The hustle and bustle of the big bluegrass gathering in Nashville. 

Famous musicians and the not so famous ones roam the Sheraton Music City Hotel and are known to play with us regular folks too. There's plenty of shows on the main stage (gotta buy your tickets) along with all the up close and personal jamming all around. The whole hotel is alive with music. There's plenty of vendors, luthiers and organizations to keep you endlessly engaged. Look out or you may end up bringing a new banjo home with you!

Nashville TN - SPBGMA Mini Camp
January 27-28
Thursday 4-8 and Friday all day 10-6

Sheraton Music City Hotel


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What it's like:

     It's the big jammers' paradise event of the year at SPBGMA (Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America). Jamming is everywhere from the lobby to the elevators to hallways, and stairwells, behind closed doors and open ones too!s

     We've reserved our own deluxe suite where we can jam in private. That way we can learn together without prying eyes and ears. We'll get the kind of instruction and hands on experience that will give us the confidence to play music in jam sessions wherever we go.

Sometimes our professional level friends pop in for a visit and play some songs, teach a breakout session and hang out a while.

     Following our mini jam camp (Saturday 3:00 PM) Leigh and I will host our annual 2 hour free jam class demonstration in the Belle Meade Room downstairs. You're welcome to attend too!

Small Groups

The way bluegrass is supposed to be played.

We'll arrange small groups for you according to skills, interests, instruments, singing to get you the best ensemble experience. Sometimes we’ll mix groups so you can jam with a variety of people. We’ve reserved our deluxe suite again this year. When we need breakout space we’ll just keep the SPBGMA tradition of jamming in the hallway alcove. Maybe a talent scout will recruit you to play the Grand Ol' Opry! 


Large Group Instruction . . .

happens periodically as the occasion calls.

Especially first meeting of camp and typically mornings but other times too. These sessions are for everyone to get on the same page together. There we can set a theme, a principle or topic that we’ll pursue further in our small groups. 


Breakout and Topical Sessions

Mixed groups according to topic like:

Finding melody - Faking a solo when you don't know or 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 - How to find your key(s) - capos and transposing. Who knows what will come up. We can't always hit everything but some things we always get to work on.


Tuition and lodging

each are separate. 

Tuition -  $225.00
You may also register for our Free Jam Demo
Saturday after our two day camp.
Arrange your lodging with the Sheraton Music City Hotel or one of the many other hotels nearby. 


Gilbert Nelson

aka Dr. Jambo 

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 forth 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

aka General Leigh

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.


We love the Wernick Method

A common sense approach to getting musical fun and success in bluegrass jamming. 

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. 


There is no requirement for vaccine or testing. Masks are welcome but not required.

We do expect everyone to use common sense and hygiene. We'll prioritize open windows with plenty of fresh air and space ourselves so we're not too close. Each of us is responsible and accountable for common sense hygiene behavior. Our suite is large and has sliding glass doors to our balcony for ample fresh air. We’ll also maximize circulation with indirect fans.


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