Connecting with Your Bell: How to Unlock Your Ringing Potential

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Struggling to strike in the right place? Anxious about unpredictable sallies? Getting no satisfaction from your ringing? You’ve come to the right podcast!

Ace ringing teachers, Ruth Suggett, Judith Fry and Greg Russell, talk host Cathy Booth through the most common bell handling problems and, more importantly, how to solve them. From slow hand transfers, inadequate follow through and not catching the sally at the right time, it’s all here.

Don’t worry though, with the help of a good teacher, early diagnosis and willingness to master the necessary skills, all can be put right. Above all else, aim to be one with your bell – it is not the enemy, but ego is!

About Greg Russell

Greg learned bell handling (badly) as a 4th former at The Groton School in Massachusetts, then taught handling (badly) as a 5th and 6th former, not learning to ring Plain Bob (badly) until decades later.  He learned to teach properly about 20 years ago over several years of extensive reading, experimentation, and video review, then helped to build the band for the new 12 bell tower in NYC from 2006.  This cemented his interest in the connection between handling and success at method ringing and striking.  He has made a specialty of identifying and correcting handling issues that interfere with progression in R&CC and method ringing.  He also mentors other handling instructors in the New England area, and has recently begun an effort to provide remote coaching through video review for learners and teachers who would like additional guidance but don’t have nearby experts to turn to.

A middle aged white man turns his head to the left slightly and smiles. He wears glasses, a checked blue shirt and has grey hair and beard.
Greg Russell
A white woman with short brown hair smiles slightly to the camera. She wears fine rimmed glasses and a pale pink hoodie.
Judith Frye

About Judith Frye

Judith learned to ring as a student many years ago. She is Tower Captain at Dunblane Cathedral and Scotland’s Training Officer, as well as being an ART Tutor. She enjoys helping ringers to master our art and achieve a sense of progress. Her husband and four children, as well as their partners, are all ringers and she has already given her 5 year old grandson a try on a dumbbell!

About Ruth Suggett

Ruth learnt to ring as a teenager in Romford, Essex but didn’t carry on with it when she went to university – and she wishes she had! However ringing found Ruth again when she went to live in Suffolk in the mid 1990s and subsequently became involved with ART through necessity about ten years ago when the bells in her village (Bardwell) were restored and augmented. Ruth edits ART’s online newsletter for new ringers Tower Talk and tries her best to promote good practice in teaching locally. Ruth’s greatest pleasure in ringing is to be successful as a band, whatever the goal, whether it’s a peal of 41 spliced surprise minor or someone’s first quarter peal.

A white woman with grey hair pinned back slightly stands smiling at the camera. She wears a woollen snood and patterned jumper.
Ruth Suggett

Top 5 Takeaways

  • Don’t believe you have a handling issue? Ask someone to take a video of you ringing on your own phone and then watch it back at a slower speed – very often with bell handling issues, seeing is believing!
  • Watch other ringers and consider their individual ringing styles, you can learn a lot through observation
  • If you can get it up the tower, have a full-length mirror available, so ringers can watch their style and get instant feedback 
  • Once learning a new bell handling element, go back and practice earlier skills so that you can successfully put everything together and develop an elegant and effective ringing style
  • Check out the videos on the ART YouTube channel

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