Merit’s Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Combo Director

Merit School of Music - Chicago, Illinois

Job Category: Programs

Type: Paid

Term: Part Time

Post Date: August 23, 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, with a third coming from earned revenue, including rental income.

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 seeks an experienced and high caliber jazz educator to run the Merit Jazz Ensemble, lead a jazz combo, teach theory and improvisation, and rotate as an instructor of Merit’s jazz forum class. All classes and rehearsals will be taught as part of Merit’s Tuition-free Conservatory Program starting Saturday, September 28th.

The Merit Jazz Ensemble is a highly competitive group comprised of advanced high school musicians from the greater Chicagoland area. Students are admitted to Merit’s Conservatory program by audition only. In addition to Merit Jazz Ensemble students are required to participate in one of Merit’s three jazz combos (by audition), theory and improvisation classes, weekly jazz forum and Live from Gottlieb Hall – Merit’s weekly live recital series.

Merit’s Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Combo director reports to the Dean and Vice President for Educational Affairs.


Responsibilities of the Merit Jazz Faculty will include, but are not limited to:
• Prepare and execute 26 Saturday rehearsals for both the Merit Jazz Ensemble and Jazz Combo
• Prepare both ensembles for winter and spring performances and additional gigs or competitions as they arise
• The successful candidate will also be considered for teaching additional classes in theory and improvisation, jazz forum classes, and private study depending on specialization

Personal Skills/Attributes/Qualifications
The ideal candidate will possess the following qualifications:
• Well-versed in advanced jazz repertoire, history and style
• Proven track record leading large and small jazz ensembles with as many as 20 advanced high school students
• Driven, motivating, inspiring approach
• The ability to work in a team-driven and collegial environment with faculty and staff
• The ability to envision the future success of a program and work with staff to make that vision a reality
• Responsive and communicative

Educational Requirements
• Bachelor’s degree in music education or music performance required, advanced degree preferred
• Merit Jazz Ensemble: Saturdays, September 28 – April 25th, 1:35pm – 2:35pm
• Combo rehearsals: Saturdays, September 28 – April 25th, 3:45pm – 4:45pm
• Other Conservatory classes commensurate with availability and qualifications
         o Jazz theory and improvisation, Saturdays, September 28 – April 25th,

How to Apply

• Large Ensembles (15+ students) - $73.50/hour
• Small Ensembles/classes - $49.00/hour
• Off-site performances - $150/event

Interested candidates should send résumé to:
No phone calls or faxes please.

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.