START HARP Questions Answered on FACEBOOK LIVE!

Posted in News on January 13th, 2017 by shelley – Comments Off

START HARP FACEBOOK LIVE!

Over the past few weeks I have been receiving lots of questions regarding the online START HARP courses, so I decided to answer some of them on FACEBOOK LIVE so anyone interested can access them! Here are the two videos so far, if you have a question just get in touch on info@harpwales.com!

Have you always wanted to play the harp or improve your skills but not been able to for some reason? Come and join join me and other fellow harp enthusiasts as we study the harp together with joy and optimism this January! There is more information available >>HERE<< or you can email me for full course descriptions on info@harpwales.com.

How to register for START HARP classes
It’s quick and easy to register – just click on the course titles below:

If you are not sure which level to take why not spend a few minutes taking the Harp quiz to help you find out!

Keeping Harp Students Engaged and Progressing Online

Posted in News on September 5th, 2016 by shelley – Comments Off

START HARP flyer showing Shelley Fairplay with her harpI created the online START HARP course to give more people the opportunity to learn to play the harp in an affordable and flexible way, no matter where they live. (Find out more about Start Harp.)

But there is a potential for students to feel disengaged and for their progression to grind to a halt if they’re not in a classroom sat next to their tutor.

How do I manage this potential problem?

1. Spotting students who need extra support

The teaching platform Ruzuku, which I use to deliver START HARP, gives students the option of checking off each lesson as they complete it. So, if anyone is getting really behind I can get in touch and check everything is ok.

2. Building a community

Many of the pages have a discussion section so students can instantly share their thoughts with each other. This really helps students to get to know and learn from each other.

3. Homework

I’ve talked about how I keep students engaged but I still need to know how they are progressing as a harpist! So, every two weeks during the course I ask students to submit a video lesson and I provide individual feedback on each video.

 

4. Last but not least….

Communication. It’s essential. I run live Q&A sessions where students can ask a question on the day or submit a query in advance. The ‘Ask a question’ page, Facebook page and email contact are additional communication channels where I can check in with students, they can ask me questions or tell me about any problems they’re having.

Interested in taking the leap and 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!

“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, 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

 

“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, START HARP Student

Is the Harp an Elitist Instrument?

Posted in News on September 5th, 2016 by shelley – Comments Off

START HARP flyer showing Shelley Fairplay with her harpPeople perceive the harp as only accessible to a privileged few, but is this true, and more importantly, does it need to be true? This is a question that’s troubled me for a while and driven the development of my online START HARP course.

Yes, absolutely, an instrument costing £1000 or more is a huge investment and a very large sum of money for most of us to find.

Inevitably, this means that children are encouraged to take up the flute, clarinet or keyboard – all of which can be accessed for a much smaller sum.

Making the harp accessible

But what if you could take your first steps right now on a harp that costs less than £200?

With START HARP you can.

START HARP is an affordable and flexible online course, which you can use to learn to play either the traditional pedal harp or lap harp.

The benefit of a lap harp is its relative low cost compared to the pedal harp. Of course, this inexpensive instrument won’t take you to the Albert Hall but it might just awaken your inner harpist and allow you to take the first and most important step on your journey to playing the harp!

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, START HARP Student

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!

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

Three Reasons I Love Teaching the Harp Online

Posted in News on September 5th, 2016 by shelley – Comments Off

START HARP flyer showing Shelley Fairplay with her harpCreating START HARP as an online course has opened up a whole new world to me! I’ve always enjoyed teaching but never thought I would enjoy running an online course so much.
(Find out more about STARTHARP.)

Why do I enjoy it? Here are my top three reasons!

1. Bringing music to life
I LOVE creating the play along tracks for students, knowing that when the student is practicing a single note on their harp they will get to play along with my accompaniment, making it sound fun, beautiful, and like real music from day one.

2. Take two…
I love that I can edit my videos, removing anything I say that might be confusing or re-record sections that I think don’t work. It’s wonderful to be able to reflect on the lessons and really refine each one, perfecting the learning experience for my students.

3. Offering flexibility
In my experience, every student has natural strengths. But they will also have areas they need to develop and will often need to repeat a lesson with a teacher more than once before an idea or a concept ‘clicks’. That’s why I love using online teaching. It means video tutorials on improvisation and playing music by ear can be played again and again by START HARP students without having to wait until the next lesson.

 

 

So these are the top three reasons I love online courses… what are yours?

Tempted to start learning the harp 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

From Blue Peter to an Online Harp Course!

Posted in News on September 1st, 2016 by shelley – Be the first to comment

START HARP flyer showing Shelley Fairplay with her harpSince January 2016, I’ve been testing my new online course – START HARP. I’m excited to be running a course which is flexible, affordable and accessible to everyone, no matter where they live. (Find out more about START HARP.)

Working hard to encourage people of all ages and musical abilities to start playing this amazing instrument made me pause for a second and think… why do I play the harp?

Honestly? It’s just something I’ve wanted to do for as long as I can remember!

But my mother tells me that Blue Peter* was to blame.

They had a wonderful harpist perform on the programme and apparently I was transfixed! I talked about harps, looked for harps and idolised harps from then on!

My parents said if I learned piano, then at the age of eleven I could take up the harp. Luckily for me, we bumped into a harpist at a concert when I was nine years old. She let me try the harp and I played a tune from my piano lessons without any help. She offered to teach me and the rest is history!

(*Little known fact – I once won a Blue Peter badge for drawing a picture of a spider fitting an energy saving light bulb!)

Sign up to START HARP today!

It’s amazing how one opportunity to try the harp changed my life… it could change yours, too!

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!

“As a complete beginner I’ve found the course fantastic. There is so much content (much more than in a normal weekly music lesson) but you can take it at your own speed.” Fiona Angwin, 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

 

 

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

Harp Music Blossoms in The National Botanic Garden of Wales!

Posted in News on June 21st, 2016 by shelley – Comments Off

Here is the letter and press release I have been sending out to the media regarding the National Botanic Garden of Wales harp weekend! Please share with any of your press contacts this week to help spread the word! 

Harp Music Blossoms in the National Botanic Garden of Wales

My name is Shelley Fairplay, I am a full time harpist deeply passionate about engaging more people in harp playing and listening to harp music, both through community engagement harp workshops, and though approachable performances. This year has seen the BETA launch of my brand new online harp school “Start Harp” in order to enable greater access to harp tuition for those living in remote areas of Wales, the UK and the world.

I emailing you to tell you about a family harp weekend that I am organising at the National Botanic Garden of Wales on the 2nd and 3rd of July this year. The Harp is the National Instrument of Wales yet many of people living in Wales have never touched one. This harp weekend offers the opportunity for visitors to the gardens to come along and try the harp within a friendly workshop setting and also to listen to a wide diversity of musical styles performed on the harp.

For Children there are additional activities to get involved with including the opportunity to become a ‘Harp Detective’ on a trail around the Garden to discover hidden facts about the instrument.  They can also enter a ‘Draw the harps in the flowers’ competition where everyone will receive a gift, and they can even to become part of a musical storytelling session in ‘ Tiny Hands on Harps’, where children learn to play the harp and sing along as the story unfolds (see 1st photo attached).

To celebrate the fifth annual National Botanic Garden of Wales Harp Weekend I have invited a very special guest to join us, one of Wales’ national treasures, World Famous triple harpist Robin Huw Bowen, who will be teaching and leading the Telynor Cymru 2016 project and performing in our double billing harp concert. The other half of the double bill concert features music from my own brand new show ‘HarpOsphere’.

Over the weekend there are four concerts, ten workshops and additional interactive events. Details on all these events are included in a press release below.

I would love your help getting the word out, below this email I have included a press release for the harp weekend and I have also attached some low resolution photos, if you would like to use them please let me know and I will forward you high resolution versions. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like any further details regarding any aspect of the event and I would be delighted to discuss it with you.

Thank you so much for your time and I look forward to hearing from you.

With all best wishes,

Shelley Fairplay – Harpist

Web: www.harpwales.com

Email: info@harpwales.com

Tel: 07960 718663

Do you know anyone who has always wanted to learn the harp? 2016 has seen the launch of START HARP my brand new online harp course for complete beginners! For details visit www.StartHarp.com

______________________________________________________________________________

For immediate release – run through July 3rd

For further information on this press release please contact Shelley Fairplay: Email: info@harpwales.com
Tel: 07960 718663. Website: www.harpwales.com

 ____________________________________________________________________________

5th Annual Family Harp Weekend at the National Botanic Garden of Wales

The Harp is the National Instrument of Wales yet many of people living in Wales have never touched one.

 The National Botanical Garden of Wales aims to change that for all adventurous and curious visitors to the garden this July! On the 2nd and 3rd of July the NBGW hosts it fifth annual harp weekend, two full days of family friendly events and concerts including hands on harps workshops for those who have never played the harp before.

Over the weekend you can hear DOUBLE BILLING harp concert with Shelley Fairplay’s “HarpOsphere” and Wales’ foremost Triple Harpist Robin Huw Bowen, you can try the harp for the first time at a “Hands on Harps” workshop, bring your little children to a “Tiny Hands on Harps” session, attend an open harp rehearsal and performance of the “Telynor Cymru 2016 Project”, listen to the Cardiff-based harp ensemble “Dynamic Harps” perform, become a “Harp Detective” and enter our “Draw the Harp in the Flowers” competition to win prizes!

In addition to teaching & performing Shelley has also created two harp ensembles, called “Dynamic Harps” – one for adults and one for teenagers – both of which are performing at the harp weekend with Shelley leading the groups from her harp.

A Passion for Sharing the Harp:

Returning by popular demand to organise the weekend is Harpist Shelley Fairplay, who is so passionate about engaging people with the harp that she likes to create “harp petting zoos” at her concerts so people who have never touched a harp before can put their hands on it. This year Shelley has even launched a brand new online harp school for beginner harpist called START HARP to help encourage new people to the harp with access to tuition for those in remote areas.

Shelley will be teaching ‘Hands on Harps’ workshops to those who have never played the harp before over the weekend, with ‘Tiny Hands on Harps’ for 3 – 6 year olds. Shelley will also be leading her student ensembles ‘Dynamic harps’ and following her 2015/16 concert series The Three Strands; Passion, Sorrow and Joy Shelley Fairplay is back with her performing her brand new concert “HarpOsphere’.

What is the “HarpOsphere”?

Pythagoras proposed the intriguing idea that the Stars, Moon and Planets emit their own unique musical tones, he called it the Music of the Spheres. What if you could hear that? What if you could hear the shape of a sphere, the sound of our planets, the number Pi of as a melody, the circle of life in music?

Shelley explores these fascinating notions in her performance on the Concert Pedal Harp and a golden Electric Lever Harp. The program not only includes the harp being played traditionally but also uses a looper pedal and amplification for parts of the concert.

Come and join Shelley in the HarpOsphere where you will hear music ranging from our Celtic roots right through to music from the 21st Century. The cycle of the seasons are celebrated with Vivaldi, the musical loop is honored in Ravel’s Bolero, the Planets become audible with Holst, and we pay homage to our Moon with Fly me to the MoonMoon River and Moon dance.

Inviting Wales National Treasure to the Stage:

To celebrate the fifth annual National Botanic Garden of Wales Harp Weekend  we have invited a very special guest to join us, one of Wales’ national treasures, World Famous triple harpist Robin Huw Bowen, who will be teaching and leading the Telynor Cymru 2016 project and performing in the Double Billing concert at 2.30pm on the Great Glasshouse stage with Shelley Fairplay. Robin Huw Bowen is a full-time professional Welsh harpist specializing solely in the Welsh Triple Harp, his influence on the world of Welsh folk music and harping has been far-reaching. He undoubtedly ranks among the most important figures that the Welsh folk tradition has produced.

Robin Huw Bowen will be leading the workshop and performance of harpists involved Telynor Cymru 2016 project, visitors to the garden and enjoy listening to both the open rehearsal and the concert over the weekend. The project celebrates the two-hundredth anniversary of the birth of John Roberts ‘Telynor Cymru’ (1816-1894), the famous Welsh Gypsy harpist, and one of the most important figures of our folk tradition.  Through this project, Clera (Cymdeithas Offerynnau Traddodiadol Cymru – The Society for the Traditional Instruments of Wales) has been offering a programme of workshops to teach harpists all over Wales to play in the style of the Welsh Gypsy harpists, a style passed down to us directly from John Roberts himself through several generations of his family.

Special Double Billing Harp Concert: 

This years double billing concert with Shelley Fairplay and Robin Huw Bowen; “HarpOsphere” meets Welsh National Treasure takes place at 2.30pm on Saturday 2nd and Sunday 2nd July 2016 as part of the National Botanical Garden of Wales Family Harp weekend. 

Who, What, When and Where?

Events run from 10:30am to 5pm at the National Botanic Garden of Wales. Over the weekend there are four concerts, ten workshops and additional interactive events. Details on all these events are included in a press release below.

All the concerts and activities are free of charge with admission to the National Botanic Garden of Wales. For admission charges please visit www.botanicgarden.wales.  To ensure your space on any of the workshops you can reserve in advance by emailing Shelley Fairplay on: info@harpwales.com.

Runtime of events on Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd July 2016: 

10.30am       ”Harp-On” Information Desk Opens in Great Glass House

10.45am       “Telynor Cymru 2016″ Open

12.00pm       “Hands on Harps” – Come and try the harp for the first time!

12.45pm       “Tiny Hands on harps” – Come and try the harp for the first time!

1.15pm          ”Dynamic Harps” and friends harp ensemble concert   including  ”Telynor Cymru 2016″ project music.

2.30pm        DOUBLE BILLING Harp Concert:

“HarpOsphere” with harpist Shelley Fairplay

Performance by Wales’ foremost Triple Harpist Robin Huw Bowen

4.00pm       “Tiny Hands on harps” – Come and try the harp for the first time! (note time change)

4.15pm        ”Hands on Harps” – Come and try the harp for the first time!

All Day        ”Harp detectives trail”

All Day        ”Draw harps in the flowers”

For further information and timetable of the full weekend of events please visit: www.HarpOsphere.co.uk

___________________________________________________________________________________

ENDS