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March 2019’s Centre Stage with Jennifer Dahl

Written by Hanna Fridhed, Engagement Coordinator


Jennifer Dahl has played the piano since she was five years old. Having grown up in Fort
McMurray, she moved away for a few years for school and travel, but returned in 2004 with her
Grade 9 Piano Certificate from the Royal Conservatory of Music. The Royal Conservatory
Certificate Program provides a recognized national standard and sequenced program for people
studying music, as well as supports independent teachers with innovative, high-quality
resources. Jennifer has also been trained in Kindermusik, and is a Music For Young Children
(MYC) teacher. She now teaches piano in Fort McMurray through her program Music with


“Babies sing, toddlers bounce along with the beat, preschoolers learn with action songs,
children memorize lyrics so quickly, and teenagers find meaning in the musicians of their
generation,” says Jennifer. “Music is integral to our daily life.”


An opportunity Jennifer offers her students is participation in the annual Oilsands Rotary Music
Festival. Entering into its 44 th year, this music festival aims to develop amateur musicians in
Wood Buffalo. It is a chance for musicians to hear each other play, to learn from experienced
professionals, and to learn the process of preparation, practice, and performance. “It brings
expert artists into the community,” explains Jennifer, “and it brings together music students from
across various disciplines (speech arts, band, etc.). The students get to meet others who share
the same interests. Art is a fun way to work on memory, logic, research, thinking in categories,
and fine and gross motor development.”


The Oilsands Rotary Music Festival, who works to develop and foster love and appreciation of
classical music and speech arts primarily, offers classes in guitar, piano, choral, speech, and
musical theatre. “It takes a lot of work, but I still involve my students because it offers
professional development for me as I hear the adjudicator’s comments, and see the other
wonderful selections performed by students who aren’t my own,” says Jennifer. “It takes many
hands to make the festival come together, but the volunteers and the board are very dedicated.
The awards are donated by local businesses and individuals who support the arts.”


As an arts educator, Jennifer has experienced the positive impact of music on children and
youth. She says “understanding music, and other arts, teaches us patterns, systems, how to set
goals and achieve them, continuous improvement, and ultimately how to connect with our
emotions. It connects us with each other. Art is expression of emotion. It connects us from
human to human. Children are naturally emotive and art is a creative outlet for emotional


If you want to get involved in the Oilsands Rotary Music Festival, or would like to make a
donation, visit