Teaching handbells

General comments

  • Keep switching pairs.
  • Start in the middle of a lead.
  • Announce when memorable changes occur.
  • Try odd-bell methods now and again (or even-bell methods if teaching odd-bell methods).
  • Turn concentration up and down like a dial.

Odd-bell methods

  • Plain course of Grandsire Doubles.
  • Or the curious variation called Yule Kegmeg (or Blind Dogs in Norfolk). Starting row 1,2,5,4,6,3,3,3 then 1,2,5,4,6,3. i.e. eight beats at handstroke and beats at back. Then ring Grandsire Doubles with this beat.

Place notation

Don't forget to dabble with place notation. Double Court Bob Minor is boxes around the treble hunting 2/3 and then 4/5 and the same coming back.

Quarter peals

Quarter peals – two teachers with one learner:

  • Tenors to Plain Bob Minor.
  • Trebles to Plain Bob Minor.
  • Calling a quarter peal of Plain Bob Minor from the tenors.
  • Inside pair to Plain Bob Minor/Major.

Quarter peals – one teacher with two learners:

  • Aim for Minor but if it’s too far away:
    • Minimus – to build stamina.
    • Minimus with 5-6 continuously dodging (good for improving rhythm for the ringer of 5-6).
  • 1440 Plain Bob Minor. Call the single at the end of the 360s.

When you're ready, aim to ring a quarter peal each time you meet but don't add pressure onto your group. If you encounter a problem then don’t go back to the start, pick it up from the lead end before the one in which you had a problem and resume from there. It's about the practice afforded by extended ringing rather than scoring the quarter peal.

Higher numbers

Don’t delay ringing on higher numbers, because:

  • Patterns last longer.
  • Reinforces patterns on lower numbers.
  • More time to settle into a pattern before having to look for the treble.
  • Tenors are unaffected by bobs.
  • Improves rhythm on lower numbers.

New patterns – unless your ring odd pairs (1-2, 3-5, 4-6, 7-9, 8-10).

Final thoughts

  • Practise Plain Hunt a lot and on every adjacent pair.
  • Stop in the middle of leads to talk about what just happened and start again just before the tricky bit.
  • Ring on higher numbers when you can. You can pick pairs so everyone rings the coursing position.
  • Use stepping stone methods when needed – one step at a time is very important.
  • Keep up the pace.
  • Don’t forget to have fun!

Grandsire Doubles

Why not ring Grandsire Doubles for a bit of light relief? It's easier that you think:

  • Trebles course throughout.
  • Tenors can be rung by the blue line (as the 6 is the cover bell).
  • The 3-4 course for 2 out of the 3 leads.

Watch this video of the 3-4 prior to your practice, and place your learners on 1-2 and 5-6. Enjoy the great sense of achievement when Grandsire comes round.

Warn everyone to take care when lying at the back – it is made at backstroke and handstroke which may feel a bit weird if you mainly ring even-bell methods.