It all started several years ago, when Jonathan Frye and Angela Deakin asked if we were interested in forming a handbell band, including teaching Angela to ring handbells. We had been trying and failing to do just this for many years (for reasons far too boring to go into), so we said ‘YES’.
(Really, it all started when Mike Clay began some regular handbell practices with some of the students in Edinburgh and various other handbell ringers in the area, including Jonathan. One day our schedules will mesh enough to all ring together – but in handbell ringing, patience is everything.)
Our journey from those first beginnings to where we are now has been both fun and interesting. Also, we learned a lot about teaching handbells to people at various levels of ability. Through it all we have discussed theories of how people learn, best methods of learning (we don’t always agree), and how to transfer some of this expertise into the bell tower.
The blogs below are about that journey, our progress and the progress of other bands by guest authors. They describe the ups and downs as they happen, as honestly as we can.
Last time we rang with Jonathan and Angela, we booked yesterday for a possible handbell peal attempt, but agreed that if the weather was suitable, we would go out for a walk instead. It was a nice dry day (although not as clear as the previous day), so we climbed...Read more
We've had an amazingly successful year for handbell peals: my total is 11, with only one loss. That's my highest total since 1998, and I'm sure there were more losses in 1998. All the peals were on 8. Tina and I have rung four of Bristol, one of London, one of...Read more
Readers of The Ringing World (which should be all of you) know that Simon Linford has proposed a series of "methods of the month" for 2019, which are printed in the Ringing World Diary. There will be compositions for quarters and peals in The Ringing World each month. This is...Read more
Now for another meaning of "place bell order", which came up when we were practising Cambridge Maximus in November. Nick said that when thinking about a pair of place bells, he always uses a consistent order, which is right hand and then left hand. This helps to keep track of which...Read more
We know that it's useful, even essential, to keep track of which place bells we are while ringing. During normal ringing, meaning ringing without mistakes, we work our way along the lines (or however we think about the method), and our awareness of the place bells might fade into the...Read more
Yesterday we had a Cambridge Maximus practice session, with our usual band plus Nick and Jenny. This was not too long after our previous session, in October, so we were optimistic that we might be able to make some good progress. In the past we have found the second half...Read more
We've been doing some practice towards a Spliced Surprise Major project, and at the moment this involves trying to ring a quarter of Preston, Ipswich and Dunster. I agree that this is a strange combination of methods, but all will be revealed eventually. Preston is familiar as one of the...Read more
It sounds almost unbelievable, but on Thursday we had the first lost handbell peal of the year. And it's not as if we've just been ringing easy things: my total of nine peals includes four of Bristol, one of London, and one of the Nottingham Eight.
We had arranged for Julia...Read more
This week we have been on our annual "Hulliday", a holiday with a group of ringing friends. It was a smaller group than usual, and there was a bit more ringing, with two afternoon mini-outings for the benefit of the youngsters. We have also done a lot of handbell ringing:...Read more