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Thread: Tell me about Wernick Method Jam Camp

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    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Tell me about Wernick Method Jam Camp

    I am considering signing up for one of these weekend camps that is in late summer and only about an hour from my house (I would not commute).

    I started playing at the beginning of covid and have had very little opportunity to play with other people (just with my brother, who plays guitar, a couple of times). As my self confidence is not that great, I'd like to dip my toe into this area in a learning environment.

    Rhythm playing is a weak area for me, though I've been working on it lately.

    The brochure says: Only requirements: You must be able to tune your instrument (electronic tuning devices welcome) and change smoothly between G, C, D, and A.

    Will 2 finger chords suffice, or should I immediately start working on more complex fingerings if I decide to do this?

    Any other thoughts welcome.
    Last edited by Sue Rieter; Jun-26-2022 at 4:21pm. Reason: punctuation
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    Default Re: Tell me about Wernick Method Jam Camp

    Quote Originally Posted by Sue Rieter View Post
    I am considering signing up for one of these weekend camps that is in late summer and only about an hour from my house (I would not commute).

    I started playing at the beginning of covid and have had very little opportunity to play with other people (just with my brother, who plays guitar, a couple of times). As my self confidence is not that great, I'd like to dip my toe into this area in a learning environment.

    Rhythm playing is a weak area for me, though I've been working on it lately.

    The brochure says: Only requirements: You must be able to tune your instrument (electronic tuning devices welcome) and change smoothly between G, C, D, and A.

    Will 2 finger chords suffice, or should I immediately start working on more complex fingerings if I decide to do this?

    Any other thoughts welcome.
    I've never heard anything bad about these camps. If someone had a bad experience, I'm sure they would post about it.
    If you have questions, you can ask: https://wernickmethod.org/faqs#tab-n...qs#tab-notsure

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    Default Re: Tell me about Wernick Method Jam Camp

    The open (full four string) chords here are a piece of cake. Only A (in certain forms) requires more than 2 fingers, and can be played 2 2 0 0 (or 2 2 4 0, or 2 2 4 5). G: 0 0 2 3; C: 0 2 3 0; d: 2 0 0 2. You got this!

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    Default Re: Tell me about Wernick Method Jam Camp

    According to the Wernick Method descriptions and comments I’ve read if you can play the most rudimentary G, C, D and A chords and move between them you’ll get a lot from the Wernick camps.
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    Default Re: Tell me about Wernick Method Jam Camp

    Sue, I sent this to Pete Wernick, ie., Dr. Banjo (yes, he has a Ph.D.). His reply:

    Here's my answer which you're welcome to post on my behalf:

    <<The brochure says: Only requirements: You must be able to tune your instrument (electronic tuning devices welcome) and change smoothly between G, C, D, and A.

    Will 2 finger chords suffice, or should I immediately start working on more complex fingerings if I decide to do this?>>

    Sue,
    2 finger chords would suffice, but no doubt you're well-advised to try the full 4-finger chop chords, since in time you'd want to use them -- when possible -- as your skills develop. Also, it's a good idea to try to find simple melodies by ear in the key of G or D. Good chording and finding melodies by ear are fundamental skills that you'll get to work on at the camp.

    But bottom line, as long as you can handle G, C, D, and A (2 finger chords OK), you are qualified to be part of the camp. You'll get plenty of chances to play "actual real" bluegrass music by following along with the right chords, keeping rhythm. You'll learn an easy way to fake solos, and be encouraged to sing (though that's not required). When you register, you'll be given some ideas about how to prepare.

    We've helped literally thousands of new jammers and our method is designed for success, no matter what skill level you have to start. Hope you can make it!

    Pete Wernick

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    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tell me about Wernick Method Jam Camp

    All good input, especially via our Fearless Leader above.

    I'm also interested in comments from anyone who's actually been to one of these.
    "To be obsessed with the destination is to remove the focus from where you are." Philip Toshio Sudo, Zen Guitar

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    Default Re: Tell me about Wernick Method Jam Camp

    A friend of mine teaches at Wernick's Merlefest Camp. I have been to several weekend camps he has put on, some of them before Wernick asked him to help at the camp. If the rest of the Wernick camps are like what he puts on you will be happy that you went. It covers jamming skills, how to fit into the mix and encourages all the players to step out on at least simple lead breaks. It gives exposure to other players and opportunity to get to know some other players. I still get together with people I met 15 years ago at these camps. Wernick seems to be selective in the instructors who lead his camps, trying to get people who will relate well to beginner and intermediate players and make sure they all get something from the camps.

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    Default Re: Tell me about Wernick Method Jam Camp

    I went to one earlier this year and it was honestly great. Our instructor handled different skill levels quite well.

    Absolutely 2 finger chords would be fine. Really the requirements are well stated - I would focus on making sure you can play those smoothly and switch between them in time. You'll be playing songs most of the time is the reason and it would throw off the group if a person was playing the wrong chord at the wrong time. But a 2 finger chord played in time would sound great and allow you to take advantage of the class and have a blast.

    If you can already play and change those 2 finger chords to the beat, that then sure, work on chop chords and more, not so much to be ready for the camp but just because that's the next thing to work on.

    Enjoy!



    Quote Originally Posted by Sue Rieter View Post
    The brochure says: Only requirements: You must be able to tune your instrument (electronic tuning devices welcome) and change smoothly between G, C, D, and A.

    Will 2 finger chords suffice, or should I immediately start working on more complex fingerings if I decide to do this?

    Any other thoughts welcome.

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    Lurkist dhergert's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tell me about Wernick Method Jam Camp

    Quote Originally Posted by Sue Rieter View Post
    All good input, especially via our Fearless Leader above.

    I'm also interested in comments from anyone who's actually been to one of these.
    Hi Sue, I've been to a few of them in recent years. I'm friends with one of the regular Wernick Workshop instructors who has asked me (un-paid) to attend/assist by playing double bass as the workshop attendees prepare for their presentation days (usually on the last day of the workshop).

    I also host a Wernick method JamKazam (online) jam daily at 4pm Pacific time which the above mentioned Wernick instructor helped to launch (and which he still attends whenever possible).

    Wernick jamming method is an easy, informal method to do bluegrass jams that is to a large extent compatible with most jam methods that you might encounter at bluegrass festivals. Wernick method workshops basically teach that method, using printed documents which explain and include a library of chord/Nashville (and sometimes tab) transcriptions of songs to play in the workshop, and experienced instructors who are also active in the music industry. The standard workshops are casual, easy to fit into and actually provide a very good startup into jamming. There is also an advanced level of these workshops available for those that are interested.

    Provided that you can handle the chords mentioned in previous posts, the workshops are designed to be completely inclusive and to not leave anyone behind. But they are not specifically intended to be lessons on how to play your instrument. You may find that the instructor or perhaps even an attendee plays mandolin at a high level and can share information with you, but instructions like that will not be at the time-expense of accomplishing the goals of the workshop. So I'd highly recommend continuing your personal practice and woodshedding time until you join a workshop.

    Personally, judging from your level of activity here in the Cafe', I'd guess you'd have no problem fitting into {and really enjoying) one of these workshops.
    Last edited by dhergert; Jun-30-2022 at 11:21pm.
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    Default Re: Tell me about Wernick Method Jam Camp

    Thanks for the feedback, Don and everyone else. I will likely sign up if there are no schedule conflicts. It does seem like it would be a good fit and pretty fun.

    Quote Originally Posted by dhergert View Post
    So I'd highly recommend continuing your personal practice and woodshedding time until you join a workshop.
    Hah hah, I am woodshedding all the time, except when I am noodling
    "To be obsessed with the destination is to remove the focus from where you are." Philip Toshio Sudo, Zen Guitar

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    Default Re: Tell me about Wernick Method Jam Camp

    Quote Originally Posted by Sue Rieter View Post
    I am considering signing up for one of these weekend camps that is in late summer and only about an hour from my house (I would not commute).

    I started playing at the beginning of covid and have had very little opportunity to play with other people (just with my brother, who plays guitar, a couple of times). As my self confidence is not that great, I'd like to dip my toe into this area in a learning environment.

    Rhythm playing is a weak area for me, though I've been working on it lately.

    The brochure says: Only requirements: You must be able to tune your instrument (electronic tuning devices welcome) and change smoothly between G, C, D, and A.

    Will 2 finger chords suffice, or should I immediately start working on more complex fingerings if I decide to do this?

    Any other thoughts welcome.
    Sue, I have done 4 camps. Only 1 was a disappointment. I did my first one after playing just 6 months and did ok (except for the singing) the whole premise of these is a very supportive, judgement free place to learn. It has definitely helped me learn. I plan to do another one this fall. I can recommend Larry Kernagis camps. He makes it fun and is very encouraging. The slogan for these is "Dare to suck"

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    Default Re: Tell me about Wernick Method Jam Camp

    Sue,
    Would you mind posting about your experience afterwards ? As a fellow “playing at the beginning of Covid” beginner, I’d be very interested to know your opinion of the camp. I’m going to set about learning the chords and consider one when the opportunity presents in the Chicago area

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    Default Re: Tell me about Wernick Method Jam Camp

    Quote Originally Posted by Sue Rieter View Post
    Thanks for the feedback, Don and everyone else. I will likely sign up if there are no schedule conflicts. It does seem like it would be a good fit and pretty fun.



    Hah hah, I am woodshedding all the time, except when I am noodling
    Sue, one more thing about 2 finger chords. I did use these for my first Wernick class and it was OK. I would strongly recommend that you start working on Monroe chop chords though because they take a while to learn and you really need to know these to play bluegrass. Just take a few minutes every day to play them. At first you be very very slow but if you keep at it, it will fall into place.

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    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tell me about Wernick Method Jam Camp

    Dave, yes, thanks. I have started working on those chop chords, but it is going slow, as you indicated it would. I guess it might be similar to that barre A chord, where I couldn't do it, couldn't do it, and then suddenly it was easy.

    I'm not positive that the NH camp is the one I'm going to go to, though I want to. I'm a little worried about covid, BA.5, but will see what happens in the next couple weeks.
    "To be obsessed with the destination is to remove the focus from where you are." Philip Toshio Sudo, Zen Guitar

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    Default Re: Tell me about Wernick Method Jam Camp

    Quote Originally Posted by Sue Rieter View Post
    Dave, yes, thanks. I have started working on those chop chords, but it is going slow, as you indicated it would. I guess it might be similar to that barre A chord, where I couldn't do it, couldn't do it, and then suddenly it was easy.

    I'm not positive that the NH camp is the one I'm going to go to, though I want to. I'm a little worried about covid, BA.5, but will see what happens in the next couple weeks.
    Another good resource to prep for these are the jam videos available at the Wernick website.

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    Registered User Sue Rieter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tell me about Wernick Method Jam Camp

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed McGarrigle View Post
    Sue,
    Would you mind posting about your experience afterwards ? As a fellow “playing at the beginning of Covid” beginner, I’d be very interested to know your opinion of the camp. I’m going to set about learning the chords and consider one when the opportunity presents in the Chicago area
    I will definitely do that, when and if I go.
    Last edited by Sue Rieter; Jul-16-2022 at 7:11pm.
    "To be obsessed with the destination is to remove the focus from where you are." Philip Toshio Sudo, Zen Guitar

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