Should I start with jam class versus lessons or a class specializing in my instrument?

A Wernick Method jam class or camp is the ideal first step for any new bluegrass musician, providing all that’s needed to play with others, including the presence of other learning pickers. With just a few chords, a new player can participate, playing real bluegrass in a slow-speed student jam. Learning to make music in a small circle is top priority — everything is built on playing real songs with correct timing and chords, at first keeping simple rhythm and building from there. We teach many of the main skills — rhythm technique on your instrument, finding melodies and learning new songs on the fly — vital skills instilled when playing in a small group, all monitored by your teacher or a coach.

These are all skills that can be taught to a roomful of people playing different instruments, so some instrumental skills are taught even with a mix of instruments present.

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Are discounts available?

Sometimes. Each teacher decides what discounts will be available, so check the class/camp page.

Typical discounts are for early registration, for returning students, or sometimes (to improve instrument balance) for students playing certain instruments such as bass or fiddle. If a prospective student feels a discount is needed for them to attend, we suggest contacting the teacher to make the request.

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Can I get a refund if I have to cancel?

Our general policy is that you are entitled to a 50% refund of your deposit if you cancel at least one month in advance. However, each teacher has the option to offer a different policy. Either the default policy or the teacher’s policy is stated on each class page. If you have questions about what policy is in place for your class, please contact us at office@letspick.org for clarification.

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What if there is a waitlist?

When a class or camp has reached capacity, you will see a prominent notice along the lines of “this class is full, get on the waitlist.” We encourage you to complete the waitlist form. Teachers are sometimes able to make adjustments at the class location to accommodate more students than originally planned, so knowing of your interest is very helpful. Of course, spots may open due to cancellations.

For the sake of instrument balance in the class’s small jams, sometimes certain instruments are capped, with a waitlist for that instrument. A student who is able and willing to play a different (not-capped) instrument in the small group jams may then register, playing that other instrument. When the class plays all together, or if there are breakout groups by-instrument, students may play the instrument of their choice.

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Do I have to play solos?

Most attendees come with no or limited ability to take solos. Many only know solos they have learned by rote from a teacher, a tab or video. It’s common that these folks may have some trouble doing those solos in a jam. The Wernick Method prefers to teach soloing with a combination of “keeping single notes going with the right hand while the left hand follows the chords…. along with separate teaching of “how to guess at the melody on the fly, with missed notes sounding OK”. Over time, these skills yield believable on-the-fly solos that may come out different each time — but include melody and follow the chords. Memorized solos are welcome though not always possible in jams, and the ability to *fake* a solo is what we consider the more useful focus.

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What are the qualifications for Level 2 Wernick Method Camps (at MerleFest, Silver Bay and others)?

  • Be experienced at bluegrass jamming, including following guitar chord changes easily
  • Be able to play comfortably in the keys of G and D, use the chord number system, and understand capo use.
  • Be able to jam comfortably at “intermediate” speeds (100 beats/minute or more)
  • Be able to sing reasonably 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 who don’t aspire to play guitar solos)
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How do I pay the balance due?

All payments for the balance due should be made to the teacher. Your teacher will contact you to confirm the amount due, and acceptable methods of payment. Some teachers take only cash or check, and others can take credit cards. Some teachers will ask you to pay the balance prior to the start of the class/camp, others will collect the balance the first day of the class/camp.

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What’s included in the price?

The price is for class tuition only — unless otherwise noted on the class page. Lodging and meals are generally on your own. Upon registration a welcome email with attached PDF of student materials (15-20 pages) is sent to each student. At the first meeting of the class or camp, your teacher will distribute hard copies of the same materials. Additionally, all new Wernick Method students who don’t yet have one will receive a JAM Songbook at no cost, which is a wonderful resource. (JAM Songbooks are not provided to returning students, or at free classes.)

For multi-day camps, meals and accommodations are generally separate expenses but check the information on each camp page. JAM Songbooks and other learning materials are also available for purchase online.

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