Student Researchers

Anneli Loepp Thiessen

Anneli Loepp Thiessen is a classical pianist, music educator, arts administrator, music researcher, and worship leader. She holds a Bachelor of Music from Canadian Mennonite University, her ARCT in Piano Performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music, and a Graduate Diploma in Arts Management from Queens University. In June 2020, she completed her Masters of Music at the University of Ottawa, studying with David Jalbert. She enjoys teaching piano, presenting her research to a variety of audiences, adjudicating festivals, composing congregational music, and leading worship at gatherings across Canada and the United States.

In 2019, Anneli was awarded a SSHRC Canada Graduate Scholarship for a research project evaluating gender representation of songwriters in Contemporary Worship Music, focusing specifically on the Top 25 songs charting on the Christian Copyright Licensing International (CCLI) lists. Working under the supervision of Dr. Jada Watson, this project drew on SongData’s methodology for analyzing representation on popularity charts, and found significant decline in representation of female songwriters on the chart (overall) and in the top positions specifically. She also documented a change in the patterns of collaborative songwriting, noting that women were increasingly eliminated form these opportunities – dropping from 50% in 1988 to 4.2% by 2008. More critically, women writing in these collaborations were often spouses of one of the male writers. Some of these details are captured in the infographic (right), available for download for those interested in a closer look at her findings. This work was presented at the 2019 meeting to the Society for Christian Scholarship in Music.

Anneli is continuing this research in her dissertation work in the University of Ottawa’s new Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Research in Music program. As an extension of her research on gender and music in contemporary songwriting circles and her experience as a composer and song leader for worship music, Anneli’s doctoral research will continue to investigate the place of women in the contemporary worship movement. This project will evaluate how women have been represented as songwriters of worship music, whether publicly or behind the scenes. Her research also analyses how the patriarchal systems of the church have suppressed the creativity and leadership of women, and how the language of the church’s worship has limited the potential of women.


Citation for Infographic:

Loepp Thiessen, Anneli. 2020. “Boy’s Club: Examining the Songwriters of Contemporary Workship Music.” Retrieved from