Foundation Skills

Benefits of using a simulator

When a new ringer is able to ring safely on their own, one-on-one sessions often cease and they begin ringing with others at a practice in which the amount of rope-time is limited. Progress often slows and ringers can become disheartened and even decide to give up. What a waste! Additional regular and frequent simulator sessions at this stage of the learning process have the following benefits:

  • One or many learners can practise when and for as long as at least one teacher is available, without disturbing the neighbours.
  • You can try exercises or practise unusual combinations without worrying what it might sound like outside.
  • There is no need to get a band of helpers to ring the rest of the bells – even the most enthusiastic won't be keen on hours of rounds and call changes week after week.
  • The new ringer can practise and study at home in order to accelerate their learning.
  • Give your ringer the chance to ring with "perfect" ringers so that they can learn to hear and correct their mistakes.

Again, once they have practised these exercises using the simulator, ringers will be better prepared for the daunting task of ringing them with a band and they are less likely to go too far wrong.

Introducing the open handstroke lead

All applications have a feature where you can press a key or tap the screen to make one of the bells sound and the computer rings the other bells. This allows the open handstroke lead to be practised at home, on a tablet or smartphone.

Of course you have to be able to pick out your bell to hear how accurate your striking is, but most of the software packages have the ability to show the results graphically afterwards. They can even show the results graphically as the bell is rung in each row, and there are also features to practise listening to uneven ringing in order to learn to detect the errors. Back in the tower, the handstroke lead is a difficult concept to grasp and it can take a lot of practice. A simulator is an ideal way of practising as the other members of the band will be in the right place all the time and will not get bored.

Starting to teach ropesight

You can use the moving ringers facility on the simulator software (on a computer or better a large screen) to show any of the Learning the Ropes Level 2 exercises. These may be easier to see this way, especially when in slow motion. You can start at 6-hour peal speed and increase this as success develops, until ringing at a normal but slowish speed. These can be organised as either group or individual sessions with you leading or teaching. You can ask questions such as "Who is following the 2?" or "Which bell is ringing in 6th place?" Alternatively you can give advice such as "Just look at the sallies – whose comes down last?"

Call Changes

Practising some simple call changes allows the learner to practise changing speed at handstroke.

All the applications have the facility to ring call changes, although you may need to set some options such as whether the call changes are called up, down or by place. The help file explains how to do this.

To start with, the call changes will need to be called occasionally to allow time for the learner to understand how and when to pull and to settle down afterwards, but as the change between one row and the next becomes cleaner, the frequency of the call changes can be increased.

In method ringing, changes are also made at backstroke, so it is necessary to practise this as well. All applications have an option to practise changing at backstroke. This gives the learner the chance to get the feel of how much and when to pull.

The software applications can be used on their own without input from a sensor, to help the student understand the theory of call changes and work out which bell to follow next. They can also experiment with the effect of different calls. This is useful practice prior to them calling their own call changes.

Kaleidoscope places and dodges

Kaleidoscope is a useful step between call changes and methods. Long and short places can be practised at handstroke and backstroke as in call changes and dodging introduces changing speed continually at handstroke and backstroke. When practising dodging it is important to practise both the ‘up’ dodge and the ‘down’ dodge as the amount the pupil needs to pull and when are completely different.

Adjusting the speed of the bell

In addition to Kaleidoscope places and dodges, if your pupil is experiencing difficulties, you can also adjust the speed of the rounds to give the pupil the feel of ringing at each of the three different speeds and how much they need to take in or let out rope. For example, normal rounds speed would be around three-hour peal speed, but changing the peal speed to 2 hours 30 minutes simulates the speed of hunting down. Similarly, changing the peal speed to 3 hours 30 minutes simulates the speed of hunting up.


Foundation Skills

Ringing with others; able to dodge, make places, and ring simple call changes.

» Level 2

How-to guides

Download these handy guides showing how to set up your simulator for each of the learning exercises on these LtR web pages.

» Learning with Abel

» Learning with Beltower

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» Introduction to Change Ringing – Learning the Ropes Level 3