Previous Instructors

Banjo   -   Fiddle   -    Guitar    -  Mandolin


Bennett Sullivan​3-finger Instructor

Bennett Sullivan is a North Carolina-based educator and performer in bluegrass who has toured with some top musicians in the industry including Judy Collins, Maria Muldaur, John Sebastian, Jim Kweskin, Willie Nelson, Steve Martin, Zoe & Cloyd, Balsam Range, and Ben Sollee and Kentucky Native .

Bennett has dedicated himself to teaching through online workshops, and creating multiple learning platforms for the bluegrass world including Tune Fox.  He uses a “listen and learn” method of instruction that combines learning by ear with tablature in order to play what you hear, not just what’s written on the page.  

In 2020, facing a challenging musical landscape, Bennet turned his backyard shed into a music studio and recorded “Eager to Break” a solo album of original songs released in November, 2021.

Click here to learn more and Listen to his album.  

Jason Homey​3-finger Instructor

Jason Homey is one of the founders of the Weiser Banjo camp.  He and Gary Eller created the camp with a vision of providing an intimate learning environment great instruction. He has played  five-string banjo since 1989 and is a two-time first place winner of the Western Canadian Bluegrass Banjo Championships and the Weiser Banjo Contest and a long-term member of the Bluegrass/Celtic/Rock-band 'The Clumsy Lovers'. In addition to performing, recording, and teaching one-on-one banjo, guitar, and mandolin lessons, Jason has (for many years)  hosted  beginner and  intermediate Bluegrass jams in Boise that have vitalized a strong bluegrass community.    

Pete Wernick3-finger Instructor

Pete’s national music career started in 1971 with the first records by northeast instrumental wizards Country Cooking. Founding Hot Rize in 1978 led to an enduring stint as a performing artist, appearing throughout the U.S. and three continents, on national television and radio. 

Pete’s instructional books and videos include best-sellers: Bluegrass Banjo, Bluegrass Songbook, How to Make a Band Work, and many others. A pioneer in bluegrass music instruction, since 1980 his banjo camps, jam camps, Banjo Newsletter columns, and website have inspired players nationwide and overseas. In 2010 Pete started the Wernick Method network of bluegrass jam teachers, now with over 100 bluegrass jamming classes every year throughout the U.S. and in Europe and Australia. 

Chris Coole ​Clawhammer Instructor

Chris Coole got his first banjo when he was 17 years old after falling in love with the sounds of folk and early country music. Today, Chris is known internationally for his clawhammer banjo style, songwriting, and singing. Early on, Chris discovered the joys of busking. His practice halls were the streets and subway of Toronto. In 2000, he formed The Foggy Hogtown Boys. The Foggy Hogtown Boys have recorded 7 albums and has toured throughout the U.S., Canada, Ireland, the UK and Israel.

For the past 10 years, Chris has devoted much of his artistic attention to playing with The Lonesome Ace Stringband. Together they have recorded 4 albums and toured the world, playing festivals such as Merlefest, Rockygrass, Winnipeg Folk Festival, Mariposa, Wintergrass, and The Vancouver Folk Festival.  


Megan Lynch Chowning  ​Fiddle Instructor 

Megan Lynch Chowning is in high demand as a private and group teacher. She counts dozens of State and National Champions among her students, and has been an instructor at the most prestigious bluegrass and acoustic camps throughout the world, including Augusta Heritage Week, The British Columbia Bluegrass Workshop, and Sorefingers Bluegrass Week in England.

Her no-holds-barred workshops have drawn rave reviews across the U.S and Canada. Her encouraging style makes the newest players as well as seasoned professionals feel like the next level of fiddle success is completely within reach.

To learn more about Megan, visit 

Ellie Hakanson Fiddle Instructor

Ellie Hakanson has played bluegrass all her life, performing with her family band, various regional groups, and most recently, touring internationally for five years with Jeff Scroggins and Colorado. 

 In January 2019, Ellie released her first full length album with Jeff Scroggins and Colorado. The band was nominated in 2018 for IBMA Emerging Artist of the year. Ellie was also nominated for several IBMA Momentum awards, in 2017 for Instrumentalist of the year, in 2018 for Vocalist of the year, and in 2019 for both Vocalist and Instrumentalist. She is currently touring with Missy Raines.

 In addition to performing, Ellie has been teaching private fiddle lessons and workshops at festivals since 2003, and currently teaches fiddle and vocals at camps and in individual lessons.


Chris Jones  Guitar Instructor 

Chris Jones is a quadruple threat as a singer, a songwriter, a guitarist, and, thanks to his role hosting SiriusXM’s Bluegrass Junction, as one of the most widely heard broadcasting voices in bluegrass music. Chris moved to Nashville in 1989 as a member of the band Weary Hearts. Forming Chris Jones & The Night Drivers in the mid 1990s. Chris’ range of talents took center stage at the IBMA’s Awards Show in 2007, where he earned both a Song Of The Year award and the organization’s Broadcaster Of The Year trophy. He and the band are currently signed to one of bluegrass music’s top record labels, Mountain Home Music Company, for whom they’ve recorded two critically acclaimed albums and generated five #1 songs on the bluegrass music charts. All together, Chris has had nine chart-topping songs, and has won six IBMA awards. 

Andy HatfieldGuitar ​Instructor 

Andy Hatfield is a creative musician and teacher from Peoria, IL.  He has taught music full-time in the Peoria area since 2003, and is well-regarded both as a teacher and player.  Locally, Andy teaches all styles of music, including Rock, Blues, Country, Acoustic, Bluegrass, Jazz, etc.  He plays and teaches both acoustic and electric guitar, mandolin, banjo, and bass.  Andy is known for winning three National Championships:  The 2011 and the 2017 National Flatpicking Championship, and the 2013 National Mandolin  Championship.  Andy competed in many guitar contests around the country from 2010 – 2015, and placed in the top 3 in every contest he entered.

Andy is a 2001 graduate of Bradley University, with a Bachelor’s of Science in Music. 


Sharon Gilchrist  Mandolin Instructor

Sharon Gilchrist has long made her home in the American traditional acoustic music scene. Whether she's playing mandolin or upright bass, singing a traditional ballad or performing original material, you hear an artist steeped in traditional Appalachian music relaying those sounds through her own diversified musical lens. She is currently based in Nashville, TN. 

As an instructor, Sharon is particularly know for her ability to clearly articulate and break down the physicality of playing mandolin such as posture and technique as well as the more conceptual aspects of playing music such as theory, improvisation and overall musicianship.

 Sharon has taught extensively at music camps throughout the U.S., Europe and Australia while her private student base spans ten different countries.

Check this in depth interview by Daniel Patrick featuring Sharon on the Mandolins & Beer Podcast (Episode #19).

Maddie Witler Mandolin Instructor

Maddie Witler is a musician currently living in Portland, ME. She is serious about making good coffee. Her mother emigrated from Mexico and she loves the food and culture that come with that heritage. Star Trek gives her hope for humanity, and cats make her happy.

Maddie grew up in the greater Los Angeles area. Her musical journey started on the fiddle at the age of 9, but it wasn’t until she discovered the mandolin at 12 that her passion for music really developed. 

When she was old enough she moved out to Boston, to attend the Berklee College of Music. There she met some like minded players and became a founding member of The Lonely Heartstring Band, a well regarded progressive bluegrass ensemble. After touring the world, and releasing three albums, the band went on an indefinite hiatus in late 2018.

Not long after, Maddie joined the Grammy Nominated, all woman group, Della Mae. Together, after a year of global isolation, they recorded the album Family Reunion, a return to a more traditional sound for the well established band.