Group name - Hull Handbell Change Ringers





Coursing Order



  Learning Points

Lessons we have learned about learning to ring handbells

Learning point:
One thing we have proved is that age is not an issue. Young and old can both learn the skills, not at the same rate, and probably not for the same reason, but both can enjoy the journey.

Like many journeys, sometimes it's a slog, sometimes you get a tail wind.
Sometimes you take a break from the effort and enjoy the achievement so far.

When you have rung 1,000 courses of Bob Minor, the breakthrough into Bob Major is lovely. When you have bashed away at the first course of wrong place surprise, celebrate the one that comes round.

Site Sections:

A set of 12 handbells

A set of 12 handbells
Method Ringing

A set of 12 handbells

A set of 12 handbells

A set of 12 handbells

A set of 12 handbells
Hull Project

A set of 12 handbells


Learning point:
The concept of change-rows, striking position within a row, changes of position within a row, is fundamental to everything that follows.

Rounds and Call Changes

Learning points
The end product is a sound, but the process includes sight and movement in a team environment. So if a bell is rung and by accident doesn't strike, don't "waggle the bell", just leave it as if it had properly been rung because other people will have counted the movement as a bell having been rung.

Learning point
Use the spacing of bells inside tittums and whittingtons as a preparation for plain hunting; one apart in tittums is like 1 apart in coursing.

Plain Hunting

Learning point
Make sure you can hunt hunt with one bell on a variety of numbers of bells and from a variety of starting points, before going on to try the three patterns.

Learning point
On 6 bells there are three hunting patterns (see Hunting Patterns), and they all need to be learned in preparation for ringing Plain Bob.
The patterns are easier to ring by concentrating most (e.g. 66%) on the first bell in the row; the other bell is rung relative to the first (spacing 1 apart, etc) and takes the remaining 33% of concentration.

Plain Bob Minor

Learning points
Over 90% of a course of Plain Bob is simply plain hunting, so get good at plain hunting before trying to ring plain bob.
The plain hunting pattern changes only on the backstroke of the treble's lead.

Learning points
Not only is plain bob worth ringing, it is worth ringing well.
Musically it is the most fluid method.
It is the one consistent foundation stone for the vast majority of ringing as it is practised in the early part of 21st century.
It is an immense skill in its own right.

There are very few people who can ring changes of any sort, and less than one tenth of those ring changes on two handbells.

So to ring Plain Bob, competently, is a real achievement.

Double Bob Minor

Learning exercise
Place notation is so important that it is worthwhile taking the time to write out a lead or two, or even a full plain course of Double Bob, Little Bob, etc.

Do this using graph paper, first mark the hunting path of the treble, then sketch in any places that are made. e.g. 5ths when the treble lies behind in double bob.

Then fill in the other bells one number at a time to understand:
a) The way that the treble dictates the method structure
b) The way the places define the method in detail.
E.g. 5-6 to Double Bob Minor.
Course down, 5ths under treble at half lead, dodge in parallel 1-2 & 3-4 down
Course down, treble turns 5, 2nds and 3-4 up, 2-3 pattern hunting
Course up round treble, 6 makes 5ths at half lead making 5 dodge 3-4 up, course up.
etc. for all ten half leads.

The above exercise derives the work of the method from the position of the treble together with the places that are made.

Treble Bob Minor

Learning points
Kent TB., Oxford TB., and a number of associated methods are worth ringing in their own right. The rhythm is different from Plain methods, and the music is different.

And Kent and Oxford can be learned by building on the skills acquired whilst ringing plain methods.
Much of Kent and Oxford is "just Plain Bob on steroids". The rest of the methods (ie. when treble is dodging in 1-2) is a bit trickier, but still good fun.

Some extra notes on learning Kent and Oxford are available from the download page.

Right Place Surprise Minor

Learning points
Whilst Cambridge Surprise is an elegant method, it is also quite "busy" compared to Kent and Oxford T.B. Cambridge intermingles fluid hunting with long places.

An experienced tower bell ringer might get a long way in Cambridge by looking at the double blue line, however, a safer approach is to learn several different aspects of the method. These include, Place Notation alone, Place Notation and where's the treble, Visualisation of the Grid, 14 and 36 cages, double blue lines, lead end transpositions.

Learning points
We continue to explore new ideas, and the 'learning a method section by section using thumbs' Bill Jackson technique is being trialled with Norwich Surprise Minor

Wrong Place Surprise Minor

Well, it's not all wrong places. There's the work with the treble to begin with.


Learning point:
And as for ringing Stedman on handbells . . .

. . . if you are a odd numbers bellringer then maybe Stedman is merely hard,

. . . but if you love 53246 Stedman requires a lot of work, innovative memory techniques, and great persistence in order to become proficient,

. . . and be inspired, see Stedman as rung by the Cambridge Youths.