• Simon Linford
    Does anyone have experience of teaching a learner who can only learn by repeating what they have heard? My learner who is somewhat on the spectrum managed to ring Stedman Cinques on handbells (on Ringing Room) after 'hearing it at the 12 bell competition'. She doesn't really get call changes but she is now ringing Grandsire Doubles by learning what it sounds ike, having memorings PB5 on the treble from the sound.

    It is challenging so I am interested if there are other people like this.
  • Tim Farnham
    A young ringer at a neighbouring tower learned to ring plain hunt doubles without apparently knowing the bell order or what place he was in. He was about 11 at the time, musically gifted with almost perfect pitch but assessed as not on the spectrum. It took a while for the penny to drop but we realised that he simply learned the tune and rang it. Later I was in contact with someone on FB who could ring plain courses of some doubles methods by the tune, and could tell instantly if, for example, it was Grandsire that was being rung just by the sound. That doesn't really answer your question but your learner certainly isn't unique. On a more mundane level I discovered that I could ring plain hunt minor on the Ellacombe if I learned the tune and used the chimes as a musical instrument.
  • Rosalind Martin
    I have never met anyone who is so focussed on the sound of methods to the complete exclusion of understanding the written notation, but I would confess to sharing your learner's awareness of the tunes of plain courses and bob courses of Grandsire. If I am not careful, I zone out and realise I am simply ringing the tune rather than concentrating properly on where I am.

    Hopefully, your learner's understanding of blue lines will develop over time, but meanwhile, she needs to start her journey from where she is. A copy of Abel on her computer will enable her to listen repeatedly to simple touches of methods and memorise them, so that she can progress and learn new things. She can also "ring" one of the bells and find out how well she is ringing, from the score at the end of the piece. I find that very useful as I can judge whether it is worth trying a method on practice night.
    Using an app such as methodology on her phone will at least enable her to memorise plain courses of new methods.

    In time, she may get frustrated because I suspect that it is impossible to memorise a longer touch; but having said that, perhaps it isn't impossible, and there is a future in which she becomes a conductor, who can memorise whole peals and quarters, calls and all?

    If your learner finds eventually that she really wants to understand written notation for methods, then I would encourage her to watch Abel ringing things she knows well, but slowed right down, so she can see the relationship between the numbers on the screen, and the sounds she can hear.
  • John Harrison
    I wonder whether the distinction between ringing by the tune and ringing by path.
    When I'm ringing handbells I'm often not aware of the actual place each hand is in. Im aware of the overall pattern and largely 'feeling' my way through it while listening to the sound, which does feel as if I know it in some sense, though I can't fully know it whe ringing a quarter. I suspect my brain has learnt some aspect of the structure that enables it to predict what comes next from what I have just heard, though perhaps not all the time.
    I suspect my brain might also be simplifying the sound in terms of 'my bells' and 'other bells' so a lead will sound familiar if my bells follow the same path even if some of the thorns don't.
    This is speculation of course, and when ringing I don't have a lot of spare attention to think about what i am hearing.
    Also I'm much less conscious of any similar effect in the tower so it might not read across to the person in the original question. But it does suggest there might be more of a continuum between different ways of knowing what to do.
  • Simon Linford
    Thanks Ros. It will be interesting to see how long a piece of ringing she can remember, but I agree that the other tools we use will hopefully develop in time.
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