What does it take to be a ringer?
Mostly it takes time and persistence. Keep in mind that ringing looks deceptively easy. To make any progress in ringing requires time--regular attendance at practices in the tower, as well as some time spent outside the tower studying. On average, new ringers should expect it to take a year or longer to become comfortable handling a bell. The more time spent studying and at practices, the faster progress is made.
Do you need a background in music?
No. Ringers come from many backgrounds and professions--teachers, accountants, engineers, mathematicians, lawyers, students, archivists, and more.
How old do you need to be to ring?
Age is less a limitation than size and hand/arm strength. While some towers with lighter bells than ours have taught children aged 6 – 8, in Washington we usually don’t teach people younger than 12 or 13. At the other extreme, it is not at all unusual for people to continue ringing into their 80s and 90s, though people do not often begin ringing at that age.
How do I learn to be a change ringer?
WRS runs an intensive entry-level class once or twice a year for people in the DC area interested in becoming ringers. People who complete the class then attend WRS weekly practices to continue to develop their ringing skills. Contact the Education Officer (link below) if you are interested in receiving a notification next time we hold a class.
- Size - You must be tall enough to reach the sally (standing on a box to do so is okay), and your hands must be large enough to comfortably hold the rope.
- Strength - It does not take a lot of strength to ring but it does require a basic level of physical fitness. Keep in mind that ringers also stand for long periods of time.
- Proximity to a tower - As a new ringer, it is important that the tower be fairly close either to your work or home. In order to make progress you will need to attend practice on a regular basis. Long commutes to the tower may make it difficult to attend practices regularly.