Shelley Fairplay’s next 12-week courses of START HARP and The Flourishing Harpist begin 8th January 2023. All three LEVELS will run simultaneously and places are limited. Take the START HARP quiz >>HERE<< to find YOUR level!

More advanced? Take a look at the ‘6 week courses’ tab to find your course this year!

To hear Deborah Henson-Conant interview Shelley about the courses and 3 START HARP LEVELS view FREE webinar replay >>HERE<<.

START HARP – Online Harp Lessons

Learn to play the 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

START HARP is an established 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.

Not sure which level to take? Click the link below!


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

Each level will be delivered over 12 weeks, which consists of 10 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 teacher 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 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 suit 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!

Read more about START HARP 1 >>HERE<<


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, by the end of the course you will have 10 pieces you can enjoy playing and even perform if you would like to!

Read more about START HARP 2 >>HERE<<


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 how to modulate, change key and use levers/pedals. We also look at:

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

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

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

Read more about START HARP 3 >>HERE<<


…being able to access tuition at any time of the day or night to suit you.
…being supported by an online community of like-minded course mates.
…being able to repeat lessons as many times as you need at your own pace.
…being able to learn to play the harp in the comfort of your own home.
…sitting down at your harp, playing your favourite tune and someone telling you it’s beautiful.
…joining a course where you can sound wonderful from day one.

What Students Say About START HARP

Sign up for START HARP Today

You can sign up for START HARP by purchasing level 1, 2 or 3 in the START HARP shop. If you are not sure which level is right for you, please take the START HARP Quiz and Shelley (the course’s teacher) will recommend a level for you.

Need more details?

If you want to read more about START HARP before deciding whether to sign up, please visit the detailed START HARP course description.

Free ‘Getting Started Playing the Harp’ Poster

Need some tips on getting started playing the harp? Download the “First Steps in Harp Technique” poster for free in the online shop.

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