Mid-Devon Tower Talk - Mar 20

Training Morning – Striking and method Theory Sat 7th March

Thank you to John Stern and Anne England for this report

On Saturday 7th March there were six of us who turned up, keen and eager, for a course on "striking and method theory" at Martin Mansley's house.

Any doubts as to the professionalism and quality of the course were quickly dispelled by the obvious thought that had gone into everything from the "parking attendant" in the hi-vis jacket, the fire drill and housekeeping information and the hospitality host providing warm drinks - all in the form of Wena.

After introductions we were all put totally at ease by Martin. It is fair to say that the ability of the "students" covered a wide spectrum but there was total inclusion and the basic aim was made clear from the start that the goal was to leave with more knowledge than we had when we arrived.
We started off with Striking, first with a set of listening exercises on five and then six bells. The aim was to identify which bell or bells were ringing early or late and by what percentage. This gradually became more demanding as the exercises went on. Next this was applied to the judging of three performances of a method, using a scoring scheme (as used by judges in striking competitions) to rate the three performances. These two exercises led to some interesting discussion around the pros and cons of the performances and the various nuances and effects faults have on the performances. Many of us reflected on how this related to our practice as ringers.

Anne – "As a complete novice as a judge and still learning the basics of bellringing I felt a certain amount of pride at being able to put the three pieces in the correct order of first, second and third by the end of the exercise. I had already achieved the basic objective of the day BEFORE Coffee break!!!"

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After a short break for refreshments Martin started the Basic theory session where we looked at how methods are constructed and how place notation is used (in particular with an even number of bells). First the rules that are needed for a composition to be a valid method were identified then place notation was introduced. Martin discussed the concept of 'lead head' and 'lead end' and then how the 'blue line' can be constructed from the place notation. There was some interesting discussion around approaches to learning methods. This subject had to be curtailed a little due to time restraints but everyone went away with handouts on Place notation and Learning Methods. John - " I think I am right to say that everyone wanted more!! The difficulty I think as always with this sort of thing is that practice informs theory and theory informs practice."

Anne –"Personally there were some segments of this which I struggled to understand but I can say sincerely that all six participants left the room with a greater knowledge of place notation as a formula which allows you to work out the structure of any method starting from rounds and also of techniques of learning method ringing. And this with the added benefit of an expanded bellringing vocabulary!"
This was the first time this course has been run by the branch so it was a little experimental but we all agreed that it had been really useful and we had spent a very enjoyable morning, in a good, supportive environment and learnt a lot.
Thank you Wena and Martin.
Photos at https://photos.app.goo.gl/9jrifT9J3tKyKZq9A 

Whiting Society – "Come on! Listen to it!" Book and DVD
The listening exercises used on the course were from the Book "Come on! Listen to it!" from the Whiting society. Although the book runs to over 100 pages the main material is contained in the enclosed DVD. This has over 12 hours of exercises and other material aimed at improving ringers' listening skills. There is no doubt that we ask an awful lot of a learner who has to master bell handling, rope-sight and listening skills all (almost!) at the same time. Often it is the listening part that tends to become one of the casualties of an over stretched brain! This package tries to put that right.
The DVD is split into 8 "chapters". Rhythm, Musical Intervals, Rows other than rounds, Following one bell through a method, Common striking errors, Odd Struck, Higher Numbers and, finally, two imaginary striking competitions. The exercises are mainly for 4 to 8 bells with just the one section on 10 and 12 bell ringing. As explained in the write up of the course, the exercises gradually get harder as they progress. The Book contains some useful tips and advice but about half of it is taken up with the answers to the exercises. Although it can be used as it was on the course, there is so much to take in that it is much better used for personal study at home.

With so much extremely high quality material it really is a bargain at £15.00. But, if you would like to "try before you buy" it is available from the Branch Library.

The Whiting Society publish a wide range of ringing books – you will find them easily via the web.

First Peal on the new Eight at Kingkerswell
Last month we reported on the first Quarter peal on eight at Kingskerswell so now we are delighted to report that the first peal has now been rung – Grandsire Triples on Sunday 8th March https://bb.ringingworld.co.uk/view.php?id=1335113
Refreshments were dispensed throughout the peal to parishioners who were allowed to watch (quietly!) but erupted into cheers as the peal came round and stand was called. The ringers were then able to join in the celebrations of one more step in the re-ordering of the church. The new gallery means that anyone in the church gets a good view of the ringing. Many congratulations to John Rees who rang his first peal in fine style, fittingly for someone so deeply involved with the project.

An article appeared in the Mid Devon Advertiser https://photos.app.goo.gl/9jrifT9J3tKyKZq9A 

Dawlish Ringers score their first quarter peal
Congratulations to Anne Heywood and Kevin Feaviour who rang their first quarter peal (Bob Doubles) at Dawlish on 1st March. https://bb.ringingworld.co.uk/view.php?id=1333247