By Elizabeth Sturgeon
Photos by Mary Tweedy, Contributed
Peek into the windows as you stand at Linda Harper’s front door. She sits at her dining room table, which is filled with current songwriting projects and ongoing memories. She waves you into her Hoover home. From the kind welcome from Linda and her husband, Ken, to the album cover art along her hallway to the instruments resting in each corner, their home is unmistakably a place for music ministry.
To Linda, her songwriting, teaching and other music and worship work is a treasure hunt. “I love to find young talent and then develop that,” Linda says. “These diamonds in the rough – they are incredible. You don’t know until you go on your treasure hunt. Some need to be developed, and some just need to be encouraged.”
As a teacher, worship leader and songwriter, Linda has spent more than 40 years in Christian adult and children’s music ministry. This has led to several song releases, new curriculum and programming for children and leadership in worship at her church, the Inverness Vineyard Church. Through music, Linda has reached across Shelby County communities and beyond the United States as missionaries and other teachers bring her music and resources abroad.
She is always growing her own music, which is rooted in a passion to sing that began the moment she could stand up in church. “In the little country church in the wildwood, my grandmother would gather the little children and teach us little choruses,” she says. “Almost every Sunday morning, we would line up in front of this very small congregation on two rows of benches, and she would play. We would sing what we learned.”
Linda quickly felt a call to music and knew she wanted to empower children’s voices. “As a little child, I was put in front of a congregation,” she says. “I was able to grow into that ability to be a presenter and a teacher. A lot of children never have that opportunity. I love to see children in front of the congregation because they are being equipped for life.”
Teaching and creativity weave their way into all of Linda’s work. She can pick up any instrument to prepare for a new student or lesson, and she is quick to reflect on her experiences and finds herself writing down and eloquently recording her thoughts and prayers.
It’s no surprise that her musical talents, met with her expressive and outgoing nature, lend well to songwriting. “My songs are geared towards preschool to early elementary, up to age 12, and that’s who I write for,” she says. “Although with the Bible songs, the parents and adults love them, too, because they’re memorizing scriptures with their kids.”
Linda’s work falls between Bible verse songs and Biblical truth songs, which demonstrate ideals and truths found throughout scripture that Linda presents specifically for children. She writes with simplicity and sing ability and works with memorable melodies that will ring true for her listeners.
The first step in her songwriting happens at the kitchen table. “I like to read my Bible there because I can look up and watch our bird-feeding station,” Linda says. “For one of my favorite songs, I just looked up and saw this electric blue bluebird – this guy was glorious. I asked myself, ‘who made the bluebird’s wings so blue?’”
Linda’s lyrics answer the question: “God did! That’s who!” Her song, “God Did,” is one of many that has captured children’s hearts over the years – in churches in the area and in homes all over the world.
From her kitchen table inspirations to worldwide streaming, Linda stays involved throughout the writing and production processes as words and notes meld into songs. She first develops lyrics and whistles the melody until she has at least the first line nailed down. Linda then shifts to her songwriting keyboard and drum pad to develop the melody.
Linda’s phone is one of her greatest tools. Through voice memos for initial ideas, texts and phone calls with musicians, students and producers, to video recordings of the musical process for producers or other songwriting partners, she adds new lyrics, piano melodies and guitar parts.
She continues to watch the song blossom, adding chords and transferring her written notes and melodies to typed music. She then records a demo for her producer, switching from piano to guitar. When they create a track, Linda then records her own scratch vocals for the children’s choirs that accompany the music.
The entire process takes place across the country. Some of Linda’s producers are based in Atlanta and Nashville. Choirs from several different states record the vocals. “With a lot of extra work that goes into the vocal track, it’s sent back and mixed into a final song,” Linda says.
Over her decades of experience in music, Linda has launched innovative curriculum that is focused on teaching core Christian principles through children’s music. In her private and group lessons, she watches her students learn and then lead others as they master their musical talents. Some of her most impactful moments through music have been seeing children – just one child at a time – react to her music.
Deeply impacted by her songs, many parents and grandparents share stories about how Linda’s songs become a part of their lives and turn daily routines into moments of praise. “They are learning to listen to the Holy Spirit’s voice as they pray and listen,” says friend and Inverness Vineyard Church member Patti Yother. “A lot of these lessons come from the music you write.”
Linda has so many upcoming projects and ways that she is involved in music, which are all intertwined with her own ministry and songwriting. She wants to encourage children and make sure they know that they are loved and supported. Those values will always be embedded in her music.
“The kids energize me to go out and do more work,” Linda says. “It’s a circle of love that works beautifully.”
Resources and Curriculum
Linda has developed a gold mine of different resources for children; almost all of which are accessible for ministries around the world. One resource is Tent Time, which is Linda’s free curriculum for children based on author Dr. Mark Virkler’s novel, 4 Keys to Hearing God’s Voice. She recently created a coloring book that is available on her website that includes 16 coloring sheets that each pair with a song. Linda encourages teachers and families to use her curriculum in all different homes, classrooms and church environments.
Find Linda’s music and learn more about her work at lindaharpermusic.store.
“Your Mission” – in Linda’s Words
“This is my encouragement to those reading. ‘What’s that in your hand?’ was what God asked Moses. My question for you today is the same – what’s that in your hand? What abilities, talents or passions and interests do you have that could be used to deliver a nation, a people group, your family, your children or your grandchildren? What can you do to comfort, teach and equip success in these uncertain times? I ask myself often, ‘How can I make a positive difference in the lives of those around me and beyond my borders?’ I encourage you to do the same and act on the ideas and the gentle impressions that come to mind as you wait quietly for the answer. It’s not rocket science. It’s not hard to hear that still, small voice, speaking words of wisdom, creative ideas and directions. God loves you and has good plans for you. He is eager to share them if you just take a moment to listen.”