Teaching ringers to cover

Previously we have looked at developing the foundation skills in our ringers to enable them to achieve Learning the Ropes, Level 2. Now we will move on to Level 3, for which the ringer needs to ring two quarter peals - covering on the tenor and plain hunting on the treble to a Doubles method. In this article, we will look to build the skills required to cover confidently and well.

Goal – to ring a quarter peal on the tenor to Doubles

The skills required before your ringer can learn to cover:

Ring rounds
Hear what place their bell is sounding in
Recognise when their bell is out of place in rounds
To be able to ring the tenor

To cover confidently and well your ringer needs to develop 4 skills:

Listening – the ability to hear their bell amongst others
A sense of rhythm – getting the feeling
Awareness of their place in the row – place counting
Ropesight – the ability to identify which bells to follow

The first opportunity for the ringer to do this is when ringing call changes; the ringer need not be ringing the tenor at this time.

Kaleidoscope ringing also provides an opportunity for a ringer to cover to two bells making long places, places or dodging. To find out more about Kaleidoscope Ringing see Level 2 – Teaching foundation skills. Ringing the tenor in rounds will help the ringer get his or her ear tuned in to listening to themselves in 6th place. Always make sure the ringer is counting their place in rounds.

Using a simulator to allow a ringer to ring rounds in 6th place is a useful exercise; once the ringer can do this successfully you can progress them by setting the simulator to ring Plain Hunt or a method below them. The latest software with moving ringers which can be shown on a screen or large TV are particularly useful for this stage.

Can ropesight be taught?

Ropesight is a visual skill. It is a skill learned through experience and cannot be learned from a book. The eyes gradually learn to pick up moving ropes in the periphery of their visual field. For this skill to develop, practice is needed and this takes time. Ringers will need varying amounts of practice to develop this skill; some will find it easier than others! It is our job as teachers to provide the amount of practice in the appropriate environment with sufficient support to ensure our ringers gain the skills required.

Preparing the ringer to cover to Doubles

Once the ringer can cover to rounds and Call Changes and Kaleidoscope Ringing they can move on to covering to Plain Hunt. Let them stand behind the tenor ringer to learn to follow the ropesight. If the ringer finds difficulty in covering to Plain Hunt on 5 then it is possible to start with covering to hunting on 3 or 4 bells.

Teach your ringers to cover in graded steps making each step easier to achieve:

Call Changes
Place making, dodging, Kaleidoscope sequences
Plain Hunt on 3 bells and 4 bells
On 8 bells steady ringing with 768 behind to develop 8 bell rhythm

Teaching Tips

Get the ringer to stand behind the tenor ringer to watch and learn.

During early attempts stand with the ringer to assist with the ropesight if the striking strays. A visual prompt, pointing or gesturing in the right general direction of the bell which should be followed can assist.

By grading your teaching starting with something the ringer can do easily will enable them to achieve success. Some ringers will not need all the smaller steps or can move through them very swiftly.

Remember all ringers will be different and you need to keep your teaching flexible.

Making sure your ringer experiences success will boost their confidence.

Some ringers learn to cover by ringing with the rhythm and developing the ropesight over time and some pick up the ropesight earlier but need time to develop the feeling of the rhythm.

Once the ringer is striking well to covering to Plain Hunt on five they are ready to move on to cover to methods. Start with plain courses moving on to touches when the striking is accurate. Plain Bob has a coursing order most similar to Plain Hunt and may be a good method to start with. However other methods where a smaller number of bells come to the back may also be useful. Cloisters is a method where only 3 bells come to the back providing easier ropesight for the learner.

Ringing a quarter peal on the tenor

You should ensure that your ringer is not merely memorising the pattern of bells coming to the back before they ring their first quarter peal and to be certain that he or she has developed the skill of covering make sure he or she can cover to touches of at least two different Double methods!

Once your ringer has developed the ropesight for covering and following different bells while staying in the same place themselves they will be ready to move on to developing their ropesight whilst their bell is changing place. That is to say they will be ready to move on to learn to Plain Hunt.

Pip Penney

This is Cloister Doubles [Stedman quick sixes] – Plain
Bob Start and only the 3, 4 and 5 come to the back!