Service ringing · 2012Jun30Su

Six ringers:  Anne, Jody, Judy, Marguerite, Thomas, plus Andrew.  We raised 123456.

Well rung today, all!  The band’s striking continues to improve and much of the ringing was well struck.

New ringers class · 2013Jun28Fr

Jorge · Excellent progress.  We worked with the 4.

  • Pulling off, as a warmup.
  • Backstrokes alone, working on good form, thorough follow-through, and letting the bell rise.  I believe he set at back once or twice.
  • Handstrokes alone, working on good form, thorough follow-through, and letting the bell rise.  For the last part of the class we focused on setting the bell at hand as often as possible.  I lost count of how many times he set the bell.  He set the bell on the next handstroke after pulling off at least twice.

Practice · 2013Jun25Tu

Six ringers:  Anne, Jody, Judy, Marguerite, and Thomas, plus Andrew who is in town for about a week. We raised the front six, 123456.

  • We raised 1234 in peal, then 5 and 6 as the last ringers arrived.
  • At Andrew’s suggestion we rang Plain Bob Minimus with tenor behind, then with two covers after the sixth ringer arrived, with Andrew, Judy, and Marguerite inside.  After we got this going fairly well, we moved ringers around on bells and tried again.  By the end of this the working bells were sounding in correct sequence even if not always evenly struck.
  • At Anne’s suggestion we rang Plain Hunt on Five with tenor behind.  After we got it clean, with bells ringing in proper sequence and fairly well struck, we rearranged ringers and worked on it further until it was clean again.  This was Jody’s first time ringing hunting on a bell other than the treble.
  • Again at Anne’s suggestion we ambitiously rang Plain Hunt on Six, and with a little work got this fairly clean as well.
  • Rang down 12345 in peal, then the 6 alone.

Good ringing by everyone.  Several ringers commented that ringing all this was an unusual achievement for the Miami band and a point of pride.

New ringers class · 2013Jun25Tu

Jorge · Third class.  Jorge is having class for about an hour most weekdays after work.

  • Pulling off.
  • Backstrokes only.  Good motion.  As with most learners, he needs to follow through further, let the bell rise, and pull faster without pulling harder.
  • Handstrokes only.  So far so good.  He needs to let the bell rise, and follow through quickly.

New ringers class · 2013Jun24Mo

Jorge · Second class.  We went through pulling off and backstrokes only again (didn’t get to handstrokes only), working through the same material but aiming for more finesse on Jorge’s part:  dialing back the overpulling to get more control, and letting the bell rise to develop more sensitivity.  I was pleased that he noticed that when the muffled bell is near the balance, the feel in the rope has what he called a little “bob”, caused by the back and forth when the muffled clapper bounces off the bell and then comes back, in a context in which an unmuffled clapper would bounce either not at all or only a little.

Bobbie · Today she wanted to raise and lower, so after a little time spent on setting at hand and at back, that’s what she did.  I believe she raised and lowered the 4 four times.  Raising went quite well;  she needs to push to get a consistent follow-through, even when she’s a little tired.  Consistent rope handling will keep the rope in an easily managed vertical path, up and down.  Lowering started fairly well and got better.  Her coil-taking improved, so that by the end about half her coils were taken tidily.  Her left hand climbed up the rope neatly and at a good pace;  she increased the pace at one point too far for comfort, which was a good thing to learn.  She is starting to remember on her own to stop catching the (vanishing) handstroke when appropriate, and her rope control while lowering is getting reliable.

Service ringing · 2013Jun23Su

Five ringers:  Anne, Jody, Judy, Marguerite, Thomas.  We raised 12345.

Most of the band arrived late, so Anne and Thomas talked about how to learn to call changes using To Queens and Back as the example, and how to make use of the coursing order to ring Plain Hunt without a tenor behind.  A key point is that while the follow sequence and which bells you lead off of can both be obtained from the coursing circle, the rules for doing so are completely separate and you have to put one on hold while you use the other.

Consider Plain Hunt on Six, for which the coursing circle runs 2-4-6-5-3-1-2-4-6-5-3-1-….  When ringing the 4, one is over the 3 in rounds and then continues 1-2-… once hunting begins.  You can’t follow yourself, so instead you skip yourself (4) in the coursing order and keep going;  this occurs when one is in leads, in which case one substitutes “lead lead” for oneself, and at the back, in which case one simply charges ahead.  Since the 4 starts in (odd bells start out, even bells start in), the first time the 4 skips itself in the coursing circle will be when in leads, and the next time will be at the back.  So the 4, ringing over the 3 in rounds, then will ring over the 1, over the 2, lead, lead, then ring over the 6, 5, 3, 1, 2, skip itself at the back, 6, 5, 3, and then repeat.

One can figure out who one leads off of by examining the coursing circle, but it’s cognitively much more challenging than just following the coursing sequence, so I recommend just looking it up on the chart on the wall.  The rule is that on an even number of bells, for which there will be a bell opposite yours in the coursing circle, you lead off of the bell before it in the coursing circle and then that bell;  on an odd number of bells, for which there will be no bell directly opposite yours in the coursing circle, you lead twice off of the bell that just precedes the empty spot opposite your bell.  This has almost nothing to do with following the coursing order, and if you try to think about which bell is opposite yours in the coursing circle, you’ll probably lose track of your place as you follow around the circle, so don’t try.  It seems to work best to lead by ear, as I usually do, or to await the arrival of ropesight, after which you’ll just know where to look (perhaps by having internalized the pattern of the bells).

  • Anne, Marguerite, and Thomas raised 234 in peal, quite slowly so we could focus on keeping our bells synchronized.  We continue to improve at this;  it is a skill that requires attentive practice.
  • Judy arrived as we finished raising 234.  She raised the treble (1).  Jody arrived a few minutes later and Thomas raised the 5.
  • Plain Hunt on Four with tenor behind, at Anne’s request.  We have been working intensively on Plain Hunt for several weeks now, so it is perhaps our best choice for good service ringing.  We rang rounds as needed until the band’s rhythm settled down evenly, then individual leads, standing for discussion whenever Thomas noticed a problem that appeared at least twice in a row.  Once everyone had worked out all misunderstandings and problems in their hunting, we rang sequences of leads, sometimes several in a row, before calling “That’s All” to go back into rounds for a bit, and sometimes continuing until someone got lost and we had to stop.  We also talked about what to do when someone gets lost:  a good tactic is for each ringer to carry on as best they can until time to lead, then to make sure his/her two blows in leads are accurately placed off the tenor behind.  Often this will be enough to bring the band back together by the end of the lead.  Once we rang 10 to 12 good leads in a row, so many that Thomas lost count.  The band was sounding quite good, and a sequence of several clean leads in succession made an appropriate service touch.
  • We last stood about 9:53am, at which point Marguerite kindly took out her knot so we could ring down in peal without damage to her rope.  We then rang several well-struck leads of Plain Hunt on Four in succession, then rang down in peal.

New ringers class · 2013Jun19We

Bobbie · The 4 was set at back when she arrived, a new and mind-expanding sight for her.  We worked on setting, particularly setting at backstroke, and this focus seemed to be empowering and very effective for Bobbie’s ringing all around.  We worked with the 4, muffled.

  • Pulling off from back.  Reach way up, heels off the floor;  sink back down onto one’s heels to take up the stretch in the rope (make sure the bell doesn’t swing over the balance);  guide the rope down rather than pull it;  and be ready to take oomph out during the rise of the next handstroke, to ensure the bell doesn’t bounce off the stay.
  • Setting at back.  In order to set at back, a ringer must be able to add an appropriate amount of oomph to the preceding handstroke, and to do that the ringer’s hands must be accelerating through the release of the sally.  Bobbie was motivated to set at back, and consequently she pushed herself to make the prerequisites happen.  The second or third time she set at back she said, marvelling, “That feels really good.”
  • Setting at hand and at back.  She was able to set her bell at successive strokes quite a few times, that is, pull off at hand and set immediately at back, or pull off at back and set immediately at hand.
  • Lowering (and raising).  There’s something wrong with the way I teach taking coils, because most of the learners start out doing it very wrong.  Bobbie did too.  Points for future work:  don’t trace a circle with either hand;  keep the right hand over the left, never under;  bring the right hand down onto the left in a vertical line, to make the coil

Practice · 2013Jun18Tu

Six ringers:  Anne, Jody, Judy, Ken, Rob, Thomas.  We rang on 123456.

  • Raised the front four in peal (Anne, Judy, Rob, Thomas).  We raised the 5 and 6 individually as additional ringers arrived.
  • Plain Hunt on Four.  We worked on this until the fifth ringer arrived.
  • Plain Hunt on Four with tenor behind after Jody arrived.  We worked on this until the striking was clean.
  • Plain Hunt on Five with tenor behind after Ken arrived.  We also worked on this until the striking was clean.
  • Plain Hunt on Six, begun with only a few minutes to go.  There was not time to work on this until the striking was clean, and we never had a lead with everyone in the right sequence, but enough of the band was striking in the right place that the bones of the pattern were there and we usually arrived at “That’s All” with most of the band together.
  • Rang down in peal.

New ringers class · 2013Jun17Mo

Bobbie · Good progress tonight;  the end of the class is in sight.

  • She rang up 4.
  • Worked on good ringing motion.  Focus on keeping the motion vertical (well done), following through after both strokes, letting the bell rise, and sensing trouble sooner rather than later.
  • Setting the bell.  Better but not there yet.
  • Lowering.  Bobbie lowered for the first time.  It was not pretty but it was safe.  We’ll iron out the wrinkles in future classes.