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Bluegrass jamming class to kick off Tuesday in Huntington

February 15, 2019

HUNTINGTON - Want to get a head start on the festival season and hone your jamming skills?

You can do that right here in Huntington starting next week as musician and teacher Maggie Moore is starting another eight-week round of the Bluegrass Jamming Class using the Wernick Method, developed by master banjoist Pete Wernick.

The class,which is open to all bluegrass instruments, will run Tuesdays, Feb. 19 through April 9 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. with Moore and her partner, Ricky Fox, at the Center for Human Engagement in Huntington.

The class will teach hands-on learning using bluegrass standards, and will teach students who to lead songs and follow, how to find melodies, fake solos and sing harmonies, tab/note-reading skills not needed or used. There will be group and individualized instruction on backup skills. Beginners and intermediate pickers welcome.

Moore, who has a masters from Marshall University in Early Intervention and a Doctorate in Special Education from the University of Northern Colorado, said that she and Fox, who graduated from the University of Colorado, got turned onto teaching the Wernick Method when they were living in Colorado and met Wernick, the iconic banjoist who started the ground-breaking group, Hot Rize (with Tim O’Brien) back in 1976.

Over a career spanning six decades, Wernick has performed and recorded in close contact with Doc Watson, Vince Gill, Jerry Garcia, Steve Martin, and his original idol and main influence, Earl Scruggs. Wernick has also assisted Martin with projects including Martin’s Grammy-winning album The Crow and serving on the Board of the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass.

Always active in the teaching of banjo and bluegrass, Wernick was the original pioneer of bluegrass music camps in the early 1980s. Having since taught about 200 camps in about half of the U.S. states and three other countries, he continues to host several per year.

In 2010, he launched the Wernick Method of teaching bluegrass jamming which as of 2016 has certified teachers offering classes in 40 states and 11 countries. In fact, there are 48 classes all around the world this winter teaching that method.

Moore and Fox ran a Bluegrass Jamming Class with Wernick in Colorado and when they moved to West Virginia last year ran a class in Huntington and then two in Parkersburg.

“Pete designed this great way of learning how to jam to help closet pickers and folks who have had lessons but are not proficient with the techniques in jamming,” Moore. “It’s laid out in a lesson format with eight two hour sessions and a concert at the end. It really helps folks who have a little musical knowledge but are not comfortable playing with other folks. His goal is to really boost folks beyond playing with themselves and helping them be quality pickers who are able to go and play out and have fun.”

Moore said the class is a fun way to really step your jamming game up, and just in time, before festival season rolls in. They will take registrations through the first two classes, which take place at their newly started Center for Human Engagement, which is working with vulnerable populations and getting the community more involved and more engaged in healthy, therapeutic and artistic ways.

Cost is $195 for the eight weekly sessions. Go online at https://letspick.org/class-pages/mm-2019-02/ for more information and contact Maggie and Ricky at the Center for Human Engagement at https://www.facebook.com/Center-for-Human-Engagement.