Mr. Blacklock completed a program in music performance, composition and arranging at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. He received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Liberal Studies and a Master of Arts Degree in Interdisciplinary Humanities from San Francisco State University, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude and received the Graduate Distinguished Achievement Award. His work in the humanities was centered on discovering links between music, philosophy and history. Besides teaching music, Mr. Blacklock is also a composer and a performer. He currently plays with two local bluegrass bands: Keystone Station and Wild Blue. He joined Novato Charter School in 2001.
In his words:
I grew up in a very musical family. Everyone plays an instrument and also loves to sing. I have fiddlers and violinists on both sides of my family going back as far as anyone can remember. I love music and believe it is one of the most valuable skills that a young person can acquire. My grandfather used to tell me that music is an international language that can be used to communicate with people all over the world even if you don¹t speak the same verbal language.
I began my teaching career as a private music instructor in a small school, and soon realized that working with children was what I was meant to do. I am constantly learning from my students. Their world is a wide-open landscape of possibilities. I love how they constantly yearn to experiment with new ideas or when they come up with new ways of playing an instrument that I had never thought of before. I admire their willingness to take chances. Children love to play, and music, even at its highest levels, is a sophisticated form of play.
Shinichi Suzuki, the great Japanese music educator, said, “Teaching music is not my main purpose. I want to make good citizens.” I share his passion. Not just to teach a few very talented students to become professional musicians, but to show everyone the path to the joy of music.
At the Novato Charter School, teachers really understand how to engage children and how to spark their imagination. This is a school that teaches to the whole child, and recognizes and honors the diversity of learning styles. As a music teacher, I especially admire the way music is skillfully integrated into the curriculum throughout the grades. I have also been very impressed by the emphasis placed on aesthetics throughout the school which creates a lasting impression on our students; a lesson they will carry in them for the rest of their lives.