5,000 Wernick Method Students

5000Banjo player Laura Stabler completed her bluegrass jamming class October 15, becoming the 5,000th graduate of Wernick Method jam classes. Her instructor, Gilbert Nelson, who has taught the most Wernick Method classes of any of its teachers worldwide, commented, “I love helping jammers come out of the closet.”

Pete “Dr. Banjo” Wernick’s method emphasises the fun and social rewards of informal bluegrass jamming. Developed over decades of teaching, the method cultivates ear and memory skills with no music reading, as musicians play bluegrass standards at gentle speeds in small groups. The classes, held across the United States, Europe and Australia, impart jam skills as well as jam etiquette. Teaching is geared to a range of levels, from experienced pickers to novices who qualify by knowing four chords.

Wernick comments, “Our student surveys tell us overwhelmingly that the method works. We often hear words to the effect: ‘The class has changed my life, and I only wish I’d had this kind of teaching from the start.’ So we are looking to help brand new pickers and would ­be pickers of any age. Some people come with instruments that haven’t been played for years.”

He adds, “So many students play almost entirely by themselves and lose interest, but we know bluegrass is a team sport, so we get them together. Our teachers love seeing them having fun and encouraging each other to make breakthroughs. In our first six years we’ve had over 500 classes in over 40 states and 10 countries, and we are always looking to involve more teachers and more students.”
About the Wernick Method

Pete Wernick created the Wernick Method as an efficient way to teach bluegrass jamming. Since 2010 he has certified over 100 teachers, training them in all aspects in offering weekly jam classes in their communities, and jam camps nationwide.

Quorn South Australia 2016

imgp4255We enjoyed a full house at the Quorn Jam Camp this year. The camp was held at the Austral Hotel in the heart of beautiful historic Quorn at the foot of the magnificent Flinders Ranges.

Friday evening jam-campers were treated to a dinner at the Austral Hotel where everyone met, many for the first time, while others caught up from last year.

Our aim is to teach you how to play with others in a bluegrass jam by building a greater degree of confidence in your own playing. This year’s  feedback forms (below)demonstrate the success of our program.

What students said of 2016 Quorn Jam Camp:

  • As a result of this jam camp, I am so much more keen to learn an appropriate-for-me banjo; maybe the mandolin and even to develop a bluegrass quartet- singing acapella. Thank you for your time, effort, and interest in encouraging me and more people to enjoy the world of bluegrass music.
  • Overall a very rewarding experience, a bit daunting at first, out of my comfort zone initially, but after I grasped the principles it was a great learning experience. It gave me the chance to learn a new style of music and to meet other people that liked Bluegrass music. To jam for a three day weekend with these like minded people was great.
  • I will look forward to attending more of these Jamcamps. The skills learned at these are useful in many more ways than are immediately apparent.
  • There is definitely a feeling of community growing among Wernick Method Jamcampers and the community building exercises of Inclusiveness , encouragement, communication and participation are naturally going to benefit other aspects of participants lives. Thanks again for fostering these great life skills.
  • I had a good time even though I couldn’t play very well. The weekend is all about meeting people and having fun for me.
  • Thoroughly enjoyed the camp. Only downside was the main room being too small and having to finish early to set the tables up for dinner service. A different venue might work better.
  • Very worthwhile experience Will seriously consider attending again in 2017

For many, the jam camp was their first experience in playing with others. The Wernick Method that we teach ensures that everyone can take part at their own level and enjoy playing a variety of bluegrass songs with others regardless of that level.

Thanks for the weekend must go to local Sue Tulloch who, with generous funding from Country Arts South Australia, arranged the weekend for us all.

Dates for next year’s jam camp are already set for 8th to 10th September 2017.

About Quorn:

The township of Quorn held a variety of surprises with its many historic buildings, several of which are now catering businesses. We enjoyed lunch at Emily’s Bistro once the local emporium.

The old railway station and museum also features the Pichi Richi a heritage steam railway. This railway from Port Augusta through the Pichi Richi Pass to Quorn opened in 1879, and was part of the first stage of the Great Northern Railway that was intended to link Port Augusta with Darwin. “The Ghan” name originated in Quorn in 1923 when the Great Northern Express was dubbed The Afghan Express by railwaymen. The line finally reached Alice Springs in 1929.

 

2016 South Australian Jam Camp

Quorn Jam Camp 2016
After a very successful 2015 jam camp in South Australia we have just put on sale The South Australian jam camp for 2016 which will be held in Quorn.

The 2016 jam camp in South Australia is scheduled to run from (arriving Thu 25th Aug) Friday 26th to Sunday 28th August 2016.

The $250.00 registration fee covers all tuition, handouts, shared accommodation and includes all meals.


JAM CAMP UPDATE – Only four spots left.


Visit the sign up page now to enrol.

Music Stand Dependance

MusicStands

ABC Sunshine Coast: Harriet Tatham

In teaching people to jam using the Wernick Method we try to persuade people to either learn the music or better still follow someone who does know the music by following the guitar players chords. This requires learning to recognise the shapes of those chords on the guitar fretboard.

Music stands become a barrier between yourself and other players in a jam session and to the audience on stage.

The photo in this post shows what happens when you become dependant on reading words and music from a book while jamming or performing. Here the entire band has their nose stuck in a music book and thus has no connection with the audience.

This photo was taken at a recent Ukulele Music Festival on the Sunshine Coast by Harriet Tatham.  You can read the article on the ABC Website.

Perth Jam Camp

IMGP3496We have arranged to host a two weekend jam camp in Western Australia next year. The venue is Mattie Furphy House in Swanbourne WA.

Thanks to the Ed Lowe and Leanne Reid from Fremantle pickers group who have helped us find and arrange the venue.

The camp will be non-residential to help cut costs and run over two weekends from the 12th – 13th, and 19th – 20th March 2016.

Bookings for the event will open shortly and numbers are limited. Keep tabs on this website for updates.

Wernick Method Makes the Nashville Scene.

Wernick Method Instructor Jeff Burke has just commenced his sixth class at the Station Inn, a world-famous bluegrass performance venue in downtown Nashville. The classes have been very successful, often selling out. And now comes a lengthy, impressively detailed article about jamming, Jeff’s classes, and the Wernick Method, just published in the Nashville Scene. Here is an excerpt:

The bluegrass jam circle is a remarkable cultural product. Through and through, the bluegrass community is dedicated to accessibility and participation. There are few other genres where you can anticipate a large chunk of the crowd at a show being proficient in one, if not most, of the instruments onstage. It’s due both to this community and the structural simplicity of the music that bluegrass has such a vigorous jam culture. Fans have a relatively easy time meeting one another and learning enough on an instrument to be able participate in the enormously social experience of the bluegrass world.

Sadly though, many bluegrass fans wind up in what’s known as the “closet-picker” trap. The music moves them enough to learn an instrument, maybe even to seek out a teacher — but for shyness or lack of access, they never tap into the resources to learn to play with other fans. Relegating bluegrass to alone time in your living room is a tragedy on par with doing the same thing to swing dancing or Scrabble. It’s just not built for that.

Relegating bluegrass to alone time in your living room when you live in Nashville, Tenn., however, is a tragedy of proportions that exceed easy comparison. Nowhere else in the world can you find such a wealth of resources to participate in bluegrass.
Jeff Burke is a local teacher who leads group classes based on a method developed by internationally renowned bluegrass teacher Pete Wernick. He compares playing music by yourself to boxing against a punching bag: “Ultimately people always aspire to do it in person, in the moment. It’s what lights up the experience.” Burke’s jam classes bring about 15 students together to practice the fundamentals of playing in groups. Week by week students learn to play backup, signal others to take solos, and give the cue to end a song — all the connective tissue to make a jam flow that’s lost when your learning and playing stay private – Nashville Scene.

Read the full article on the Nashville Scene Website.

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