Early Practice · Bobbie, Carroll, Nancy, Thomas. In keeping with the Cathedral’s new reduced-ringing policy we muffled the bells from 5:00pm to 6:00pm with some grumbling about the extra trouble and the time it took away from ringing.
- Bobbie raised the 4 and worked on getting all her good habits back after weeks away from the tower, guided by Thomas.
- Carroll and Nancy worked on their skills.
When we lowered the bells and climbed back up the ladders to remove the muffles, we found that the staple bolts of #1 (which had been muffled) and #8 were loose. We quickly organized into a crew to align each clapper, tighten the lower nuts, check and realign if necessary, then tighten the upper nut to lock them in place. The treble’s (#1’s) staple bolt had also been found to be loose at the Equinoctial Tower Cleanup on 2013Mar23Sa, only two months ago.
Practice · Seven ringers, eventually: Carroll, Jim (arriving after his meeting ended), Judy, Ken, Marguerite, Nancy, Thomas.
- We rang up 123456 in a grand cacophony.
- Rounds and Rotate, working on even striking. The striking improved over the course of our Rounds and Rotate but we still have room for improvement.
- Not all of the band are reliably ringing with appropriately out-of-balance strokes so that we have a clean handstroke pause and even spacing among all the strikes. The Miami band had rung for years with equal hand- and backstrokes and no handstroke pause, and not everyone has made the transition.
- We also helped Carroll with where she looks, i.e. not at her sally when making the catch, and with the visual spacing between her hands and those of the ringer she’s following, i.e. about half a sally’s length.
- Some of the senior ringers seem to adjust their striking to put pressure on a ringer they feel is out of place, thereby getting out of place themselves. It’s a human temptation but is not helping the band.
- Plain Hunt on Four with tenor behind, Nancy tenoring evenly behind Judy, Ken, Marguerite, and Thomas. The working bells were initially s-l-o-w as has been the Miami custom, so that some of them were out beyond the steadily-striking tenor; then when upbraided the working ringers overcorrected to crowd too close to leads, leaving a big gap before the tenor. On the bright side, the working bells were almost always audibly in the correct sequence among themselves.
- Rang down in peal. Perhaps it is time to devote a practice to ringing up and down in peal, as many of the band are not doing well with ringing down in peal. At our elementary stage in this skill, it is important to focus on keeping one’s bell at about the right height, so that it strikes at about the right pace, and if possible also keeping it striking at about the right time as well. I’m no expert myself, but there are a few heuristics that are helpful at this stage:
- Be attentive at each stroke, so you can correct any problems before they grow.
- If your bell struck too soon, put oomph into it immediately to ring it back up a bit higher, where it will strike at a slower pace.
- If your bell struck too late, check the next stroke so that it is sooner and also so that the bell does not rise as high, so it will ring at a faster pace.
- As in normal ringing, the best thing to do is count and ring in your proper place by the count.
- As in normal ringing, if the ringer ahead of you gets off the beat, look to the ringer two ahead of you, or three, or as many as it takes to find a ringer who is ringing reliably and whom you can synchronize off of.
- As in normal ringing, if you are the treble or the tenor, make your corrections small so that you don’t throw off the rest of the band, who are relying on you.
- Whatever you do, don’t give up; keep trying. As with any other skill you’ll improve if you try to do better. Meanwhile if you give up you are letting down the ringers around you.