When John Wesley Hart was very young, he showed a great interest in the piano. So when he was 6 years old, his mother arranged for private piano lessons in their home. When he was 11, he began group lessons with the Robert Pace method. This is where John had his first music theory lessons. In his 5th grade year, John took violin lessons and later played in a Junior High School orchestra. After his dad left home, his mother could no longer afford private piano lessons, but the piano teacher said she couldn’t bear for that to happen (because he showed so much promise as a musician); so she offered to teach him for free. Shortly after that, John was diagnosed with scoliosis and was put into a full back brace for 2 years—22 hours per day. This made playing the piano very difficult, so the group lessons stopped. Then one day another piano teacher stopped by the family home to give John a short improvisation lesson. She said, “Would you like me to teach you what you can do with all that theory you know?” That one lesson gave John the idea of how everything fit together–which led to the development of his own improvisatory style and a wide range of musical compositions – music by John Wesley Hart.
In high school, John signed up for a class in music composition and auditioned for stage band. The director quickly approved after he heard how quickly John could interpret a chord chart. At times their group would play for a dance at a local retirement home, with John on the Fender Roads electric piano. John’s teen years were full of composing and playing music for the church. Their youth group sponsored coffee house-style evenings where friends could get together and perform for an audience. John would often sing and play his new compositions, and also sing in a Beach Boys group—just for fun. John sang in a travelling youth choir and at 17 years became one of the lead pianists for a large church in the Seattle area. He also became well known as a composer. After the performance of his first anthem for choir and orchestra, the senior pastor was brought to tears! He kept saying, “John, John, John!” The song was entitled, “Whom Have I In Heaven But Thee”.
In 1976, John entered Seattle Pacific University and began studying music. During those years, he lived on campus so he could devote himself more fully to his studies. Every year, both students and professors marveled at his ability to compose and to improvise at the piano. John interned in Junior High band, orchestra, and choir, and was allowed to arrange a special internship project by conducting the church orchestra while the professors looked on. In 1979 he accompanied a church missions group to Kenya and ended up playing while the group sang in a television studio there, as well as in many of the churches in the area. While John was still in college studying music he was hired by the church as an in-house composer/arranger. That was the beginning of music by John Wesley Hart.
After graduating with a double major in music education and composition and a K-12 teacher’s certificate from SPU, John played his senior recital. The hall was packed with friends and family, including many from his church. John met his wife, Meg, at their church’s college age Sunday school class, and were married on February 18, 1983. John and Meg had 5 children, most of whom learned to play the piano and sing as well.
After graduation, John worked as a substitute teacher for Shoreline and Seattle, often conducting orchestras, choirs, and bands. In January of 1982, he was hired as a first grade classroom teacher at North Seattle Christian School. For the next 10 years John taught second grade, and continued teaching, directing, writing, and performing music–the continuation of music by John Wesley Hart.
John taught beginning strings, at times even recording individual parts for his students. He often accompanied other performers. One of these events was a talent show in which the violinist won 2nd place for playing “Beauty and the Beast.” For many years, John directed elementary children’s choirs and took them on nursing home tours in the area. The residents always looked forward to the carolling, cards, and goodies the children would bring them. For over 20 years, John gave private piano lessons to students after school in his classroom as well as at his home. Some of these students are his own children.
In these years, music by John Wesley Hart went public. John was best known for the song, “Great is Your Love”, which he wrote in 1980. This song was published by Integrity Music in 1986 and went world-wide. (Click here to listen the song on Youtube.) It was reproduced in other languages and re-recorded on many different types of albums. (The royalties from this song helped send John and Meg on a mission’s trip to Kenya in 1991.) Besides this piece, John has written over 50 worship songs for congregational use.
John’s greatest joy was in writing love songs to God. “My Love” is a musical Song of Solomon (or Song of Songs) chapter 2 in the Bible. It was included on an album produced in a studio (Radio Poet) owned by Jay Hallstrom. The singer on the album is Pastor Rick Stone.
Music by John Wesley Hart also includes his musical works works for school and church musicales, including: “Esther”, “The Red, White, & Blue Review” “Toymakers Dream”, and “Toymakers Promise”. One of his songs, “Christmas is a Giving Time”, was used in another church’s musicale
John directed and performed in a men’s vocal ensemble at his church. The group won first place in the church’s talent show and often sang on Sunday mornings. John wrote the piece, “I Will Pour it Out” which the group sang on Mother’s Day.
John also published his own piano CD, entitled, “In the Garden”, which is available on Amazon, Itunes, and CD Baby. It’s one hour of completely improvised, unrehearsed quiet piano music which people have used in their homes and businesses for a peaceful atmosphere.
Besides music, John was also well known for his teaching skills. In 1991 he was honored as “Teacher of the Year” for Puget Sound Christian schools. During the 90’s John started and administrated a new cooperative school in Kirkland, which he led for 9 years and then continued his classroom teaching career in the fifth grade for 13 more years.
John has spent many years as an event pianist. He has played for church services for over 40 years, as well as many weddings, memorials, parties, and other special events.
One of John’s favorite things to do with music was to compose and perform songs for individuals. If someone needed encouragement, he would sing them a song. This trend continued throughout his life—love songs for his wife, Meg, wedding songs for his children, healing songs for the sick, songs of comfort for the dying. Many of these were completely spontaneous and unrehearsed, then others were written down and recorded.
John has authored a YouTube channel which is the home of a series entitled, “Scripture Thru Music”, designed to bring God’s Word into homes through prayer and inspired, spontaneous music. Some of John’s most loved singles are: My Help Comes from the Lord, In the Beginning, The Greatest Gift of All, Wonderfully Made, and I Will Not Fear.
In addition to his musical endeavors, John is writing a book and seminar entitled, “Stewardship and Romance”, a course for young single adults. John and Meg are also the co-hosts of a podcast entitled, “Marriage by Courtship” with plans to begin a marriage bootcamp.
John and Meg live in Bothell, Washington. They participate in the ministry at Evergreen Church in Bothell, WA.
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