A Father’s Day tribute to my dad: Marcus Blackwell, Sr.

A Father’s Day tribute to my dad: Marcus Blackwell, Sr.

Make Music Count is truly a combination of what I love and learned from both of my parents. In recognition of father’s day, I’d like to take moment to appreciate my father for the man he is and the man he helped me become.

My father passed down entrepreneurship, professionalism, charisma, and the authentic love of the piano. He has experience with everything! He worked on Wall Street, opened a Quiznos, owned real estate that he bought fixed up and rented out. He also was a youth choir director and church musician. This man was busy all the time! But he always took me with him to show me how things were done. Whether it was me developing my musical talents, helping him clean up an apartment building he just purchased or waking up early to shovel the feet of snow that had to be cleared out so the tenets could get out.

He would explain everything and allow me to see the process of building something from nothing. There were no handouts. As a family, we worked for everything we had, but he always made me feel that anything you wanted to do was attainable if you studied your craft. He also taught me the ability to walk and be comfortable in any circle of people. My father conducted business with government officials during the day then break up fights in the hood outside of his apartment buildings. He taught me the importance of working and wanting the best for your family but not forgetting that we came from these same rough areas. Those traits ⎯ being well-rounded, balanced and appreciative ⎯ is the center of why I believe teachers and students value Make Music Count.

My dad taught me that business is absolutely personal. It’s so important to be a people-person; someone who is likable. I’m able to conduct conversations with superintendents and venture capitalists while genuinely enjoying teaching my class and impacting the lives of young students. In most cases, people took a chance on Make Music Count because they liked me and how I represented myself. I have my dad to thank for the lessons and hard talks that developed this ability.

My father’s busy schedule also molded my view of playing the piano. He always told me to “get a job to support your hobby” meaning to work so that I can keep my genuine love for the piano. That mindset allowed me to remove the stress of being a struggling musician. It forced me to value and develop other skills in addition to the piano so that when I made money from performing, it was even more rewarding; both creatively and financially. So when I was a church musician for a megachurch, that was awesome but it was extra because I was also an engineer at GE during the day. So I always played the piano because I simply loved it. It kept my mind and spirit clear from stress because in the musician world, you can have you job today and it be gone tomorrow for no reason. In essence, this is the approach I took with developing Make Music Count. The piano is used as a tool to teach the math curriculum. The love of playing the piano materializes as the exercise of math is completed. It’s the same mindset my dad taught me growing up.

On this Father’s Day, I’m reminded of how blessed I am to have two incredible parents, but a very special father. I continue to pray that I’ll be just as impactful in the lives of my future children.

Thank you for everything dad, I love you! — Marcus.