University of Calgary

Patricia Hrynkiw

  • Senior Instructor Emerita of Music

Research Interests

Currently Teaching

Not currently teaching any courses.


My formal education includes earning a Ph.D. in Education (Graduate Division of Educational Research, Specialization:  Curriculum, Teaching and Learning – with an emphasis on Vocal Pedagogy); M.Mus. (Voice Performance) and B.Mus. (Voice Performance) University of Calgary.  Diplomas include:  A.R.C.T. (Royal Conservatory of Toronto) in Voice (Performance); A.R.C.T. in Speech Arts/Drama; A.M.R.C. (Mount Royal College, Calgary) Speech Arts/Drama.  Second instrument study at the University level in piano.

Professional Memberships

National Association of Music Teachers of Singing (local and national levels)
Canadian Music Centre (Voting Member)   



Soprano soloist in Contemporary Music Concerts:  New Works, Calgary; New Music Ensemble, Calgary; Mainstage Dance, U of C.  International Conference Recitals:  International Horn Conference, Banff, AB.; 10th Annual Kodaly Symposium, Calgary, AB.; International Irish Conference, Calgary, AB.; Turgenev Centennial Symposium, Calgary, AB.  Early Music:  Calgary Bach Society; Cecilian Organ Series, Calgary; Calgary Early Music Society; Calgary Renaissance Singers and Players, Calgary, AB.  Sacred Works:  Calgary Philharmonic Players; Kensington Sinfonia, Calgary; numerous soprano solos with the U of C Choir and Orchestra.  Opera:  Calgary Opera (former Southern Alberta Opera Association) including the professional Annual School Touring Programme, (four seasons), Courtenay Summer Opera School (Irving Guttman, Jacqueline Richard – directors).  Recitals: GJ Concert Production Series; Beneath the Arch Concert Series; Calgary Wind Orchestra; Mount Royal College Music Faculty Series.

Other: CBC recordings, background solo for a television documentary and more.

Publications and Presentations

Ph.D. Dissertation: Voice Sculpting: Finding the Voice Within, University of Calgary, 2006.

Author: How My Dog Taught Me to Sing … Better (work in progress). 

Continued exploration of current Vocal Pedagogical styles/methods; Vocal Repertoire (especially current works of Canadian Composers for student recitals).


I have taught voice at the University of Calgary since 1989.  The major portion of my workload consists of the teaching of studio vocal lessons for Voice Performance majors (with yearend recitals) and majors in Music Education or Integrated Studies with Voice as their instrument, plus, students with voice as their secondary instrument.  Other courses include:   Class Vocal Techniques, as well as numerous Independent Study Courses at both the graduate and undergraduate level (including topics with an emphasis on Vocal Pedagogy; the cross-over from solo voice technique to choral etc.); and,  shared teaching in Performance Seminar and a weekly master class for students in my studio.

Supervisory Committee work as well as serving on graduate committees as both juror and Neutral Chair.  Coaching of graduate students for oral examinations.

Other:  Mount Royal College Conservatory (now MRU) Diploma Programme, juror on a number of recitals and term/year end performances.  Adjudicator, Presenter at voice workshops and classes. 

GSA Teaching Excellence Award Nomination  (2007-2008) 

Teaching Philosophy

“Your teaching  … is methodically outlined and caters to the skill level and uniqueness of individual students.  It builds piece by piece into an actual foundation of ability rather than mere rhetoric.  It is what masterful education should be – purposeful, specific and a relentless attempt to reach perfection.”

- Myra                                                                                                                                                                                                               


Together with my singing student I aspire to create a vision for each musician’s future.  A clear map of where we are and where we are going is a key component of this vision.  I aim to balance my honest assessment with both constructive, sometimes less positive comments, about such things as vocal technique and musicality, with the fact that they were chosen to be in the programme because they do have the capabilities to succeed as a music student in our School.   Once becoming more familiar with the individual singer, I tailor-make an inspiring repertoire list that will evoke a desire to learn through the process of singing and making music.  The end goal is that a complete singer will emerge.  It is my responsibility to monitor and encourage the student in a consistent, logical, step by step fashion that they are both aware of an understand.

With years of experience as both a singer and voice teacher, I consider my role as a vocal pedagogue at the University level to be one who inspire singers to be the best singer that they can possibly be and become given their unique talents and musical capabilities.  I aim to give them my full attention, energy and enthusiasm at each lesson as well as expertise in musical knowledge, individualized vocal repertoire, extensive pedagogical background and years of successful teaching experience in all vocal styles.

An environment of trust, safety and fun is provided so that creativity can, and does, flow.  Singers are given permission to be ever increasingly comfortable with themselves and their voices.  They are offered a cup of tea in an inviting studio environment to assist in freeing them from the stresses of everyday student life. Feeling the freedom to release and share our voices is the mutual goal.


Given the physical personal nature of the vocal instrument, singing puts an individual in a most vulnerable position.  With this in mind, it is evident that an even more intimate relationship of trust is developed between the teacher and singing student.  It is no longer simply, ‘the voice’ but more importantly, ‘my voice.’  Individualized treatment, therefore, is both encouraged and expected, and, rightly so.  Weekly master classes where all of the singers in my studio share this vulnerability, vocal repertoire, teaching skills and voice have been the norm for my entire teaching career.  Students are provided an extension of the trusted environment that I provide in a one-to-one studio setting.  From the master class each singer is further able to extend some element of ease and comfort into a public performing situation such as Recital Hour.  Not only are singers held accountable to both myself and each other but they also are able to practice teach and share both frustrations and successes in a group, peer-family setting.

I endeavor to understand each pupil as a unique human being.  All have something amazing and special to offer.  I am constantly aware of the diverse backgrounds from which my students come. I both celebrate the individual musician at the time of entering the programme as well as at the completion of their degree and beyond.  Every voice is, to my ear, special with an individual quality and capability.  It is my duty to be honest in communicating with, and mapping a road plan for achievement, with the singer.  It is my responsibility and pleasure to guide singers in truly finding their best self, and, consequently, most authentic and aesthetically pleasing voice, no matter what the vocal/musical style.


Time is well spent when I am giving it to my students.  I need to wait and be patient for the process to begin, to take shape and to form into the sound vision that both the singer and myself had first conceptualized.  With this trust relationship in place, singers can thrive with the knowledge that they have an understanding, committed, knowledgeable and experienced Guide and Mentor.   Often singers cannot sing their best upon demand and my responsibility is to have patience, provide encouragement and nurture them, all the while maintaining a firm, yet flexible, hand.  They are keenly aware of their own role and responsibility as the singer.  Once the performance is imminent I must calm and focus the singer, we have the assurance that because we put the time in preparing in a succinct, detailed way the very best result will be our reward.

As singing is an art form, it is my greatest joy as a teacher to pass on my enthusiasm for both vocal performance and vocal pedagogy.  I am keenly aware of my responsibility towards each student. What I say and what I do will forever affect the life of my singers.  My pedagogy is grounded in that of the so-called, ‘Old Italian School.’  My goal is that this tradition of excellence in the art of singing be carried on by future singers and pedagogues. 

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