Teaching youngsters: don’t be afraid

Teaching youngsters? Then don’t be afraid to ‘bend the rules’

Here on Alderney we spent a very long time ringing rounds on three and four bells with our youngster just ringing the backstroke or just ringing the handstroke. On his own he could ring the whole bell but he lacked the confidence to ring the whole bell with others. I was very indebted to my ″right-hand-man″ – she spent ages and ages and ages and ages ringing the other stroke with our youngster ... and three years on he is now a great tenor for Cambridge Surprise Minor.

Treble as cover bell

Our latest young learner can manage our treble on his own and can ‘see’ tenor cover bell position but can’t manage our tenor yet – to let him have a go at tenor cover we ring the bells ‘backwards’ with the treble as cover bell. We pull off in back-rounds and take things from there. This has been great for taxing the old grey matter of the rest of the band too.

Call changes from outside the circle

Keeping our latest youngster involved in the practice when his arms get tired: he is asked to call the changes from outside the circle. He is given the challenge of achieving a set piece e.g. reverse rounds or Queens or Tittums – then, with paper & pen in hand, he does a great job. Where is the harm? Visual aids and from outside the circle but a happy young ringer.

When they're not ringing

When not ringing the youngsters are on the settee with our tower ipads on and their earphones in, with Mobel open they are competing for the best scores – they love it.

Involve the rest of the band

It is very easy to involve the rest of the band when bending the rules to keep the youngsters busy. They have enjoyed starting their various Doubles methods from back rounds, the adult novices get to call the changes back into rounds when the youngster has achieved the stated objective, the adult learners are happy to police the ipad score-chart league and to award the chocolate for best score. It all makes for a varied practice, where everyone is playing their part.


Helen McGregor