Congratulations to Mr. Blackman - selected as one of "50 Directors Who Make a Difference"

Congratulations to Mr. Blackman, who has been selected by School Band and Orchestra Magazine as one of "50 Directors Who Make a Difference". Read the article HERE.

Or you can read Mr. Blackman's section of the article below.

School Band and Orchestra Magazine’s “50 Directors Who Make a Difference” report was compiled again having painstakingly reviewed hundreds of nominations.

Directors were nominated by students [both former and current], colleagues, musical instrument retailers, band parents, administrators, friends, former band directors who might have even taught them, and sometimes a spouse of a director who admires the hard work and dedication their other half gives to their school music programs. Some are nominated again, having been recognized previously, and no other directors from their state was nominated, but we received nominations from all states this year after aggressively promoting the honor via social media to band people, administrators, and more. The nomination stories submitted are typically stunning and detailed. Nominees not chosen this year will be held over into next year’s submissions for consideration again.

As we do with each of these special issues, each director is asked to tell us of their proudest teaching moments, how they hope to make a difference in students’ lives, and the most important lessons they try to teach their students.

Maryland

Michael Blackman

River Hill High School

Clarksville, Maryland

Total Years Teaching: 29

What is your proudest moment as an educator?

As a teacher in a very academically driven community, I always hope that my students can see music as much more than a graded class. We talk extensively about keeping our audience at the forefront of our intentions, and about music being a gift that we are responsible for wrapping up and giving away, with the primary “payback” being the satisfaction of having made others happy. We do not charge admission to our performances, and we even have a student organization that brings our love of music into local retirement communities so we can reach an even broader audience. My proudest moments are seeing kids share their passion and their gifts, without the expectation of any type of tangible reward.

How do you hope to make a difference in your students’ lives?

Like most teachers, I “just want to move their world forward by one inch,” whether they major in music or pursue another interest. I always tell my community that one of my most important reasons for teaching in this subject area is that it is such a powerful vehicle for developing life skills, such as courtesy, commitment, responsibility, and cooperation. My goal is to help my students realize that these qualities are what will make them successful in both their professional and their interpersonal relationships, and to make sure that what we do together in band fosters growth in these areas.

What's the most important lesson that you try to teach your students?

I treasure the occasional opportunity to stray from the curriculum and talk with my students about larger issues, such as how they treat each other, what it means to be happy, and what kind of people they hope to be. I find that, even if they have taken the time to consider these questions, their answers often come heavily influenced by their cultures or peer groups, rather than from their hearts. The most important lesson I can teach my students is to approach these types of decisions from a fresh and honest perspective - one that reflects what they truly want for themselves and for those around them.

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