After the last Scottish Handbell Day, we had a bit of a rest from our labours, but managed to meet with Josy for some more ringing practice last week.
Josy had a great handbell day. Not only did she ring her first quarter peal (Plain Bob Minor of course), but she also got some extensive practice ringing on eight, and several goes at ringing Kent (due in part to a doomed quarter attempt – out of every cloud etc etc).
So when we met to ring again, it was clear she was ringing with greater confidence. We rang some Plain Bob with her on an inside pair, some more Kent, and then rattled off some Little Bob, first on the trebles and then inside. She’s reaching a stage where she is confident enough to try things without having to rehearse them extensively beforehand, and with little enough discussion. It was great fun.
This is when the time spent repeating plain courses of plain bob over and over again, and the boring repititve project of embedding those classic handbell pairs really pays off. It doesn’t tell you a lot about how to ring new methods, but it adds familiarity.
Embedding those pairs means that you don’t have to think too hard about the shape of the next few changes. For example, say you come down at backstroke in 2nd and 5th places. Having your pairs well-embedded means that you instantly know a lot of information: you know you are in opposites, you know that your next positition is first and last, and you know you will cross with yourself in 3-4.
If you know this instantly, then you don’t have to slow down and have a think or a panic when there is a bob. Or, like we did with Josy, you can start to play around with other plain or simple treble bob methods. You can start to take those pairs apart and put them together in new ways, on the fly. It allows you to find the familiar parts of an unfamiliar method, and use those sections to rest your brain a bit, and save the hard processing for when you need it.