Raising & Lowering DVD

ART is pleased to announce the launch of the second Learning the Ropes ® DVD – this one focusing on the skills and knowledge needed for Raising and Lowering. The new DVD contains almost an hour of specially commissioned footage exploring all aspects of raising and lowering. Separated into convenient chapters, the DVD includes sections on chiming, raising a bell, lowering a bell, raising in peal, lowering in peal, trebling up and trebling down.

Through-out there are examples of good raises and lowers and the DVD also places in context the skills which help develop the competences of bell handling, teamwork, listening and other core skills we use in ringing generally.

Techniques to help you learn or teach to raise or lower a single bell or in peal are fully dealt with as well as the issues you face when learning to ring or treble up and down in peal. A number of ideas to allow effective practice are demonstrated.

The Raising and Lowering DVD is now available to everyone for £15 at the ART Shop. ART Members can claim a £3 discount by purchasing via SmART Ringer.

Read the review

The Association of Ringing Teachers (ART) are releasing a DVD about raising and lowering. This is a well thought out production, demonstrating the beauty of a good raise or lower. It contains a complete, good quality example of each. It shows you how to ring up, ring down, how to teach those skills and correctly observes how to get good at raising and lowering in peal: lots of practice.

This DVD, scripted by Graham Nabb, is aimed at a general audience: tower captains, trainers, people learning and other interested ringers. The main benefit lies in the economy and thoroughness of presentation with step-by-step teaching points on how to ring up and down: solo first, then in peal and finally taking a look at how to take the lead.

What are the good points? This product is in the current mainstream in its view of ringing and teaching. A video probably has the edge over the written form for presenting this topic, with tricky aspects such as neat rope handling coming over very well. This one’s well produced with effective use of colours. Each section follows logically from what preceded. Everything progresses at a good pace with a clear narrative. For example the first few minutes contain a complete ‘rise in peal’ and a well-rounded introduction into what to look for when raising. By 5:50 we are on to an important section on learning how to keep tension. There are many helpful observations and teaching tips, including examples of unskilled handling labelled with a large friendly cross. There is a suggestion, supported by your reviewer, that the skills for raising and lowering can usefully be taught very early: it can be part of the overall package and not delayed. There is significant teaching value in doing a partial raise, without the added complexity of the learner dealing with catching the sally, or even holding coils. The script points out the team aspect of ringing up and down in peal. Safety is not neglected, with important points such as checks on ‘up or down’ demonstrated.

I would particularly commend the acknowledgement that ringing up and down is an important activity in its own right. Bands that can’t ever ring up and down in peal have something missing from their practice. The extremely simple suggestion of developing by starting on lower numbers is helpful: it really works. When learning to ring up and down in peal, you don’t have to be driven by obsession – but that could help. I know a West Country group that go off regularly to a quiet place and practice on 4 with someone to help them get it right.

Bells at All Saints' Marsworth in the 'Up' position

Bells at All Saints’ Marsworth in the ‘Up’ position

What is refreshing? Well, quite a lot. If you’re not impressed by the opening raise, why not try having a go yourself at getting a six up in a lot less than 20 whole pulls with a convincing rhythm. The Eggbuckland ringers can, and they deserve their place here. The approach is interesting in stating no particular preference for or against the general ‘Bristol’ as opposed to the ‘Devon’ style raise and lower, just pointing out that there are differences. There is a helpful piece on the challenges of ringing the treble while going up or down in peal. This is an excellent discussion with an emphasis on keeping close observation. There are practical demonstrations of a treble ringer not setting a correct pace, the effect and the remedy. The cast of ringers from the Coventry Guild area play their part very well. And I’ve always liked catching in Weasels on 5.

In short, there is very little wrong with this product. The pre-production version did not feature an index but one is now being added. This will allow convenient navigation between the sections. Is there an alternative on the market? None really springs to mind.

Should you buy it? This quality production is going to be useful in many situations – it can be taken home and pursued in detail by the target audience. The price represents very good value and I’d definitely recommend it. Where can we get it? Through the ART normal shopping channel at a price of £15 incl. P&P (£3 discount for ART members).

Tim Hine, Stafford