Thomas A. Alspaugh

A band of ringers has many similarities with performance groups of all sorts, and the goals and techniques of leading practices and performances has much in common with those for other types of groups. I've led ensembles of various types, run rehearsals and sectionals, and overseen performances. Here is what has worked for me and for many others over the centuries, translated into ringing terms. Click on a to see details.

For an Effective Practice

• Have a goal and a plan.
• Be ready to deviate from the plan and take on new goals if circumstances demand.
• Begin with a ritual that guides everyone into the proper state of mind.
• Isolate the problem, whatever it is, and focus the work on that.
• Don't ask of them more than they can do.
• But do ask for their best, and for something that requires them to stretch.
• Finish up with something they can feel was an accomplishment.

For an Effective Performance

• Choose things the band can do well.
• If you have several things for the band to do, start with something they know and enjoy, to settle them and get everyone ready for later things that may be more difficult.
• If it's not working, stand the band, perhaps say a few words of encouragement, then move on to the next thing.