On Sunday, 30 July four of us novices attended the Listen and Strike training session at Streatham ringing education Centre (REC) in St James Church, Streatham. The organisation was led by Barbara Le Gallez with careful eye on the timing and agenda. She was helped by other tutors and ringers, combining to give us support in hearing our bell and ringing with even striking. We started with a review of the theory and importance of striking accurately to produce even and coordinated ringing as the basis for developing method ringing.
The teaching was refreshingly free of PowerPoint, and was concise and reasoned. We then got onto the first session of practical ringing, with one pair of trainees ringing on the simulator, while the other pair practised pre-recorded listening exercises. For those of us who were unfamiliar with ringing on the simulator it was a very useful experience, with the added benefit that the people sitting in the village square were not forced to listen to our evolving clangers. We were kept to the timetable with brisk efficiency, interspersed by cups of tea and cookies at intervals.
The practical sessions included kinaesthetic exercises in which we were required to stand with our backs to the ringing circle to remove visual cues. This is to develop critical listening which we then applied when listening to each other. Barbara took the opportunity to check our logbooks, commending my tower captain for his vigilance in ongoing monitoring of my (glacially slow) progress!
The course was delivered over five hours which passed remarkably quickly and finished on the dot of 7 pm. As it is reckoned that to become an expert in anything one needs 10,000 hours of practice, this was a very efficient step towards that elusive goal. However, we were all making improvements to our listening and striking skills. The patience and kindly commitment of John and Nicholas as helpers was most appreciated.
This was a particularly valuable opportunity for me, as I feel like the Corporal Jones of bell ringers, always one step behind the main troop. At the cost of a fiver this was an exceptional opportunity to improve and consolidate the multi-sensory skills that make a decent bell ringer. I aspire to join their ranks one day with the help of training like this.
» What is a Listen and Strike Workshop?