Dr. Richard Fountain
A Passion for Teaching and Music
Dr. Fountain grew up in Springfield, Nebraska and did his early schooling at home. He pursued his undergraduate work at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana and received a Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance. He later received both his master’s and his Ph.D. in Piano Performance from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln.
After he graduated in 2008 with a Ph.D., he started applying for various academic positions and it worked out that Wayland offered him a full-time job. Since he’s been at Wayland, his favorite part has been the people.
“It’s the best spirit amongst a group of people that I have worked with and that’s really a positive thing, because it makes you enjoy coming to work everyday and it is a huge recruiting point for us as well; we think that if we enjoy working together students will see that and… it will speak to our family atmosphere.”
He also appreciates the way Wayland works with professors. There’s a lot of freedom in the way Wayland professors are able to go about teaching--in setting up classes, lessons, and ensembles; professors are able to do things “the way we feel they need to be done.”
Beyond those things, Dr. Fountain enjoys the opportunity to focus on improving himself, both in scholarship and in performance. This environment really works well with professors who are interested in pursuing a voice in their fields, because they’re not necessarily competing with four or five other professors from the same department who are trying to do the same thing with the same resources. This is especially impressive to him because of his journey to becoming a professor.
“In college, I was just thinking ‘well, I’m a piano major’… and I hadn’t thought much beyond what that meant. I knew I was going to go to graduate school, and I didn’t really have a clear idea of, ‘okay, is this going to be a teaching thing? Is this going to be a performing thing?’ It was clear a couple of years later (in a market saturated with performers) that it would not be something where I could make a living playing all the time.”
As he studied to become a professor, Dr. Fountain began to realize and see that this is where his passion is, and he attributes that love of teaching and that contentment and preference in solitary professor-type work to his homeschool education, where he learned from a young age to work alone and to pursue a love of learning.
Dr. Fountain also has a love of reading; he goes back and forth between old books, classic books, and, occasionally, informative texts on leadership or teaching. He loves video games and is a sports fan. He explains that he sees a lot of parallels between sports and music, as far as the level of dedication and practice athletes and musicians maintain. Mostly, he enjoys his family. His wife, Sarah, teaches as an adjunct for Wayland and, between the two of them, they’re raising their three children, a girl and two boys.