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Arts administration ,
submitted by
Andrew Levine

Band Program Director


The Band Program Director at Merit School of Music oversees all the planning and activities for 800 band students across four core programs – Merit Music in Communities, Private Lessons, Instrumental and Vocal Music, and the Tuition-free Conservatory. This position supervises the Band Program Manager, Band Program Department Chairs, and off-site band liaison and works closely with Merit’s team of program staff members, reporting to the Dean and Vice President for Educational Affairs. The Band Program Director ensures quality band programming at all school levels per Merit’s mission and vision and in alignment with core teaching values of providing a deep, inspirational, and motivational learning experience to a diverse student body. The Band Program Director is responsible for the program design, implementation, faculty/staff hiring, and overall health of Merit’s band programs. The position requires evening and Saturday hours on a semi-regular basis throughout the academic year.

Organizational Overview

Merit School of Music is a community music school located in Chicago’s West Loop. Our primary goals are to help young people transform their lives and experience personal growth through music by providing access to sustained participation. For more than 40 years, we have been home to a diverse community of talented young musicians and have acted as a springboard for achieving full musical and personal potential. Our 125 passionate and experienced teaching artists provide access to high-quality music education, engaging over 3,000 students annually at our downtown location and in area schools and community centers.

Our students, who reflect the socioeconomic and ethnic diversity of Chicago, have the rare opportunity to learn together, dream together, teach each other, and broaden their horizons as they build inspiring lives through music. Merit develops musicians and provides young people with the tools they need to excel in life, with virtually 100 percent of our graduates going on to conservatory or college.

Merit School of Music is committed to building a world in which historically underrepresented groups can attain access to quality music education. Simultaneously, Merit is continually working towards becoming an organization that is truly reflective of the demographics of the city and the students we serve. Merit is dedicated to being an inclusive, diverse, equitable, and anti-racist organization and continually examining our efforts in this area.

Reporting Relationship

The Band Program Director reports to the Dean and Vice President for Educational Affairs.

Job Responsibilities

Responsibilities of the Band Program Director include, but are not limited to:

• Oversight of Merit’s band programs (40%)

o Drive the planning, implementation, and quality of Merit’s band programs (currently five off-site programs, six on-site ensembles, and private lesson instruction) during the academic year and camps/classes during the summer session
o Serve as the lead staff member for events and performances that feature band students and ensembles
o Ensure that faculty have the resources they need to achieve success (instruments, music, materials)
o Contribute to the continued refinement of Merit’s band curriculum based on faculty feedback and the Director’s observations
o Other duties as needs arise

• Staff and faculty management (30%)
o Oversee Merit’s Band Program Manager, Band Program Liaison, and Band Department Chairs.
o Supervise schedules and delivery of instruction
o Review monthly payroll for accuracy promptly according to Merit’s payroll calendar

• Hiring (10%)
o Identify hiring needs based on department demand and communicating those needs to HR and the Dean
o Serve as the primary driver of band department hiring by blocking off time in panelists’ calendars, interviewing candidates, and serving as final decision-maker around new hires
o Schedule and conduct teaching observations for prospective faculty

• Professional Development (10%)
o Facilitate the professional growth of band faculty by delivering regular informal feedback to faculty
o Identify professional needs of department members in collaboration with the Dean and facilitate the delivery of tools and resources
o Scheduling and conducting annual teaching observations for Merit faculty

• Leadership (10%)
o Contribute to Merit’s programmatic vision in collaboration with the Dean by identifying areas for improvement and offering creative solutions
o Serve as an external ambassador for Merit and its programs
o Contribute to Merit’s annual budget planning and budget management processes

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities
The ideal candidate will possess the following qualifications:
• At least three years experience working in non-profit arts management preferred, or commensurate experience in a related field/role
• Some music teaching experience required
• Demonstrated experience overseeing and developing administrative staff
• Proven ability to work collaboratively and build lasting positive relationships with faculty, staff, executive leadership, and partners
• Belief in the importance of inclusion, diversity, equity, and antiracism in music education and demonstrated applications in practice
• Bilingual in English and Spanish is highly desirable

Educational Requirements
Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education, Performance or Arts Management or equivalent experience/training required

The Band Program Director is a full-time, overtime-exempt position, working 37.5 hours per week. The role will require availability some weekday afternoons/evenings and some Saturdays. We believe in work-life balance and are committed to keeping the workload in alignment with hours worked.
• Flexible 5-day work week
• At least two Saturdays per month required September through May
• Some evenings required (especially Tuesdays)

COVID-19 Precautions
Merit School of Music requires all employees to provide proof of vaccination and booster shot against COVID-19. Please plan accordingly. As mandated by the Governor of Illinois, face masks are required to enter the school. Merit invested heavily in its HVAC system to improve ventilation throughout the building. Work that can be done remotely will continue to occur virtually to limit traffic within the building and prioritize the safety of in-person instruction. This is primarily an in-person role with some remote flexibility dependent on program needs and the Dean’s discretion.

Merit offers a comprehensive employee benefits package, including the following items:
• Compensation is commensurate with experience but based on a starting salary of $50,000 annually.
• You will be eligible to participate in Merit’s employee benefits package on the first of the month of employment following 30 days of employment.
• Merit offers a robust healthcare package including BCBS medical (HMO and PPO options), Delta Dental (HMO and PPO), EyeMed vision care, and voluntary life insurance coverage.
• 12 days paid time off (PTO) in your first fiscal year and seven paid holidays in addition to a paid winter break (approximately one week).
• 401(k) eligibility begins on the first day of the new calendar quarter following one year of employment
Further information on our benefits package and employee policies are available upon request.

How to Apply
To apply, please upload your resume detailing your relevant experience and qualifications for this role using this link. Applications will be accepted through January 23, 2022. Materials should be compatible with Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat PDF. Interviews will be provided for finalists.
ALAANA/BIPOC people, trans, and gender-nonconforming people, and women are encouraged to apply.
For more information about Merit School of Music, please visit
Merit School of Music is committed to enhancing the diversity of our musical community, recognizing that by providing a diverse, equitable, and inclusive learning environment for our students, we are preparing them for personal and professional success in an increasingly multicultural and global society. The Merit community recognizes that it has a responsibility for creating and sustaining a learning environment where difference is valued and where equity and inclusion are practiced.

Job Type: Permanent
Location: Chicago, IL