Wayward Strings is ready to help you become a better bluegrass jammer.

Whether you are new to your instrument, new to bluegrass, new to jamming, or some combination…you are a great candidate for our bluegrass jamming classes. Even those who have been playing and jamming for years can pick up helpful tips to get the most out of their bluegrass experience.

Feeling nervous about playing in front of others? Are you bashful about singing anyplace other than your shower? Do you love the bluegrass music you hear others play, but don’t know much about it? You are not alone! Our classes provide the Safe Zone where you get the encouragement and instruction that will leave you ready to jump into a jam.

Susan West and Leslie Dare will:

  • Demystify bluegrass jamming concepts
  • Teach you the role of your instrument in a bluegrass jam
  • Help you build your confidence through small, then larger, successes
  • Provide a nurturing, positive, and enjoyable learning and jamming environment

The Big Kickoff

Kickoffs can be scary.

You are with a group of people who are all waiting for you to start your song, and you have to kick it off to get things started.  Your kickoff will determine whether everyone stays on the right tempo, and it helps everyone know what song you’re singing and how it goes.

We’re still learning to do kickoffs, and sometimes they just don’t work and you have to start a second time.   When that happens, you try again and off we go into the song.  The important thing is that somebody has to just go for it and get things started.

Kicking off the Wayward Strings is a bit scary too, but we are excited about it.  We have talked about a teaching venture at some point in our future–we both like to teach, we love bluegrass, and we really enjoy helping people learn the core set of jamming skills that allow them to walk into a jam and be comfortable participating.  The opportunity to become certified Wernick Method instructors came along and it seemed like the perfect time to kick off the Wayward Strings.

We have a lot to learn, but we plan to learn by putting ourselves out there and giving it a try.  We’ll be sharing our bluegrass experiences here on this blog, so tune back in (or follow us).  One thing that we have learned about the music that we love so much is that it comes with an amazing community, so we thank you for your enthusiasm and support as we start this new venture.


Book Review: Wayfaring Stranger: A Musical Journey in the American South, by Emma John

In the spring of 2017, I sat down to lunch one day at Pete Wernick’s Bluegrass Camp in Boomer, NC, and I met Emma John, a journalist and writer from London. Emma, a classically-trained violinist, had traveled to North Carolina from the UK to learn about bluegrass, and she has now written a book about …

Finding Your Jam

Walking into a new bluegrass jam can be a daunting experience for some. What songs do these people play? Will I be able to keep up? Will they think I’m worthy to join the group? Will I be the only person who doesn’t know everyone else?