Creating an Online Harp Course: What I’ve Learned

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!



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!

Item added to cart.
0 items - £0.00