Are you looking to learn the harp?!

Posted in News on August 20th, 2017 by shelley – Comments Off

START HARP – Three 12 weeks courses;

Level 1, 2 and 3 Courses starting in January, April and September each year.

Full details regarding the course are available >>HERE<<

Full details regarding the course are available >>HERE<<

Brand New Online Harp Classes for Beginners

Tutor: Harpist Shelley Fairplay

Are you looking to study harp for the very first time? Join this exciting new way to study harp technique, y and musicianship from the comfort of your own home, on a lever, lap or pedal harp.

Full details regarding the course are available >>HERE<<

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Learning the harp?

Do you play the harp? Or would you like to try the harp for the first time? Would you like to improve your harp playing skills? Would you like to host a harp workshop? If so I very much look forward to working with you!

 

Welcome to my ‘Teaching’ page where you can find information on the variety of different lessons and ensembles I currently provide.

Please see below for relevant section!

  • Student Harp Ensemble: Student Dynamic Harps.
  • Adult Harp Evening Class: Adult Dynamic Harps.
  • Hands on Harps: Try the harp for the first time at a Museums/Visitor Centers.
  • Workshops for Harpists.
  • Harp Workshops for Schools.
  • One to One Harp Lessons. Due to launching START HARP in 2016 Shelley is not teaching 1 to 1 lessons again until 2017
  • General advice on obtaining a harp.

Student Harp Ensemble: Dynamic Harps!

www.dynamicharps.co.uk

Student Dynamic Harps : A harp ensemble with a twist which will focus on show, pop, film and jazz tunes. This is for harp students at grade three level and above any age up to 18. Meets Tuesday evenings in Radyr, 6.45pm – 8.30pm.

The ensemble runs in 10 week blocks. Each week we will work on repertoire pieces as an ensemble and also look at a specific skills/techniques that will inform general harp playing.

Do you enjoy Film, Show, Pop and Jazz tunes?

Then come and come and join us! The classes are open to all harp students who are grade 3 level or above. Music will be prepared to cater for the group to make sure everyone can participate and progress appropriately within their comfort zone.

Are you interested? Come and join us! I would be delighted to hear from you! For further information please visit the ‘Dynamic Harps!‘ page for further details! I look forward to seeing you at the next ensemble session!


 Adult Harp Evening Class: Dynamic Harps!

Adult Ensemble ‘Dynamic Harps’

Adult Dynamic Harps : This is an ensemble class for adult learners working on repertoire from traditional, classical, world and modern musical genres.

We meet on Monday evenings in Radyr, 6.45pm – 8.45pm.

Come and join a wonderful group of harp learners taking part in this harp ensemble evening class for adult harpists. The ensemble runs in 10 week blocks. Each week we practice and learn repertoire pieces from traditional, classical, world and modern genres as an ensemble and also look at specific skills/techniques to inform your general harp playing.

 Are you studying the harp?

Come and join us! The classes are open to all harp students who have a basic knowledge of music reading and harp technique. Music will be prepared to cater for a variety of abilities to make sure everyone can participate and progress appropriately within their comfort zone.

Are you interested? Come and join us! I would be delighted to hear from you! For further information please visit the ‘Dynamic Harps!‘ page for further details! I look forward to seeing you at the next ensemble session!

STOP PRESS (August 2014): This ensemble is currently full but I would love to hear from you if you are interested in ensembles as I can put you on the ‘First to know!’ list and email you if a space becomes available. I also hold open workshop days throughout the year so can put you on my mailing list to inform you of up and coming events!


Hands on Harps: Try the harp for the first time workshops!

“Hands on Harps” Workshop

Always wanted to try the harp? Come along to try our National Instrument of Wales, with harpist Shelley Fairplay (www.harpwales.com). The workshop will include demonstrations on a Pedal, Celtic and Lap Harp, then along with Shelley’s guidance, you can have a go at playing one of the fifteen 17 string lap harps available on the day.

In general twice a year I hold open ‘hands on harp’ workshops as The National Botanic Garden of Wales – on St Davids Day (1st March) and as part of their annual Harp Weekend this year taking place on 13th and 14th June 2015. Further details are available by clicking here. I have also held such events as part of ‘Chill in the Park’ at Bedwellty house in Tredegar, Dyffryn Gardens just outside Cardiff and at the National Waterfront Museum in Swansea for Santes Dwynwen Day – to celebrate the Welsh Patron Saint of Love and friendship.

Would you like to come and try the harp? If you would like to be notified of up and coming workshops please email me via info@harpwales to join my mailing list.

Would you like to host and event? If you would like to host harp workshops at your venue please contact me via info@harpwales.com or 07960 718663 to discuss the exciting possibilities. I can musically theme the workshop content to be applicable to the time of year/venue as required!


Harp Workshops for Schools

Harps for School Children to try!

Looking for exciting music opportunities for students in your school? Why not book ‘Hands on Harps’ or ‘Harp Tales’ session!

I would be delighted to come along and run harp based music workshops in your school. The harp really is wonderful to listen to, discover and explore so workshops with the instrument are engaging and enjoyable for students (although I am of course biased due to being slightly harp obsessed!) Sessions in and around cardiff can be booked via this website or through Emma Coulthard, Cardiff County & Vale of Glamorgan Music Service.

Hands on Harps:

Hands on Harps is a six week group/whole class program designed to develop musical skills. The Harp, our National Instrument of Wales, is the central focus. The project uses eight beautiful medieval replica lap harps, each with 17 strings, for the children to learn on. Shelley leads the workshops on a 34 string Celtic harp, the lap harps and for one session a ‘show and tell’ on a concert pedal harp. Boomwhackers and percussion are used additional instruments for Hands on Harps sessions to assist with rhythm and note understanding for the whole class.

Harp TalesTM from Harp Wales!

Harp TalesTM are interactive, exciting and educational musical stories told with harp accompaniment and child participation through song, sound and movement. Each HarpTaleTM is carefully tailored to engage appropriately the age group being worked with. Music covered in a session will encompass a variety of styles and genres including well loved traditional welsh tunes.

The session will begin with listening to the sound of the harp, a general introduction and interesting facts about the harp. This is followed by warm up activities to develop musical skills, all with a central focus on composing sounds and actions for the story being worked towards. A song will also be learnt by the group and then…the Harp Tale will begin and children join in with sounds, movements and song. It may possible child to have the opportunity to the harp at the end of the story and finally the session will close with reflection and farewell!

Tales include: Three Billy Goats Gruff, Hare and Tortoise, Jack and the beanstalk, The Gruffalo, Owl Babies, Morgan and the Golden Harp, The Emerald Harp, Gabriel and the Bear, Treasure Hunt, Hairy Scary Castle, Harp O’Gold, Jack and the beanstalk.

For further information, program of study and curriculum links information please do not hesitate to contact me an I will email you over further information and fees.


Workshops for Harpists:

Workshops for harpists!

It has been wonderful to provide harp workshops over the years for various organisations and music festivals such as The Clarsach SocietyTelynau Vining/Camac Harp eventsWales Millennium Center Outreach Program in Schools and for the Cardiff Music Development Team. Many of these workshops have been specific to individual sessions or general ensemble pieces (which I always love to keep diverse in content!). I also have a set of ‘titled’ workshops I run from time to time including:

Effective Effects Workshop! (First prepared for workshop 2012)

Harmonics, Etouffée PDLT, Xylo…? The list for harp is endless.

Through tunes medieval to modern we will explore useful techniques to enhance beautiful and varied sounds that you and your harp can create!

 Know your shapes for sight reading! (First prepared for workshop 2013)

I would like to share with you a foundation skill that if you practice you will be able to use at any level to help you sight read well on your harp. It is this…Know your shapes…By this I am referring to building up your pattern recognition of the shapes that notes create on the musical stave and learning the feel of shape that your hand makes as you play them.

So you’ve learnt a good tune? Make it a party piece! 

(First prepared for workshop 2011)

Using simple tunes and phrases we will explore ways of using rhythm, ostinato patterns, various harp techniques and plain old cheating to find out how best to make a tune ‘your own’ in an individual, delightful and vibrant way! This workshop is suitable for all levels, music will be provided but notation reading not necessary. We will work as an ensemble, no pressure to play on your own unless of course you would like to! Come along, try out ideas and create beautiful music!

 I was at the workshop you held at Pentrecwrt Village Hall a few weeks ago – still improvising!

What a fantastic afternoon that was! Thank you so much, it was really inspiring – you are a great teacher Shelley and your enthusiasm and passion really awakened an urge in me to play and practise more and more!

 I look forward to the next workshop!

 With very best wishes and thanks again,

Jane”


One to One Harp Lessons

One to one harp lessons for all ages and abilities.

 Due to launching START HARP this year Shelley is not teaching 1 to 1 lessons again until 2017

I provide one to one harp lessons to over 20 students varying from primary school age to retiredbeginner to grade 8.

 I have been teaching the harp since 1998, I really enjoy this aspect of my life and I am an enthusiastic and understanding teacher. I believe that enjoyable and varied lessons are paramount to a student’s success in becoming a harpist. As everyone has different long-term aims and expectations it is important to discuss these between tutor and student so lessons can be tailored carefully to individual needs. You may wish to perform in concerts, play with a band, accompany others, learn to improvise, compose, or simply play for your own pleasure.

I am a fully qualified teacher with a PGCE from Aberystwyth University and hold a diploma in harp instrumental teaching from the Associate Board of the Royal Schools of Music.

To learn the harp you need time, enthusiasm and discipline. It is recommended that a potential student should have studied the piano for at least a year before starting the harp. This is so that when a student starts the harp the main focus can be on enjoyment and learning a good technique – an assimilation of basic music theory will have already taken place. It is possible to learn without piano as a background, however a student must be prepared for what will initially be a slower learning process.

Lesson Costs

The length of lesson you will need will depend on your age and experience. I teach on Weekdays and evenings. If you are interested in having harp lessons please do not hesitate to contact me by telephone or email to discuss your needs and ideas.

  • 1/2 hour: £15
  • 3/4 hour: £22.50
  • 1 hour: £30

Julie: “I’m 38 years old; I started learning the harp eight months ago. Shelley made me feel immediately at ease and made the lessons thoroughly enjoyable. She managed to be both motivating and perceptive as a teacher; always stretching me but never too far; always encouraging and inspiring. I wanted to learn to improvise, as well follow scores, and she ensured that I learned both. She clearly had a wonderful relationship with the children she taught and certainly related to me (an adult) with complete ease. I suspect she could effectively teach anybody (of course, as long as they genuinely wanted to learn!). Her passion for teaching was obvious to all of us – lessons are fun as well as instructive.”

Alison: “Shelley has been an inspirational harp teacher for our daughter, Katie, who took up the instrument two years ago at the age of nine. From the outside Shelley’s lessons appear to have involved a lot of fun, which is in direct contrast to the methods of other music teachers we have experienced. This has had a very positive effect on Katie who has always looked forward to her weekly lesson. Shelley organises group sessions which has allowed Katie to meet other people interested in the harp and has enabled her to experience group, as opposed to just solo playing.”


Some general advice on obtaining a harp:

Folk and Pedal Harp LessonsHarps are expensive and it is a big commitment to purchase one before beginning lessons. I offer one or two ‘taster’ sessions’ so that you can meet me and try the harp before you make a commitment to the instrument and lessons. Although you won’t be able to practice between sessions, it will give you an opportunity to try the instrument and gain a slight insight into the harp and techniques that are used by harpists.

Hiring harps

Hiring a harp to start with is a very sensible idea and harp hire is available from approximately £40/£50 a month. You can rent harps from various harp shops including Telyanu Vining Harps, Pilgrim Harps and Salvi, please see my recommendations page for information on these suppliers.

Harp loans from Schools/Music services

For children wishing to learn it is worth speaking to their school as some schools and/or county music services will loan harps to students.

Purchasing a harp

Once you are sure that studying the harp is going to be a long-term project, the purchase of the instrument is the next logical step. There are various companies selling harps throughout the UK, please see my recommendations page for some suggestions. A suitable harp to learn on should have at least 34 strings (this is the number required by the music examining boards) and will provide the range necessary for at least the first few years of learning. If you are thinking of buying ar harp over the internet on say on ebay, please feel free to ask my advice via email or contact a harp teacher that you know.

Second-hand Harps

Harps do not devalue greatly so second-hand harps are not always cheaper. There are a number of second-hand harp lists available (please see my recommendations page for suggestions). Do ask for advice if you are considering purchasing a second-hand harp.

Charities

There are various charities you can apply to that offer help towards the costs of musical instrument purchase.

 

 

22nd/23rd July 2017- 6th National Botanic Garden of Wales Family Harp Weekend

Posted in News on June 5th, 2017 by shelley – Comments Off

PAGE UNDER CONSTRUCTION – WILL BE FINISHED BY 12th June 2017!

Come and join us for a celebration of the National instrument of wales at the 6th Annual Family Harp Weekend at the National Botanic Garden of Wales! 

10:00am to 4.30pm July 22nd & 23rd.

Over the weekend Shelley will be teaching workshops, performing, facilitating harp related children activities and leading ensemble performances for visitors enjoy. You can hear Shelley Fairplay perform her concert “HarpOsphere”, you can try the harp for the first time at a “Hands on Harps” workshop, bring your little children to a “Tiny Hands on Harps” session, listen harp ensembles including “Dynamic Harps”, “Wales Clarsach Society”, “Harping On” and “Start Harp” students. Children can become a “Harp Detective” in a trail around the Great Glass House and enter our “Draw the Harp in the Flowers” competition to win prizes!

If you already play the harp wonderful! Brand new this year is the “NBGW Flash Mob Harp Ensemble”, where you can come and play in this magical setting amid the flowers! If you have just started playing, played for years or simply own a harp and want to hang out with harpists then bring your instrument along to play in an open harp rehearsal in the morning and then perform in the afternoon. Music will be given on the day to suite all levels, reading or not reading music. If you are thinking of attending the NBGW Flash Mob Harp Ensemble then please click >>HERE<< to register your interest with Shelley and receive the information that you will need to enable you to take part! 

All events are FREE once you have entered the gardens. For information on the National Botanic Garden of Wales admission times and prices visit their website by clicking this link: NBGW

Does this harp weekend awaken your inner harpist I wonder?! If so why not join Shelley Fairplay’s brand new online START HARP class where you can learn to play the harp from the very beginning using lap, lever or pedal harp. At the harp weekend you will have the opportunity to enter a prize draw to win a FREE space on one of Shelley’s START HARP courses (a prize worth £295!) which will be pulled out of a ‘hat’ at the end of the weekend and announced on Facebook. All  you need to do is fill out an entry slip with your name and contact details at the “Harping On” sign up desk in the Great Glass House!

 Runtime of events on Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd July 2016:

10.00am – 4.00pm  Harp Weekend Information/Booking Desk Open

10.00am – 4.00pm – Harp Detective Trail

10.00am – 4.00pm – “Draw the Harps in the Flowers” completion

10.30 am – 12.00pm  NBGW Flash Mob Harp Ensemble Open Rehearsal

12.15pm -12.30pm – Tiny Hands on Harps Workshop – Parent and child workshop

12.30pm – 1.15pm– Hands on Harps Workshop – Come and try the harp for the first time!

1.30pm – 2.15pm Harp Ensemble Performances – including NBGW Flash Mob Harp Ensemble

2.30pm – 3.15pm HarpOsphere Concert – Shelley Fairplay

3.15pm – 3.30pm Tiny Hands on Harps Workshop – Parent and child workshop

3.30pm – 4.15pm Hands on Harps Workshop – Come and try the harp for the first time

All events are FREE once you have entered the gardens, for information on the National Botanic Garden of Wales admission times and prices please visit their website by clicking this link: NBGW

Full details of Events:

10.00am – 4.00pm  Harp Weekend Information/Booking Desk Open

Come along to the “Harp-On” desk to find out more about the harp weekend!

Here you can book your workshop space, pick up your “Harp Detective Trail” sheet, to enter the ‘Draw the harps in the flowers Competition’ and to ask any questions you might have regarding the weekends events!

This stand will be run by wonderful volunteers, friends and performers of Dynamic Harps and the wonderful volunteers of NBGW.

“Harp Detectives Trail” – All Day Event

Harp Detectives – take part in an exciting trail of discovery! This activity is designed for children to explore and discover for themselves interesting information related to the harp whilst journeying around the beautiful Great Glass House. Collect your trail sheet from the Harp On desk in the Great Glass House. Successful harp detectives may return to the Harp On desk to receive a sticker as recognition of their resourceful exploring!

“Draw harps in the flowers” – All Day Event

Competition open for Children 16 and under. Enjoy drawing a beautiful instrument in a beautiful setting! Pencils and paper will be available on the day! All entries will receive a harp pencil for taking part and at the end of the weekend a rosette for 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize will be awarded and winners will be sent this along with their prize of a ‘harp model construction kit’.

The winners will be announced on the 24th of July via Facebook and will have their drawings posted on the National Botanic Garden of Wales and Harpist Shelley Fairplay;s Facebook Page. Prizes would be posted out after the weekend. So make sure your name, addresses and telephone number is on the back of each picture!

10.30 am – 12.00pm  NBGW Flash Mob Harp Ensemble Open Rehearsal (90 mins)

If you already play the harp wonderful! Brand new this year is the “NBGW Flash Mob Harp Ensemble”, where you can come and play in this magical setting amid the flowers! If you have just started playing, played for years or simply own a harp and want to hang out with harpists then bring your instrument along to play in an open harp rehearsal in the morning and then perform in the afternoon. Music will be given on the day to suite all levels, reading or not reading music. If you are thinking of attending the NBGW Flash Mob Harp Ensemble then please click >>HERE<< to register your interest with Shelley and receive the information that you will need to enable you to take part! 

 12.15pm “Tiny Hands on Harps”: Parent and Child session (15 minutes)

Try the lap harps together and enjoy much loved nursery rhymes and stories! This workshops is aimed at children 3-6 with one to one parental support in the session.

The 15-minute children’s session are free once you have paid for your admission in to the National Botanic Gardens of Wales. Tickets will available on the day at the ‘Harp on’ stand or your space can be booked in advance by clicking >>HERE<<.

All children must be accompanied by an adult sitting alongside them during this event.

12.30pm – 1.15pm– Hands on Harps Workshop – Come and try the harp for the first time(45mins)

Always wanted to try the harp? Come along to try our National Instrument of Wales, with harpist Shelley Fairplay

Workshop will include demonstrations on a Pedal, Celtic and Lap Harp, then along with Shelley’s guidance, you can have a go at playing one of the fifteen 17 string lap harps available on the day. Maximum of 30 people per session, adults and children aged 7 up. Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

A place on the workshop is free once you have paid for your admission in to the National Botanic Gardens of Wales. Tickets will available on the day at the ‘Harp on’ stand or your space can be booked in advance by clicking >>HERE<<.

 

1.30pm – 2.15pm Harp Ensemble Performances – including NBGW Flash Mob Harp Ensemble

Come and enjoy hearing harp ensembles perform including The Clarsach Society Wales Branch Dynamic Harps Student ensemble, Dynamic Harps Adult Ensemble, Harping on and START HARP students perform. Music from so many genres including Celtic, Paraguayan, Pop, Classical and even a brand new StarWars suite for harp will be performed over the weekend.  

2.30pm Harp Concert “HarpOsphere” with Shelley Fairplay

Shelley Fairplay presents “HarpOsphere”

Following her 2015/16 concert series The Three Strands; Passion, Sorrow and Joy Shelley Fairplay is back with her latest concert HarpOsphere.

What is the HarpOsphere?

The great mathematician Pythagoras proposed the intriguing idea that the Stars, Moon and Planets emit their own unique musical tones, he called it the Music of the Spheres. What if you could hear that? What if you could hear the shape of a sphere, the sound of our planets, the number Pi of as a melody, the circle of life in music? Shelley explores these fascinating notions in her performance on the Concert Pedal Harp and Electric Lever Harp.

Come and join Shelley in the HarpOsphere where you will hear music ranging from our Celtic roots right through to music from the 21st Century. 

 “Just in case you thought harp concerts meant expensive tickets, plush velvet seats, stuffed shirts and glares if you cough at the wrong moment, here’s the wonderfully talented Shelley Fairplay (successfully inviting some audience participation). Balloons, birds and lots of spiky plants, what could possibly go wrong!” Alastair 

For further information regarding Shelley please visit: www.harpwales.com

3.15pm “Tiny Hands on Harps”: Parent and Child session (15 minutes)

Try the lap harps together and enjoy much loved nursery rhymes and stories! This workshops is aimed at children 3-6 with one to one parental support in the session.

The 15-minute children’s session are free once you have paid for your admission in to the National Botanic Gardens of Wales. Tickets will available on the day at the ‘Harp on’ stand or your space can be booked in advance by clicking >>HERE<<.

All children must be accompanied by an adult sitting alongside them during this event.

3.30pm “Hands on Harps” Workshop (45 minutes)

Always wanted to try the harp? Come along to try our National Instrument of Wales, with harpist Shelley Fairplay

Workshop will include demonstrations on a Pedal, Celtic and Lap Harp, then along with Shelley’s guidance, you can have a go at playing one of the fifteen 17 string lap harps available on the day. Maximum of 30 people per session, adults and children aged 7 up. Children under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult.

The 15-minute children’s session are free once you have paid for your admission in to the National Botanic Gardens of Wales. Tickets will available on the day at the ‘Harp on’ stand or your space can be booked in advance by clicking >>HERE<<.

Does this harp weekend awaken your inner harpist I wonder?! If so why not join Shelley Fairplay’s brand new online START HARP class where you can learn to play the harp from the very beginning using lap, lever or pedal harp. At the harp weekend you will have the opportunity to enter a prize draw to win a FREE space on one of Shelley’s START HARP courses (a prize worth £295!) which will be pulled out of a ‘hat’ at the end of the weekend and announced on Facebook. All  you need to do is fill out an entry slip with your name and contact details at the “Harping On” sign up desk in the Great Glass House!

Over the weekend Shelley’s two CD’s will be available to buy from the National Botanic Garden of Wales

The Cherished Harp and The Three Strands, these are both also available to order via Amazon via this link >>HERE<<.

START HARP Questions Answered on FACEBOOK LIVE!

Posted in News on January 13th, 2017 by shelley – Comments Off

START HARP FACEBOOK LIVE!

Over the past few weeks I have been receiving lots of questions regarding the online START HARP courses, so I decided to answer some of them on FACEBOOK LIVE so anyone interested can access them! Here are the two videos so far, if you have a question just get in touch on info@harpwales.com!

Have you always wanted to play the harp or improve your skills but not been able to for some reason? Come and join join me and other fellow harp enthusiasts as we study the harp together with joy and optimism this January! There is more information available >>HERE<< or you can email me for full course descriptions on info@harpwales.com.

How to register for START HARP classes
It’s quick and easy to register – just click on the course titles below:

If you are not sure which level to take why not spend a few minutes taking the Harp quiz to help you find out!

Keeping Harp Students Engaged and Progressing Online

Posted in News on September 5th, 2016 by shelley – Comments Off

START HARP flyer showing Shelley Fairplay with her harpI created the online START HARP course to give more people the opportunity to learn to play the harp in an affordable and flexible way, no matter where they live. (Find out more about Start Harp.)

But there is a potential for students to feel disengaged and for their progression to grind to a halt if they’re not in a classroom sat next to their tutor.

How do I manage this potential problem?

1. Spotting students who need extra support

The teaching platform Ruzuku, which I use to deliver START HARP, gives students the option of checking off each lesson as they complete it. So, if anyone is getting really behind I can get in touch and check everything is ok.

2. Building a community

Many of the pages have a discussion section so students can instantly share their thoughts with each other. This really helps students to get to know and learn from each other.

3. Homework

I’ve talked about how I keep students engaged but I still need to know how they are progressing as a harpist! So, every two weeks during the course I ask students to submit a video lesson and I provide individual feedback on each video.

 

4. Last but not least….

Communication. It’s essential. I run live Q&A sessions where students can ask a question on the day or submit a query in advance. The ‘Ask a question’ page, Facebook page and email contact are additional communication channels where I can check in with students, they can ask me questions or tell me about any problems they’re having.

Interested in taking the leap and learning online?

 

Join START HARP!

START HARP is an easy to follow, flexible and affordable online course that will take you on a musical journey from the comfort of your own home!

“The fact that the course covers learning by ear and improvisation as well as reading music from the page means that you can start to play recognisable tunes from the beginning. I’ve loved every minute of the course – even the homework!” Kate Adams, START HARP Student


Interested? Click on the course titles below and you’ll be taken to further information about START HARP and details of how to register:

Not sure which level to take? Spend a few minutes taking the Harp quiz to help you find out!

Want to find out more? Visit www.STARTHARP.com

 

“The fact that the course covers learning by ear and improvisation as well as reading music from the page means that you can start to play recognisable tunes from the beginning. I’ve loved every minute of the course – even the homework!” Kate Adams, START HARP Student

Is the Harp an Elitist Instrument?

Posted in News on September 5th, 2016 by shelley – Comments Off

START HARP flyer showing Shelley Fairplay with her harpPeople perceive the harp as only accessible to a privileged few, but is this true, and more importantly, does it need to be true? This is a question that’s troubled me for a while and driven the development of my online START HARP course.

Yes, absolutely, an instrument costing £1000 or more is a huge investment and a very large sum of money for most of us to find.

Inevitably, this means that children are encouraged to take up the flute, clarinet or keyboard – all of which can be accessed for a much smaller sum.

Making the harp accessible

But what if you could take your first steps right now on a harp that costs less than £200?

With START HARP you can.

START HARP is an affordable and flexible online course, which you can use to learn to play either the traditional pedal harp or lap harp.

The benefit of a lap harp is its relative low cost compared to the pedal harp. Of course, this inexpensive instrument won’t take you to the Albert Hall but it might just awaken your inner harpist and allow you to take the first and most important step on your journey to playing the harp!

I’ve enjoyed Start Harp from the very first week. Even with my little 12 string lap harp, all the teaching sessions are relevant, and the mix of theory, improvisation and playing by ear is a joy. I’d never tried to play the harp before, and I’m hooked.
Fiona Angwin, START HARP Student

Have you always wanted to play the harp? Do you want to take your playing to the next level?

Join START HARP!

START HARP is an easy to follow, flexible and affordable online course that will take you on a musical journey from the comfort of your own home!

Interested? Click on the course titles below and you’ll be taken to further information about START HARP and details of how to register:

Not sure which level to take? Spend a few minutes taking the Harp quiz to help you find out!

Want to find out more? Visit www.STARTHARP.com

Three Reasons I Love Teaching the Harp Online

Posted in News on September 5th, 2016 by shelley – Comments Off

START HARP flyer showing Shelley Fairplay with her harpCreating START HARP as an online course has opened up a whole new world to me! I’ve always enjoyed teaching but never thought I would enjoy running an online course so much.
(Find out more about STARTHARP.)

Why do I enjoy it? Here are my top three reasons!

1. Bringing music to life
I LOVE creating the play along tracks for students, knowing that when the student is practicing a single note on their harp they will get to play along with my accompaniment, making it sound fun, beautiful, and like real music from day one.

2. Take two…
I love that I can edit my videos, removing anything I say that might be confusing or re-record sections that I think don’t work. It’s wonderful to be able to reflect on the lessons and really refine each one, perfecting the learning experience for my students.

3. Offering flexibility
In my experience, every student has natural strengths. But they will also have areas they need to develop and will often need to repeat a lesson with a teacher more than once before an idea or a concept ‘clicks’. That’s why I love using online teaching. It means video tutorials on improvisation and playing music by ear can be played again and again by START HARP students without having to wait until the next lesson.

 

 

So these are the top three reasons I love online courses… what are yours?

Tempted to start learning the harp online?

Join START HARP!

START HARP is an easy to follow, flexible and affordable online course that will take you on a musical journey from the comfort of your own home!

“I would recommend this course for anyone who has ever dreamt of playing the harp. The ongoing support and advice, not only from Shelley herself but from the rest of the group through Facebook and Q&A sessions, has kept me focused. And it’s fun! What more could you want.
Pauline Jones, START HARP Student

 

Interested? Click on the course titles below and you’ll be taken to further information about START HARP and details of how to register:

Not sure which level to take? Spend a few minutes taking the Harp quiz to help you find out!

Want to find out more? Visit www.STARTHARP.com

From Blue Peter to an Online Harp Course!

Posted in News on September 1st, 2016 by shelley – Be the first to comment

START HARP flyer showing Shelley Fairplay with her harpSince January 2016, I’ve been testing my new online course – START HARP. I’m excited to be running a course which is flexible, affordable and accessible to everyone, no matter where they live. (Find out more about START HARP.)

Working hard to encourage people of all ages and musical abilities to start playing this amazing instrument made me pause for a second and think… why do I play the harp?

Honestly? It’s just something I’ve wanted to do for as long as I can remember!

But my mother tells me that Blue Peter* was to blame.

They had a wonderful harpist perform on the programme and apparently I was transfixed! I talked about harps, looked for harps and idolised harps from then on!

My parents said if I learned piano, then at the age of eleven I could take up the harp. Luckily for me, we bumped into a harpist at a concert when I was nine years old. She let me try the harp and I played a tune from my piano lessons without any help. She offered to teach me and the rest is history!

(*Little known fact – I once won a Blue Peter badge for drawing a picture of a spider fitting an energy saving light bulb!)

Sign up to START HARP today!

It’s amazing how one opportunity to try the harp changed my life… it could change yours, too!

Join START HARP!

START HARP is an easy to follow, flexible and affordable online course that will take you on a musical journey from the comfort of your own home!

“As a complete beginner I’ve found the course fantastic. There is so much content (much more than in a normal weekly music lesson) but you can take it at your own speed.” Fiona Angwin, START HARP Student

 

Interested? Click on the course titles below and you’ll be taken to further information about START HARP and details of how to register:

Not sure which level to take? Spend a few minutes taking the Harp quiz to help you find out!

Want to find out more? Visit www.STARTHARP.com

 

 

Why Everyone Should Play the Harp!

Posted in News on August 22nd, 2016 by shelley – Be the first to comment

START HARP flyer showing Shelley Fairplay with her harpThe harp is, in my opinion, the GREATEST beginner instrument of all time!

As long as it is in tune (which, thank goodness, due to modern technology we can do with an app on our iPhones or with an electronic tuner) the harp will sound great whatever notes you play.

So often people tell me they haven’t a musical bone in their body. They then try the harp and are stunned at the beautiful sound they can make!

Unlike many woodwind instruments there is nothing to ‘put together’ before you play, plus the harp looks AMAZING.

So seriously, what’s not to love? START HARP today!

 

START HARP is an easy to follow, flexible and affordable online course that will take you on a musical journey from the comfort of your own home!

“I would recommend this course for anyone who has ever dreamt of playing the harp. The ongoing support and advice, not only from Shelley herself but from the rest of the group through Facebook and Q&A sessions, has kept me focused. And it’s fun! What more could you want.” Pauline Jones, START HARP Student

 

Interested? Click on the course titles below and you’ll be taken to further information about START HARP and details of how to register:

Not sure which level to take? Spend a few minutes taking the Harp quiz to help you find out!

Want to find out more? Visit www.STARTHARP.com

Creating an Online Harp Course: What I’ve Learned

Posted in News on August 17th, 2016 by shelley – Be the first to comment

START HARP flyer showing Shelley Fairplay with her harpNow that the START HARP Level 1 and 2 classes have been completed for the first time with a wonderful group of budding harpists, I know I’ve developed a rose-tinted view of what creating an online class is like!

So, I thought it would be interesting to revisit some of the challenges I faced while making START HARP happen!

1. Lights, camera, action

Just filming myself teaching was a massive step but I believed that it might be useful and relevant to students from across the World.

2. A slow start…

During the first few weeks, it felt like a major performance every time I started recording. It took time to plan the lessons, prepare the harps/room/myself for filming, to record, edit, upload, make final checks and then release the videos to the students!

3. Back to school

Learning to edit videos was a slow process and gave me a ‘back to school feeling’. But it was great. While my students were totally immersed in beginning the harp for the first time, I was on my own learning curve with the editing software. It was an excellent reminder of what it feels like to be completely in the dark about something and to need clarity and encouragement along the way!

4. Knowing when to ask for help
Choosing and investing in video equipment and new software was a nightmare but thankfully my trusty mentor, Deborah Henson-Conant, came to the rescue. She runs a brilliant programme called ‘Harness Your Muse’ and her assistance setting-up of my online course helped to speed things up dramatically!

5. A room of my own

Then there was the task of creating a studio with appropriate lighting and backdrop. After initially setting up in my home in our dining room for a few months, I realised I couldn’t take over our living space for the twelve month recording phase! The house had to change, so my husband and I created a proper studio space in my harp room – everything had to move out, be re-organised and then an appropriate backdrop, lighting and props were moved in!

6. Making difficult decisions

Typically, I work 65+ hours a week, so I knew something had to give if I was to make a success of START HARP.  I made the difficult decision to take a sabbatical from my one-to-one teaching for a year. This was incredibly hard as I had some wonderful students but in 2017, when all the recording is done, I look forward to returning to those lessons.

What have I learned?

It’s always worth taking a risk, no matter how hard it may appear at first – imagine where you could be in a year’s time if you grab the opportunity to try something new!

Take a leap into the unknown – learn to play the harp!

 

Join START HARP!

START HARP is an easy to follow, flexible and affordable online course that will take you on a musical journey from the comfort of your own home!

“I would recommend this course for anyone who has ever dreamt of playing the harp. The ongoing support and advice, not only from Shelley herself but from the rest of the group through Facebook and Q&A sessions, has kept me focused. And it’s fun! What more could you want.” Pauline Jones, START HARP Student

 

Interested? Click on the course titles below and you’ll be taken to further information about START HARP and details of how to register:

Not sure which level to take? Spend a few minutes taking the Harp quiz to help you find out!

Want to find out more? Visit www.STARTHARP.com

 

 

 

Making the Most of My Harp Teaching Experience

Posted in News on August 16th, 2016 by shelley – Comments Off

START HARP flyer showing Shelley Fairplay with her harpWith over ten years of teaching experience, I feel very comfortable teaching students sat next to me at their harp. Making the decision to teach online and to create START HARP changed everything.

I had to think very carefully about how to present the tutorial videos and used the knowledge gained from teaching many beginner students over the years to assist me!

I spent several months writing an overview and lesson plan that I felt would stretch those students moving fast but not overwhelm those taking the ‘slow and steady’ approach.

Making the most of my varied teaching experience

Delivering this online course has brought into play a great deal of what I learned teaching in the classroom, carefully planning every single lesson for all possible eventualities and types of learner.

In fact, as I developed the course I realised that I was finally being able to use every single type of teaching experience I have ever had. From the years of one-to-one instrumental teaching and teaching in primary schools as a fully qualified classroom teacher, to taking many group harp lessons and delivering harp workshops at harp weekends and festivals.

I feel that each experience has brought me to the point of creating START HARP. It is so exciting to see all the different skills and types of teaching approaches all being used in one place!

Interested in learning online?

 

Join START HARP!

START HARP is an easy to follow, flexible and affordable online course that will take you on a musical journey from the comfort of your own home!

“I would recommend this course for anyone who has ever dreamt of playing the harp. The ongoing support and advice, not only from Shelley herself but from the rest of the group through Facebook and Q&A sessions, has kept me focused. And it’s fun! What more could you want.” Pauline Jones, START HARP Student

Interested? Click on the course titles below and you’ll be taken to further information about START HARP and details of how to register:

Not sure which level to take? Spend a few minutes taking the Harp quiz to help you find out!

Want to find out more? Visit www.STARTHARP.com