My first Bluegrass Camp was a success!
I wouldn't have wanted to have it anywhere else - The Ashokan Center is my favorite place on the planet :)
Thanks to Pete Wernick and Wernick Method Jam Classes/Camps for the support and encouragement.
Just under two years ago, as I was discussing my move out of public school teaching with Pete, he told me that with my skillset as a teacher and a musician, "I could make a living in bluegrass music".
Sounds like the start to one of those bad jokes:
"How do you get a million dollars playing banjo?....
"Start with two million" xD
Haha - but in all seriousness, the world of folk music NEEDs dedicated, professional, trained EDUCATORS.
Almost all of the collegiate Music Education tracks focus almost exclusively on teaching in a traditional (and mostly classical) orchestra, band, or choir setting. These teachers spend years learning about pedagogy, lesson planning, scaffolding, differentiating, pace, and the neurological processes involved in learning.
These highly professional teachers are prepped wonderfully for the traditional public school system, but don't always have the skills to play/interact in non classical spaces.
I was lucky enough to have been sent to places LIKE Ashokan where I developed these skills in tandem with pursuing my bachelor's in Music Education.
In an event like this, the two are perfectly married together in a fun, unique, and exciting way.
All of my staff/assistants were also public school teachers!
I believe that's the reason we received feedback like
"This camp changed my life. Whenever I talk to my friends about music camps, they always say "it's a good hang and will be fun, but its not the best place to really learn something"...
This one changed my mind for good. I could tell you are all fantastic teachers.
"You could tell that all of you were experienced teachers in the way you paced the class, structured the weekend, and explained things to us"
All this being said, we ALSO had a TON of FUN. I got to host my first Open Mic night and we had such an amazing time together - waltzing, tap dancing, singing, telling jokes, and making impromptu bands.
The jamming went late every night, and Jay Ungar and Molly Mason paid us a visit every day!
Not to mention the amazing food at Ashokan!
More photos and videos to come. It's very likely that this will become an ANNUAL event on or around Martin Luther King day weekend :)
Harmony Singing Class