Jun 05 2007

Testivus As Applied To Bell Ringing

Published by at 11:50 am under Bell Ringing

This is an old article and the information contained within it may be out of date, not reflect my current views and/or contain broken links. If you feel this article is still valid and requires updating, you can use the contact form to let me know. However, I make no guarantee that it will get updated.

Recently, whilst reading through my never ending RSS feeds, I came across a link to The Way of Testivus a good advice guide on developer and unit testing. Whilst the guide is quite humorous it also contains solid, sensible advice for anyone wanting to get started with unit testing, whilst not going into specifics.

As I am currently taking a journey through enlightenment and personal development I decided to see if I could take the Testivus advice and apply it to other activities and and aspects of my life. So, here I present to you Testivus – As Applied To Bell Ringing.

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Whilst I have tried to stick to the original 12 aspects of Testivus I have not yet been able to present it in the original master/apprentice form. I’ll leave that for another day.

If you ring methods, ring touches.

Ringing a plain course of a method does not mean that you have learnt the method, it just means that you have remembered a series of movements of your bell. In order to ensure you have learnt the method you need to be able to ring it with the bells mixed up, as in a touch. Once you can ring touches progress further and ring a quarter peal.

Don’t get stuck on ringing dogma.

When learning to ring there are as many methods of learning as there are ringers. Don’t get stuck on the notion that you have to learn a particular way. You need to find a way that suits you. Learning to rings requires you to be mentally flexible, don’t let ringing dogma make you inflexible.

Embrace ringing karma.

Always remember you ring because you enjoy ringing. Be flexible in your learning and you will progress faster. When you see no way forward take a step back, ring something you can ring and enjoy it. A new path will present itself when you are ready.

Think of bell and ringer as one.

I often see learners fighting against the bells, trying to force the bell to do what they want. They view the bell as an external object that needs to be tamed and controlled. Soon they will learn that the bell should be view as an extension of their body. Once you control your body, allowing it to relax, the bell with move effortlessly with your body.

The music is more important than composition.

This may be a sensitive subject for some, however I am coming at this from the view of learners. When you are learning do not get stuck on trying to figure out how a method, touch or quarter are composed. Instead you should be learning to control the bell and make music that is pleasant to listen to. The time for analysis and composition will come later.

The best time to ring quarter peals is when the method is fresh.

Once you have learnt a to ring a touch of a method have a go at ringing a quarter. Do not start learning another method otherwise you will start to get confused when you come to ring a quarter. Ringing a quarter peal will cement the method into your mind, to highlight areas of the method that need more attention.

Methods not rung waste away.

How many times have you seen ringing master dive for their book of diagrams when a method is called for? Whilst you will never be able to remember all methods, it is good to continue to revisit the often forgotten ones so they do not become lost.

An imperfect quarter peal today is better than a perfect quarter peal someday.

I have to admit I am guilty of this. Far too often ringers will shy away from ringing a quarter peal of a method because they think they are not ready for it. On the contrary, if you have a solid band around you, you should view the quarter peal as an extended practice. Either you will get through the quarter, or you will find out which bits you need to practice.

An ugly touch is better than no touch.

Even if you cannot strike a method very well, once you have learnt it you should move onto a touch. If your ringing of the method is ugly, your ringing of the touch will also be ugly but it will give you another view of the method and will, in all likelihood, improve your ringing of the method.

Sometimes, the quarter peal justifies the learning.

Where ever you go you will find ringers that have a favourite method to hate. They have never rung a quarter peal of it, never intend to and may not even ring a touch of it. But that should not dissuade you. Just because you do not like the method or the touch does not mean you will not like the quarter peal. If nothing else, once you have rung your quarter peal you will have a sense of accomplishment and achievement, and you can put the method away safe in the knowledge that you’ve rung a quarter peal of it.

Only fools ring one bell.

I have met several ringers that ring just one or two bells in their tower. They seem to be terrified of ringing other bells. Do not get stuck in this trap. The fastest way to advance your ringing is to ring as many bells as possible. Each method as an easiest bell to learn on, and they’re not all the same. Also, learning the different starts of a method will help when you progress to ringing touches.

Good ringers loose touches.

Do not let a lost touch put you off ringing a method. Even the most accomplished of rings will loose touches for no apparent reason. Everyone does it and the best thing to do is identify where you made your mistake and try again. Also note that it might not be your fault that the touch was lost – but do not start pointing your finger, for that is the path to ringing dogma.

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