So, we had a late and a bit of a rushed handbell ringing session with Josy on Wednesday. After the great practice we had last week, we had determined that it was time to put Josy on our usual practice structure of a quarter peal attempt followed by some plain courses of something harder.
It was a lesson in remembering to be flexible for the different needs of different learning situations! With Jonathan and Angela, we are accustomed to a ‘cold start’; that is, arriving, sitting down, up and down in rounds and off into the quarter. It works well for that band: we are ready and concentrated. False starts always put us off a bit to be honest.
It didn’t work so well for Josy. The start was hesitant, and not smooth enough for keeping a good rhythm. And Simon and I were making stupid errors (it was late for us to be doing that kind of thing). So we stopped, rang some touches instead, and had another go at Kent, all keeping Josy off the trebles. It was a useful session, and everything was much more fluent than the first touch.
I recall a conversation with Nick Jones a couple of weeks back, about the progress of his handbell band in Fort William. They have one ringer who is both enthusiastic and time-poor. So they need to do a lot of review each time they meet with her. By the end of the session, she is ready to ring a quarter peal, but never at the beginning.
So, for future attempts with Josy, and possibly others, we need to do a warm-up before embarking on a quarter attempt. Which is, on reflection, just a way of accomodating her experience level. Our regular band is used to ringing quarters, and have the habit of quick starts in the tower well-ingrained.
The warm-up, or even a pre-quarter practice is a good habit to get into. A practice session certainly helped the success of the quarters of Yorkshire rung on the last Scottish Handbell Day, and we did something similar when we were attempted a quarter of maximus last summer.