Conducting - 4 Aug 2018

"A pad of squared paper and a pencil with a rubber is essential!”, this was the continuing theme of a really interesting ART Workshop on Conducting led by Paul Flavell from Kingston. The object of the course was to show people how and where to call bobs and singles with the objective of being able to call a quarter peal of Plain Bob Minor at the end of the course.

A group of Surrey Association ringers were all assembled by 9:15 at Merstham with refreshments kindly arranged by the Merstham ringers. The group were soon going through the lead ends of plain bob minor, and how both bobs and singles altered the normal order of the bells from a plain course.


Paul was using the ART Workshop presentation to start with and then demonstrated practical ringing using Abel software. The Abel software enabled the students to see the coursing orders and the effect bobs had on the changes. Paul showed us that Abel is a superb training tool and it really helped seeing and hearing the changes on the screen. He also used a flip chart to write down the lead ends and calls which also helped our understanding. After that we had our turn on the tower bells with plenty of opportunity to call touches whilst in 5/6 places.

After a much needed coffee break we leave lead ends behind and try to get familiar with coursing orders. This is where it started to get complicated, but guided by Paul and with additional tips from Noel we begin to understand the transposition effect of bobs and singles on the coursing order here – ABC to BCA, you get it!

We focussed on Wrongs and Homes and Paul showed us how to construct both a 720 and a 540 for a quarter peal of Plain Bob Minor and this all seemed much clearer now. We also had a brief look at coursing order on eight bells but the main objective was to enable the group to understand how to call a quarter peal of Plain Bob Minor. For a bit of fun we tried composing a peal on 12 bells – people were chipping in with calls whilst Paul did the transposition on the flip chart.

This is followed by more conducting exercises in the tower and we tried to follow coursing order changes whilst ringing. I find this particularly difficult to remember which bells to transpose, but using the old squared paper and lots of practice hopefully it will sink in. Paul told us this was the best way to learn and you can of course do this practice at home. Familiarity with coursing orders will certainly increase your understanding of calling touches and you will find yourself in demand to call quarter peals!

I certainly enjoyed the session and will be concentrating a lot more on changes to the coursing order in future. Other ringers have also commented that they enjoyed the session too and made much more progress than they thought possible.

Many thanks to Paul for arranging the morning, to Merstham ringers for their hospitality and Noel for his extra input.

David Whitehead (Addington)

Course Tutor: Paul Flavell

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