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Arts administration ,
submitted by
Andrew Levine

Early Childhood & General Music Program Manager

Merit School of Music seeks an Early Childhood & General Music Program Manager who solves problems, self-starts, works well with others and excels at managing detailed projects. The ideal candidate will prioritize impeccable communication and approach all work with integrity and personal accountability.

This is a part-time position with an opportunity to grow into a full-time role. Candidates should be available to work 26 hours a week, Tuesday thru Sunday. Hours and days will vary based on the candidate's availability, and some remote work is possible.

Organization 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 Chicago's socioeconomic and ethnic diversity, 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 Early Childhood & General Music (EC/GM) Program Manager reports to the Early Childhood & General Music Program Director

Job Responsibilities

● Build and maintain relationships with critical parties: on-site families, Merit Music in Communities (MMIC) site stakeholders, program faculty, and other community members

● Manage the implementation of systems: current activities include programmatic class builds, student class recommendations, class trial requests, programmatic and website updates, audit teaching site records & class attendance, track enrollment reports, audit supply inventory

● Manage multiple Merit Music in Communities site projects: programmatic day-to-day logistics, faculty/classroom support, instrument drop-off/collection/inventory, recruitment events, and special performances.

Must-have characteristics

● Background in Early Childhood & General Music Education: Knowledge and understanding of Early Childhood and General Music education, programming, and pedagogy. The winning candidate should be able to evangelize for the benefits of early childhood and general music education to attract new students and families to Merit

● Project Management: stays on top of multiple projects, plans backward from deadlines, anticipates obstacles, identifies and involves stakeholders appropriately, uses resources wisely, and suggests practical solutions

● Excellent Collaboration, Communication, and Interpersonal skills: The successful candidate will be a clear communicator who says what they mean and does what they say. They plan ahead and keep the Program Director in the loop on their needs and priorities. They are polite, cordial, and professional with colleagues, students, parents, and caregivers

● Professional Writing Skills: The Program Manager will draft copy for program and marketing communications in collaboration with the Program Director and the marketing department. They will compose professional emails for external stakeholders, work with the director on communication templates, and work with the marketing department to finalize copy for recruitment materials. All writing needs editing, but they should be able to draft language that does not require extensive revision

● Technology: Merit primarily uses Microsoft Office products (Teams, Outlook, OneNote, and OneDrive), but Google suite skills will transfer seamlessly. Please be comfortable attending and scheduling remote meetings (Zoom, etc.)

● Some weekend availability

Nice to have, but not required

● Bilingual in Spanish and English: Merit's program offers bilingual classes and works with many Spanish-speaking families and caregivers.

● Graphic Design Skills: The ideal candidate will help draft EC/GM classroom visuals, resources, and branded content. While we do not need expertise, a basic understanding of how to use Canva is preferred

Educational and Experiential Requirements

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


The Early Childhood and General Music Program Manager is a part-time position working 26 hours per week. While some weekend availability is required, there is flexibility to determine a mutually agreeable schedule. Merit believes in the work-life balance and remains committed to keeping the workload aligned with the scheduled hours. While all instruction occurs in person, there is room to work some remote hours in this role.

COVID-19 Precautions

Except in cases of religious or medical exemption, Merit School of Music requires all employees to provide proof of vaccination and booster shots against COVID-19. Please plan accordingly. Merit invested heavily in its HVAC system to improve ventilation throughout the building. Face masks are recommended to everyone who enters the Joy Faith Knapp Music Center. At offsite events, Merit employees must follow the precautions taken by the host institution.

Compensation and Application

Compensation is commensurate with experience but based on a starting salary of $26,000 annually. This is a part-time role requiring 26 hours per week.

To apply, please upload your resume detailing your relevant experience and qualifications for this role using this link. Applications will be accepted through October 31, 2022. Materials should be compatible with Microsoft Word or Adobe Acrobat PDF.

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 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, IL