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food for thought

I had a long discussion yesterday with Alan Hughes of Whitechapel, who was at the NAGCR AGM for the day. He said that over time some other places had trouble with slider breaks, which Whitechapel investigated and found to be caused by what they feel is the poor production practices of Taylor's, from whom they used to buy them (they no longer do so). He couldn't say for sure whether 1983 sliders were of the low-quality vintage, but it's a possibility. He did emphasize, however, that the purpose of the slider/stay arrangement is to park the bell, and that banging them together shouldn't happen. With the disclaimer that he wasn't advocating it as a teaching technique, he told the story that both his father and his grandfather were taught to ring on bells that had no stay - the point was that the learner had to know the feeling of approaching the balance from the first lesson onward, and be prepared to not let it go over. I thought this was fascinating. I agree that there is way too much banging & bashing, but am not sure how best to teach people to prevent it without resorting to such a radical way of learning. I try to emphasize feeling how high the bell is and preparing for it in advance, but I'm not a very effective teacher. I hope other folks will have good ideas about this.
Laura Dickerson