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Pete Wernick’s Level 2 Bluegrass Camp at Silver Bay

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Silver Bay, NY at the Silver Bay YMCA Conference Center

August 22-27, 2021

Previously scheduled for June 20-25, 2021.

Silver Bay is a large Y Camp and Conference Center, on Lake George in the Adirondacks. For info about the facility, activities, photos of accommodations, visit SilverBay.org.

Tuition: $450

Each student must submit either proof of COVID vaccination or a negative COVID test dated no earlier than August 18.

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

Though Silver Bay now has online booking options, if booking for Bluegrass Camp please instead call Silver Bay’s Reservations Team at 518-543-8415 for the favorable group rate. Rates include all meals. Call anytime and get a call back during business hours.

All Bluegrass Skills Taught

9am-12:30pm: Daily classes for banjo, guitar, fiddle, mandolin, dobro, bass…AND… Coached small jam groups, intermediate/advanced.

1:50-5pm: coaching on harmony singing (one coach per trio), classes on songwriting, basic music theory, practice “boot camp”, playing under pressure, stagecraft, and more!

Activities every evening: fiddle tune jam, open mics, karaoke, history, jamming, beautiful sunsets!

Organized Bands: $375 each member

For band members registering together, to work together as a band throughout the week: $75.00 off each member’s tuition. Bands will have opportunities to perform and get performance coaching including working with a sound system on stage (band lab), band cohesion, rehearsal guidance, band decision-making, “how to make a band work”.

Band members must first contact Pete as a group, for approval of the group members’ band discount, and then they can each register with the discount.

In 2021 we will have two concurrent camps:

Level 2 (this camp)Basic Camp
QualificationsExperience with bluegrass jamming; able to play in more than one key; able to follow guitar chord changes; willing/able to lead songs; know basic chord number system and jam etiquetteAbility to change chords smoothly between G, C, D, A (fiddlers and bass players: know which notes go with which chords)
TemposRanging over 100 beats/minute60-95 beats/minute
SingingSinging, more or less “in pitch”, is expected; harmony singing taught to those who can learn
and “hold” a harmony part most of the time
Please try!
SoloingWilling/able to fake passable solos. Melody-based solos are the standard, so we try for that; ability to locate melody notes is expected (exceptions: bass players and rhythm-only guitar players)Minimal “placeholder” soloing taught, and acceptable; more advanced soloing taught but not required
PerformingPerformance opportunity (expected but optional); some performance coaching; extra coaching available for bandsNo performing expected
Night ActivitiesOpen to participate in open mic and karaokeAttendance welcome at all nighttime activities
If you’re not sure if you qualify, write Pete regarding your skills in these areas.

Both camps will run Sunday-Friday 9:15am-5:00 daily, in separate but close-by locations at Silver Bay. Both camps’ students will have meals together and may arrange accommodations on-site.


We are sometimes able to grant scholarships for some or all of tuition and possible housing allowance, according to financial need. Grants depend on contributions to the Silver Bay Bluegrass scholarship fund. 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.

Silver Bay YMCA Conference Center

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.

Silver Bay Camp Video #1

Watch this video of our 2015 camp! With many thanks to the French filmmaker and banjo player Antoine Porteaux who attended the camp as part of a U.S. bluegrass tour originating in Paris. The film starts with the Europeans’ travel to Silver Bay, and the part about the camp starts at 2:03.

Silver Bay Camp Video #2

Want to know more about the Silver Bay instructors? Here they are in concert, featuring There Ain’t Nobody Going to Miss Me When I’m Gone, Golden Slippers, Why You Been Gone So Long, Blue Moon of Kentucky, Lay That Pistol Down, Sitting on Top of the World, mandolin duets and more!

Comments from recent camps:

“High quality instructors.”
“Great place for a camp like this!!!”
“Awesome location!!!”
“Thank you for a terrific week at Silver Bay. Your faculty was all top notch.”
“A wonderful experience! The camaraderie was palpable!”
“The small jams were challenging and empowering, a big confidence boost for me.”
“The mixed instrument, jam opportunity and performance experience were invaluable. Likewise student population was great, helpful and fun, a major part of the success.”
“I have been waiting to start playing real bluegrass with people for quite a while, and now I can.”
“Our 13 year-old son got more out of it than I ever expected. Bob Amos’ guitar class was outstanding and really helped my son and I break out of a rut we had been in.”
“One of the best musical experiences of my life. The camp gave me knowledge, experience and laughs for a lifetime.”
“I do not believe I have ever been to any type of class where the instructor made learning so easy and so much fun.”
“An incredible experience… a depth of knowledge on the subject beyond just technique, including the history, etiquette, and flavor of the genre.”
“I had a wonderful time at the Silver Bay camp. I like your idea of a program that focuses on entire bands. Thanks for a great experience.”
“This is so much more fun than sitting on the couch playing alone.”
“I have never had so much valuable information and real teaching in such a short period of time.”
“I came to jam camp new on my instrument (mandolin), and intimidated. By the end I was pretty comfortable. I started checking out different jams in my area, and now often go to at least 2 a week. The more I play, the better I get, and the more fun I have. I’ve made great new friends” — Marion, MA
“Pete Wernick is a master teacher with decades of experience in promoting and advancing bluegrass education at all levels. His methods seriously address the fact that most pickers quit while still at a beginning level due to the use of ineffective materials and methods. His approach quickly leads one to becoming an independent and successful learner. Pete’s camps could be thought of as bluegrass “boot camps” because they are skill based, experience based and intensive. The camps involve a lot of challenging and enjoyable group work.”
“You have had a major impact in my life. Our social network now is mostly musicians, wonderful people my wife and I would have never met if I hadn’t gotten out of the closet and attended your Jam Camp in 2006.” — Jim, NC
“The information that I learned will help set me on the path that I am looking for. I learned more than I have in three years at fiddle camp.” — Lynn, CO
“The jam camp I attended was a true treasure. It changed my life for the better. I was able tonight to walk in, ‘cold tukey’, and sit in with the featured band at a Bluegrass society meeting. Before your workshop I had never even tried to play in public.” — Richard, KY
“I truly am happy that I have been able to attend your camps and never expected to be in this position to enjoy playing so much.” — Jim, NC

Click any photo to enlarge.

Tentative Schedule

The schedule shown here is based on recent years’ schedules and is sure to incorporate some changes.

Sunday 8/22 Monday 8/23 Tuesday 8/24 Wednesday 8/25 Thursday 8/26 Friday 8/27
(Optional:) Early bird jams all welcome, start whenever, end at 9. 8:45 YouTube bluegrass highlights
9:00 Camp assembly every day 9-9:30 discuss options for the day, maybe sing
9:30 All Play music Instrument classes by instrument 9:30-10:50am
11:00 Small groups jam 11-12:30
12:30 BREAK (lunch served till 1)

2:00 1:50-2:50pm Harmony instruction/coaching or slow jam
3:00 3-4pm Optional simultaneous classes: Songwriting/practice drill “boot camp”/slow jam/specialized instrument classes; optional topics requested by students
4:00 check in 4:10 Band lab (performance, rehearsal factors)/coached small group jams
6:00 dinner
7:00 Optional meet and greet, orientation about the Silver Bay site, informal jamming in Auditorium. Please bring tuition balance during this time or Monday at 8:45; check or cash only – no credit cards but there is an ATM on site. Early evening options: Bluegrass movies/history, open mic, slow jam, etc.
7:30 7:30-8:30 Sat.
faculty band
Open mic 7:15 Vespergrass 7:15 Student warmup concert Concert — variety show featuring faculty; open to public
8:00 History talk: Golden Era

family time, wi-fi time, practice, jam, chill
  • 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.
  • 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!

50% of your deposit refundable on request if you cancel more than one month in advance.

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