Listening is one of the foundation skills for ringing. Without the ability to hear their bell it is impossible for a ringer to reach their full potential. New ringers frequently find difficulty identifying the sound of their own bell. This article provides a few tips on how to help your ringers hear their bell and develop the good rhythmic ringing we all want to hear.
We teach on tied bells so as not to annoy the neighbours with the sound of a random bell or bells ringing. However, we do need to start to make the ringer aware of the importance of listening to and hearing their bell right from the very beginning.
If you have a simulator in your tower and you are teaching a single learner you can provide the simulated sound of that bell ringing during the teaching process. If you are teaching several learners in the tower together this is not possible unless you have multiple computers and use earphones.
So how can we overcome this difficulty?
Once your new ringer can ring an individual bell without assistance they can start ringing with others. As the teacher you need to be certain that your ringer is identifying the sound of their own bell. One way of doing this is to start the ringer ringing rounds on three bells - start with them on the third and then let them ring the second. You can use the rhyme “Three – Blind – Mice” if they are struggling. The familiarity of the rhyme aids in the identification of the sound of their bell.
Many ringers can perform rounds on three accurately right from the start and can be moved on to rounds on four and then six on the first practice night. However, there are others who may take a few weeks to hear the sound and take ownership of what they are hearing.
At this stage ringing on a tied bell with a simulator is invaluable. If you don’t have a simulator in your tower a neighbouring tower may let you take your ringers to them for a few sessions on their simulator.
Ideally, these exercises would not be practised on open bells but with a simulator!
An ability to control and hear the bell are both necessary to produce good rhythmic ringing. For rhythmic change ringing a knowledge of theory and ropesight needs to be added into the equation.
This video resource describes ropesight using a dynamic diagram of Plain Hunt on five bells. At 1:25 in the video there is a slo-mo video recording of Plain Hunt highlighting ropesight from the treble.
Keeping track of where you are in the change. This article explains how ringers keep track of their place in a change through counting places, listening, ropesight and dividing the changes into hand and back. Originally published in The Ringing World.