Learning to Ring
Pay us a visit
If you think you might be interested in learning to ring (or you are merely curious about bellringing), the first step is to get in touch and arrange a visit to see what we do. We often get visitors to our practice nights and our Sunday morning ringing sessions and most people find it a fascinating experience.
After watching us ring, we will take you upstairs (safely armed with ear defenders!) to view the bells through a window in the bell chamber door. We might even give you a short, preliminary go at ringing (under close supervision) to give you a taste of what it feels like to have a large bell under your control.
You can arrange such a visit by contacting one of the ringers.
Access to the ringing room and bells is via a spiral staircase. There are 35 steps to the ringing room and a further 60 steps to the bells.
Pre-requisite for Learning
In order to be a ringer in Hobart you need to be generally free on Sunday mornings (prior to 10am) and Monday evenings (for our weekly practice). This requirement doesn't apply to begin with - early lessons are one-to-one at a mutually convenient time - but longer term it is essential. If you live an impractical distance from the city or you have a pre-existing commitment that clashes and that you are not prepared to give up, being a ringer in Hobart won't work for you.
Stages of Learning
Initial lessons require one-to-one tuition with a teacher, arranged at a mutually convenient time. These lessons are all about learning to physically control a swinging bell - accurately, safely and (ultimately) without supervision. This is a very satisfying skill to put into practice (for many people it is the hook that gets them addicted to ringing), but it can take longer to acquire than people think. A quick learner might gain basic control of a bell after half a dozen lessons over a month or so. Others might take many months.
Please note that when someone expresses an interest in learning to ring, we might agree to start lessons, or - if we are "fully booked" with other learners - suggest postponing lessons for a few months.
The next stage is learning to maintain a steady rhythm so that you can ring in time with others. It is also the beginnings of the complete control that you will need in order to do change ringing. The separate lessons continue at this stage. We use special training software to allow you to practise ringing with a "virtual band", but we will also get you to start coming along to our Monday practice to join the rest of the band.
Once your bell control has become instinctive and you can keep time acceptably well, you become a useful member of the band and we will be encouraging you to start coming along to ring on Sunday mornings.
Later stages - learning the art of change ringing - can last a lifetime. You might find you are happy to stick at a basic level, or you might get hooked on ringing and become one of Australia's experts.
Ringing isn't for everyone
Some people never quite gain proper control of a bell, or they might struggle with a later stage. They might find that ringing is frustrating or stressful rather than enjoyable. Others might be doing well, but realise eventually that the commitment is too much to fit into their lives. Whatever the issue, some people decide to stop ringing. While this is unfortunate, it can happen and life goes on.
Early lessons are probationary
As teachers we can often tell from the first lesson or two whether someone is a quick learner, an average learner or is likely to struggle. Teaching someone to ring takes a long time (even for quick learners) and we do this teaching at no cost and in our own time. On occasions, therefore, we need to be able to call a stop to lessons at an early stage if we sense that a new learner is going to find the learning process a long, difficult and potentially unsuccessful venture.
Ask away! Ringers always like to discuss ringing. You might also like to browse a list of frequently asked questions