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Vanessa Cornett-Murtada

Associate Professor of Piano and Piano Pedagogy

Music

  • Education
  • D.M.A., Piano Performance and Literature, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
    M.M., Piano Pedagogy, West Virginia University
    B.M., Piano Performance, West Virginia University
  • Expertise
  • Piano performance, Piano pedagogy, Keyboard literature, Mindfulness, Contemplative practices in higher education, Sport psychology, Performance anxiety management, Musician wellness

Vanessa Cornett is the Director of Keyboard Studies and Associate Professor of Piano and Piano Pedagogy. Her areas of expertise include performance anxiety management for musicians, the psychology of peak performance, and the mental health and well-being of musicians. A certified meditation instructor, she is especially interested in contemplative practices in higher education, trauma-sensitive mindfulness practices, and the link between mindfulness and music performance.

Dr. Cornett is author of the book The Mindful Musician: Mental Skills for Peak Performance (Oxford University Press, 2019). Her other publications include papers in the Journal of Transformative Education, Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education, College Music Symposium, American Music Teacher, the MTNA eJournal, The Canadian Music Teacher / Le Professeur de Musique Canadien, and three chapters in the fourth edition of the textbook Creative Piano Teacher. An associate editor for the Piano Magazine (formerly Clavier Companion), she oversees the magazine’s regular column on musician health and wellness.

An international clinician, Dr. Cornett has presented workshops and masterclasses in 23 of the United States and in the U.K., Canada, Ireland, Finland, Serbia, Croatia, Greece, Argentina, Ukraine, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. In 2019 she completed a faculty residency in Turkey sponsored by the U.S. Embassy in Ankara. She is an active clinician for national conferences of the Music Teachers National Association, the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy, and the College Music Society. She has also presented at the World Piano Conference, International Society of Music Education World Congress, International Conference on Spirituality and Music Education, International Conference of the Arts in Society, Annual Symposium of the Performing Arts Medical Association, the Centre for the Study of International Governance, and at the Nobel Peace Prize Forum.

She earned the D.M.A. degree in piano performance and literature from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She earned her B.M. degree in piano performance and M.M. degree in piano pedagogy from West Virginia University, and the graduate certificate in sport psychology from the California Southern University School of Behavioral Sciences. Before coming to St. Thomas, she taught at North Carolina A&T State University. At St. Thomas she teaches piano and courses through the Graduate Programs in Music Education, including elementary and intermediate piano pedagogy, keyboard literature, performance anxiety management for musicians, and contemplative practices in music education. Outside of the music department she serves on the Sacred Arts Festival Committee, Grievance and Discipline Committee, and LGBTQ+ and Allies. She is a faculty liaison for the Center for the Common Good, and a founding member of the St. Thomas Project for Mindfulness and Contemplation.

She is a member of the Committee on Wellness for the Pianist for the National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy, the Frances Clark Center’s Wellness Task Force, the College Music Society Committee on Musician’s Health, and the Wellness Forum for the Minnesota Music Teachers Association. A member of the Performing Arts Medicine Association, she was appointed to the PAMA/NASM Psychological Health Task Force. Dr. Cornett received outstanding teaching awards from the Music Academy of North Carolina and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and in 2018 was honored with the UNCG Distinguished Alumni Award.


Cornett, V. (2019). The mindful musician: Mental skills for peak performance. Oxford University Press.

Cornett, V. (2021 Winter). “Which side are you on?” Folk tune quotation and protest in Western art music. Music and Politics, 15(1), forthcoming. DOI: 10.3998/mp.9460447.0015.10X

Brendel, W., & Cornett, V. (2018 Mar). Professors practicing mindfulness: An action research study on transformed teaching, research, and service. Journal of Transformative Education, 17(1), 4-23. DOI: 10.1177/1541344618762535.

Cornett, V. (2012 Sept). Nurturing the whole musician: Mindfulness, wellness, and the mind-body connection. Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) e-Journal, 4(1), 15-28.

Prichard, R., & Cornett, V. (2011). Music and the mind: a new interdisciplinary course on the science of musical experience. Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education, Spring 2011 9(2): A92-A97. Editor’s Choice Award for Outstanding Neuroscience Pedagogy Article.

Cornett, V. (2011). Performance anxiety management. Creative Piano Teaching, Fourth Edition, ed. J. Lyke, Stipes Publishing, 491-509.

Cornett, V. (2011). A short history of piano pedagogy in the United States. Creative Piano Teaching, Fourth Edition, ed. J. Lyke, Stipes Publishing, 567-574.

Cornett, V. (2011). The National Conference on Keyboard Pedagogy. Creative Piano Teaching, Fourth Edition, ed. J. Lyke, Stipes Publishing, 589-594.

Cornett, V. (2010). From beta to theta: human consciousness, hypnotherapy, and music performance. College Music Symposium, 49-50: 265-270.


Cornett, V. (2020 May). Mental and emotional well-being in the time of COVID-19. Piano Magazine, 12(2), COVID-19 Special Issue, 49-54.

Cornett, V. (2020 May). Physical health and wellness considerations for online teaching. Piano Magazine, 12(2), COVID-19 Special Issue, 55-58.

Cornett, V. (2019/2020 Dec/Jan). A bulletproof interview with Noa Kageyama. American Music Teacher, 69(3), 20-23.

Cornett, V. (2019 June). Five attitudes of mindfulness for the performing musician. OUP Blog, June 26, 2019. Oxford University Press online.

Cornett, V. (2018 July/Aug). Toward integrated teaching. Clavier Companion, 10(4), 46-47.

Cornett, V. (2017 Mar/Apr). Seeking authenticity: An interview with Valentina Lisitsa. Clavier Companion, 9(2), 10-17.

Cornett, V. (2017 May). Integrated music teaching, part 3 (spirit): Music and the contemplative self. The Canadian Music Teacher / Le Professeur de Musique Canadien, 68(3), 34-36.

Cornett, V. (2017 Jan). Integrated music teaching, part 2 (mind): The mental art of performance. The Canadian Music Teacher / Le Professeur de Musique Canadien, 68(2), 30-32.

Cornett, V. (2016 Sept). Integrated music teaching, part 1 (body): The physical performer. The Canadian Music Teacher / Le Professeur de Musique Canadien, 68(1), 46-48.

Cornett, V. (2015 Feb/Mar). Mental skills and music performance: The teacher’s role. American Music Teacher, 64(4), 28-30.

Cornett, V. (2013 Dec). Byron Janis, American legend. American Music Teacher, 63(3) 12-15.

Cornett, V. (2012 Sept/Oct). With this gigue, I thee wed. Invited humor piece. Clavier Companion, 4 (5), 10.

Cornett, V. (2012 Sept). Cognitive restructuring for performing musicians. The Canadian Music Teacher / Le Professeur de Musique Canadien, 63(1), 54-55.


Cornett, V. (2004). Quotation, revolution, and American culture: the use of folk tunes and the influence of Charles Ives in Frederic Rzewski's North American Ballads for solo piano. D.M.A. dissertation, School of Music, University of North Carolina at Greensboro. UMI 3126774.