ACU research student

Jennifer Wakeling is a professional pianist who, for many years, specialised as a piano accompanist for the string department of the Queensland Conservatorium of Music. She is currently a piano teacher and sessional tutor at the Queensland Conservatorium, teaches piano privately, and examines piano for the Australian Music Examinations Board.

Jennifer is undertaking both a Graduate Certificate in Theological Studies (Liturgy) and a Doctor of Philosophy. Jennifer has been a church musician since the age of twelve and has had a life-long passion for sharing in and investigating the experience of God within Christian worship through musical performance and composition.

Thesis title

Divine resonance: instrumental music as acoustic image in Christian worship


This thesis investigates the generation of Christian meaning via the performance of instrumental music, separate from text, within a Christian worship context. Based on the philosophy and semiotic theory of Charles Peirce and the theological transcendental anthropology of Karl Rahner, dynamic relations can be established between the particular musical properties and structures of an instrumental work and its broad and immediate worship context via feeling responses and processes of signification and interpretation undertaken by listeners.

These responses and processes are conditioned by prior knowledge, experience and Christian commitment, and, when ultimately activated by God, potentially constitute for listeners an experience of God and facilitate Christian formation and transformation.


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