Vanessa Cornett
Vanessa Cornett


photo: University of St. Thomas

Greetings!  I am the Director of Keyboard Studies and Associate Professor of Piano and Piano Pedagogy at the University of St. Thomas in the beautiful Twin Cities of Minneapolis - St. Paul. I teach piano and courses through the Graduate Programs in Music Education, including elementary and intermediate piano pedagogy, keyboard literature, and music theory pedagogy. In the undergraduate Aquinas Scholars Honors Program, I co-teach seminars on Music and the Mind: The Science of Musical Experience, Music and Meditation: Pathways to Transformative Learning, and Art and Music as Contemplative Experiences. Next year I will teach an honors seminar called Mindfulness in Context.


At St. Thomas I also direct our postgraduate Certificate in Piano Pedagogy and the Summer Workshops in Piano Pedagogy. Outside the music department I serve on the Sacred Arts Festival Committee, Advisory Board of the Luann Dummer Center for Women, Coordinating Council of the University Advocates for Women and Equity, and LGBTQ+ and Allies faculty steering committee. I am a founding member of the St. Thomas Project for Mindfulness and Contemplation.  My research is focused on topics related to performance psychology, and my book The Mindful Musician is published by Oxford University Press.


An international clinician, I have been fortunate to present workshops and masterclasses in sixteen states across the U.S. and in several countries on six continents. I have accepted invitations to such wonderful places as the U.K., Canada, Ireland, Italy, Finland, Serbia, Croatia, Greece, Ukraine, Turkey, Argentina, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and Taiwan. In addition, I am an active clinician for national conferences of the Music Teachers National Association, the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy, and the College Music Society. I have also presented at the World Piano Conference, International Society of Music Education World Congress, International Conference of the Arts in Society, Annual Symposium of the Performing Arts Medicine Association, the Centre for the Study of International Governance, and at the Nobel Peace Prize Forum.


My other publications include book chapters in the fourth edition of Creative Piano Teaching, papers in the Journal of Transformative Education, American Music Teacher, the MTNA eJournal, the Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education, College Music Symposium, Clavier Companion, The Canadian Music Teacher / Le Professeur de Musique Canadien, and in proceedings and reference journals for the Music Teachers National Association and the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy. I also serve as an associate editor for The Piano Magazine: Clavier Companion. I am a member of the Committee on Wellness for the Pianist for the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy, and I serve on the College Music Society Committee on Musicians' Health in Education. I previously taught on the faculties of the Music Academy of North Carolina, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and North Carolina A&T State University. I was grateful to receive outstanding teaching awards from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and the Music Academy of North Carolina, and a recent Distinguished Alumni Award from UNCG.


I earned my D.M.A. degree in piano performance from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, with minors in music theory, music history, and the Certificate in Music Theory Pedagogy. I earned the B.M. degree in piano performance and M.M. degree in piano pedagogy from West Virginia University. I recently completed a postgraduate certificate in sport psychology.  I became a licensed hypnotherapist in 2005, a certified meditation instructor in 2011, and a level 2 Reiki practitioner in 2014. I have also been trained in trauma-sensitive mindfulness practices.  In my work as a performance coach, I specialize in performance anxiety management and mental skills development for musicians. I enjoy working with music educators and performers of all ages and levels of experience.


I am a proud native of West Virginia, and enjoy my three book clubs, electronic gadgets, New York Times crossword puzzles, anything by Brahms, sparkly hair ornaments, ghost stories, abstract painting, and watching the little CowKitty who stalks me in my backyard. My most recent obsession is the study of wine. I am a Certified Specialist of Wine (2016), American Wine Expert (2017), and French Wine Scholar (2018). If you can figure out a way for me to incorporate this very important research into my professional work, please contact me ASAP.

Montani Semper Liberi



My book The Mindful Musician: Mental Skills for Peak Performance is out and about, thanks to the great peeps at Oxford University Press. If you read it, I would love to hear your feedback!  :)

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© Vanessa Cornett