photo: University of St. Thomas

Welcome to my website. I am a Professor of Piano and Piano Pedagogy and the Director of Keyboard Studies 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 piano literature, multiple (elementary, intermediate, advanced) levels of piano pedagogy, and music theory pedagogy. In the undergraduate Aquinas Scholars Honors Program, I offer 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. 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 26 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. I served as a Senior Lecturer at the Ankara Müzik ve Güzel Sanatlar Üniversitesi (Ankara University of Music and Fine Arts) in Turkey during the 2022-2023 academic year as a Fulbright U.S. Scholar. 


I frequently present at 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. 


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, and The Canadian Music Teacher / Le Professeur de Musique Canadien. 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 am especially interested in and supportive of initiatives related to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in my field. 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 and literature 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, meditation instruction, and hypnotherapy. I have sought specialized training in trauma-sensitive mindfulness, an approach that has framed much of what I do. In my work as a performance coach, I specialize in performance anxiety management, the psychology of 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