Meet Our Teachers: Harold Bailey
Welcome to the first installment of The Front Porch’s “Teacher Features!” Every couple of weeks, we’ll take some time to highlight one of our teachers, announce any of their recent accomplishments, and discuss their musical journey with them.
For this week, we focus on Harold Bailey, a relatively new teacher here at the Front Porch but already a star! Harold teaches piano and composition, and loves helping everyone express themselves through music. Originally from Richmond, Virginia, Harold has been teaching piano since college and enjoys working with beginners and experts alike. Below is a recent conversation I had with Harold about his musical journey.
Interested in learning the piano? Think it’s too late to start learning music? Never! Read on to learn more about Harold’s journey to music education and why it’s never too late to start learning how to play. Check out Harold perform, too!
Chattin’ with Harold:
Tell me about your musical journey. When did you start playing piano?
HB: I started playing piano in the middle of high school. My little brother used to have a keyboard we would play on together, and I thought it was interesting so I just stuck with it. Then, when I was about to finish high school, I started thinking about what I wanted to do when I graduated. I decided I would give myself two years to keep playing piano and see if that’s what I wanted to do full-time. I stuck with it, kept playing, and went off to college where I started taking piano lessons.
Wow! That seems late to get started!
HB: That’s what people tell me. From my perspective, I just hit the ground running and dove headfirst into something I enjoyed.
So, did you study music in college?
HB: I did, I received my Bachelors of Science in Piano Performance from Radford University and my Masters in Piano Performance from James Madison University.
And before college, how did you learn to play?
HB: I actually figured out how the notes relate to the music itself – the music on the page. And from there, I just learned how to read music notation and began playing pieces that I would try to memorize to train my ear.
How did you start teaching?
HB: I taught private lessons throughout school, and I taught the keyboarding class at JMU. When I graduated, I began looking at teaching opportunities in Charlottesville to change locations a bit and reached out to The Front Porch. It’s just gone on from there!
Outside of teaching at The Front Porch, what are some other cool experiences from your musical journey thus far?
HB: I actually got to play at Carnegie Hall. I was part of an international piano competition and made it to the final round, which was held in Carnegie Hall. It was such a cool experience!!
Harold at Carnegie Hall in 2016
Do you compose your own music?
HB: I do, I’ve been composing roughly since I started college.
Recently, I’ve been working on a project that attempts to translate poetry forms like the sonnet into new musical forms through serial music.
I’ve been working on it for about two weeks now, but it’s been in the works since 2019. I finally have some music for it, so it’s coming along.
Awesome! Well I know that COVID-19 has been tough on everyone, but especially musicians. What else have you been doing during the last year and a half?
HB: I was one of the lucky people where – at the time – my only job wasn’t music. My other job at a church figured out how to do everything virtually, so I was still working there. In my free time I practiced and started on a few composition projects, like the project with poetry forms.
Outside of music, what do you do for fun? Any passion projects or fun facts?
HB: Sure – I love Yu-Gi-Oh! [the trading card game] and I’ve been competing in tournaments on the weekends for the last two months or so. My score is slowly getting up there.
Cool! Last question – what are you listening to these days; what inspires you?
HB: Well, it changes every day, I swear. I think today, it would probably be Ravel. I was just listening to some songs that I’m working on for a singer, and it’s really beautiful stuff. But I’ve also been listening to a lot of Dussek – he’s like pre-Beethoven and really cool.
Check out Harold playing a composition by Czech composer Dussek:
That’s incredible!! Thanks so much for talking to me.
Thanks for reading this week’s “teacher feature!” Join us next week as we highlight the glorious return of The Front Porch’s Roots and Wings music outreach program. And keep an eye on this page for any new updates, stories, and news from the Porch!
Interested in learning an instrument? The Front Porch offers individual and group music classes for all ages and skill levels! Sign up for a class with Harold or one of our other amazing teachers today. It’s never too late to start!
Love what The Front Porch does? Learn more about our Roots and Wings outreach program here, and donate to support music education in Charlottesville.
Just looking to listen to some music? Check out our upcoming concerts and events!