Production photo

My Work

Dr. Hurst-Wajszczuk’s dissertation research on managing performance anxiety has broadened into overall wellness and stress management, and she has presented at national conferences, numerous universities, and several regional NATS workshops on the subject. She is also committed to helping teachers be more effective in the classroom and studio: her research on applying the Kolb LSI and Meyer-Briggs personality assessments was featured at the NATS 2013 Winter Workshop. She has partnered with Dr. Bulent Turan and the UAB Department of Psychology on a study measuring the effects of peer support on performance. Results are forthcoming in 2017-18. Meanwhile, she is pursuing teacher certification in Koru mindfulness to give students more tools for handling the challenges of emerging adulthood. She is in the process of developing a wellness center for performing artists at UAB. A book on the subject is forthcoming from Scarecrow Press.

During each academic year, UAB Opera offers opera scenes with piano and a full production with orchestra. Occasionally, we add a touring production of Amahl and the Night Visitors to bring accessible opera to area churches and schools. Each year, the opera is chosen to represent a different musical era, so that students experience a range of musical styles during their studies. Productions are almost entirely populated by undergraduates, who sing all principal roles as well as chorus. Each season is chosen carefully to ensure not only challenges, but also successes.

In the voice studio, Dr. Hurst-Wajszczuk’s philosophy is that good technique is based on an accurate understanding of how the body works, although she varies mechanistic and imagery-based approaches according to the student’s needs and learning style. Studies in the Alexander Technique and Body Mapping inform her teaching. Technical work is equally matched by careful attention to the text; students learn how to approach each and every piece as musical drama. Acquiring expressive skills and increasing performance confidence is equally important as accumulating technical skill: developing complete artists is her goal.

In today’s world, keeping up with technology is vital, and she has focused on this aspect of her teaching at several national conference presentations. Her blog is updated regularly with studio news, opera production calendars, interactive polls, YouTube videos of interest, and links to other useful sites. She stays active on Facebook, and keeps in touch with former, current, and prospective UAB students on a daily basis.

Dr. Hurst-Wajszczuk previously served on the faculties of Regis University, University of Colorado at Boulder, the University of Wyoming, and the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. Student successes include acceptance into SongFest, the Aspen Music Festival, Utah Festival Opera, and University of Miami at Salzburg summer program. They have been accepted into summer apprenticeships both here and abroad, as well as major graduate programs around the country. Others have gone onto Equity contracts, national Broadway and cruise ship tours, and have appeared on television shows such as Law & Order: SVU. She is available for master classes, voice consultation, and workshops on a variety of subjects.