Paul Blackman first studied bassoon in Sydney with John Cran before taking up the contrabassoon position with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. In 1974 he furthered his studies in Germany with Albert Hennige and in London with William Waterhouse. During the following year, he was Principal Bassoon with the Australian Youth Orchestra.
He took up the position of Principal Bassoon with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra in 1978, before moving to Adelaide in 1981. Since that time until 2008, Paul has been Principal Contrabassoon with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and had played in the role of Principal Bassoon for significant periods on a number of occasions. From 1983 to 1995 he also played as Principal Bassoon with the Adelaide Chamber Orchestra.
He has performed as soloist on many occasions with Australian orchestras including the Australian premiere of the original version of the Weber Bassoon Concerto, the Australian premiere of the Bassoon Concerto by A. Panufnik, the world premiere of the Bassoon Concerto by Australian composer, Colin Brumby and performances of concerti by Mozart, Stamitz, Danzi and R. Strauss. He has also appeared in the costumed, solo bassoon role of "Dead Elvis" with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.
In the solo recital field, his repertoire is quite extensive and he has premiered sonatas written for him by Australian composers, Colin Brumby and by Peter Webb. Over the years, he has performed in many chamber groups in Adelaide and interstate, ranging from trios and wind quintets, up to septets.
In the teaching field, he was Bassoon Lecturer at the Tasmanian Conservatorium of Music until moving to Adelaide where he was Lecturer in Bassoon at the Elder School of Music for twenty years. Now he is retired from playing taking up the Human Resources Manager role with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra.