Lap harps – Treasure or Trash?

Lap Harps – Treasure or Trash?

One man”s trash is another mans treasure.

All harps welcome!

I have long felt that the lap (or knee) harp has been viewed in this light.

To some it is the harp for beginners looking for an inexpensive starting point, it is the therapy harp, the wonderfully portable harp, an instrument perfect to sing to, the storytelling harp.

To others it an instrument limited in range, does not have the resonance they desire, it may have no chromatic capabilities and it is sometimes considered not a ‘proper harp’ because it cannot play orchestral music.

What is it to you? 

Whatever the type of harp you have, my online beginner course START HARP is about making it a treasure and allowing you to enjoy creating beautiful music from day one. In the first Beta class one lady used a 12 string non-chromatic lap harp and learnt to read music, play tunes by ear, improvise, and some great foundation harp technique.  So whilst a lap harp may not take you to the Albert hall, it really can awaken your inner harpist!

I have 15 harps and have been using them to teach “hands on harps” workshops for years, I know for a fact they have inspired many people to take up the harp. I meet people years on who tell me they now have their own harp, take lessons and love playing the instrument. It gives me chills just thinking about that. Amazing.

When it comes to learning the harp,  what truly matters is that you start!

Learn basic harp techniques

So please do not wait any longer, if you have always wanted to play the harp, or you have made the first steps and would like to take your beginner journey further visit www.StartHarp.co.uk for details!

Following the successful launch and first class that started in January 2016, the next class for START HARP LEVEL 1 (BETA) starts on May 12th 2016. Registration is now open and you can sign up for LEVEL 1 by clicking >>HERE<<.

START HARP LEVEL 2 (BETA) is about to run for the very first time, also starting on the 12th of May. Registration is now open and you can sign up for LEVEL 2 by clicking >>HERE<<.

Not sure which level would be best for you? Take this fast quiz >>HERE<< to help you find out!

Why I made beginner harp classes “START HARP” digital

Why I decided to make beginner classes ‘START HARP’ digital.

Three years ago I finished writing my beginner harp tutor book, START HARP, I was so delighted to have finished this project that was so long in the making! I had wonderful graphic designers work on pictures to go in the book and it really seemed like everything I had ever imagined.

However, when I looked at it in the light of day, it seemed so flat, so 2D, so NOT me! All the things that I valued most about teaching and delivering lessons to students had been robbed, here was a very clinical “How to get from A-B book” type of book. There was no way I was going to publish it.

A few years later I began to get into online learning myself, such as some courses with the Open University, Berkley College and Harpist Deborah Henson-Conant. I found that learning online was perfect for me, I could work at my own pace, anytime of the day or night and there was not even any traveling involved. Teaching videos with a tutor felt surprisingly personal and the level of teaching was brilliant. I also enjoyed the fact that video lessons allow you to keep repeating the same information over and over as many times as you need (without the tutor even knowing you hadn”t grasped it first time!). Brilliant!

And so the penny finally dropped I could create START HARP as on online course, all the painstakingly planned lessons and artwork from the original book could be used, but in addition I could create play-a-long practice videos, improvisation tracks, tunes by ear and plenty of time focusing on techniques.

Of course the project has grown in work load due to this, but it has tuned into something better and more useful than my book could ever have been. Most importantly going digital has changed the whole thing back to what I believe is fundamental to true teaching, inspiration, communication, energy in delivery, clarity and diverse to appeal to all learning styles.

Do you know anyone who has always wanted to learn the harp?

If you have always wanted to play the harp, or you have made the first steps and would like to take your beginner journey further visit www.StartHarp.co.uk for details!

Following the successful launch and first class that started in January 2016, the next class for START HARP LEVEL 1 (BETA) starts on May 12th 2016. Registration is now open and you can sign up for LEVEL 1 by clicking >>HERE<<.

START HARP LEVEL 2 (BETA) is about to run for the very first time, also starting on the 12th of May.
Registration is now open and you can sign up for LEVEL 2 by clicking >>HERE<<.

Not sure which level to take? Take this quiz >>HERE<< to help you find out!

 

Challenges I faced creating START HARP!

What were the challenges involved in creating my brand new START HARP online course? 

Now that the first START HARP LEVEL 1 class has been completed and BETA run with a wonderful group of budding harpists I believe I have a somewhat rose tinted view of what creating an online class is like.  So I thought it would be interesting to revisit what the  challenges were in making START HARP happen!

Originally taking the leap of faith to actually film myself teaching and believe that it might be useful and relevant to students from across the world was a massive step. During the first few weeks I felt like I was doing a major performance every time I started recording. It took time to plan the lessons, prepare the harps/room/myself for filming, record, edit, upload, check, organisie in the online classroom and then release!

Learning to edit videos was slow and made me have a very “back to school feeling” but this in itself was actually great, whilst my students were having a total immersion into beginning the harp for the very first time, I was on my own similar learning curve with the editing software. This reminded me of what it is like to be completely in the dark about something and to need total clarity and encouragement along the way.

Choosing and investing in video equipment and new software was a logistical nightmare but thankfully my trusty mentor Deborah Henson-Conant came to the rescue, she runs a brilliant program called “Harness Your Muse” and her assistance with the set up short cut a thousand steps!

Then there was the task of creating a studio with appropriate lighting and backdrop. After initially setting up in my home in our sitting/dining room for a few months I realised I couldn”t entirely take over our living space for the 12 month recording phase, the house had to change, so my husband and I set to creating a proper studio space in my harp room, everything had to move out, be re-orgnasied and then appropriate backdrop, lighting and props moved in!

Taking a sabbatical from my one-to-one teaching for the year to make it happen has been a massive wrench, I love all my teaching and I miss my wonderful face-to-face students terribly. In 2017 when all the recording is done I look forward to returning to one-to-one lessons but as I already generally work 65+ hours a week I knew I couldn”t find another 20 hours a week any other way!

Which part was hardest? All the above combined!

Is it worth it? If I can help people all round the world take their first steps (or giant leap!) into becoming a harpist then yes so in truth that answer is yet to come, would you like to join me and help me find out?!

If you have always wanted to play the harp, or you have made the first steps and would like to take your beginner journey further visit www.StartHarp.co.uk for details!

Following the successful launch and first class that started in January 2016, the next class for START HARP LEVEL 1 (BETA) starts on May 12th 2016. Registration is now open and you can sign up for LEVEL 1 by clicking >>HERE<<.

START HARP LEVEL 2 (BETA) is about to run for the very first time, also starting on the 12th of May. Registration is now open and you can sign up for LEVEL 2 by clicking >>HERE<<.

Not sure which level to take? Take this quiz >>HERE<< to help you find out!

Get your hands on a harp! Harp Taster Sessions in Cardiff!

Harp Taster Sessions in Cardiff

Have you always wanted to try the harp?

Come along to a “Harp Taster” session on the National Instrument of Wales at Telynau Vining Harps with Harpist Shelley Fairplay.

During the workshop you will be introduced  to a variety of different harps including Celtic, Concert Pedal and Lap harps. You will be allocated a Celtic harp to use throughout the session and be guided through your very first stages of learning the harp; how to sit, basic harp technique and of course how to create beautiful sounds! By the end of the session you will have learnt how to find all the notes on your harp, played an accompaniment along with Shelley and also be able to play a tune on your own! No guarantees, but we should also warn you that you may well totally fall for this incredible instrument and awaken your inner harpist!

You will be allocated your very own Celtic harp to play on during the session!

If you have any hopes and dreams of once day renting or even owning your very own harp, Elen from Telynau Vining Harps will be available during the sessions to answer any questions you might have, including prices and information on Camac harps for sale and details regarding their harp rental scheme which starts from just £50 a month.
The workshop runs from 6.45pm to 8.30pm and includes a short tea break. The sessions are open to all ages and require no previous musical knowledge. Please note under 18″s must be accompanied  by an adult.

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Cost: £30

Time: 6.45pm  – 8.30pm

Dates: 21st April 2016, 16th June 2016.

Venue: Telynau Vining Harps, 116B Pantbach Road, Birchgrove, Cardiff, CF14 1UE. For directions please click here.

Booking: Booking is essential, please contact Elen Vining on info@camacharps.co.uk or 02920 620900 to reserve your space, book early to avoid disappointment as spaces are very limited. You can also book online at www.rowlandsonline.co.uk

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Start Harp – Online Beginners Harp Class – Blog

Start Harp – Have you always wanted to learn to play the harp?


On the 14th of January 2016, harpist Shelley Fairplay is launching a beta test for the brand new harp course “START HARP”.
Start harp is an online computer based harp class for complete beginners which enable students to access tuition from their own home. The course content is provided via with teaching videos, downloadable written materials, playalong practice videos, live webinars and homework submission.

Start Harp is a learning platform that welcomes with open arms ALL budding harpists on lap, lever or pedal harp.  It is a course aimed at beginner harpists whatever their musical background, wherever they are based and on whatever type of harp they are able to purchase or hire. Start Harp aims make the harp more accessible to anyone who would like to experience playing and learning this beautiful and incredibly diverse musical instrument.

Being able to finance purchasing a harp can be difficult, as can finding a local teacher in your area with spaces available to teach. Or even if a teacher is available, fitting in lessons at a suitable time to work with your lifestyle can be difficult.  Start Harp is a course designed specifically to enable beginner harpists to access harp teaching whatever your location or musical background, and accommodates learning harps of all different shapes and sizes including small lap/knee harps.

Shelley Fairplay says ‘I have met many a budding harpist over the years who has brought a small inexpensive lap harp to learn on, or had a beautiful instrument made by their partners, and then had the disappointment not being able to find teachers for this type of harp. This created a very strong passion in me to create a beginners course accessible for everyone. ‘

Start Harp Facts:

  • Start Harp will be delivered in three separate levels, 1,2 and 3.
  • Each module will be delivered over 12 weeks, with ten lesson weeks,  one “catch up” week mid term and a review week at the end.
  • The course materials can be accessed online at whatever time of the day suits the students lifestyle.
  • The content is delivered in the form of video tutorials, reading materials and play along practice tracks.
  • It is also optional for students to submit 6 pieces of homework and receive feedback from Shelley alongside attending 6 live Q and A webinars, where questions can be asked and answered live during the session.
  • The live sessions are recorded and can be replayed at a students leisure.
  • All students will be given access to a closed Facebook group where alongside Shelley all START HARP students can interact to share ideas, support each other through challenges and celebrate successes.

What does it cost?

£295 for each module – 50% discount for beta test