegrass jamming with like-minded pickers in the Columbus OH area.

“Fred promotes a welcoming and friendly atmosphere where players can relax and have fun making music together.”

“Fred is an excellent and supportive teacher and he always made the class fun, interesting and informative.”

“I learn something new every time. He makes learning fun.”

“Fred is good at bringing the best out in people and a kind and encouraging way.”

Gabe Hirshfeld (Brighton MA)

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Gabe Hirshfeld grew up in Newton, Massachusetts. At fifteen, listening to Car Talk on the radio he heard Earl Scruggs. The sound of the banjo spoke to him as no other and it changed his life. After obsessing over the banjo for several years and attending three Pete Wernick camps, Gabe started to play in bluegrass bands around Boston and studied at the Berklee College of Music. While at Berklee he co-founded The Lonely Heartstring Band, which made successful records and toured nationally for several years. Gabe now lives in a house full of musicians in Brighton, Massachusetts.

“Gabe is a killer banjo player and an attentive teacher -- knowledgeable about the music, skillful, and fun to study with. Great teacher!”

“Gabe's ability to break down the crucial pillars of timing, tone and technique help foster growth as a musician.”

George Welling (Worthington OH)

[Email George]

George Welling

“George is always welcoming to players of different skill levels, and offers suggestions based on “what has happened” for them to improve their playing. He helps everyone play their best without causing embarrassment or awkwardness. Both experienced and novice players come for this assistance. George has encouraged me to be more courageous in taking breaks. He sincerely wants people to get the most out of the jam and become the best musician they can be. I think I speak for others when I say we strive to do better because we want to make George proud!”

“Whether we're performing, teaching a room full of kids, or just jamming, I can count on him to be upbeat, encouraging, funny, and full of musicianly wisdom”

“A gifted singer, guitarist, and bass player, George creates a hospitable and instructive jam.”

“George’s open and friendly personality, his musicianship, and his organizational skills helped me regain my interest in playing music at jams.”

“George is an effective teacher and jam leader whose humble confidence is infectious and reassuring. He inspires me and pushes me beyond my comfort zone.”

Gilbert Nelson (Boiling Springs SC)

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

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 stretch 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 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.”

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

“You've given a 58 year-old guy with no "ear" who started with music less than 2 years ago, the belief that I can reach my dream of being able to play music with other people!”

“Gilbert has a fabulous touch and a way to bring a true beginner up to and over their comfort zone.”

“Jamming with Gilbert is one of life's real pleasures. I've never met anyone so positive and interested in others' success. He makes learning fun.”

Gilles Rézard (Igé France)

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

Gilles Rézard iscovered 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 Saga Trio as well as teaching. Gilles has taught hundreds of students (on banjo, guitar and mandolin) in more than 80 music camps since 2005. 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.”

“Avec Gilles, la mise en confiance est immédiate et j'ai beaucoup apprécié les commentaires et encouragements faits à chacun. Chacun a sa place et est intégré, reçoit des conseils personnalisée, quel que soit son niveau. Je ne peux que remercier Gilles pour son écoute, sa compréhension et ses conseils qui m'ont beaucoup fait progresser et motivé à continuer à me faire plaisir en musique.”

“With Gilles, confidence building is immediate and I appreciated the comments and encouragement made to each. Each has its place and is integrated, receives personalized advice regardless of its level. I can only thank Gilles for listening, understanding and guidance that have made much progress and motivated me to continue to enjoy myself in music.”

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 the Tony Rook Band.

“Graham was absolutely fantastic. As a nervous beginner, there was a great balance of advice, musts, must nots in a very accepting environment. It was really fun. I left very comfortable and knowing so much more than when I entered.”

“The instructor was great! I wanted to learn more in a hands on way. This class was just what I wanted.”

“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.”

“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.”

“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.”

Gray Toney (Petal MS)

[Email Gray]      [Watch Gray play]

Gray Toney is a well-respected guitar and banjo instructor in South Mississippi. He has over 25 years’ experience teaching, and has students ranging from age 7 to 72. He currently teaches from his home studio, and via Skype, with students in Australia, England, California, Virginia, and Illinois. Gray has played in numerous groups and is currently playing with the bluegrass/gospel group Cross Creek. Gray’s friendly nature and ability to make students feel comfortable in a group situation make him an ideal instructor.

“Thanks for all you’ve done. If anyone needs a guitar or banjo teacher, Gray Toney is the man!”

“Gray is a very knowledgeable, talented musician in a variety of stringed instruments who is very patient with his students.”

“He quickly assessed my skill level and developed a course of instruction suited for me, and now I enjoy playing the guitar in my leisure time.”

“Gray is a great teacher – patient and easy to learn from, and I feel like I’m progressing very quickly.”

Greg McGrath (Mooloolah Valley QLD)

[Email Greg]      [Visit Greg's website]

Greg McGrath has been a bluegrass musician and teacher since 1990, 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!”

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

“An amazing, worthwhile experience.”

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

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.

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

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

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

“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!”

“I had never jammed before, but now I am actively seeking out opportunities. Before I wouldn't have tried. I learned that I wanted to be a committed banjo player. I just after received a new, top of the line banjo which I never would have bought unless I was committed.”

“A great musical experience!”

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.

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

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

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

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

“Inspiring, positive and engaging attitude ... the group wants to do well for themselves but also for you.”

“it was all a great experience for me. Heidi had just the right combination of toughness and sweetness to foster a perfect learning environment.”

“I especially appreciated her tips on jamming etiquette and feel I am comfortable enough to participate in a jam session.”

Ira Gitlin (College Park MD)

[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.”

“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.”

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

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

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

“Ira Gitlin is terrific!”

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 Gloryband, 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.

“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.”

“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.”

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

“Jeanette has more than satisfied a lifelong desire to play guitar. I will never be a pro but I can play well enough to enjoy it.”

Jeff Burke (Nashville TN)

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

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

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

“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!”

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

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

“Jeff was always enthusiastic about teaching the class, punctual and easy to follow with his instruction style. I would recommend the class for sure. Very impressed with his ability musically and to remember all our names after the 1st session...”

“Loved the level of folks who were in it. Even though I am still in beginner level,Jeff managed to blend us all in & push us just enough. I learned more in this jam class than I have in the 4 years or so I've had my banjo.”

“The best at helping all of us at all levels push ourselves, have fun, learn volumes of context in easy to understand manner. Jeff really is outstanding as a teacher & jam leader. Very positive, encouraging, approachable.”

“I went from a beginner who did not use a pick and knew only 8 chords to being able to jam, sing, and take solos in 8 weeks. Remarkable encouragement from Jeff moved me much quicker than I thought possible.”

“Jeff worked very hard to prepare for this class and his love of music was infectious.”

“We all had very different skill levels coming in and Jeff had something we could each learn every lesson.”

“Jeff's positive energy and solid knowledgeability were a real inspiration. The class was fun and Jeff was a fabulous leader!”

“Jeff Burke worked very hard to prepare for this class and his love of music was infectious.”

“Jeff Burke is an amazing teacher. Positive, patient, encouraging. Never makes you feel your question is silly. Explains things clearly. Pushes us but if he didn't we'd still be sitting at home, playing our instruments alone! He moves at a fast pace but always is ready to explain & the audio of class& info he emails is always on time & very helpful. Fantastic teacher.”

“I like the emphasize on action - teach and immediately in the next hour put it to work. Enough instruction to understand the theory but not seeking college level credit. Great format to have fun and learn quickly at the same time.”

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 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”

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

“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.”

“He always had time to answer my questions.”

Jeff Harding (Washington DC)

[Email Jeff]      [Watch Jeff play]

Jeff Harding sings and plays the guitar and dobro and has been playing and teaching bluegrass all over the world for the last 30 years. He’s performed, recorded, toured and taught in the USA, Guatemala, Egypt, India and Mexico where he played with the bluegrass band Chilangrass. “No matter where people come from or what language they speak, they quickly learn to love bluegrass music.”

“Jeff was a knowledgeable instructor and very encouraging of everyone in the group. He greatly increased my comfort level to go out and join jams.”

“Jeff keeps his teaching simple, always pitching himself at or just above the level of a student.”

“Jeff Harding was very encouraging, patient, and clearly lives for bluegrass. He is excellent teacher. Got us all doing what we told him we were there to work on.”

“It pushed me out of my comfort zone a little bit. Playing in front of people was a stretch and it was a very positive environment to do so.”

“I've never had a better teacher.”

“Jeff was very encouraging, patient, and clearly lives for bluegrass. He is excellent teacher. Got us all doing what we told him we were there to work on.”

“Jeff is a great bluegrass jamming instructor. He creates a relaxed but focused session that allows you to get practice singing and taking lead breaks even if you thought you were uncomfortable doing so.”

“After taking lessons with Jeff, I was playing one of my favorite songs within the first month! It was fun, exciting, and motivated me to keep going!”

“I can't say enough about his knowledge and teaching style!”

“A couple of us ventured out to a jam with his encouragement and had a great experience. Something that I would have never attempted without this class.”

Jeff Burke & Derwin Hinson (Nashville TN)

[Email Jeff Burke & Derwin]

Jeff Burke & Derwin Hinson are both certified Wernick Method teachers. Jeff 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. 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. Derwin grew up in North Carolina playing and singing in his family's gospel band. In his early 20s he joined Charlie Louvin’s band and the next week played his first time on the Grand Ole Opry. For years he worked as a sideman in Nashville and hosted a weekly bluegrass night at the Bell Cove Club, where Bill Monroe was a frequent guest.

“Derwin always takes an interest in each student and makes sure his teaching is tailored to each person’s desires and abilities.”

“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 a great, patient teacher.”

“Derwin is a patient teacher and has endowed many of his students with a never ending love for music.”

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

“Derwin is well known throughout the area as an excellent musician and teacher.”

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

“I don’t understand how a man with his talent can listen and play with a smile on his face while his students fumble through the chords.”

Jim Penson (Arlington TX)

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

Jim Penson PensonStringWorks is the home of Jim Penson, long-time bluegrass musician, teacher, and luthier. He specializes in bluegrass banjo, having played since the 1970s, with The Bee Creek Boys, The Front Porch Boys, Whitehouse Harmony, Eazy Pickinz, and DeAnn Spence and Full House. He also plays rhythm guitar, lead and flatpick guitar, dobro, and a little mandolin. Born in Illinois, not exactly a hotbed of bluegrass activity, he moved south to Texas in the early 1980s.

“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.”

“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.”

“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”

Jimmy Heffernan (Haddon Heights NJ)

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

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.”

“Jimmy is a great teacher, and an excellent dobro, banjo and guitar player. You will learn so much in this class!”

“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!”


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.

“Lots of fun and lots of learning. Thank you for promoting and teaching how to play music with friends- a great joy.”

“What a talented, patient, versatile, and knowledgeable instructor”

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

“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.”

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

“Jodi did an excellent job of engaging everyone and making us feel safe. Positive fun atmosphere.”

“All questions were welcomed and answered. This class exceeded my expectations.”

Joe Ross (Roseburg OR)

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

Joe Ross is a multi-instrumentalist who has performed and recorded since the 1970s in bluegrass and other styles, with such bands as the High Mountain Ramblers, Sagegrass, Cold Thunder, Umpqua Valley Bluegrass Band, Sunny Sky Boys and Tidewater Twang. Joe teaches mandolin, banjo, guitar, bass and is also a well-known music journalist and reviewer. 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 is very adept at sizing up what needs to be taught. He is inspiring as well as enthusiastic.”

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

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.”

“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.”

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

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

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.

“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.”

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

“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 kept 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”

“Each class just gets better and better. Keep doing what you're doing!”

“Always a great time. Always look forward to the challenge.”

“Thanks for all the help, especially the suggestions on vocal improvement.”

“John gets better and better every time I take his class. He's aware of how everybody in the class is doing and he's very self-reflective about small things to add/change to improve the experience. I'm hooked.”

“John is really a fabulous teacher who possesses that rare combination: the ability to advance students to another level of proficiency while simultaneously ensuring they really have fun doing it.”

John Holenko (Charleston SC)

[Email John]      [Visit John's website]

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.

“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.”

“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 Treacy (Olympia WA)

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

John Treacy of Olympia, Washington plays mandolin and guitar and sings lead and harmony vocals. Since the ‘90s he has performed in numerous bands, playing a mix of old time, bluegrass, and other acoustic string music. John teaches mandolin and has offered workshops on jamming and bluegrass repertoire at Walker Creek Music Camp, California Bluegrass Association’s Summer Music Camp, and the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop. For 16 years, John was part of the leadership of the California Coast Music Camp.

“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.”

Jonas Friddle (Chicago IL)

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

Jonas Friddle began playing bluegrass guitar and mandolin as a student at Berea College, and in the fifteen years since has added the fiddle and clawhammer banjo. He has performed in the Old-Time duo Sleepy Lou, with the folk group The Majority and currently performs under his own name. He has received the John Lennon Songwriting Award and a nomination for Album of the Year in the Independent Music Awards. For over ten years, Jonas has been a teacher of traditional music as both a private instructor and a faculty member at The Old Town School of Folk Music.

“I despaired of ever being able to play by ear or join a jam on guitar. But with Jonas's patient teaching and encouragement, he soon had me doing both. He is excellent at demonstrating multiple ways to play things so everyone can participate. His classes are a blast!”

“Jonas is a great teacher who tailors his methods to each students needs and strengths. And, he is a warm and encouraging human!”

“Taking classes with Jonas is always fun as he fosters a collaborative, giving atmosphere where I feel comfortable to stretch myself musically. New friendships blossom, old music is unearthed and opportunities to discover the joy of making music with others abound.”

“Jonas Friddle was born to teach. Many people can teach a student how to play an instrument. Jonas instills a sense of joy from the music and nurtures never before known confidence from his students.”

June Crosby and Jamis Johnson (Salt Lake City UT)

[Email June Crosby and Jamis]

June Crosby and Jamis Johnson are both certified Wernick Method teachers. June Crosby has traveled the world sharing music with her fiddle, having toured Europe with her family Bluegrass band, and playing with the Silver Creek Bluegrass band at the winter Olympics. She has led kids jams for the Utah Old Time Fiddlers and school music programs and currently teaches private violin/fiddle lessons. Jamis Johnson plays guitar, banjo, stand-up bass, and some mandolin. Over the years in a variety of locations including New York City, Provo, and Bucharest, he has played in bluegrass bands, organized community jams, and offered group and individual lessons.

“Jamis is so much fun! He is very kind and patient, and is a great teacher.”

“June Crosby is a lifelong professional in the field of music. She is an accomplished violinist, but playing the fiddle makes her heart sing! June gives each of her students the individualized attention and encouragement to develop their talents and bring inspiring music to future generations.”

“Ms. June is a very intuitive teacher. She has been amazing!”

“Jamis taught me all the basics of Bluegrass plus how to perform.”

KC Groves (Lyons CO)

[Email KC]      [Visit KC's website]

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.

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

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

“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 is skilled and sensitive and a great teacher”

Keith Zorn (Fond du Lac WI)

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Keith Zorn started playing guitar at 13 years old, and learned harmony singing from his mother. He has played in bands since 15, including the band Sedona, awarded “Best Country Band in Wisconsin” and Wisconsin first runner up in the Jimmy Dean Country Showcase. He attended his first bluegrass festival in 1980 and after serving in the Air Force, started teaching guitar and became an “on call” sideman on guitar, bass and banjo (bluegrass and clawhammer) in bluegrass, rock and country bands.

“With a teacher like Keith, you learn to be part of the music and if you put in the work, the progress happens naturally.”

“Keith showed that guitar doesn't have to be hard to learn when you play with your heart.”

“He made learning fun and entertaining”

“Keith was a fantastic teacher and was very patient with me. He helped me to “hear” the music instead of just reading notes on a page. Our sessions were fun and I was always impressed with his knowledge and talent.”

Kelly Bogan (Spokane WA)

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Kelly Bogan Classically trained on piano, Kelly was swayed into Folk Music in high school after hearing the likes of: The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, Gordon Lightfoot, Flatt & Scruggs, and many other “Folk” musicians. This is where the heart and soul were. A private music instructor by day, Kelly also composes, arranges, runs a recording studio, and plays multiple instruments. His newest venture is Kelly’s Underground, an acoustic venue in Spokane for music spanning American Folk to Brazilian to Irish. Kelly hopes to carry the torch, bringing arrangements and original Folk Music to the fore.

“A good guy, knowledgeable, great picker, and a terrific sense of humor.”

“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.”

“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.”

“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.”

“I cannot thank Kelly enough for introducing me to bluegrass banjo and helping me along the journey of a beginning player. I have referred other music students to Kelly without reservation.”

“Keep up the great stuff!”

“Can’t tell Kelly enough how much I enjoy it, and how much we all appreciate him.”

“It’s always light hearted and fun.”

“I learned a huge amount in the class and look forward to taking it again with the hope that I will be more skilled and prepared to improve.”

“I love Kelly’s jam class. I have gained enough skill to fully enjoy our group and actively participate. It has been the most fun and painless learning I can remember.”

“I really enjoyed Kelly leading the class. He has so much experience 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 is an excellent and organized teacher and the interaction with classmates was fun and a learning experience.”

“A safe environment. I was terrorized at first, but I hung in there.”

Kevin Slick (Louisville CO)

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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 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.”

“A consistently caring, warm and engaging atmosphere.”

“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)”

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

“Kevin is a very encouraging teacher. He provides an environment in which students of all levels feel comfortable exploring jamming.”

“What a magical and memorable experience!”

“Kevin and Terry's patience, humor and skills were hugely appreciated.”

Kristin Scott & Wayne Benson (Boiling Springs SC)

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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.

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

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

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

“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.”

Larry Kernagis (Mt. Juliet TN)

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Larry Kernagis was raised during the folk revival era of the 60s, cutting his chops on Flatt & 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.”

“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.”

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

“Larry made sure I felt comfortable and provided me with appropriate help and feedback to ensure I had a great time. I now wouldn't hesitate to jump in and jam.”

“A great camp. A good balance of comfort and challenge.”

“[Larry] was cheerful, supportive and encouraging throughout the weekend.”

“Larry was very quick to determine our skill level and proceed accordingly.”

“Larry was willing to point out our mistakes in a nice way. I also like that we worked on songs in several keys and went over them in order to make improvements.”

Leigh Nelson (Boiling Springs SC)

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Leigh Nelson came to bluegrass music in the 80s when friends were jamming and she wanted in on the fun. Leigh learned by ear and developed her skills at jam sessions and festivals. Most at home on her 5-string bass, she also plays guitar and mandolin. Combining her experience as corporate CEO in Arizona with her passion for jamming, Leigh has been an indispensable partner for her husband Gilbert Nelson at Wernick Method jam camps since 2011. Affectionately known as “General Leigh” at jam camps, she is adored as a seasoned and skilled teacher who treats everyone like family.

“Leigh serves all who attend with genuine pleasure and friendship.”

“Leigh made it fun and easy, a wealth of knowledge.”

“She put me at ease and got me across the finish line.”

“Leigh knows jamming, she’s da bomb!”

Len Lawhon (Olive Branch MS)

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Len Lawhon has been playing bluegrass and old-time music for over 30 years. He leads and plays mandolin for the old-time string band, Mulberry Jam and leads bluegrass and old-time music jams and performances around the Memphis area. He has sponsored many young musician talent reviews and produces several festivals including the Ranger Bluegrass Festival. Len and his wife Susan’s latest project is Music Meadow Arts at Aisling Farms, a music, arts and gardening camp on their farm in Olive Branch, MS whose mission is “to provide a beautiful rural retreat for musicians and artists to gather, learn and perform”.

“Len is the best music mentor I could have ever hoped for. I had no idea what I was doing and am naturally a bit shy, but from the beginning, Len saw my potential and immediately welcomed me into the bluegrass community and encouraged me.”

“I was really intimidated playing with others but Len really helped me so much!”

“Len has always made me feel welcome in any jam. And when the music is unfamiliar or difficult he encouraged me to stay and grow, knowing just what to do to take me to the next level.”

“Len is a good teacher and is a fun instructor!”

Leslie Dare & Susan West (Raleigh NC)

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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 at camps run by Pete and Joan Wernick, 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, including regular participation with the Raleigh chapter of the Handsome Ladies.

“Susan and Leslie's warm & welcoming teaching style helped me do something a little scary in each class which made me a better player.”

“The most enjoyable learning experience I have ever had.”

“I feel so much better equipped to jam now. Y’all are the best!”

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

“Susan West and Leslie Dare are the best group music instructors I've ever experienced. I went from feeling nervous/uncomfortable about taking breaks and improvising, to feeling confident and capable.”

“Leslie and Susan were so organized and helpful. They do a great job of gently urging a student to try something new. I learned a lot and had a great time.”

Liam Purcell (Deep Gap NC)

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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.”

Liberty Rucker (Worthington OH)

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Liberty Rucker

Lisa Brown Bushman (Alexandria VA)

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Lisa Brown Bushman has been singing and playing music by ear for as long as she can remember, and teaching and performing professionally since high school. She has played fiddle tunes since childhood and has performed in bluegrass bands in the DC area since 2005. Lisa has served as a church choir director for both adults and children, hosted workshops and coached slow bluegrass jams as well as giving private lessons on fiddle, mandolin, and piano. A respected songwriter, she was selected for the songwriter showcase at the International Bluegrass Music Association convention in Raleigh, NC in 2015.

“Lisa is a great instructor! She has many years of music experience both teaching and playing professionally. She has a way that simplifies the material and makes it easy to understand and learn.”

“Lisa was always patient and helped me work through challenges.”

“I always get to focus and receive positive reinforcement from this warm and knowledgeable teacher.”

“Lisa is an exceptional teacher. She has a sixth sense about how to challenge and encourage me at the same time. She always remains patient.”

Lydia Conway (Pablo MT)

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Lydia Conway plays fiddle, guitar and mandolin. Instilled with a passion for music at an early age, she is dynamic performer and a fun teacher. Studying classical violin early on led to a Master of Music degree from Colorado State University. Lydia left the classical world for the Colorado bluegrass scene, playing with Jeff Scroggins & Colorado and other groups. She has taught at bluegrass festivals and recently served as Educational Programming Director at the Omaha Conservatory of Music. Her new mission is to bring music into her new home in the valley of the Mission Mountains in Ronan, MT.

“Her pool of musical knowledge is deep: from music theory to the intricacies of bluegrass harmonies.”

“Her even and sunny disposition makes her a pleasure in the classroom, workshop, or the dusty parking lot of a late night jam session.”

“Lydia has not only been an incredible teacher over the years, but has also been an inspiring mentor as well.”

“She will no doubt make a difference in each student's life and I highly recommend her!”

Lynn Young (Buffalo WY)

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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!”

Maggie Moore (Huntington WV)

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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!”

“Maggie is kind, thoughtful, and a 4 star good musician.”

“Ms. Moore is quite a delightful teacher. She is smart, caring, intelligent.”

“She is fun, loves music, respectful, cares about people.”

“One of the best teachers I have ever had!”

Martin Gilmore (Englewood CO)

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Martin Gilmore is a bluegrass musician, multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter, and music educator based in Denver, Colorado. He is a founding member of the bluegrass band Long Road Home, an acclaimed solo performer, and band leader for The Martin Gilmore trio. He has performed all over the United States, as well as in Europe and Africa. He is also a highly respected music educator, teaching at Swallow Hill Music Association, the University of Denver Enrichment Program, and his own private studio. In 2017, he joined the faculty at the University of Northern Colorado teaching folk and bluegrass guitar.

“Martin has been a great teacher for me. Through his deep knowledge and love of bluegrass music he has been a mentor, a guide in helping me discover my own path.”

“Martin is a natural educator and experienced professional with standing in the world of music I love and want to be a part of. I trusted Martin and he delivered.”

“Martin is a natural educator and experienced professional with standing in the world of music I love and want to be a part of. I trusted Martin and he delivered.”

“Martin has the same patience and devotion teaching the beginning student as when he teaches the advanced student. In his classes all students get the opportunity to improve their skills and have a lot of fun in the process!!”

Matt Richardson (Lincoln NE)

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Matt Richardson Matt Richardson has played, performed and recorded music most of his life. His first love was rock guitar, playing in blues and rock bands before being drawn back to the country style of music he grew up with. He attended many Steve Hanson bluegrass camps and soon after his wife gifted him a banjo, was playing it in bluegrass bands. The couple own Blue Raven Music where Matt teaches banjo, guitar and bass and coaches folk and rock bands. He currently plays in three bands and continues to take lessons to learn different instruments.

“Matt puts students at ease and is good at being able to teach appropriately to their skill level.”

“I appreciate Matt's patient and encouraging approach as a teacher.”

“Matt is very good at making you feel like we're all just at different places in the same journey.”

“Matt provides me opportunities and skills that build my confidence in learning music.”

“Matt provides me opportunities and skills that build my confidence in learning music.”

“Matt and Jenny have the ability to work with participants at different levels of playing ability and somehow make us all sound good. They push participants to rise to another level, but not scare them out the door.”

“Non-intimidating, fun and knowledgeable, and positive support.”

“Jennie and Matt make a good team.”

Max Schwartz (South Miami FL)

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Max Schwartz is from Berkeley CA, currently attending the U. of Miami Frost School of Music on scholarship. He is acclaimed as both a bluegrass and jazz musician, having won the 2019 Rockygrass Banjo Competition and being a two-time member of the GRAMMY® Jazz Combo. He toured for three years with renowned bluegrass bandleader Laurie Lewis and now plays with the Stamps Jazz Quintet. Max has taught bass, banjo, fiddle, jamming, band skills, and more at bluegrass camps including the Walker Creek Music Camp, the California Bluegrass Association Youth Academy, and Fiddlekids.

“Max is truly exceptional. He is an incredibly positive and patient teacher. He has just the right touch of enthusiasm combined with sincerity. Max’s love of music comes through in his teaching.”

“He comes to a class with a plan, yet is facile and skilled enough to adapt/adjust his teaching methods to meet varying needs.”

“His enthusiasm was infectious and his knowledge boundless. He was a great teacher but more importantly, is a great guy who by nature goes the extra mile.”

“Max was knowledgeable, well-prepared, and patient with a very diverse group (experience-wise). Most of all, he was a lot of fun!”

Melissa Bragdon Caron (Scarborough ME)

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Melissa Bragdon Caron is a versatile fiddler and music teacher, classically trained and having studied music education. Since moving to Portland in 2003 she has been teaching and playing fiddle, including with the Jerks of Grass bluegrass band. Melissa helped develop the 317 Main Community Music Center in Yarmouth. In her 12 years there she created a curriculum focused on jamming, playing with others, and having fun. Melissa currently teaches at her home studio in Scarborough and co-directs the New Hampshire Fiddle Ensemble, a large group of all ages and skill levels learning and performing different styles of fiddle music.

“Melissa carries a vast knowledge of music and is easy to learn from. She lights a spark in her students that never leaves, and gave me countless opportunities to grow as a musician.”

“Melissa has a gift for teaching and playing music. She is patient, knowledgeable, encouraging and kind.”

“Melissa is incredibly talented, and gifted working with all ages. I always felt encouraged. She makes it easy, and most importantly, she makes it fun! Melissa is caring, enthusiastic, and delightful to be around.”

Michael Jockel (Alsbach-Hähnlein Germany)

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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 Jockel is always very positive and open to all questions. The explanations were also good.”

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

“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.”

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

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

Michelle Wallace (Prichard WV)

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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.”

Nate Schwartz and Grant Milliken (Los Angeles CA)

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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'.”

Pat Carine (Medway OH)

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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.

“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.”

“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.”

“Thanks for teaching me mandolin and introducing me your weekly jam session!”

“Pat has done a masterful job at creating a safe environment for us to learn in. Everyone in my groups has lead, played solos and sung a song.”

“Pat is a very good teacher and a good guy. He makes music lessons enjoyable. In jam sessions he promotes participation by all.”

“Pat has been teaching my son guitar and mandolin for 2 years. He is very accomodating and patient, and has become a friend and a mentor as well as a great teacher!”

“At age 52 with no musical experience, learning the banjo could be daunting but Pat has made the experience wonderful. He is very patient and makes it easy to relax and learn at my own pace, but most of all, he makes it fun!”

Paul Dube and Erin Dube (Pawtucket RI)

[Email Paul Dube and Erin]

Paul Dube 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.”

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

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

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

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

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

“This was the best class so far. I am actually singing at jams now.”

“I appreciate the thoughtfulness that Paul and Erin put into every minute of every class. They sincerely seem to love teaching.”

“An excellent class taught professionally by both Paul and Erin. Truly a thumbs up experience ...”

Peter Ruby (Prague Czech Republic)

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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.

“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.”

“.... 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.”

Petr Brandejs (Nový Jičín )

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Petr Brandejs has been voted Banjo Player of the Year three times in the Czech Republic. He now performs with the traditional Czech band Bluegrass Cwrkot, his own Petr Brandejs Band and blues-oriented local band Klika NJ Blues. He has produced three banjo instruction books (incl. recordings) in Czech and a Czech jamming DVD. Since 1995 Petr has organized over 50 workshops and taught in Norway, Slovenia, and Slovakia. He is a co-author of a bluegrass music program for kindergartens. He is also a chairman of the Czech 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!”

Pierre Bastide (Paris IdeF France)

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Pierre Bastide (aka ResoMan) has picked the banjo and dobro for many years and plays with Franco-américain, Silkwood, Pierre Bastide Syndicate, and other bands. He also enjoys playing swing, blues, country, old time 2-finger, 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."

“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.”

“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.”

Rex Kerbs (Auburn WA)

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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.”

Rick Sparks (Reno NV)

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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, with over 30 students currently under his wing in his home base of Reno, NV -- as well as traveling throughout the west and southwest presenting Wernick Method jam camps.

“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.”

“The most balanced class/workshop I have ever attended, with the right amount of teaching, playing, and material covered.”

“Our group "final" really showcased how everyone had improved and how much fun we all had.”

“It was a very positive experience that fully met my expectations.”

“I am learning a lot and most importantly having a good time. The instructor and assistant are enjoyable and patient which creates an atmosphere conducive to learning.”

Scott Hopkins (Delanson NY)

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Scott Hopkins grew up hearing bluegrass recordings in his home. At 15 he took up banjo and also joined the school band on tuba, fully immersing himself in the study of music. Scott received music education degrees from Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam and the University of Connecticut, winning the Crane Concerto Competition on tuba. Scott is a school band teacher and has continued to play banjo in bands in New York and Vermont. He currently performs with the Upstate Bluegrass Band and has released an acclaimed banjo recording, using his skills as composer, arranger, producer and engineer.

“Scott is an absolutely terrific musician, but he's an even better instructor!”

“Scott's teaching style was very relaxed and engaging. He ALWAYS took time to ensure that things were organized and directed toward an outcome. He has a natural ability to make you feel that you CAN accomplish the myraid of small challenges.”

“Scott kept things moving along at a comfortable pace.”

“Scott blends just the right amount of silly with serious to create a learning experience that’s thorough AND fun!”

“He was so sensitive, understanding and patient with a student who exhibited limited skills. He stayed with him, delicately pushed him, and truly helped this student believe in himself.”

“I didn't want the class to end!”

Sue Coulter (Alamosa CO)

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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 25 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.”

“Excellent class for us beginners who are often intimidated. Sue did an excellent job creating an atmosphere of acceptance and encouragement.”

Tom Behan (Slingerlands NY)

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Tom Behan teaches and performs in the Capital District area of Upstate NY and has been playing the guitar and banjo for over 40 years. He currently holds down the guitar and lead vocal spot with the High Peaks Bluegrass Band based in Saratoga Springs. Tom has been successfully teaching guitar and banjo to children and adults for over 20 years, including a Beginning Bluegrass Guitar Workshop at the Saratoga Library.

“I really liked Tom as a teacher. He's a great guitar player and singer as well.”

“I like Tom's positive upbeat attitude.”

“Tom was great. I have months worth of great material to work on, well fitted to my level.”

“A welcoming and enthusiastic person with a positive teaching style. His infectious passion for interesting music leaves me with handfuls of material to analyze and be inspired by.”

“Tom was friendly and flexible and provided a welcoming environment.”

Vera Vann-Wilson (Blue Diamond NV)

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

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

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

“The class has also allowed me to connect with the Las Vegas bluegrass community, which I had no idea existed!”