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Bluegrass Jam Camp

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Gilbert Nelson’s Basic/Early-Intermediate Jam Camp in Boomer, NC — using the Wernick Method* (just prior to Merlefest)

September 13-16, 2021

Monday – Thursday prior to MerleFest at the beautiful and spacious grounds of the Camp Harrison YMCA at Herring Ridge, 10 miles outside of Wilkesboro, NC.

7901 South NC Highway 18, Boomer NC 28606

Tuition: $425

$150 deposit holds your spot; 50% refundable for cancellations more than one month in advance.

In 2021 we will again present two concurrent camps:

Basic Bluegrass Jam Camp

is for novice through early intermediate jammers; a Wernick Method Jam Camp hosted by Gilbert Nelson.

Intermediate-Advanced Bluegrass Jam Camp

is for experienced jammers directed by Pete Wernick (limited to 50 students).


Both camps will run Monday-Thursday 9:15am-5:00 daily, in separate but close-by locations at Camp Harrison. Both camps’ students will have meals together and may arrange accommodations on-site (link coming soon).

Not sure which camp is right for you?

Basic Bluegrass Jam Camp

This is a Wernick Method Jam Camp directed by Gilbert Nelson for novices-early intermediates. To qualify: be able to change smoothly between 4 chords, G, C, D, A.

The Basic Jam Camp is comparable to elementary and middle school for bluegrass, with classroom-style instruction on jam skills and lots of time jamming in coached small groups, with instruction on instrument skills, by instrument.

If you don’t qualify for the Intermediate-Advanced camp, this camp is the one for you.

Intermediate-Advanced Bluegrass Jam Camp

This camp can be likened to high school/college for bluegrass.

QUALIFICATIONS

  • Be experienced at bluegrass jamming including following guitar chord changesBe able to play comfortably in the keys of G and D, and use the chord number systemBe able to sing in pitch and lead songs (“good voice” not required)Be willing / able to fake instrumental solos on most songs in G or D (except basses and rhythm-only guitars).
  • Be experienced at bluegrass jamming including following guitar chord changesBe able to play comfortably in the keys of G and D, and use the chord number systemBe able to sing in pitch and lead songs (“good voice” not required)Be willing / able to fake instrumental solos on most songs in G or D (except basses and rhythm-only guitars).

If you’re not sure if you qualify, write Pete regarding your skills in these areas.

Total Tuition = $425


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.

Gilbert’s students say:

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

“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.”

* Wernick Method Classes teach real bluegrass jamming!

  • All bluegrass instruments welcome
  • No jamming experience necessary
  • You will be jamming the first class!
  • Friendly, encouraging, knowledgeable teaching.
  • Gentle tempos! Mistakes expected!
  • Music reading not needed or used
  • Singing not required, but encouraged and taught.
  • Easy 2- and 3-chord songs, slow speeds.
  • Soloing not required! “Faking” solos taught.
  • Understanding, low-pressure, time-tested teaching
  • Intermediates welcome, and given added challenges
  • Hands-on learning in large and small groups
  • Learn many bluegrass standards
  • Full ground rules and etiquette of typical jams
  • How to lead songs and how to follow new songs
  • How to find melodies, fake solos, sing harmony
  • Ear skills taught and emphasized, as in real bluegrass
  • Group and individualized instruction on backup skills

Do you qualify? It’s easier than you may think!

If you play guitar, mandolin, banjo, fiddle, bass, or dobro… you can be part of a bluegrass jam.

Only requirements:

  • You must be able to tune your instrument (electronic tuning devices welcome) and
  • change smoothly between G, C, D, and A. (Fiddles and basses need to know which notes work with which chords)

For more info or to send payment in the mail, email office@letspick.org.

Click any photo to enlarge.

  • All Wernick Method classes/camps will be conducted either outdoors or in very well-ventilated indoor spaces.
  • Safe 6′ distancing at all times
  • Temperature screening of all participants upon arrival, followed by all washing hands
  • Prior disinfecting of common surfaces (doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, etc.)
  • Student materials (all paper) will not touched, except by just-washed hands, for at least 24 hours before distribution.
  • Anything handed from one participant to another (such as a borrowed tuner or capo) will be disinfected before transfer.
  • With these measures taken, we expect that all can relax and enjoy the class!

  1. […] is our original “flagship” jam camp, now restricted to experienced players. That camp and the Basic Bluegrass Jam Camp directed by Gilbert Nelson will run concurrently at YMCA Camp Harrison in Boomer, NC. The two camps […]

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