Taking Harp Lessons Online?

START HARP flyer showing Shelley Fairplay with her harp

A Change In Direction! Why I Decided To Take Harp Lessons Online

Three years ago, I finished writing a harp tutor book for beginners called START HARP. I was delighted to have finished a project that was so long in the making! (Find out more about registering for START HARP)

I had wonderful graphic designers work on pictures to go in the book and it really seemed like everything I had ever imagined.

Diagram of string layout on a harpBut when I looked at it in the cold light of day, it seemed so flat 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” type of book.

There was no way I was going to publish it.

A few years later I began to get into online learning, through courses with the Open University, Berkley College and Harpist Deborah Henson-Conant.

Learning online was perfect for me. I could work at my own pace, any time of the day or night, and there was no traveling involved. The video tutorials 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 knowing you hadn”t grasped it first time). Brilliant!

A change of direction

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

Of course, the project has grown and the workload increased, but it has turned into something better and more useful than my book could ever have been.

Most importantly, going online has taken the whole project back to what I believe are the true fundamentals of teaching:

  • Be inspiring
  • Be energetic in your delivery
  • Be clear
  • Be diverse and appeal to all learning styles

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


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!

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