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Basic/Early Intermediate Jam Camp

August 25, 2024 August 30, 2024 EDT

Taught by Harry Gambrill using the Wernick Method

Silver Bay, NY at the Silver Bay YMCA Conference Center

87 Silver Bay Road, Silver Bay NY 12874

Tuition: $490

$10 off through April 25. $150 deposit holds your spot; 50% refundable for cancellations more than one month in advance. You will be sent the full set of of student materials as soon as you register.

Assisted by Tom Behan

In 2024 we will have two concurrent camps:

Qualifications Basic/Early-Intermediate (this camp) Level 2, directed by Pete Wernick
Overall Ability to change chords smoothly between G, C, D, A (or the notes that work on bass and fiddle) Ample experience with bluegrass jamming; able to solo in more than one key; able to follow guitar chord changes; willing/able to lead songs; experienced using the basic chord number system and jam etiquette
Tempos 60-95 beats/minute Ranging over 100 beats/minute (if not sure you can handle that speed for soloing, please check)
Singing Please try! Song leading is especially valued Ability to sing generally melodies accurately is expected. Harmony singing is taught daily to those who can learn and usually “hold” a harmony part
Soloing Minimal “placeholder” soloing taught, and acceptable; more advanced soloing taught but not required Willing/able to fake passable solos in more than one key (exceptions: bass players and rhythm-only guitar players). Melody-based solos are the standard, so we try for that; ability to find melody notes by ear is expected.

Please carefully assess your qualifications to determine which camp is most suitable. If you’re not sure, write to Pete regarding your skills in these areas. We reserve the right to re-assign students between camps as needed.

Activities Basic/Early-Intermediate (this camp) Level 2 Camp
Performing No performing expected Performance opportunity (expected but optional); some performance coaching; extra coaching available for bands
Night Activities Attendance welcome at all nighttime activities Open to participate in open mic and karaoke
Hours Both camps will have the same hours. Sunday evening following dinner is an informal kickoff get-together for all. Classes and coached jamming run Monday-Friday 9-5 daily, in separate but close-by locations at Silver Bay. Both camps’ students will have meals together and may arrange accommodations on-site together.

The Level 1 camp is lower challenge than the Level 2 camp (this camp) in levels of skill and speed, allowing an experienced player to take a more prominent role in the Level 1 jam groups. Experienced jammers are sometimes grouped together. We accept students for the Level 1 camp while on a waitlist for Level 2. If a Level 2 slot opens, they can switch camps.


Stately 700-acre Y Camp on the shores of Lake George, est. 1902

For accommodations reservations, call 518-543-8415 or email reservations@silverbay.org.

Call any time… Your message left will get a callback during the next business hours. The Silver Bay reservations team will help you with housing choices and all info. Room/meal deals start at a little over $100/day; the least expensive options are reserved quickly so call soon!

87 Silver Bay Road
Silver Bay, NY 12874 United States
+ Google Map
View Venue Website


We are sometimes able to grant scholarships for some or all of tuition and possible housing A scholarship is available for a bass player for the Level 2 camp, or for any instrument in the Level 1 camp. It covers full tuition and about half of housing/meal expense. People under 25 and service veterans are especially encouraged to apply. To donate or apply, write to Pete.

Applicants should give their age, instrument(s) played, and experience and goals in bluegrass, and a short statement of their financial need. Applications must be received by June 22 and applicants will be notified by June 27.

Ridley Park, PA

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 was a helpful and encouraging teacher, even though I am a rank beginner.”
“Harry is an excellent teacher. He exudes a true love for bluegrass music.”
“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 wonderful experience. I would highly recommend Harry’s class to anyone trying to learn the basics of bluegrass jamming.”
“Great class…very challenging, but fun!”
“A great musical experience!”

Slingerlands, NY

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.

“Tom was friendly and flexible and provided a welcoming environment.”
“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 great. I have months worth of great material to work on, well fitted to my level.”
“I really liked Tom as a teacher. He’s a great guitar player and singer as well.”
“I like Tom’s positive upbeat attitude.”
87 Silver Bay Road
Silver Bay, NY 12874 United States
+ Google Map
View Venue Website


Tuition: $490

$10 off through April 25. $150 deposit holds your spot; 50% refundable for cancellations more than one month in advance. You will be sent the full set of of student materials as soon as you register.

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