Don Bailey is an Associate Professor of Music and the Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Arkansas in Fort Smith, teaching since 1985. He helped develop the curriculum for a “Jazz Studies” concentration associated with the Bachelor of Arts in Music degree. Bailey teaches all of the core jazz courses, including music theory.
Don is active as a clinician and adjudicator throughout Arkansas and Oklahoma. He developed the first comprehensive summer Jazz Band Camp in Arkansas, and he developed a Jazz Improv for Strings camp for orchestral strings—one of only a handful in the country. Both camps have grown under his direction and attract students from Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas.
A native of New Jersey, Bailey received his formative music education performing as a freelance musician in New York and his home state. He earned his Bachelor of Music Education degree from Iowa Wesleyan College (Mount Pleasant) and his Master of Arts in Music degree from the University of Northern Iowa (Cedar Falls), where he served as teaching assistant in Jazz Studies under Dr. Bob Washut.
In 2007, Don received the annual (Fort Smith) “Mayor’s Honors to the Visual and Performing Arts.” He was included in Who’s Who in America for 2008 and in the 2009 edition of Who’s Who in the World, and received the “Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers” award in 1998, 2002, 2004 and 2005. He also earned the “Excellence in Teaching Award” at Westark College (now UAFS) in 1987, and the “National Teaching Excellence Award” from The University of Texas at Austin in 1989.
Don has served two terms as president of the Arkansas Unit of the International Association for Jazz Education, and has represented the state at regional and national jazz events. He also is on the teaching staff of the International Worship Institute in Dallas.
He is president and co-founder (with his wife, Terri) of “New Song Music Company”, through which they publish their original musical compositions. Together, they have written numerous solos, vocal choruses, and background tracks for ensembles, jazz band, and vocal ensemble music, as well as written and produced several background tracks of familiar hymns used for instrumental performances. Their latest and most extensive work is “Jazz Suite: A Retrospective.”, a 12-movement jazz piece performed by the Fort Smith Symphony.