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Bluegrass Jam Camp

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Taught by Larry Kernagis using the Wernick Method*

St. Louis, MO at the Holiday Inn Express St. Louis Airport – Maryland Heights

13615 Riverport Dr, Maryland Heights, MO 63043

June 4-6, 2021

Friday 6-9:30pm; Saturday 9am-5pm; Sunday 9am-2pm

Tuition: $250

$25 discount for Larry’s returning students! $50 deposit holds your spot; 50% refundable for cancellations more than one month in advance.

Special room rate $83/night, good through May 4. Call 636-493-8333, use code WJC – Wernick Jam Camp, or book online.

All Wernick Method camps this summer will be conducted either outdoors or in very well-ventilated indoor spaces.

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’s students say:

“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.”

* 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.

  • We welcome you to register and promptly receive 18 pages of useful student materials, with access to video playlist of 116 jam favorites and great ways to work on jam skills!
  • If dates of this class change, we will promptly update this page and notify all registrants to switch their registration if the new dates work for them. If they don’t work a full refund will be given.
  • Deposits fully refundable on request until 7 days pre-class — a change from our usual policy.
  • Watch our class listing, always updated, and go here to be notified of future classes.

2 Responses

  1. Sharon
    | Reply

    Hi Larry,
    I am wondering if a total newbie, non musical person would benefit from your camp class? I want to learn to play the mandolin but darn it sure seems I don’t have a musical bone in my body.
    I have trouble learning strictly from the books and got discouraged. I took a class last year but there were more intermediates in it and I was a total beginner. I never did get caught up and was humiliated each week because I couldn’t keep up. I stuck it out to the end but it was awful.
    Do you have any recommendations?

    • Leslie Dare
      | Reply

      Sharon, I’m providing responses from both Larry Kernagis and Pete Wernick. I hope you find this information helpful. Please let us know if you have further questions.

      My own story: I was a brand-new guitar player about 6 years ago, and could just play the basic chords. But that was enough to participate in my first camp and have a blast, in addition to learning a lot.

      Leslie Dare, Manager
      Wernick Method Office


      Hi Sharon,

      Thanks for asking. What I usually tell people who are beginners is that my class is intended for all levels. We meet people where they’re at in terms of ability and take them to the next level. The folks that we normally attract to our jam camps are very patient and we establish a learning community wherein everybody learns from each other. No need to be embarrassed or intimidated.our motto is “dare to suck”. Mistakes are expected. That’s how we learn.

      All you need to know is how to play a G, C, D and A chord on your instrument and we can make music together. I guarantee you’re going to love it.

      Larry Kernagis



      The Wernick Method assumes that if you can play a G chord, a C, a D and an A chord, you will be able to jam.

      Fortunately for a mandolin player, all 4 of those chords can be played with just 2 fingers. We believe in keeping the music simple and easy enough so people can start having fun *immediately* in their class… and those 4 chords are our only requirements. As the class goes along, other challenges will be introduced for those ready. The class will include a mix of levels, but we make sure the beginners like yourself are not overwhelmed, by finding common ground (3 chord songs, that are so popular in bluegrass) that everyone can deal with (including intermediates who are given extra challenges on what to do with those 4 chords).

      The teacher of this class, Larry Kernagis, is a gentle and friendly person who has taught *lots* of complete beginners, and will make sure you have the guidance you need. As a way to get a feel for the playing that will happen in the class, I recommend you get a copy of our Slow Jam for the Total Beginner, a 2-hour video that will guide you through 17 standards, all using only those same 4 chords. When you play along with those songs, you’ll get a good workout that will prepare you for what you’ll be dealing with in the class.

      There’s no shame in being a “non-musical person”, without “a musical bone in my body”. Fortunately those are very temporary conditions! With well-placed, experienced guidance, you will be jamming in the first session — just as we advertise!


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