Harold Bradley was born in Niagara Falls, Ontario in 1906. He was the son of a former ballplayer and a music lover. Up until the age of 20 he was determined to be a baseball player although he excelled at music. Bradley was accepted at Oxford University but musician friends convinced him to audition for Isidor Philipp in Paris. Philipp’s teachers included Heller (whose teaching lineage included Czerny and Beethoven), Mathias (whose teacher was Chopin) and Saint-Saens. To his amazement, Bradley was accepted by Philipp and chose lessons with him rather than an Oxford education. While being trained by Philipp, Bradley realized that all pianists, despite their natural inclinations, become right-handed musicians with weak left hands. Bradley was interested in the idea that both hands should be trained equally from the very beginning. This became the main premise behind the Bradley philosophy and The Bradley Institute was founded in 1930 in Paris by Isidor Philipp and Harold Bradley. Bradley also believed that music was taught too mechanically e.g. Students memorized the pieces without truly hearing the music. Bradley and Philipp understood that music develops the left and right sides of the brain and everyone has musical ability if it is nurtured at an early age. At first, critics were skeptical about Bradley’s ideas but by 1932 there were many offers from universities who became interested in the study of the two sides of the brain. The 1930 program was moved to North America (Philipp escaped from Paris in 1940) to Niagara Falls, New York and subsequently to Niagara Falls, Canada.

The piano programs were based on Philipp’s teachings while the violin program was designed by John Corigliano, concertmaster of The New York Philharmonic Orchestra for 28 years. Harold Bradley died in 1984 but his school continued to operate under the direction of Grace Barnes. Grace was an accomplished concert pianist and teacher. She studied piano under Harold Bradley, Isidor Philipp and Mark Hambourg. Grace specialized in the teaching of the youngest children.

Click here to view the Bradley Institute fonds finding aid: http://dr.library.brocku.ca/bitstream/handle/10464/3402/Bradley%20Institute%20Fonds%20RG%20349.pdf

Recent Submissions

  • Notice for 65th Anniversary, 1995

    Bradley Institute for Music Education Research Limited (1995-08)
    A notice for a reunion of former students and parents for the 65th anniversary of the Bradley Institute for Music Education Research Limited.
  • The School Must Make Friends with the Public

    Bradley, Harold (The School, Secondary Edition, Ontario College of Education, December 1943, p 290., 1943-12)
    Bradley discusses the importance of educators meeting with community members (parents). He mentions that the opportunity to form a communicative relationship with families can begin in the first grade and that this is something that is owed to the community in the same way as private schools. He states "Let the home and school association further strengthen the relationship between the teachers and its parent members, but let us not expect it to keep traffic moving back and forth across streams where there is no bridge."
  • Graduation Program, 1961

    Niagara Falls Collegiate-Vocational Institute (1961-11-17)
    The program lists Harold Bradley as the speaker for the graduating class. The program also lists the awards, one is called "The Harold Bradley Medal" which is given to "the student achieving the highest average on nine papers in Grade XIII examinations and the year's work on the same nine papers, the examinations and the years work being counted in equal proportion."
  • Graduation Address to Niagara Falls Collegiate-Vocational Intitute, 1961

    Bradley, Harold (1961)
    The address give by Harold Bradley to the graduating class of the Niagara Falls Collegiate-Vocational Institute in 1961. Also, there is an accompanying article which discusses the accomplishments of Bradley's lengthy career.
  • Notes - Bradley Institute for Music Education Research Limited

    Bradley Institute for Music Education Research Limited (n.d.)
    Notes about the Bradley Institute for Music Education Research Limited and its methods. The memo mentions "After nearly half a century a work such as this is recognized as being unique and authorities in many fields are incorporating the findings in their own work. Teachers come to Niagara Falls from many parts of the world to study these new concepts which have been called in Europe 'the music education of the future'".
  • Manuscript - PreSchool Program

    Barnes, Grace (n.d.)
    The manuscript discusses the development of preschool programs at the Bradley Institute. Barnes mentions "The child up to the age of five and a half years lives in world of sound, and the sensitivity of all children to sound up to this age seems fantastic. As we studied this each succeeding experience seemed unbelievable. Now we simply accept it as a matter of course. When you stop to think that the young child expresses nearly all of its experiences in sound, it is not difficult to understand. When you consider abstracts such as good, bad, hot and cold are merely sounds to a child you can readily see that the world of sound is their world."
  • Locations of the Bradley Institute

    Barnes, Grace (n.d.)
    A summary of the several moves of the Bradley Institute, beginning with Bradley's teaching from his parents home on Victoria Avenue in Niagara Falls, to there final destination 4687 Queen Street, Niagara Falls.
  • Bradley Institute Building 1984-2006

    A photograph of the exterior of the Bradley Institute at its 4687 Queen Street location in Niagara Falls. The Bradley Institute purchased the building in 1984 and remained there until 2006.
  • Photographs - Pre-school, 1980

    Two photographs of the pre-school classes in 1980.
  • Photographs - Pre-school, Grace Barnes

    Two photographs with a comment about efficiency, "a student learns how to work efficiently by isolating and analyzing the difficulties in challenging passages. By a slow, concentrated approach, much can be accomplished in a short time." The first photograph is labelled "pre-school class 1979 at Bradley Institute" and the second "Grace Barnes - teacher".
  • Article - "World Famous Musicians Teach At Harold Bradley School of Music"

    An article about the work at the Harold Bradley School. It also mentions the addition of Deryck Aird to the staff as a director of the department of violin.
  • The Bradley Institute - Brief History

    The Bradley Institute (2000)
    The brief history discusses the founding of the institute in 1930 by Isidor Philipp and Harold Bradley up to the seventieth anniversary in the year 2000. Also mentioned, is the age of the participants, "the age level of the students continued to drop and under the leadership of Grace Barnes (now the senior member and president) babies as young as six days old were brought into the work. Pitch and rhythm exist before language and provide an ideal medium for the development of the necessary life-skills, physical, mental, and emotional."
  • Deryck Aird Brief Biography for Bradley Institute For Music Education Research Limited

    Bradley Institute for Music Education Research Limited (1986)
    A brief biography of Deryck Aird, one of the directors of the institute. The biography mentions that "In 1950 he began a lifetime friendship with the famous Canadian pianist, Harold Bradley, and became involved in a music education project with him and other musicians which has evolved today into an organization known as the Bradley Institute for Music Education Research Limited."
  • Advertisement - Bradley: A Philosophy of Education through Music

    A pamphlet advertisement for the Bradley Organization. In the advertisement, it states that this is the "forty-first anniversary of this world-wide music education research organization."
  • Advertisements - Harold Bradley School of Music, 1948, 1949, n.d.

    1948, 1949
    An assortment of Harold Bradley Institute of Music advertisements. Some are dated 1948, 1949, others have no visible date.
  • Manuscript - "The Association of Science"

    A manuscript describing the relationship between "science, medicine, psychology, philosophy and education, with music". The paper discusses a new method to musical education: "By 1935 the piano program had reached a stage where it was said to be the first alliance of science and music in an employable form for music education,and while it took nearly a generation to gather and process sufficient data to be accepted as evidence in the affiliated areas, the results year by year became increasingly convincing."
  • Letter - Isidor Philipp to Harold Bradley, 1954

    Philipp, Isidor (1954)
    A letter from Isidor Philipp to Harold Bradley. The letter includes condolences to Bradley who had recently lost his father.
  • Programme - A Tribute to Harold Bradley

    A programme for a tribute in honour of Harold Bradley and his contributions to musical education. The evening was planned by Grace Barnes and Isidor Philipp. There were several performances and a gift of a silver tray presented at the end.
  • Programme Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, 1949

    Lions International (1949-11-22)
    A programme from the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra performance on November 22nd, 1949. Harold Bradley was a featured performer and a photograph is included.
  • Bradley Concerts Pamphlet

    A concert pamphlet that includes several comments from newspaper reviews. One example is from The Buffalo Courier-Express, "Mr. Bradley's tremendous technical equipment, his skill in effective contrasts, and the singing beauty of his lyric passages were notable features...a dramatic sweep and torrential onrush that was most imposing...those who heard him play were most enthusiastic over his artistry."

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