Our Team

Pete Wernick, aka “Dr. Banjo”

Niwot, CO

The leader of our operation is Pete Wernick, renowned worldwide for his accomplishments and contributions to bluegrass music: the hot-picking force in several trend-setting bands including Hot Rize, innovative teacher and author, songwriter, and long-term President of the International Bluegrass Music Association.

Always active in the teaching of banjo and bluegrass, Pete was the original pioneer of bluegrass music camps in the early 1980s. Having since taught about 200 camps in about half of the U.S. states and three other countries, he continues to host several per year.

In 2010, he launched the Wernick Method of teaching bluegrass jamming which as of 2020 has certified teachers offering classes in 46 states and 11 countries.

Read Pete’s full bio.

Leslie Dare

Wernick Method Office Manager
Raleigh, NC

Leslie manages the administrative, business, and technical aspects of the Wernick Method operation. She attended her first Wernick Method camp in 2015, and has since become a Wernick Method teacher. She assumed the Office Manager role in 2019, and also handles the technical elements of Pete’s Dr. Banjo website.

Leslie plays guitar, is learning mandolin, and enjoys singing harmony.

Susan West

Assistant to Pete Wernick
Nashville, NC

Susan handles communications and social media for the Wernick Method and Dr. Banjo organizations, a role she’s held since January 2020. She attended her first Wernick Method jam camp in 2014, and now is a Wernick Method instructor

She still goes to camp, too! Susan plays mandolin and bass, can substitute for the guitar player when needed, and loves to sing.

Our Wernick Method Teachers

Gilbert Nelson teaching a jam group
IBMA, Raleigh, NC, 2019

Ira Gitlin taught our first class in October 2010, and since then more than 100 teachers have been certified, teaching more than 10,500 students in over 950 classes.

These are the folks make it all happen, who are out on the front lines teaching students and fostering a love for bluegrass. Many are professional musicians who manage to host camps in between gigs and winning awards. Others have carved out a niche in their teaching studios. And still others are former students who have managed to become teachers themselves. All of them have been certified in the Wernick Method by Pete himself.

If you haven’t yet, be sure to take a look at our roster — it’s an impressive bunch!

Interested in getting certified? Check out the details; it’s fairly straightforward and we’re always looking for enthusiastic teachers.