‘Learning the Ropes’: Nic Boyd

An interview with Nic Boyd

Church bells are an integral part of our everyday life. We all hear the bells ringing on Sunday and other special occasions but do you know what goes on in a church tower and what it feels like to be a bell ringer?  Have you ever really thought about who is ringing them and how they learnt?

In this podcast, Cathy Booth chats to Nic Boyd about Nic’s exciting journey of discovery since taking up bell ringing four years ago. Hear why Nic started ringing and why she loves it so much; the highs and lows, the joys and the challenges and how it feels to ring, both as an individual and as part of a team.

The bell that motivated Nic’s move to learn: The treble in her parents church when on tour with the Pattishall band

According to Nic, learning is effective when you take small steps and celebrate achievements along the way. Luckily, there’s an innovative new scheme called ‘Learning the Ropes’, developed by the Association for Ringing Teachers (ART) which does just this – using milestones to help new ringers learn faster and further. 

Proud moment with lovely band after Nic’s first quarter peal

This scheme has certainly been a great to support to Nic, who talks Cathy though the five levels of Learning the Ropes, culminating in her attending a masterclass in Birmingham last year. And it’s not just the sense of achievement from progressing through the levels that Nic has got out of ringing, as, at the end of the podcast, she reveals one of the exciting perks of being a bell ringer …

Receiving masterclass certificate from ringing master for St Martins Guild and tutor for Birmingham school of ringing_Arthur Reeve

About Nic Boyd

Four years ago Nic’s brother suddenly died and she wanted to learn to ring a bell to commemorate a year of his death. Nic didn’t know anything about bell ringing and was surprised and delighted at the complexity and pleasure in this new art and hobby she felt she had accidently discovered. She says that bell ringing has been hugely enjoyable, therapeutic and challenging and she has loved everything about it! Nic has now completed all 5 levels of ART learning to ring and feels like a competent ringer. She has rung in over 80 different towers, met a lot of people and had a lot of fun.

Links

Learning the ropes

Top five takeaways

– You don’t have to be musical, sporty or strong to take up bell ringing
– There’s a lot more to bell ringing than ringing a bell! Just like learning to drive, there are many challenges and skills needed to ring safely and effectively
– Find a teacher that you feel comfortable with and a band of ringers that you enjoy spending time with
– Visit your local tower and ask if it’s possible to see the bells – it could be the start of a lifetime of fun and learning 
– Check out the Learning the Ropes scheme at www.learningtheropes.org

Ask the Expert

In this episode, Pip Penney answered the following questions:

  • Hollie: “My daughter started to learn to ring before me and now she is ringing with other ringers, but I don’t seem to be able to get the hang of handling the bell.  Should I give up?”
  • Joshua: “I know I learn best when someone explains why I have to do something but my teacher just demonstrates handling and expecting me to be able to copy them.  What should I do?”

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