How does the certification process work?

To be a Pete Wernick certified jam teacher:

If someone wishes to apply, here are the elements of the process...

  1. Application consists of:
    • A brief emailed MP3 or link direct to an audio or video recording, or a mailed disk of teacher's playing (preferably in a band)
    • Two letters (or emails) of recommendation, one from a student, one from a colleague or employer concerning applicant's teaching ability and knowledge of bluegrass music
    • Application fee is currently waived
    Send any mailed items to:
         Wernick Method Office
         924 Chestnut Dr
         Frankfort, KY 40601
         (Email: [email protected])

    Upon receipt of the recording, letters and payment, printed material explaining the Wernick approach is sent to the applicant.

  2. The applicant has a 1-2 hour interview by phone with Pete on the following subjects:
    • Bluegrass music in general and the role of the different instruments and voices in bluegrass jamming. Be able to communicate about the above to each instrumentalist. (In most cases, this means experience as a member of an organized bluegrass band, as well as bluegrass jamming.) It is not necessary or expected to play all of the instruments, just how to communicate about the fundamentals, to novice players.
    • The number system, able to play and teach in different keys, using chord numbers.
    • The basics of bluegrass trio harmony
    • Applicants must be familiar with and agree with Pete's jam teaching philosophy, as spelled out in the document Wernick Method Essentials, found on

    Pete will generally grant provision at the end of the interview, or deny it. If denied, reasons will be given to allow the teacher to fill in the gaps and reapply after a two-year period.

  3. “Provisional certification” allows a teacher to offer one (up-to-8 week) jamming class. The teacher is sent full teacher materials: lesson plans and small jam coaching guide, videos, and a guide on how to promote the class. A copy of the Wernick Method Essentials is sent to the teacher who must return a signed copy agreeing to teach according to the Wernick Method.
  4. To set up a class: Teacher or sponsor finds a suitable teaching venue* and gets venue permission and Office approval regarding suitability. With this approval, the Jamming Class can now be advertised.

    (The class administration/promotion may be done by someone other than the teacher, such as a music store or a host or sponsor individual or organization wanting to be involved.)

    Jam Class Form is sent, to be completed and submitted by teacher. Includes location, class pricing, scheduling details, picture, bio for inclusion in flyer and web advertising, and if applicable, venue web site, teacher's web site and teacher’s band’s web site. The teacher is asked to provide additional student quotes to use in advertising.

    *Class venue requirements:
    • Easy to reach and find location with privacy, adequate parking.
    • Main "teaching space" minimum size 15 x 15, much larger (30 x 30) preferred.
    • Chairs without arms available for at least half the students, up to 25 total or room capacity.
    • Climate-controlled or with a roof or shade if outdoors.
    • For classes of larger than 9: Within a short walkable distance of at least one other "small group space" (adequate space for 6-7 jammers, with chairs), private and sound-isolated enough from the teaching space so groups don't interfere with each other. An assistant to help with the coaching in the second half of each class session is recommended.
    • For classes larger than 16: An additional "small group space" is needed, as well as an assistant to help with the coaching. Classes larger than 24 need a third "small group space" and probably an additional coach.
    • Availability of restrooms, supply of water.
  5. The Office registers the class, and sends pdf file of flyer advertising the class to the teacher or sponsor, while placing an advertisement page on Additional customized print or web ads for the class may be created at the request of the teacher or sponsor. Two customized emails are sent to Wernick Method’s list of people in the area. Registrations are taken by the Office and registered students are sent orientation materials to help them prepare.
  6. In time for the first session of the class, teacher is sent a student roster and tuitions collected by the home office.
  7. Following the 2nd class, a teacher followup is done. Wernick Method Office emails all students of the class with a request to complete an online survey form. Pete reviews the comments and talks by phone with the teacher about how the class is going, and discusses any difficulties, answers questions, etc. Following the final sessions of the class a full evaluation survey is emailed to all the students. Responses are tabulated and comments summarized, and shared with the teacher.
  8. Completing certification: A telephone call with Pete with reference to the student evaluations and possibly some additional discussion are required for full certification. Essentially, Pete has to be satisfied that the teacher understands and can effectively use his methods to successfully teach novice jammers how to jam comfortably and effectively.

    Following the interview, Pete either:

    • Grants full certification
    • Grants another one-class certification
    • Denies certification. Applicant can reapply after two years.

    Full certification covers a five-year period, subsequent renewals available with additional consultation and fee.