Artists of Rock Bridge: Brenna Cornelison


brenna cornelison playing bass

Kat Sarafianos

Brenna Cornelison, freshman.
What art do you do?
I used to draw a lot, but I’m getting more into music now and also a little bit of poetry.
What type of music do you do?
I play the upright bass for chamber orchestra. I used to be a first chair viola. I can play the cello. I’m a novice violinist, and I excel at the guitar and ukulele. Oh, and I sing.
Well, I started out with viola in the third grade with the Missouri String Project and from there I got a guitar from my cousin. I can remember; I used to play one chord over and over again so much that my family got so tired of it, and they bought me guitar lessons. From then on, I just kept learning instruments.
Viola wasn’t challenging enough, so I switched to bass. I mean, yeah, my parents just keep on buying me instruments so I keep on learning them.  
That’s weird. Most people pick one instrument and they get really good at it. You’re just moving your way through the bunch.
I mean, you could stick to one and get really good at it, but it’s more fun for me to be able to recognize and understand what [techniques] people are doing because I have some basic background knowledge of a lot of different instruments. With guitar, especially, it’s really cool because there are so many different things you can do and when you know that instrument, you can recognize what technique is being used or what’s happening in the music.
What’s the best environment for you to work in?
I usually prefer not doing it in a school environment. I prefer learning music without having a need to learn it. I like learning things because I like to learn them and I’m doing it out of my own choice. That’s the best way for me to excel in a creative outlet. Having someone telling me I should learn this and then expecting me to follow everything they’re saying just frustrates me. The main thing that motivates me to do stuff is not having to do it. Like the prospect of being like, “I’m able to do all these things and I didn’t have to do them,” is really appealing.
So you have an authority complex.
So, moving on from your problem with authority and need to be in control *Brenna laughs* what do you think has influenced your mindset of wanting to learn at your own pace and not under someone else’s command?
I think it was mainly my sisters. My eldest sister I have three wanted to create video game music and she played in marching band from the time we arrived in Columbia. She played tuba. But in college, she went from a major in music theory to chemistry and then programming. My other sister was big artist during her time at Rock Bridge, and is now minoring in art. My other sister was in the drum line and was always tapping out rhythms. I’ve always just kind of wanted to be like them so I got into all the things they were into. I got into drawing because of Aiden, I got into drum sets because of Abba and music theory because of Cailey. So I don’t wanna stop trying things out now, especially when I’ve learned to love so many of them.
Did having that female environment do anything for you?
When I was younger, it really encouraged me to be really open. I said whatever I wanted with no fear of judgement, and I could talk to them because they had all gone through really similar things. It was really freeing.
What themes do you really pursue in your art when you’re creating?
I guess I really try to capture the feeling of, “It’s ok that things didn’t go the way you wanted them to and things can change.”
In your opinion, what is an artistic outlook on life?
Artistic outlook is not caring about everything that’s happening in a moment. It’s caring about that moment itself and just being able to experience it and making sure that you are experiencing it and not letting that one moment slip away. I hope that made sense.