Once a learner can ring rounds successfully, they are often moved onto Call Changes. Obvious to us, but for the new ringer (who is using at least 90% of their brain concentrating on handling their bell safely and keeping it in synch with everyone else) there’s not much processing power left to remember the order of the bells, translate a verbal instruction to the whole band into a specific one for them (do I or don’t I move place, if so do I need to move up or down and who will I follow) and then think about what they need to do with the rope to make the bell make that move … all in less than 4 seconds. And that’s without the occasional conductor who decides to mix calling up and down!

This is where kaleidoscope ringing can help - a series of changes all made within two places. Perhaps not an immediately helpful definition so in this case I think a picture speaks a thousand words. And the benefits:

Breaking the learning into small, easy understandable steps. Kaleidoscope ringing allows the learner to practise moving their bell up or down a place without having to remember the order of the bells or knowing which bell is following which as they are always moving from rounds.

It is easier for a learner to hear their bell and correct their striking. Kaleidoscope sequences move out of and back into rounds all the time. Because the sound of rounds is familiar it is easier for the new ringer to identify their bell, listen for gaps and clips and correct their striking.

It can sound nicer. Bands with insufficient ringers to ring methods can make up their own sequences (even naming them after people e.g. Sheila’s Shuffle) and ring them for service making a more pleasing sound than Call Changes gone wrong or Plain Hunt struck badly.

Kaleidoscope ringing can grow with the band. Long places (four blows) lead onto short places which lead onto dodges or dodgy places, all of which can start at handstroke or backstroke. Then why not more complex sequences such as the bells in 2-3 making long places whilst the 4th stay in fourths place and the 5th and 6th make short places?

Why not introduce kaleidoscope ringing into your practices? More information about kaleidoscope ringing is available at www.ringingteachers.org/resource-centre/teaching-tips

Lesley Belcher

ART Chair