Our Workshop leader was Ruth Suggett and we started the day at Writtle where we were able to use the simulator, which was of great interest to the students as several of them had never rung on a simulator before.
Ruth started by saying we shouldn’t expect to suddenly hear everything perfectly, but that listening is an important component of becoming a good ringer and one that you have to work on to gradually improve – just like the rest of your ringing. She showed the picture below of the three-legged stool to help us think about how these three elements of ringing need to work in harmony, or your stool falls over!
One of the first exercises was to work out when the bell strikes compared to where the rope is travelling and we nearly all thought the bell struck sooner than it did. Next we paired up with a ‘Critical Friend’ and took turns ringing-and-listening and watching-and-listening. We did various exercises to break our reliance on looking at the bell in front and practising listening to where our bell was ringing, from ringing at alternate strokes to turning to face out of the circle.
Everyone enjoyed these exercises and even when Ruth offered us the option of turning back to face into the circle most people wanted to carry on trying to ring by listening.
After a quick coffee break we split into two groups, one working in the tower on the simulator ringing their one bell and seeing how accurately they could strike and the other listening to a set of recordings of ringing errors and picking out the offending bells. We also had to work out if the error was at hand, back or both strokes
We broke for lunch and then moved on to ring on the open bells at Shenfield - where most of the delegates were from. Here we practised Mexican Wave and Big Change, Little Change, so we could work on hearing our bells making these regular movements. The day finished at about 4pm.
Our group was made up of juniors from 10 years old to seniors who had both been ringing for over 50 years to those who had only been ringing for three or four. Ruth created a very clever compendium of lessons and exercises to suit all experience levels while keeping it understandable and fun.
Some quotes from the attendees:
“I came away with a much better understanding of how to hear my own bell, and a mass of ideas for my own tower.”
“Very helpful workshop. I now understand why it’s so important not to ring with bent arms!”
“I thought the whole really helpful, just to be able to tell hand from back stroke was an LED moment.”
“This day was so good for everyone from real beginners right up to experienced ringers.”
Big thank you to Ruth for being our leader and to Christina, Andrew and Andy for allowing us to use the Writtle equipment.
» What is a Listen and Strike Workshop?