April 22-25, Monday thru Thursday
Pre - MerleFest
Jam Camp!
You want in on this!

Intermediate or Basic - We got you covered.

Your chance to play with others. Friendly, guided instruction with lots of jamming. Find your groove and get the hang of playing with others. 

We'll meet you right where you're at and then grow you deeper and wider as a musician.

Banjos are are still open but they're going fast!
Banjo is real popular at our jam camps and we strive to keep a good balance of instruments.
Call me: 864-764-4830   Or Click to write.

Four full days. Leigh and I are excited to have one of our most popular teachers on hand - Don Julin. We love Don and you will too. You can read more about him below.

Jam Camp is concurrent with Pete Wernick's "Intermediate/Advanced" camp.

Yes, separate camps, teachers and students, yet we'll all get to share the same beautiful campus, meals, and after hours jamming together.

We're ready to show the way for Basic jammers who are learning the ropes and . . .
Intermediate jammers get to develop on their own more challenging track.

Click  for the registration page.
There's a chair in our circle for you so . . .

Of course you can just call us and we'll guide you through.
Leigh: 575-574-2764     -     Gilbert: 864-764-4830

Camp Harrison YMCA Campground
Trails, lakes, and miles of green hills of North Carolina. Just down the road from Wilkesboro and MerleFest.

What it's like:

Large group instruction and small group jamming all day long and as late as you like.

The Camp Harrison YMCA campus is a sprawling retreat in the North Carolina mountains. It's big, it's green and beautiful with large comfortable and modern group cabins, RV sites (very limited) and tent camping. Motels about a half hour drive. 

More levels of skill, more teachers, more students, more music.

Jamming is something that gets created "on the fly" within the general "rules of the road" for bluegrass music. So it is with jam camp too. We have established goals, methods, subjects and protocols but we also have the freedom to group students according to their skill set, interests, instrumentation, singing and other things. We'll have the freedom to tailor your jam experience according to where you're at.  Our Boomer/MerleFest camp tends to attract a larger roster and that means more teachers, more variety and more fun. Keep your eyes out for announcements about this year's teachers coming onboard.

Small Groups

The way bluegrass is supposed to be played. We'll arrange small groups for you according to skills, interests, instruments, and singers to get you the best ensemble experience. Sometimes groups can change so you can get experience with more people.

Large Group Instruction . . .

Especially first meeting of camp and typically mornings but other times too. These sessions are for everyone to get on the same page together. 

Breakout and Topical Sessions

Breakout sessions is where we focus on different pieces of the whole jamming experience.

This is where you can learn new stuff.
Finding melody - Faking a solo when you haven't practiced the melody - Leading a song or following one - Singing and also Harmony singing - Instrument specific breakouts - Pick up notes - Fills - Tone, timing and technique - Learning strategies .

Capos and transposing - how to find your key(s).
Who knows what will come up. We can't always hit everything but some things we always get to work on.

We'll have a sound system so we can learn about stagecraft, how to use the microphones, how to interact with the sound engineer. Stage presence, getting a taste of playing in a line and not a circle,
and how about standing up while playing. Yikes!  

After Hours Jamming 

Small or larger groups tend to congregate in the various jamming spaces around Camp Harrison. Indoors, outdoors - faster or slower - straight up bluegrass or off the beaten path stuff. Or you may just want to retire and nurse your sore fingers. Sometimes the teachers may put on an impromptu concert.

Pete and his crew will be there too and so we have an opportunity to mix with the more advanced players too.

The Food

The crew at Camp Harrison serves meals in their large dining hall. That's when a lot of socializing goes on too when everyone is there together. 
Lunch is included in your tuition. Breakfast, dinner and lodging are separate. Very soon we'll have the particulars on pricing. 

Tuition, meals and lodging

Tuition -  $485.00
Your $150.00n deposit holds your spot.
(Lunch is included in your tuition).
Lodging, breakfast and dinner are separate and can vary. Leigh will fill you in and help you get all arranged.
Call her up: 575-574-2764

Click here to pay deposit ($150.00) via Square.

Evening Jamboree Performances 

We work hard all day and come evening time we often put together performing ensembles and play for one another and perhaps for some special guests in the beautiful setting of the YMCA Chapel. These low pressure, fun times together are a nice way to celebrate and show  off what we've learned.
Teacher supported karaoke style showcases can happen spontaneously in the course of an evening and of course we often organize non-performing small groups for those too timid for the limelight. 

We love the Wernick Method

You'll be jamming in the first 5 minutes. We use Pete Wernick's time tested methods to get you understanding, how to techniques and plenty of action in a friendly circle of people just like you.

The Teaching Team
 . . . so far.

Ella Jordan

Our primary fiddle instructor this spring, Ella hails from Texas. Her feet firmly planted in Bluegrass and Country Western. She's won numerous awards including a Berklee College of Music scholarship. Ella is a fun and insightful teacher, and she connects with fiddlers at every level of skill. She plays guitar and sings superb harmonies. Ella is featured on several new albums these days but of most interest to us is her part with our hometown favorite - Liam Purcell and Cane Mill Road.

Bob Minke

Bob Minke  has been with us a decade or more as a trusted partner at jam camp. Bob is a seasoned hand on the jam scene for decades. Bob "engages" in his plain and easy ways, making it all so practical and constructive. Bob has a deep knowledge of the bluegrass genre and history and he has a knack for sharing it all in easygoing storytelling style. Bob plays guitar, mandolin, dobro, banjo, knows a million songs and is a performer with his band Stemwinder.

Don Julin

Don Julin is a master mandolinist and author of the popular book Mandolin For Dummies. Don has played with some very big names, excels  in teaching music theory, and wide variety musical styles. Most of all Don is about people, Easy to approach and generous giving knowledge and understanding to all the campers. Don is fun to jam with. You'll see.

Rob McCormac

A graduate of Appalachain State University, Asheville native Rob McCormac is an accomplished ethnomusicologist and trumpet player in addition to his bluegrass skills. Rob is touring with Liam Purcell and Cane Mill Road and at the same time pursuing his PHD. How he found time to join us I don't know. Rob knows jamming and he's a natural at leading the way. On Monday evening, right after dinner, Rob will hold forth and give us his take on the history of bluegrass music.

Gilbert Nelson

Gilbert Nelson is your host. He leads jammers to green pastures. A passionate player and teacher of the music. Gilbert can hone in on where you're at and guide you in ways to break out with more knowledge and pathways to improvement. He knows how to bring out the best in you and he leads jam camp by example with inspiration, energy, and insight.

Leigh Nelson

Affectionally known as "General Leigh" Leigh is Gilbert's "backup brain" She's part musician, part organizer and problem solver. Leigh knows jamming. She's a master with gentle and knowledgeable instruction making learning fun. Leigh plays Bass Fiddle, Guitar, Mandolin and she's learning banjo now. She’ll even sing for you if you’re nice.

Click for Upcoming Events

Find out what's coming up for you.

Contact me.

I'll help you get squared away.