Dr. Banjo’s Bluegrass Method

This post is a contribution from Tom Bibey, one of our 2010 IBMA correspondents. You can see his profile here.

Hello. My name is Dr. Tom Bibey. I am one of a team of roving reporters assigned to cover the IBMA World of Bluegrass in Nashville, TN. It’s a good thing John Lawless had the foresight to assemble a team of writers. The entire Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center has been commandeered by bluegrassers from all over the world, and there is more to do than one human can take in. What I miss I hope to read on Bluegrass Today from the other correspondents here on site.

The first part of the week is a business meeting, and there are a series of seminars one can attend. I chose Peter Wernick’s session, “I’d Like to Teach the World to Jam.”

Everyone in bluegrass knows Pete Wernick. As an original member and co-founder of Hot Rize and a banjo camp teacher, Dr. Banjo has been a public figure in bluegrass for many years. His session today is indicative he is poised to take his bluegrass instruction network to yet another level.

After years of teaching, Peter’s experience has evolved into a repeatable instructional method. His current approach seems to borrow some wisdom from the Suzuki violin method. He now had began the process of seeking instructors to certify in his methods, Given his established track record to introduce newcomers to the music, there is significant growth potential for bluegrass music in his organizational strategy and methods. He stresses the fundamentals of ear training, chord changes, and harmony structure. After completion of his course students are ready to begin the never ending music journey and will possess the tools needed to continue to learn.

Perhaps the most durable part of Dr. Peter Wernick’s legacy will be the network of students he creates. One can be certain if a student has mastered his complete method they would be a reliable jam partner. When I travel, I like to find the true bluegrass people so I can feel at home regardless of my geographic locale. I believe Peter Wernick is creating that kind of network and I applaud his efforts.

His website is: DrBanjo.com.  This is good material for anyone interested in bluegrass. It is highly recommended for people who have always wanted to play, but were afraid to try, or for teachers who wish to take their mission to the next level.