Bartlett studied privately with Eugene Bicknell (1945–46), Perry Bauman (1946–50) and Stanley Wood (1969–70). In 1955, he earned an Associate Diploma from the Royal Conservatory of Music of Toronto and also graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Music degree. He then received a diploma in Education from U of T in 1956. He was eastern research officer for the Canadian Music Educators’ Association from 1974 to 1977.
From 1947 to 1956, Bartlett played professionally in Toronto on oboe, English horn and string bass. He performed with the Benny Louis Band (1952–54), for CBC Radio (1952–55), and with the Canadian Opera Company (1953–55).
He served as head of music and taught band and strings at Midland Penetanguishene District High School in Midland, Ontario, from 1956 to 1970. While doing graduate studies in music education at the University of Western Ontario (1970–71), he taught music at A.B. Lucas High School in London, Ontario.
In 1972, Bartlett joined the Faculty of Music at the University of Prince Edward Island. He taught music education, woodwinds, string bass and conducting until 1977. He was then appointed music consultant for the provincial Department of Education. He was eastern research officer for the Canadian Music Educators’ Association from 1974 to 1977. He also performed with the Prince Edward Island Symphony Orchestra as woodwind section leader and conductor (1972–77), and simply as conductor (1977–78). He became bass section leader in 1980. In the summers, he performed in the pit orchestra at the Confederation Centre of the Arts.
In 1985, he began to serve as consultant in band training, as adjudicator, and as vice-president (Maritimes) for the Canadian Music Competitions. Following his retirement, he developed and taught music courses for senior citizens.