For the first few years of my bell ringing life, I did not have a clue what was going on above my head. What did “don’t let it go over the balance”, “keep it up” or “get closer to the next bell” all mean? I was too shy to ask – after all I had been going to practice night for months although the sum total of time spent actually ringing a bell was probably only an hour. As for “listen to your bell!” – the cacophony of sound above my head and the desperate need to catch that sally when it next came swinging down in front of my eyes, prevented my ears hearing.
A familiar experience for many of us but one that could be relegated to history if the ITTS Scheme continues in its mission to make learning to handle a bell and understand bellringing a pleasant and rewarding life skill.
Graham Nabb made light and humorous work of introducing a group of 14 Teachers to Module 1 of the ITTS Scheme in Bardwell, Suffolk. For example, the technique devised to help learners understand tension on the rope – tension gives you control; once the tension goes, you will begin to lose to control. So, how do you get the tension back? All the many movements of bell handling are broken down into separate parts – learn each part, understand what you are doing, add another part, put the two together. With this radical, modern, new to science method of teaching bellringing, a learner can be competently and confidently handling a bell in 24 hours. How different to those of us who spent hours sitting and watching and not comprehending in cold bell towers while experienced ringers made the whole thing look easy.
Teaching the teacher the techniques and getting the teacher to practise the techniques are vital so now is the time for us newly-inspired teachers to find a pupil and begin to teach.
Practical advice for teachers, right from the first lesson.