What is the Wernick Method?

We’re teaching real bluegrass jamming… in your area — with people like you!

Closet pickers, this is for you!

Our mission is to address the general lack of teaching bluegrass jam skills. Our classes have been launching jammers for years, all over the U.S. and overseas! 

Jamming is

Jamming is

Pete Wernick’s inventive and time-tested method harnesses students’ natural wish to play music in a small group setting. With basic skills and good guidance, students start making music and having fun — almost immediately. Your Wernick Method teacher will show you the ropes of a bluegrass jam session, fitting in at your own ability level.

To learn an instrument, it’s best to start with simple accompaniment for songs, following easy chords. That establishes good rhythm — the essential foundation for good soloing which must be established first — for “soloing success”.

All bluegrass instruments,
all skill levels welcome.

  • Hands-on learning in large and small groups
  • Understanding, low-pressure, experienced teaching by your Wernick Method certified teacher.
  • Experienced jammers are given extra challenges and can sometimes be grouped together

Make music with friends, make friends with music!


  • Gentle tempos! Mistakes expected
  • Full ground rules and etiquette of typical jams
  • Learn many bluegrass standards.
  • How to follow new songs without a printed page
  • How to find melodies, fake solos, carry a tune, sing harmony
  • How to lead songs and find the best key for singing/playing
  • Ear skills taught and emphasized, as in real bluegrass
  • Group and individualized instruction on backup skills
  • All students receive JAM Songbook


  • No jamming experience necessary!
  • Only four chords required to enroll: G, C, D, and A  (or the notes that work on bass and fiddle)
  • Tab/note reading skills not needed or used
  • Students must be able to tune their instrument (electronic tuners welcome)


See the Essentials of the Wernick Method that are followed by all certified teachers.

Comments from recent jam campers:

“Just wanted to tell you how much your classes have meant to my wife and me. We play together most nights, always songs with harmonies, and we’ve been playing with other campers and other players at our local Wernick Method teacher’s classes. The class two years ago totally transformed her as a singer.”

“Students have to see success quickly in order to be motivated to continue. This method does just that. It gives students a basic starting point and they are able to keep adding to what they learned previously. As an educator I know that success is the number one motivator and Pete’s method is designed for success.”

“It was great fun and I for sure got a lot out of it. I’m about to throw out a good portion of my tablature library and use my ears!”

“My Wernick Method teacher changed my life. Not a statement to be taken lightly, to be sure. But he convinced/made me lead a song and sing in public for the first time ever. This was a really powerful experience and changed my view of myself. I’ve played guitar every single day since then because I remain so inspired by this experience.”

“The organizer said loudly in front of the whole jam after a song I led – ‘Oh man – that was great.  I don’t know how much you are paying for that jam camp but it is worth every cent!’.  When I was ending a tune and called out “five” to signal the tag, the organizer was very impressed that I did that and asked if I had learned that at camp.”

“I have been waiting to start playing real bluegrass with people for quite a while, and now I can.”

“There was a lot packed into those few days… the excitement of learning to jam with others, making real live honest-to-bluegrass music, and getting to know some really wonderful and supportive people.”

“I feel that it is the beginning of a whole new world for me.”

“It was a beautiful thing to see Pete’s clear pleasure at a group of learners singing harmony for the first time, or a musician taking their first out-of-the-closet solo.”

“Pete Wernick, a.k.a. Dr. Banjo, is a fine musician and a fine teacher, able to keep forty people interested and on track while staying very relaxed. Chris and I enjoyed ourselves thoroughly, we learned a lot from our time there, and we plan on returning next year.”
— Rick Saenz (2003 MerleFest Jamcamper)
Read the entire report of a jam camper dad and son’s experiences

Many more jam camper comments