The Tower Handbook

10.2 The band

a: How can the rest of the band help the learners?

b: Isn't it a waste using good ringers for rough call changes?

Certainly not! Every piece of ringing should have a chance of being good. It is a great mistake to throw all the learners into the same lot of call changes in the hope that less time will be taken up. The way to improve your ringing is to ring with ringers who are better than you. This is as true for learners as it is for the more experienced. Another point to bear in mind is that a more experienced ringer can benefit from calling the changes, and other members of the band can be encouraged to use call changes as an opportunity to sharpen up their striking and handling when they don't have to give all their attention to a method.

c: Should we have separate practices for learners?

Yes, while teaching bell handling, but when the learners are ready to ring rounds with others, they need to ring with the rest of the band. Try to arrange some extra practices if you can (with some experienced ringers as well), to give them plenty of ringing time. Encourage the learners to attend the main practice (or part of it) as well. Make sure the band feels involved with the teaching, and the learners feel they belong to the band.

d: Can we use parts of the practice for different activities?

This can be a good halfway house if you can't manage extra practices. It can make better use of people's time. For example you could concentrate the more elementary ringing into the early part of the practice, and minimise the waiting time for those involved. But to make it effective, you must make sure there are enough experienced ringers there early, which some towers find difficult.

e: Can I teach people without a band to practise?

Starting a band from scratch is a different proposition from introducing learners into an established band. If you are reading this in the tower it may not be relevant to you now, but it could be some day. You will need help at all stages and in varying amounts. To produce a new band you will need to teach a lot of learners at once. This will be both easier for you and more effective if you have at least one other experienced ringer to help. The thinner you spread your attention, the less each individual benefits. In any case two different perspectives are often helpful.

When the learners progress to ringing together you will need more help to avoid the difficulties of them all being in at once. You can greatly reduce this problem by using a simulator beforehand so they have all had plenty of experience ringing their bells in rounds before facing the added complication of coping with other erratic ringers. This option was not available a generation ago. For more information see Starting a New Band - Some Guidelines and Simulators and Teaching.

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