Dear Alma, I’m pitching for a tragic job…

Dear Alma, I’m pitching for a tragic job…

Daily Comfort Zone

norman lebrecht

August 19, 2023

From our weekend agony aunt:

Dear Alma,

I have been working as an adjunct lessons instructor at an excellent music school for 10 years. I occasionally assist in an administrative role as well, for school festivals or events. We have had a recent, tragic opening in a top administrative position, and I would like to throw my hat in the ring without seeming insensitive. I am afraid they will overlook me and choose someone else if I don’t assert myself. 

  • Tricky situation

Dear Tricky Situation,

This is indeed a tough situation for you. You need to show your concern, sensitivity, as well as you go-get ‘em attitude.

I would suggest quietly investigating the situation by asking people you trust in the school if they have any insights, while letting them know that you are interested in the position. The more people you have on your side, even informally, the better. In the mean time, make sure your resume is up to scratch, you have references who are able to speak on your behalf, and that the administrative portion of your resume reflects your qualifications for this job. Write a letter of interest, as well as a document that details your plans for this position.

Is there already a job opening posted? If so, follow the requirements and submit formally.

Next, I would go in-person to the Executive Director’s (or highest-ranking) office. Make an appointment, and speak frankly to the Director, first expressing your deep sympathy.

It is often the case that institutions of all kinds overlook the talent that is right in front of them for a variety of reasons. Present yourself strongly, with kindness. It’s impossible to tell what their priorities, process or time-line will be, but the earlier you are on their radar, the better.




  • George says:

    Good one, Alma! You are sizzlin’!

  • GoldfishBrain says:

    dear Alma,
    I swear I have the memory of a goldfish, probably much worse. I have a lot of auditions that require memorization coming up and about an hour of repertoire. I keep playing the pieces and the notes/rhythms just won’t stick in my memory. Also, I have a horrible intuitive sense of rhythm that no metronome has ever fixed. Please help!