Since 2010 my day job has been managing a network of bluegrass music teachers under the direction of banjo player Pete Wernick. These teachers already give individual lessons, but Pete has developed a method for teaching novice players how to play in a small group, the ultimate goal for most who pick up a bluegrass instrument. I can testify that the method works—attending one of Pete’s camps in 2003 was what launched my son Chris and me on our eleven-year journey as bluegrass performers.
I call myself the Wernick Method Office Manager, and I mainly take care of administrative tasks—scheduling classes, broadcasting class announcements to folks on our mailing list, taking student registrations and deposits, collecting teacher fees, sending out student surveys. We are a shoestring operation, deliberately, and so I find myself playing a broad range of roles as the occasion requires–IT guy, webmaster, software developer, database wrangler, desktop publisher, marketing consultant, and so on.
I enjoy the computer work not only because it gives me an excuse to stay current with the software world—during my forty years as a programmer a lot has changed!–but also the opportunity to put various ideas I have to the test on how to build out the technical (and procedural) infrastructure for a small business. Right now I am in the early stages of rebuilding Pete’s entire website, moving it about 10 years forward in technical underpinnings, design, and marketing approach. Scary, but fun as well.
The Wernick Method works! But don’t take it from me. Here’s a nice article about a class currently underway in Buffalo, Wyoming which has attracted 25 pickers in a sparsely populated area, some driving as much as 2 hours to get there. And here’s a nice video made by a student who attended a class in Dayton, Ohio.