The Hereford Ringing Course

Lectures 2019

A beginner's guide to making methods The Blue Line Calling and Conducting
Tower Maintenance Developing ringing skills Handling Clinics Listening and Timing Ringing up and down in peal
Teaching elementary change ringing Ringingspeak Change ringing on handbells Make your own method
A family connection? What's the coursing order? How to run a simulator practice Tune ringing on handbells Running the perfect practice
Listen to it! Building Blocks of Methods How to learn methods Doubles methods beyond Plain Bob A Minor puzzle
Rope splicing How to call "Call changes" Conducting – what to do when others go wrong An introduction to simple method splicing

A beginner's guide to making methods:

Ever wondered how methods are put together? What the rules are for method making? Take the first steps into this fascinating area, where the leader will lead you through some of the basics of how methods are built.

The Blue Line

We've all seen "blue lines" in books, and maybe other ringers trying to learn them. But what are they? How do you draw them, and what do they mean? This talk demystifies blue lines, and helps you to learn how they can help you when change ringing.

Calling and Conducting

Are you a budding conductor? Every band needs one! In the theory session you will learn when to make the calls, and what the effect they have on the order of the bells. The conducting talks are a precursor to the conducting practicals, where you get chance to try out the theory. You can only do the practical if you do the theory, but you can do the theory without the practical. Choose from Plain Bob Doubles, Grandsire Doubles or Plain Bob Minor. It helps if you are fairly confident ringing touches of your chosen method. You might also be interested in "What's the coursing order" and "What to do when others go wrong".↑ top of page

Tower Maintenance

Get dirty with Nick Cooper-Tomkins! A practical session in a belfry, you will learn all the essentials to maintaining ropes and bells. Please bring old clothes or overalls. Both Friday and Saturday sessions are the same, so you only need to select one.

Developing ringing skills

On Friday and Saturday evening we offer some practical sessions to help develop your ringing skills.

Handling clinics focus on bell control, and if you have any doubts about your ability to adapt to ringing strange bells, this is a good session to choose. The tutors will work to improve your style, which generally improves control at the same time.

Listening and timing uses a simulator, and gives you chance to practice without focussing so much on what you are looking at. Too many ringers ring with their eyes instead of their ears (see also Listen to it!). A and B students should not choose this option, as they will have a simulator session at another time during the course.

Ringing up and down in peal

When we used to have tutorials, this was a topic lots of students wanted us to cover. But it's not something that can be taught in the classroom, and it's not always satisfactory to cover it in group practicals either. So we now offer two sessions to develop this vital ringing skill. The first session is on tied bells, and helps ensure you have the right technique for ringing up and down. The second session may be a continutation of tied bell work for those who need a bit more practice, or on open bells for those ready to ring up and down with others. Demand for this group is always high and we frequently have to select who can join. You must opt for the Friday AND Saturday evening sessions: if you only choose one, you are unlikely to be selected for this option. Preference is also given to A & B students.↑ top of page

Teaching elementary change ringing

We are fortunate to have Pip Penney as a tutor on the course. She is the prime mover behind the ITTS teacher training scheme, and in this talk she will describe some of the techniques used to help develop basic ringing skills needed for elementary change ringing.


Every student ringer must have heard other ringers using words that seem familiar, but make no sense! Fishtails? Cats ears? Roll ups? What on earth are they on about? If you want to find out what these terms mean, and more, this is the place to find out. Ask about something you've heard but not understood!

Change ringing on handbells

There are two groups for handbell ringers – a beginners group that starts from the very basics of ringing two bells together, and a more advanced group for those who can ring plain hunt, but want to move on to something more advanced.

The basic group (X) will start together as one to learn the basic positions for ringing two bells to plain hunting on six. In the second session, there may be chance to ring some plain hunt, putting the theory from the first session into practice. For that reason, you must do the first session if you chose this topic. The second session is optional.

The more advanced group (Y) will split into small groups, and ring plain courses of Plain Bob Minor, followed by touches when ready. Again the first session is mandatory if you choose this topic, but the second session is optional.↑ top of page

Make your own method

Working as a team, you will build a method from scratch. This session is bit more advanced than the beginners guide, but does not assume any great knowledge of method making.

A family connection?

Methods often have relations! One method can be quite like another, but like any relation it may have some annoying features! This talk explores the family of regular Surprise minor methods, and poses the question: why, if the meaning of life, the universe and everything is 42, are there only 41 of them?

What's the coursing order?

Sometimes you hear ringers asking this, especially if the touch is about to collapse! But what is a coursing order, and what is it used for? Why would anyone ask what it is when things are going wrong? And how does it help me? This talks looks at what coursing orders are, how we find them and how we use them. A useful follow-up to the conducting sessions on Friday.

How to run a simulator practice

Using a simulator has many advantages and can offer opportunities for practice that would be more difficult on open bells. Learn how to make the most of a simulator in this tower based session.

Tune ringing on handbells

A session for beginners at tune ringing on handbells. Experienced tune ringers also welcome.↑ top of page

Running the perfect practice

Have you ever been to a practice and thought wow! Everybody learnt something new, everybody had a good ring, and I can't wait for next week. No? Is your experience one of frustration that no one made any progress, no one rang very much, and I'm not sure I'll bother to go next week? Running a practice is not an easy task, but it is easy to get it very wrong. Here are some hints and tips to managing a ringing session so everyone gets something out of it.

Listen to it!

Does it annoy you if a conductor shouts this during a piece of ringing? It annoys some ringers. But then bad striking, when people are NOT listening, annoys me! Sometimes we forget that ringing is all about what is sounds like, not what it looks like, and 'Listen to it' is perhaps a salutary reminder. How to improve striking often starts with using your ears instead of your eyes. This talk will help you with practical advice on ways to improve your striking.

Building Blocks of Methods

For students taking their first steps in learning methods - this talk introduces some of the building blocks (how to count places, dodges, places, combinations of places such as court places and crankshafts, Yorkshire places etc), and then how to start learning a line.

How to learn methods

If you look through the peals and quarter peals in The Ringing World or on Bellboard, you will find a vast variety of methods being rung – sometimes many methods in one peal or quarter. If it takes you several hours to learn a new method, you might wonder how these ringers do it. There are no short cuts, but there are some techniques to speed things up. This is a more advanced talk than Building Blocks of Methods. It's not about how to ring a method, but how to learn it before you try and ring it.↑ top of page

Doubles methods beyond Plain Bob

Tired of ringing Plain Bob and Grandsire? Is there anything else we could ring? Find out here. Doubles may be limited by the number of bells, but there is still plenty to try, and you don't need lots of ringers to do it!

A Minor puzzle

These days we can prove a touch is true in seconds using a computer, but how was it done before computers? We take a look back to discover how we can prove extents of Plain Bob Minor using a pack of cards, and we learn something about how touches are put together along the way.

Rope splicing

This session is a practical demonstration of the long splice (best used above the sally), and if you bring your own rope (about 3 metres of rope is enough) you can try it yourself. It's also useful to bring some sellotape (not to join the rope if your splice doesn't quite work!).

How to call "Call changes"

This is intented to be a very elementary introduction to calling changes, and will involve the use of single handbells. It will not cover different styles of calling changes, and it is not for those wanting to call changes as a means of developing ringing skills. It's really for A and B students to get some idea of what is happening when changes are called.

Conducting – what to do when others go wrong.

Sometimes it seems a conductor can put you right before you go wrong. How do they do it? What is the art of correcting a touch before it collapses? Learn how to spot mistakes and how to correct them before it's too late! The final part of the conducting lectures.

An introduction to simple method splicing

Splicing methods provides some of the greatest challenges in method ringing. But not all spliced is difficult. In this talk, we explore the world of plain major methods where the treble doesn't always hunt to the back, and learn some simple tricks to check the touch will come round.↑ top of page