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WED – FRI: 11AM-5PM SAT: 12-4PM | or by advance appointment
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Music ,
submitted by
Andrew Levine

Concert Jazz Band Director - Conservatory


Merit School of Music seeks an instructor to direct the Concert Jazz Band in the Alice S. Pfaelzer Tuition-free Conservatory. The conservatory provides highly specialized training and an ensemble chair among Chicagoland's most promising youth musicians. For 26 Saturdays during the school year, students receive classical or jazz instruction from Chicago's finest teaching artists in technique, music theory, chamber music, large ensembles, and more. The Concert Jazz Band is an elective open to students in a Merit conservatory ensemble. Students are primarily middle school and high school students and may or may not have experience playing jazz, and therefore will learn the essential elements of playing jazz and gain jazz performance experience in a big band setting. The Concert Jazz Band rehearses every Saturday of the conservatory program, taught at the Joy Faith Knapp Music Center at 38 S. Peoria St., Chicago, IL 60607.

Organization Overview

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

Merit's 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 where historically underrepresented groups can access quality music education. Simultaneously, Merit is continually working towards becoming an organization that reflects the city's demographics 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 Concert Jazz Band Director reports to the Band and Jazz Program Director.

Essential Duties

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

Teaching and Instruction – 90%

• Deliver high-quality music instruction commensurate with Merit's curricula, teaching philosophy, mission, and values.

• Teach weekly jazz band rehearsals to students in the Concert Jazz Band.

• Prepare the Concert Jazz Band for two performances throughout the year.

Administrative Duties – 10%

• Report attendance for each rehearsal.

• Attend Merit faculty meetings and department meetings.

• Other projects as assigned.

Skills and Qualifications

Must-have characteristics:

• Bachelor's degree in music or equivalent experience/training

• Demonstrated success teaching jazz music to students and directing a jazz ensemble

• Strong classroom management skills

• A high level of personal musicianship

• Punctual, professional, collegial, responsive, and communicative with a flexible and adaptive disposition

• Be an ambassador for Merit School of Music by representing the organization professionally in all settings and by counseling families and students to pursue their musical studies at the deepest levels.

• Demonstrable commitment to Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Antiracism work

• The ability to travel via car or public transportation

Preferred, but not required

• Experience working with staff and administration to support programming

• Bilingual or multilingual (Spanish or Mandarin, especially)


• The Concert Jazz Band rehearses from 10:10-11:10 am every Saturday of the Conservatory program from late September through April.

• The Concert Jazz Band performs at the Conservatory Winter Concert in December and the Spring Concert in April.

Compensation and Application

• Hourly base rates are calculated using a proprietary method that considers years of experience, recruitment/retention skills, studio size, education, and established success as a teacher.

• Large ensemble rates range from $63 to $123 per hour.

• Full-time faculty (780 annual teaching hours) qualify for insurance benefits. 401K eligibility begins at 500 yearly teaching hours after one year of employment.

To apply, please upload your resume detailing your relevant experience and qualifications for this role using this link. Applications will be accepted through August 27, 2023. Materials should be compatible with Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat PDF. Applicants will receive confirmation of receipt of their materials via email, with interviews provided to finalists.

ALAANA/BIPOC people, trans and gender nonconforming people, and women are encouraged to apply.

For more information about the 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 is responsible for creating and sustaining a learning and working environment where difference is valued and equity and inclusion are practiced.

Job Type: Permanent
Location: Chicago