Teaching children to ring handbells

Hmmm.  We have been asked by the headteacher at our Primary School if we can run an after school club to teach the children handbell ringing.  Now, we’ve always had it in mind to invite some of Thomas’ friends to try ringing once we figured out a good way to explain it (although I think we could wait an awfully long time).  A club is a more challenging prospect.


For one thing (the famous Hereford Course Handbell Classes by Wilf Moreton excepted), usually teaching someone to ring handbells is a one-on-one experience.  Also, it has been (in our limited experience thus far) quite a gradual one.  Two, three, ten minutes max at each session, stopping when the children get a bit tired or stroppy, and never pushing them too hard (well, trying not to push them too hard).

How it started was this:  I volunteered some of our regular handbell ringers to come and ring at the school’s upcoming Christmas Fair (I also volunteered a Santa, but that is another story), and said we could do a bit of ringing and a bit of a ‘have a go’ session.  After this, the headteacher approached me and asked if I would be interested in teaching a group of students to do this, and how many could I accomodate?

After we sorted out that we were not talking about ‘English Handbell Ringing’ (ie handbell choirs), she was, to my amazement, still keen. So we are off to do a demo at an Assembly next week.

How to accomplish this has been churning in the back of my mind for a while now, and I have some ideas. I’m not sure if anyone else has tried this before, especially at Primary level.  Any ideas would be very welcome.  Pretty please?