Learning to Ring

A bell is waiting for you…

Could I learn to ring?

Ringers come from all walks of life and learn at different ages.  Ringing is within the capabilities of most people, although it does entail coordination and a degree of physical effort in your core muscles, arms and upper body. But you don’t have to be a body builder! While a sense of rhythm is useful, you do not have to be musical: ringing is about memorising patterns (known as methods), not playing melodies.

The bells are of different weights, so you will start by learning to ring a lighter bell efficiently and safely. As you acquire skill, strength and confidence you may move on to ring other bells. Over time you’ll find the bell (or bells) which you find the most comfortable to ring.

How long does it take to learn?

The initial learning takes several weeks. At first, you will ring a ‘tied’ bell: i.e. one which doesn’t actually sound. This will enable you to focus on the physical aspects of ringing (and also won’t annoy the neighbours!). You’ll then progress to ringing a sounding bell, to get a feel for co-ordinating pulling on the bell rope with producing the ring itself. Soon you should be able to join the rest of the band at our weekly practice and before the Sunday service.

A number of (mainly free) apps and websites are available for you to practise ringing with other people. The website of the Lancashire Association of Change Ringers has a list of smartphone apps that you may find helpful. We can also advise you which apps to try.

Why is ringing good for me?

Ringing is a good way to improve your physical strength. Learning the methods also provides a good mental work-out! If you’re a young person, you can also use your skill to complete part of the Duke of Edinburgh award.

Ringing is also about teamwork: watching, listening and co-ordinating your actions with the other ringers to produce a harmonious sound. Because you’re ringing with others, it’s also a very sociable activity — our midweek practice almost invariably ends in the local pub. When travelling you can make contact with the bell ringers where you’re staying, and perhaps join in their practice session or even in the pre-service ringing. Although bell ringing is largely confined to the UK, one of our members has found himself ringing for a Sunday service as far away as Canada.

Finally, of course, you are helping to provide a service to your local community, not only on Sundays but also on special occasions, both national and personal.

How do I start?

Pop along to one of our Wednesday practice sessions or get in touch with us via the Contact & Visit Us page.

Portions of the text on this page have been taken from the website of the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers.