START HARP begins 22nd April 2018

Learn harp in the comfort of your own home, whatever time of the day or night suits you, without the isolation and frustration of self-study.

Shelley Fairplay’s next sessions of START HARP begin on 22nd April 2018 – Registration opening early April 2018, get on the first to know list by signing up here:

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START HARP can also make a great gift for the harpists and aspiring harpists in your life!!

START HARP Week One Video Screenshot

DISCOUNT OFFER: Start Harp runs in three Levels, 1, 2 and 3. Each level costs £295, however there is an early bird discount of £245 if you sign up in early April when registration opens. 


START HARP is a brand new online harp course for beginner harpists, created by passionate and dedicated harpist Shelley Fairplay. It consists of three separate levels (1, 2 and 3), each delivered over a 12 week period.


Level 1 is designed for complete beginners, level 2 for those with some basic technique and skills and level 3 for beginners who have really taken to the instrument, learnt the foundations and flow and want to push themselves further!

  • Shelley teaching a group at the National Botanic Gardens GlasshouseEach level 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 & A webinars, where questions can be asked and answered live during the session.
  • The live sessions are recorded so if students are unable to attend they 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.


The START HARP LEVEL 1 course works on the foundations and building blocks required to help you take the first steps towards becoming a proficient harpist.

The course presumes no prior knowledge of the harp or music and is based in C major.

During the course you will study from the very beginning basics in harp technique, music theory and musicianship from the comfort of your own home, on a lever, lap or pedal harp. These classes will enable you to access beginner level harp tuition at a time and pace to suite you.

We will work on the foundations of harp playing to enable you to move forwards and enjoy playing this incredible instrument. You will very quickly find you have a basic working knowledge of how to play by ear, from written music and how to improvise!


In LEVEL 2 we begin to learn how to put your foundation harpist skills into play; working on fluidity, confidence and really owning your abilities.

Each week you will be introduced to a new repertoire piece and given activities including warm up ideas relating to the piece, exercises to help you master tricky sections and ways to extend and add to the piece to “make it your own”.

The course is based solely in C major. The elements focused on in LEVEL 1; technique, learning by ear, improvisation and reading from the music will all be developed further in this course.  We also cover the “modes” and the theory of basic chords and inversions.

If you follow all the lessons, but the end of the course you will have 10 pieces you can enjoy playing and even perform if you would like to!


As in all the courses LEVEL 3 consists of videos and written materials designed to help you work on theory, technique, new repertoire, improvisation and playing by ear.

This course has a focus on learning to play in different keys (up to 3 ♭’s and 3 ♯’s) and teaches students how to modulate, change key and use levers/pedals within a piece. We also look at the following:

Techniques “Moving on”: Including looking at harmonics, different ways of damping,  4th finger slides, thumb slides,
 mid piece lever/pedal changes and trills.

Think Theory videos:
 Including; reading and writing pedal chart, the circle of 5ths, modulating to join pieces together, learning new key signatures, learning about the relative major/minors.

 ‘A Spotlight On’ lessons: Including; practice techniques,
avoiding aches and pains,
extending repertoire quickly,
 preparing to perform and learning to teach yourself.

Are you ready to join START HARP online? Get on the ‘first to know’ list!

Join the START HARP mailing list

* indicates required


START HARP can also make a great gift for the harpists

 Not sure which level to take?

What students say about START HARP

“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

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

I’ve always wanted to learn to play the harp and START HARP has made it possible as it’s accessible at times that are convenient for me. 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

Why choose to study online with START HARP?

  • Have you brought a harp and not been able to find a local teacher?
  • Did you dream of learning harp as a child but never have the opportunity?
  • Have you been given a lap harp but found all the tutor books are aimed at pedal harps and lever harps?
  • Are all the harp teachers in your area full with long waiting lists?Would you prefer not to learn from scratch with one-to-one lessons and learn the foundations before attending face-to-face sessions?
  • Are classes in your area all aimed at a particular age group?
  • Have you been told your harp is not the correct or proper instrument to learn on?
  • Have you begun teaching yourself the harp and been frustrated by not moving forwards fast enough?
  • Have you never learnt and instrument before and feel you cannot begin from scratch on the harp?

START HARP Frequently Asked Questions

Learn basic harp techniques

Q: What level should I choose?
A: The classes are open to complete novice/beginner harpists. Simplification and extension options will be provided so everyone can participate and progress appropriately within their comfort zone. Level 1 is designed for complete beginners, level 2 for those with some basic technique and skills and level 3 for beginners who have really taken to the instrument, learnt the foundations and flow and want to push themselves further! To help you work out which level you should start on try this quiz >>HERE<< or contact Shelley Fairplay direct by email on

Q: What are the benefits of learning online?
A: You will have the opportunity to work at your own pace, replay any learning materials over and over until you understand the lesson and fit your learning and practice sessions in around your daily life at a time that suits you.

Q: Will you need your own harp and equipment?
A: You will need to have access to a harp (any shape or size – see info above), a computer with internet access and for homework submission a way of making videos (e.g. by using your phone, internal computer camera, other filming devices).

Q: What will be provided?
A: All course materials will be provided online, you will be able to download and print course handouts to keep and you will have access to the online classroom for a minimum of 12 months after the course opens.

Who is Harpist Shelley Fairplay?

Image of Shelley at harp
Shelley Fairplay – Performer of ‘The Three Strands’

Shelley Fairplay is a performer and teacher with over 15 years experience teaching harp, harp ensembles and workshops for all ages.  She’s also the founder of ‘Harpist for a Day’, a program that gives non-harpists the opportunity to go from first note to concert performer in a single day. Her successful concert series ‘The Three Strands: Passion, Sorrow and Joy’ was premiered in the UK in 2014, and her CD of the same name was released in 2015. Her 2016 concert series ‘HarpOSphere,’ like all her concerts, featured her own original works along with her arrangements of popular, classic and traditional tunes.  She has performed throughout the UK, and appeared in Europe and the U.S. as a soloist and alongside internationally renowned harpists including electric jazz harpist Deborah Henson-Conant. Her Dynamic Harps Ensemble, features both an adult and children’s group, filled with harpists who enjoy learning and performing music from films, pop, shows, classical, Jazz and celtic genres. 2016 saw the launch of her brand new online harp course for beginner harpists, START HARP. Shelley Fairplay has University and music college qualifications (Degree and Masters in music), teaching diploma from ABRSM and she is a fully qualified school classroom teacher with over 5 years of class and workshop teaching experience.

Shelley says: ‘I have a great passion and enthusiasm for all aspects relating to the harp and I want to share it with you! I look forward to welcoming you to the classes!

If you have further questions please email Shelley Fairplay direct on: 

If you do not quite feel ready to take the course this term then sign up for Shelley’s mailing list and she will let you know when the next classes start.

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