Department Chair- Music Theory

Merit School of Music - Chicago, Illinois

Job Category: Programs

Type: Paid

Term: Part Time

Post Date: June 27, 2019

About Our Organization

Since its founding in 1979, Merit School of Music has successfully motivated and inspired over 50,000 young people with high-quality music instruction. The School’s broad-ranging comprehensive curriculum, extensive level of financial aid, sense of community and the standard of excellence set forth by the faculty and students are major components of its success.

Merit offers a multi-leveled, structured curriculum in a college preparatory environment. Programs take place at the Joy Faith Knapp Music Center in Chicago’s West Loop and at nearly 30 locations in neighborhoods across the City. Instruction is offered to approximately 5,000 students of all ages, from infants to adults, and from beginners to the Juilliard-bound by over 150 accomplished faculty members. Merit has an annual operating budget of $6 million, of which nearly half is supported by contributed revenue.

Merit School of Music transforms the lives of Chicago-area youth through removing barriers to high-quality music education.

Job Summary

Merit School of Music is seeking a highly qualified teaching artist and/or music educator to serve as the Music Theory Department Chair to begin as soon as possible this summer. Department Chair responsibilities include curriculum design and management, faculty observation and mentoring, and basic administrative duties. Additional teaching in Merit’s Alice S. Pfaelzer Tuition-free Conservatory and/or private lesson program may be available to qualified candidates.

The Theory Department Chair reports to the Associate Dean.


Responsibilities of the Theory Department Chair include, but are not limited to:

• Participate in the hiring, observation, and evaluation of theory faculty
• Teach classes and/or private lessons in Merit’s Alice S. Pfaelzer Tuition-Free Conservatory as assigned
• Assist with development and revisions to Merit’s theory curriculum
• Lead theory department meetings
• Create yearly Conservatory theory class schedule and organize students into appropriate classes
• Create, maintain, and proctor theory placement tests and final exams
• Process weekly theory class attendance and, in conjunction with Program Directors, follow-up with truant students as needed
• Attend regularly scheduled department chair meetings
• Oversee Merit’s peer-mentoring theory tutoring program

Personal Skills/Attributes/Qualifications
The ideal candidate would possess the following qualifications:
• Proven success in a similar teaching environment
• Experience revising and/or developing music theory curricula
• Ability to envision the future success of a program and work with staff and faculty to make that vision a reality
• Strong communication skills
• Excellent interpersonal skills
• Collaborative, collegial nature and interest in working in a team environment
• Self-motivated, disciplined, and goal-oriented
• A well-rounded knowledge of and ability to provide students with college/career information and counseling when requested

Educational Requirements
Bachelor of Music degree; Master of Music preferred
Specialization in music theory required; additional skills in music composition preferred

Flexible schedule required: Monday – Saturday as needed. Workload will vary depending on the time of year with most activity occurring late summer through the April.

How to Apply

Interested candidates should send résumé to:

• $25 per hour for auditions, meetings, interviews, teacher training, curriculum development/revisions
• $75 per faculty observation
• $40 per hour for leading department meetings
• $49 per hour for teaching classes (mileage reimbursement for off-site teaching)

For more information about Merit School of Music, please visit
Merit School of Music does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, religious belief, gender, sexual orientation, age, national origin, ancestry, veteran status, physical or mental disability or any other protected status in admission or access to, or employment in its programs and activities.