The invaluable skill of the conductor is one which is under-served in terms of education and tutoring, partly because it is a difficult thing to teach and doesn’t easily lend itself to private study alone. It is also a higher level skill that needs an investment of time from more experienced ringers, whose help is often more difficult to enlist.
Successful conductors are usually self-starters, many of whom have learned to conduct out of necessity. Learning to conduct is something usually developed over a period of time, growing through experience, with some study at home needed as well. It is rare to be in a position where one is prompted or even coached in one’s early conducting; so the need for practical experience, combined with relatively little feedback from that experience, makes learning to conducting through reading a book alone quite difficult. Most people need a more experienced conductor to help them along the way.
Written material for this programme is being developed as we go along and is all available on these web pages, based on the real needs of the students and so shaped by them. It is supported by a network of very experienced ‘Conductor Mentors’, who are all keen to take part in this project. It will all be done electronically, with email responses to questions and a continuously improving website.
Maybe you want to be able to conduct a quarter of Surprise Major, because you have a band that can ring it but no one can keep it right? Maybe you are interested in the odd bell methods and want to conduct Grandsire Caters? There is virtually no upper limit, so if you want to know the best way to learn a one-part of spliced surprise, or keep Stedman Cinques right, there is more than enough experience on the Mentor team to help you out.
The entry level is for ringers who are confident to call touches, there is no upper level.
The key is we are trying to teach conducting. The focus is on how to keep people right, plus related techniques such as selecting and learning compositions. The intention is not to teach Bob Calling, because that is a skill well served by existing publications.
If you need more information on basic Bob Calling, please find some suggestions on the Conducting page of the Central Council Bibliography page – http://www.cccbr.org.uk/bibliography/.
If you need experience at Bob Calling, to gain more confidence so you are ready to develop your conducting further via this programme, please arrange that at a local practice night or with help from your local association.
Those expecting an instant panacea that will cure conducting woes will not find it here. You will find that learning to conduct takes study, hard work, practice and experience. What you will find though is support from ringers who have already been there, who know what you are going through and who are willing to give of their time and expertise.
If you are ready to take this further, we are ready to help you.