When I created my online school for harp players, “Hip Harp Academy,” I knew that the year-long curriculum in improv, arrangement and creative expression was not for beginners. “Advanced Beginners” yes — and all the way up to professionals. But if people are still just trying to get around the instrument, it’s hard to apply the creative principles I teach.
Something important was missing …
The fact is, I don’t even know how to begin teaching beginners — but a growing number of beginning harp players these day are adult beginners. They’re conceptually advanced, and they’re coming to the harp for self-expression — so they’re hungry for what I teach in the Academy: concepts that let them truly express themSELVES by breaking music apart, showing them how its built and giving them the tools to create.
But they’re missing a strong foundation.
What they don’t have is a foundation of harp technique. And up until last year, there was no way for them to get that foundation on line — until Shelley Fairplay created “Start Harp,” which was now become the foundational sister-program to “Hip Harp Academy.”
It all started nearly five years ago.
Shelley was one of the first harpists to join my “Harness Your Muse” mentorship program, which she joined to develop a new, original show called “The Three Strands.” Then one day she showed me a secret project she was deeply passionate about it. It was a book and extensive lesson plans she’d created for a program called ‘START HARP,’ a comprehensive harp program for beginners that could serve both children and adults who didn’t have access to a weekly teacher.
She’d originally created “Start Harp” as a book to be used with live classes, but it was perfect to be published on line with training videos, for the growing number of people all around the world, who are attracted to harp, many of whom don’t live anywhere near a teacher.
“Start Harp” was the missing link!
I saw immediately that “Start Harp” was a great program. I also realized it was the missing link for all the people who wanted to join Hip Harp Academy but need to develop basic skills first.
Thus did “Start Harp” become our sister-program that prepares people for “Hip Harp Academy.” In fact, several people who are already in “Hip Harp Academy” have added classes in Start Harp and now work the two programs concurrently with great results.
Shelley began the process of creating all the training videos for her online classrooms nearly two years ago. When she was done, she had THREE levels of “Start Harp,” three 12-week programs to support both beginners who have never played the harp, and harpists who are beginning again after years of not playing.
She created an entire program that could take people from how to purchase their first harp – to an intermediate level, with skills in technique, improv, ear training and harmony – with the option that harpists who come to the program with some experience can test out of the first levels if they want.
“Start Harp” courses begin Sept. 16th in all Three Levels
Learn about Start Harp: https://harpwales.com/online-harp-school-start-harp/
Download Shelley’s “First Steps in Harp Technique” FREE: https://harpwales.com/product/first-steps-in-harp-technique-poster/
Last year I interviewed Shelley about “START HARP” in this video. Please ignore tech glitches – we had a tough internet connection so there’s some freezing of video and audio – enjoy the weird faces we were probably making when the video froze!
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If you play the harp ... Join DHC's Hip Harp Academy
Deborah Henson-Conant's "Hip Harp Academy" online learning community is open for self-paced learning yearlong. DHC personal guides each class in the Academy once a year. Access to each guided class is limited to students who register before the 2nd week of class. Registration for the Fall Guided course, "HIp Harp TOOLKIT" is currently closed.