Learning to listen

I have recently come to the conclusion that there must be a recognised way of teaching learners and experienced ringers how to listen to ‘their’ bell whilst ringing.  has anyone else had this kind of problem and, if so, how was it overcome / taught successfully ?   The old tradition of shouting “listen to it” is useless of course.

John Girt

4 thoughts on “Learning to listen

  1. Jennifer Town

    We had a question about this at the practice last night and did a demonstration of when the bell actually strikes at each stroke, using a single bell. That helps to some extent but some people find it really difficult to hear which bell is theirs.
    I find handbells really useful in getting people to count round and listen for when the bells are striking – even just rounds and then simple kaleidoscope exercises get people used to rhythm. If you haven’t got handbells then clapping exercises are also useful, with each person being a numbered “bell” round a circle and clapping to the rhythm of rounds on 6, with the open handstroke lead.

    1. John Girt Post author

      Thanks Jennifer. We have used hand bells [we were without the tower bells for almost a year whilst refurbishment etc. took place] to good effect. The real problem is trying to teach listening as a skill on its own and hearing “your” bell amongst the rest of the ring when changes are taking place. I suspect working with fewer bells [4 ?] with changes and slowly building upon that.
      We have also used clapping to good effect.
      introducing listening as an exercise cause handling skills to deteriorate – “brain overload” ! There appears to be no quick and easy way.

      1. Jennifer Town

        Using fewer bells might be a good idea. Also, you could try getting somebody with a good ear standing beside a learner and saying “now” when their bell is striking. Then work up to the learner vocalising when they think the bell will strike. We try to tell people to “count round” all the time, but some of them still seem unable to relate what they are doing to the loud noise they are creating. You seem to be doing all the right things so I’m sure that you will reap the rewards eventually. Good luck!

  2. John Girt Post author

    From current experience it appears that listening is yet another skill to be learnt. Recdently one of our band sat and faced the wall [thus not seeing any rope movement] and she could hear her bell through a course of Plain Hunt. When given the rope again the hearing was lost in concentrating on the handling aspects ! It seems that starting with a low number of bells is the “entry” pint. Here we talk of “brain overload” when new tasks are added and found difficult. I suspect patience is required. We now ring from a gallery overlooking the nave and on Sundays there is often a lot of noise from there to cause “audio interference “

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