Come and join us!
Would you like to learn to ring bells? Find out more...
I’d like to learn to ring. What do I need to know?
Change ringing is similar to learning a musical instrument and playing in a band. It’s a team effort that is richly rewarding. And just like learning a musical instrument, learning to ring takes commitment, perseverance and practice. Change ringing is not like anything else you will have attempted before.
However, you do not need to know anything about music, but it does help if you have a sense of rhythm and a sense of pitch. Rhythm helps you ring in time with the other ringers. A sense of pitch helps you to pick out the note of your bell from the others. You also need to be able to count!
The first step is handling, or bell control, in which you will learn to ring the bell, adjust its speed and start and stop it when required. Once bell control has been achieved, change ringing comes next, with its intriguing mix of quick-thinking, listening, vision (ropesight) and fine-tuning of the physical skills.
How rapidly and how far you advance depends mainly on opportunity and enthusiasm, but the feeling of achievement starts from the beginning.
Many people find ringing quite addictive. It is common to find older ringers who started ringing when they were in their teens and have never grown tired of it. When you ring bells, like playing an instrument, you never stop learning.
When is the training?
Ringing lessons usually take place on Sundays between 11 am and noon.
What does the training involve?
We follow the syllabus of the Association of Ringing Teachers (ART) which is called Learning the Ropes. The course consists of five levels and covers all the theory and practical skills you will need to become a proficient ringer. A certificate and badge are awarded at the completion of each level. Trainees also have access to a range of helpful resources on the ART website.
Initial teaching for trainees takes place on a one-to-one basis. You will be taught by an experienced ringer over a period of weeks or maybe a few months. New ringers progress at different rates; younger people tend to progress more quickly.
All instructors hold a valid Working with Children card.
Are there age limits?
Because of the size of the bells we generally do not accept trainees under the age of twelve. For anyone under twelve wanting to learn to ring, please contact us and we will put you in touch with a tower that has bells more suited to younger people.
What is the cost?
Nothing! Ringing training is free, but we do ask for your commitment to attend each week. You will not make progress if you do not practise regularly, and it will be a waste of time for your instructor who is giving up his or her time to teach you. We understand that ringing is not for everyone and you may decide that you don’t want to continue. We understand completely; all we ask is that you give it your best shot! You will face setbacks along the way but that’s normal. Rest assured that the other ringers will be very supportive because we have all been there!
The Bell Tower is the only tower in Western Australia equipped with a computer simulator. It is attached to a dumb bell that hangs in the belfry with the other bells. The dumb bell has the weight and feel of a real bell but doesn’t make any noise. The simulator is excellent for practising striking and listening skills, as well as learning to ring change-ringing methods with a virtual (and perfect!) band. Our simulator uses the latest software and a wall-mounted tablet.
What other opportunities are there?
The opportunities are virtually limitless:
- Ring for weddings, important civic occasions and other events.
- Learn about steeple keeping – caring for and maintaining the bells in good working order. You could say the steeple keeper is the most important member of the band!
- Take up leadership positions in your local band, nationally or internationally.
- Learn to ring handbells.
- Ring quarter peals and peals. A peal can last from between 2.5 to 4 hours – it’s the ultimate test of stamina and concentration. Most ringers ring quarter peals which generally take around 45 minutes.
- Become a conductor which takes a good memory and mental agility.
- Become a composer and be recognised for writing new change ringing methods.
See the links page to find out more about what’s happening in our region and around the world.
What else is in it for me?
Bell ringing is a fantastic hobby. As well as great satisfaction you will gain:
- a global group of friends
- a lifelong learning experience
- a traditional skill
- great mental and physical exercise
- the opportunity to visit amazing places.
Apart from anything else, you will have a lot of fun!
For further information on learning to ring please contact the Tower Captain.
Why I ring...
fantastic mental exercise, as well as great physical exercise. And I've made many lifelong friends."
of achievement. There is always someone close by to give good advice and encouragement. Bell ringers love seeing other ringers achieve their goals!"