Faulkner Faculty Spotlight: Art Williams
Years at Faulkner?
I have been teaching at Faulkner since January of 2014.
B.S. in Music Education, Troy University; M.S. in Education, Troy University; Ph.D. in Music Education, Indiana University.
I am the chair of the Department of Fine Arts, and I teach courses in the music department, including Class and Private Piano, Sight Singing and Ear Training, Elementary Materials and Methods, and Music Literature.
What attracted you to Faulkner University?
The faith-based approach to higher education, first and foremost. Faulkner is also special to me because it is the university my father, Douglas Williams, attended when it was still Alabama Christian College in the 1960’s.
What do you enjoy most about Faulkner University?
I first became convinced of the value of Christian education during the six years I taught elementary music at Alabama Christian Academy. There I saw firsthand the importance and impact of training young hearts and minds, not only academically, but spiritually. At Faulkner, being able to work with fellow Christians toward the same goal on behalf of young adults is a privilege and responsibility that is of utmost importance to me. I wholeheartedly agree with our president’s philosophy that if we fail to impact our students spiritually, then we haven’t achieved our mission.
What attracted you to your field of study?
Music has been one of my strongest interests since I was four years old. According to my parents, I begged them to let me take piano lessons and my sister and I would fight over which of us would play the piano when we were growing up. When I was old enough, I also began playing the French horn in our high school band. My musical ability really began to flourish, however, when I was a junior in high school and became fascinated with the sophisticated jazz piano arrangements performed by Johnny Costa, the musical director for the long-running public television program, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. After spending countless hours transcribing and playing many of his recordings and sending one of my notated manuscripts to Mr. Costa for his critique, I believe his encouragement is ultimately what influenced me to pursue a career in music.
What advice would you give students entering your classes or program?
I believe some students expect that majoring in music will be easy. But as any of us who have completed the degree can attest, it requires tremendous dedication in terms of the work ethic and self-discipline required not only in the classroom, but in the solitude of the practice room. For that reason, I feel it is important to help students clarify the reasons they want to pursue a major in music at the outset of their degree. By doing so, those reasons can go a long way toward sustaining them through the process of completing their degree. The greatest joy, of course, is looking back and realizing the value of all the hard work and the exponential musical growth students consistently experience along the way.
What’s your favorite place in Montgomery?
Those who witnessed me writing my dissertation at both Newk’s Eatery and Jason’s Deli multiple times over the past few years would probably tell you that those are my favorite places. And indeed I am grateful for all the words that came forth there! But my favorite place, curiously enough, is probably WSFA-TV. That station holds such special memories for me because of repeated visits there during my childhood years to appear on Marge Payne’s “Young World.” I can still remember the magical feeling of walking into that studio for the first time when I was eight years old. And though 35 years have passed since then, I’ve never forgotten it.
Faulkner University’s music education majors are raising money to go to the National Association for Music Education Conference in Dallas, Texas. This is a tremendous, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our students to be exposed to new methods, techniques and approaches that will enhance their abilities. These tools will help shape their career paths and help them to “touch eternity” in the lives of their future students. Visit http://bit.ly/2pWJzcy to give.