Music Director, SMF Jazz Academy

Savannah Music Festival - SAVANNAH, Georgia

Job Category: Faculty

Job Type: Paid

Job Term: Full Time

Compensation: $45000 - $55000

About Our Organization

The Savannah Music Festival (SMF) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to presenting world-class celebrations of the musical arts by creating timeless and adventurous productions that stimulate arts education, foster economic growth, and unite artists and audiences in Savannah. SMF started as Savannah OnStage International Arts Festival in 1989 with the vision of bringing high-quality artists from around the world to perform in Savannah’s Historic District. The organization operates year-round to plan and produce an annual multi-day, multi-venue music festival, off-season concerts, broadcast programs and free music education programming focused on youth.

The annual springtime festival presents a diverse selection of music genres, including classical, jazz, American, and international roots music. The festival features original productions, cross-genre collaborations, free artistic lectures and Q&As, and commissioned works that are staged at various venues throughout Savannah. With its performances and education programming, SMF serves annually, on average, more than 40,000 music enthusiasts from many backgrounds, locations, and age ranges. In 2019, SMF attracted patrons from more than 40 states.

SMF’s local education programs, Musical Explorers and SMF Jazz Academy, serve the Savannah community, reaching students and teachers at more than 50 public, private, and home schools in urban and rural settings across Chatham, Effingham, Bryan, Liberty, McIntosh (GA), Beaufort, and Jasper (SC) counties. On average, more than 80% of participants attend Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools (SCCPSS).

Job Summary

Program Description:

SMF Jazz Academy (SMFJA) is a cost-free after-school jazz program which promotes social justice in the form of high-quality jazz education and mentoring of its students. Students enrolled in SMFJA are offered one-on-one instrumental music instruction from a faculty of eight jazz Artist Instructors (trumpet, trombone, saxophone, piano, drums, bass, guitar, and melodica) and ensemble instruction with the music director. All program elements are free for participants, including instruments and materials for at-home practice. SMFJA students receive daily meals, snacks, weekly private lessons, weekly group instruction, and participate in weekly group jam sessions. 

Critical to the success of SMFJA is a trauma-informed, assets-based teaching practice. This includes substantial time and effort devoted to family engagement, and eliminating barriers to participation. A key goal of SMFJA is to build community through collective music-making experiences. SMFJA is the only after-school instrumental music program in the Savannah area. The program targets students in Savannah’s underserved East Side neighborhoods.

Position Description:
The music director is the artistic leader of SMF Jazz Academy and is responsible for executing the artistic vision of the program. This person is an inspirational educator who will build a community of student musicians and nurture artistic excellence in all participants while prioritizing individual student voices. This person is a knowledgeable and respectful leader who is comfortable teaching outside the traditional jazz hierarchy of director and student. The music director is responsible for building a goal-based, multi-level curriculum using the frameworks of social justice and equity.


  • Teaching and musical preparation
    • Create artistic content and goal-based curriculum for multiple skill levels
    • Lead and supervise program rehearsals, jam sessions, and performances
    • Teach with cultural competence, integrating student perspectives in all learning settings
    • Identify performance opportunities for SMFJA students and ensembles
    • Bring a fun, inspiring, and engaging atmosphere to learning
    • Manage recruitment of diverse roster of Artist Instructors
    • Lead monthly Artist Instructor meetings and regularly update artist instructors on program curriculum
  • Students, Families, and Community
    • Evaluate incoming participants’ musical skill level and assess musical progress throughout the year
    • Lead recruitment & retention efforts, with specific attention paid to girls, BIPOC students, students enrolled in Free and Reduced Lunch, and other groups underrepresented in jazz education
    • Communicate effectively with SMFJA families regarding ensemble and performance information and materials
    • Promote SMF Jazz Academy at local, state, and national level, and build relationships with peer music education professionals
  • Other
    • Track inventory and maintenance needs for all musical instruments and equipment
    • Stay up-to-date on developments and trends in jazz education; seeking out professional development activities as needed
    • Actively participate in SMF DEIA efforts and initiatives

Job Qualifications & Requirements

Research shows that women and people from underrepresented groups often only apply to jobs if they meet 100% of the qualifications. As no one ever meets 100% of the qualifications, we encourage you to apply if you feel that much of the following matches your experience:

  • A proven commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility, as well as an understanding of how these values contribute to program success and sustainability
  • Demonstrated support of gender justice within jazz education and performance
  • Bachelor’s degree required, advanced degree a plus
  • 2 years or more experience in jazz education, performance, composition, and/or arranging
  • Experience teaching to music students of all skill levels, especially beginning students
  • Understanding of multiple modes of student learning; experience with SEL and assets-based teaching a plus
  • Ability to build relationships among students, families, artist instructors, and community stakeholders
  • Lived experience in the community that SMFJA serves, or similar community, is ideal
  • Detail-oriented in internal and external communications
  • Ability to work respectfully with others and meet deadlines
  • Flexibility, patience, and grace under pressure
  • An active artistic practice
  • Ability to lift up to 30 lbs
  • Proficient in the use of Google Suite, Microsoft Office, Mac OS, and Zoom
  • Proficiency in music notation software (Sibelius, Finale, etc.)
  • All applicants must have a valid driver’s license and submit to a criminal background check and drug test

Additional Details

Benefits package for the full-time, exempt position includes paid time off, and employer contribution to medical, dental and vision care, life, short-term and long-term disability insurance, simple IRA plan and parking. The pay range is $45,000 – $55,000, depending on qualifications and experience.

How to Apply

Interested candidates should send a cover letter and resume to We welcome applications from BIPOC candidates, women, and others underrepresented in jazz education. 

Savannah Music Festival is an equal opportunity employer. All aspects of employment including the decision to hire, promote, discipline, or discharge, will be based on merit, competence, performance, and business needs. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, marital status, age, national origin, ancestry, physical or mental disability, medical​​​ condition, pregnancy, genetic information, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or ​expression, veteran status, or any other status protected under federal, state, or local law.