Archive for August, 2016

Why Everyone Should Play the Harp!

Posted in News on August 22nd, 2016 by shelley – Be the first to comment

START HARP flyer showing Shelley Fairplay with her harpThe harp is, in my opinion, the GREATEST beginner instrument of all time!

As long as it is in tune (which, thank goodness, due to modern technology we can do with an app on our iPhones or with an electronic tuner) the harp will sound great whatever notes you play.

So often people tell me they haven’t a musical bone in their body. They then try the harp and are stunned at the beautiful sound they can make!

Unlike many woodwind instruments there is nothing to ‘put together’ before you play, plus the harp looks AMAZING.

So seriously, what’s not to love? START HARP today!

 

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!

Want to find out more? Visit www.STARTHARP.com

Creating an Online Harp Course: What I’ve Learned

Posted in News on August 17th, 2016 by shelley – Be the first to comment

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!

 

Join START 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!

Want to find out more? Visit www.STARTHARP.com

 

 

 

Making the Most of My Harp Teaching Experience

Posted in News on August 16th, 2016 by shelley – Comments Off

START HARP flyer showing Shelley Fairplay with her harpWith over ten years of teaching experience, I feel very comfortable teaching students sat next to me at their harp. Making the decision to teach online and to create START HARP changed everything.

I had to think very carefully about how to present the tutorial videos and used the knowledge gained from teaching many beginner students over the years to assist me!

I spent several months writing an overview and lesson plan that I felt would stretch those students moving fast but not overwhelm those taking the ‘slow and steady’ approach.

Making the most of my varied teaching experience

Delivering this online course has brought into play a great deal of what I learned teaching in the classroom, carefully planning every single lesson for all possible eventualities and types of learner.

In fact, as I developed the course I realised that I was finally being able to use every single type of teaching experience I have ever had. From the years of one-to-one instrumental teaching and teaching in primary schools as a fully qualified classroom teacher, to taking many group harp lessons and delivering harp workshops at harp weekends and festivals.

I feel that each experience has brought me to the point of creating START HARP. It is so exciting to see all the different skills and types of teaching approaches all being used in one place!

Interested in learning online?

 

Join START 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!

Want to find out more? Visit www.STARTHARP.com

Taking Harp Lessons Online?

Posted in News on August 15th, 2016 by shelley – Be the first to comment

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?

Join START 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!

Want to find out more? Visit www.STARTHARP.com