photo: University of St. Thomas

Greetings!  I am the Director of Keyboard Studies and 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, Art and Music as Contemplative Experiences, and 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 have served on the 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 to musicians in 25 states across the U.S. and in the U.K., Canada, Ireland, Italy, Finland, Serbia, Croatia, Lithuania, Greece, Spain, Ukraine, Turkey, Argentina, South Africa, Nigeria, 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. I will teach in Ankara, Turkey during the 2022-2023 academic year as a Fulbright Scholar. 


In addition to my book, my publications include book chapters in the fourth edition of Creative Piano Teaching, papers in the International Journal of Music Education, Journal of Contemplative Inquiry, Journal of Transformative Education, American Music Teacher, Music and Politics, 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 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, a recent Distinguished Alumni Award from UNCG, and the Jane Frazee Distinguished Scholar/Artist speaker at the University of St. Thomas.


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 hold additional professional certifications in sport psychology, occupational ergonomics, meditation instruction, and hypnotherapy. I have also been trained in trauma-sensitive mindfulness practices.  In my work as a performance coach, I specialize in anxiety management, peak performance, 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 from 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



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© Vanessa Cornett