Isabelle Cossette

Academic title(s): 

Assistant Professor (Sabbatical leave, Winter '23)

Isabelle Cossette
Music Research
Music Education
Contact Information
Email address: 
isabelle.cossette1 [at]

Isabelle Cossette’s qualifications (flute performance degrees & postdoctoral studies on respiratory mechanics) and research interests (respiratory mechanics, music performance enhancement, biomechanics & instrumental pedagogy) as well as her work with world leading respiratory physiologist (Macklem) and international researchers in bioengineering (Aliverti - Italy), acoustics (Fabre - France) and computer sciences (Thorpe - New Zealand) give her unique competencies to conduct scientific experiments based on concerns of musicians and to ‘bridge’ knowledge between the scientific and musical fields. This rare skill is essential to the multidisciplinary research at the basis of new scientifically based instrumental pedagogy.

Thanks to a CFI New Opportunity grant (2005), she is the founder and director of the Music Performance and Body Lab (MPBL), first North American respiratory laboratory using optoelectronic plethysmography (OEP), located at the Schulich School of Music of McGill University. This infrastructure and her international collaborations have led her to train research graduate and visiting students (over 15) and establish appropriate methods (OEP, ultrasound) for the study of areas such as the performer-instrument interaction, musicians’ respiratory mechanics, performance anxiety, posture and gestures. She is also a team member of the Équipe interdisciplinaire de recherche en pédagogie instrumentale (EIRPI – Université Laval) and was the interim Associate Director (Science and Technology) at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Music, Media and Technology (CIRMMT) in 2014. The aim of her work is to better understand the role of the performer’s body during performance and to develop new scientifically-based pedagogies using technological feedback for instrumental learning. She has published in highly respected scientific journals such as Respiratory Physiology and Neurobiology, Acta Acustica united with Acustica, Perceptual and Motor Skills and Journal of New Music Research. She regularly acts as an external scientific reviewer (e.g. Disability and Rehabilitation), as a co-editor (e.g. Acta Acustica united with Acustica) and has coordinated/organised over 90 research lectures, workshops and events.

At the Schulich School of Music since September 2003, most of her teaching combines the scientific, performing, and pedagogical components of music making.

Selected publications: 

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles
Nassrallah, F., Comeau, G., Russell, D., & Cossette, I. (2013). Coordination between breathing and different movement markers during pianists’ performance tasks, Perceptual and Motor Skills, 116/1, 1-20.

Bianco T.,  Freour V., Cossette I., Bevilacqua F., & Caussé R. (2012) Measures of facial muscle activation, intraoral pressure and mouthpiece force in trumpet playing, Journal of New Music Research, 41/1: 49-65.

Cossette, I., Fabre, B., Fréour, V., Montgermont, N., & Monaco P. (2010). From breath to sound: Linking respiratory mechanics to aeroacoustic sound production in flutes. Acustica / Acta Acustica, 96: 654-667.

Cossette, I., Monaco, P., Aliverti A., & Macklem, P.T. (2008). Chest wall dynamics and muscle recruitment during professional flute playing, Respiration Physiology and Neurobiology, 160: 187-195.

Cossette, I. Mécanique respiratoire des flûtistes professionnels. (2002). Revue des Maladies Respiratoires, 19:197-206.

Cossette, I., Sliwinski, P., & Macklem, P.T. (2000) Respiratory parameters during professional flute playing, Respiration Physiology, 121/1:33-44.

Peer-Reviewed Articles in Conference Proceedings
Vauthrin, C., Fabre, B. & Cossette, I. (2014) How does posture influence flute player’s breathing and playing? ISMA Conference, Le Mans, France.

Cossette, I., Monaco P., Aliverti A., & P. T. Macklem.  (2010). Respiratory muscle recruitment and their correlates with pulmonary volumes and flute musical tasks. Proceedings of 10ème  Congrès Français d’Acoustique, Lyon.

Fréour, V., Caussé, R., & Cossette, I. (2010) Simultaneous measurements of pressure, flow and sound during trumpet playing.  Proceedings of 10ème Congrès  Français d’Acoustique, Lyon.

Peer-reviewed Abstracts in Conference Proceedings
Fréour, V., Uva, B., Aliverti, A., & Cossette, I. (2014) On the control of respiratory muscles in trombone performance. International Symposium on Musical Acoustics (ISMA), Le Mans, France.

Massie-Laberge, C., & Cossette, I. (2013) Between traditional teaching strategies and modernity: Is it time to use technology in the teaching of expressivity? Midwestern Music Cognition Symposium, May 2013, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.

Barbeau, A.-K. & Cossette, I. (2012). Music performance anxiety: A secret boundary to learning to perform music.  Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (STLHE) Annual Conference, McGill University.  

Laviola, M., Aliverti, A., & Cossette, I. (2010). In vivo assessment of diaphragm thickness changes by ultrasonography, Proceedings of the European Respiratory Society Conference, Barcelona. 

Fréour V., Bianco T., Cossette, I., Bevilacqua, F., & Caussé, R.  (2010). Coordination of facial muscle activation, intraoral pressure and mouthpiece force during trumpet playing: preliminary findings. 3rd International Conference on Music and Gesture, Schulich School of Music, McGill.


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