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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » Book OR Video? How to study.. (6 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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coachawsm
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Hey guys.

I am now a few months into studying Card Magic ...

Why are there still so many people who prefer books over video teaching? I know it has a certain style to it etc.. but when it comes to studying the handlings,
isn't it way easier to learn via dvd? I started reading the Royal Road to card Magic, but a few days later I had to buy the dvds because it was simply too difficult to figure every move out properly.

What's your opinion on that?

Thanks,
Andy

PS: I used the search function but didn't find anything
Harry Lorayne
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Read the right books and you'll see why!!!!
[email]harrylorayne@earthlink.net[/email]

http://www.harrylorayne.com
http://www.harryloraynemagic.com
Harry Lorayne
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For example - really want to start learning card magic? Pick up THE MAGIC BOOK - you'll learn much more than you would from a video. In my obviously biased opinion.
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WitchDocChris
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When watching a video, you do have the advantage of seeing someone do the move which gives you the visual image.

However, it also lets you get away with just aping movements and mannerisms, instead of mentally working through the move or routine before you even start practicing. When you learn from a book, you are forced to understand what you are doing before you even begin doing it. For many people, that's a more efficient way of learning. Videos also make it super easy to just copy the person teaching you. Meaning, the jokes they say, the lines they use - books tend to be a bit less filled out on presentation so you're forced to come up with your own. I do personally think the prevalence of video teaching is significantly responsible for how cookie cutter many performers are these days.

Personally, due to how I learn and how I like to study, videos are tedious, boring, and clumsy to navigate. You essentially have to learn at the pace the person on the video is teaching, whereas with a book you can flip back and forth between pages almost instantly.

There's also usually a lot more theory for the performance side of things in books than videos. That's far more valuable to me at my stage of development and learning than seeing how yet another move is done.

That's my opinion, your mileage may vary.
Christopher
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coachawsm
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On Oct 23, 2017, WitchDocChris wrote:
instead of mentally working through the move or routine before you even start practicing. When you learn from a book, you are forced to understand what you are doing before you even begin doing it.


That's a fantastic point. Thanks for that!
Harry Lorayne
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Then, after you've learned from books, you can check out my 4-volume "Best Ever" DVD set - if you're into or interested in impromptu card magic. Check it out at harryloraynemagic.com. Thanks for the plug opportunity (although really - believe it or not - just trying to be helpful.)
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http://www.harryloraynemagic.com
thatmichaelguy
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For me, I'm a very visual learner so I find videos invaluable. I still learn a lot from books (especially since I spend my time working with mentalism) but I've always been the type of person who responds better to visual media when learning. Explain a process to me and I can get it with some effort. Show a process to me and I can grasp it both practically and conceptually very quickly.
Black Hart
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The answer is that you can use both. Video however is only as good as the script and presenter, and there are many, many rubbish magic how-to videos on the internet, because these days anyone can upload their own 'vanity' footage. Yes there are also some good ones, but there is no 'filter', whereas a book has usually gone through the filters of a publisher and/or magic dealer.

Many 'tricks' come with either a DVD or link to a video which is a help to see the technical moves, but with a book it is very simple to stop reading, try the next bit of the move, read the last paragraph again.

Some people learn better with video and some by reading the written word. There is no right or wrong way.

However, on a cold, dark and stormy day (as it is here as I write this), there is nothing more pleasurable than taking your chosen magic book off the shelf, sitting in a comfy armchair in front of a roaring fire and immersing yourself in a good (magic) book. Somehow staring at a computer or laptop screen just isn't the same.

Black Hart
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coachawsm
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Quote:
On Oct 23, 2017, Harry Lorayne wrote:
Then, after you've learned from books, you can check out my 4-volume "Best Ever" DVD set - if you're into or interested in impromptu card magic. Check it out at harryloraynemagic.com. Thanks for the plug opportunity (although really - believe it or not - just trying to be helpful.)


Thank you - and you are welcome, too Smile hehe Will definitely check it out.

Also thanks to all you other guys. Really helped me.
DaveGripenwaldt
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I am a book guy from way back, but there is one nice advantage to a video. I can't count the times that I, or Magi I have been around, have said some version of, "Wow, that looks great! I saw it written up in x, but I had no idea it looked like that...", etc.

Some things just don't read as well as others and seeing something performed can make all the difference in knowing how the effect can look.

But, of course as has been pointed out, go with whatever fits the way you absorb information the best.
Mr. Woolery
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Patrick Page wrote in his Page By Page that he thought video was a very good way to communicate something like magic to other magicians. I agree. However, please note that he put this statement in a book!

They both have their places.

-Patrick
funsway
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From the standpoint of learning, there should be a distinction between learning the techniques or moves upon which an effect is based, and learning a presentation routine.

There is no doubt that viewing a "time sequence" demonstration of a move (for example HPC) can be more effective than a written description, though combining both approaches might be best.
Yet, new studies show that a "stepped sequence" of images almost like a cartoon may be even more effective than a video. Being able to visualize (role play in mind) how the move is seen by the audience,
and how it is seen from the performer's perspective is critical to mastery of the move. Which combination of mental images best supports such learning is individual (style/preference), but also trainable and often a product of early years development. A serious student will seek to acquire the best learning skills and not rely on what "feels right" or is most convenient.

The viewing of a performance or complete routine is a different matter. One plays it through to the end and is eternally biased by the combinations of images from a very limited perspective, i.e. it represents what a cameraman/producer thought was best to include. It is difficult to later break this bias into component segments to facilitate learning. It is like looking at the world through a toilet paper tube -- you are receiving only limited/edited information that rarely represent what would be enjoyed in a live performance. The performers on the video are characters in a skit. Whether or not you like them as a person, respond to their clothing choice, lighting, etc. can all impact your decision as to whether or not this trick is right for you, and your enthusiasm about mastering it. The question may be "what are you learning?" If one's objective is audience engagement and the prompting of astonishment, then only actually performing before a live audience will work. What combination of media learning will best prepare you to both master the techniques and deal with a live audience (and continually improve based on what is learned from live experience)?

my comments are based on having a Masters Degree in Educational Technology and many decades of presenting astonishing effects before live observers. The problem with the title and OP is the presumption that there is an either/or choice here. The real question is what you are trying to learn and understanding the various components of a good magic effect (what the audience sees or you imagine they will see and feel). Key questions of what came before and after a given effect, are your hand and body movements congruent across all presentations, and are you prepared to modify the presentation to the needs/expectations of a particular audience? -- all are not satisfied by watching a video. When one's first contact with a magic effect is a video demo such as on YouTube, the ability to answer such questions may be severely impaired. But, then, attempting to absorb Tarbell cannot answer them either. Nurturing one's imagination may be the key. With a book you can stop at any point and ponder (in mind's eye) how the actions might play out in real life. You can reread key portions before proceeding. With a video this is much more difficult. The focus should be how to observe a video without being overly influenced by its limiting perspective.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



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DavidJComedy
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On Oct 24, 2017, Black Hart wrote:
The answer is that you can use both. Video however is only as good as the script and presenter, and there are many, many rubbish magic how-to videos on the internet, because these days anyone can upload their own 'vanity' footage. Yes there are also some good ones, but there is no 'filter', whereas a book has usually gone through the filters of a publisher and/or magic dealer.

Many 'tricks' come with either a DVD or link to a video which is a help to see the technical moves, but with a book it is very simple to stop reading, try the next bit of the move, read the last paragraph again.

Some people learn better with video and some by reading the written word. There is no right or wrong way.

However, on a cold, dark and stormy day (as it is here as I write this), there is nothing more pleasurable than taking your chosen magic book off the shelf, sitting in a comfy armchair in front of a roaring fire and immersing yourself in a good (magic) book. Somehow staring at a computer or laptop screen just isn't the same.

Black Hart


So true. So many bad YouTube videos. Now, - seasoned magicians can take what he/she needs from a bad clip and improve upon it while correcting it. But you are often bound to learn bad habits if you don't know what to look for. A video presented by experts in the industry (and Harry is one of them) would be the preferred method of video learning. Books will always provide the most accurate and best methods for a given effect. But sometimes seeing is very helpful as some are more programmed to learn this way.
David
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1KJ
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Everyone has an opinion on this, including me. Some of the reasons why people say one is better than the other may not apply to you. You need to decide for yourself. Personally, I prefer video and it Doesn't hinder my creativity. On the contrary, when I see someone perform an effect, thoughts on how to do it differently or thoughts on new ideas come into my head.

No matter what anyone else tells you, there isn't one better answer than another.

KJ
Cauan
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Videos are awesome to know how the effect looks, to see the visual effect or to get more the specs point of view of the effect, wile books are better explained, sometimes is better to learn with a draw and sometimes with a dynamic learning, I think it depends on what you are learning, with videos I get less creative... this is why
I like so much books, is cheaper, you need to concentrate a lot, get a better mental picture and you need to put a lot of your self in the effect
Yes books are harder, know how the artist thinks and knows is better then see the art ready
both are beautiful and different good ways
funsway
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Another issue to be considered is the source of the model you are aspiring to emulate or surpass. This usually comes from seeing a performance live, seeing it on video, or imagining it from a written or auditory description. This is a form of learning, but distinct form learning the various scripts of the performance: what the audience perceives, the secrets involved, the steps of presentation and the patter/music.

For each of these scripts, personal preference as to written word or complete video or incremental scenes may selected or mixed. But that selection and the ability to internalize the material will be influenced by the original model and your desire to either emulate or surpass. The OP asked, "How to study," which is different from "how to learn."

When only the written description was available (back when), the learning of the scripts was incremental in an assembly fashion, with each step leading to the model role-played in the imagination. That model could change according to the developing skills and interplay of the scripts. When the model is "fixed in mind" from seeing a live performance, the memory of the event becomes the model that still can rely on imagination and adjustment. In either case, it will not matter if the steps are learned form written or video material.

In contrast, when the model comes from seeing a video, the later steps come from a dis-assembly of a fixed model. If any part of the various scripts runs into difficulty, the video can be viewed again to re-fix the model in mind. The way in which you mind completes 'transitional learning' from explicit to tacit information is different.

So, it is not a matter of "better than" but of "different from." This can/should be based on the results desired more than the preference of learning style.

I will suggest from personal experience and education, that magic effects (what the audience remembers) learned from "assembly" will stay with you for a lifetime. Those learned from dis-assembly may have to be re-learned again and again if there is a large time lapse between performance. Of course, if your style is "open the box today and perform tomorrow," then none of the above information may matter at all.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst



ShareBooks at www.eversway.com * questions at funsway@eversway.com
Terrible Wizard
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In short, I prefer the mixed approach - videos and books together. And, if you can, other people. Smile
kennyka
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I say BOTH! You have books as the fundamentals and learning that way forces you to bring your personality into the effect or trick at hand. However, a video gives you insight and allows you to see it play out as someone else approaches it. Doing "All" videos will numb you to where you just copy what you watched even if you don't mean to. A book makes you figure it out more yourself. But most of us learn by doing, so you definitely just need to do it and learn from others as you go. I will say I have both books and videos by the same person and it's interesting to read it and then later watch the performance. You can't learn the techniques overnight either. It will take time so never beat yourself up over not doing something completely smooth after a day, a month or a year. Sometimes reading it in a book doesn't make sense, so yes...then a video helps tremendously or from a buddy who is also into the same stuff. Hook up with a magic group if you can. The IBM or SAM will really help. But, yep...I still say BOTH!
CR_Shelton
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Since nobody has mentioned this yet I'll throw it out there. I have always preferred books, but I bought my share of VHS when I was a beginner. (I'm nearly 40, for time reference) When we transitioned to DVDs I ended up with a whole shelf of tapes that became a lot more difficult to visit when I want to. *Now*, a few decades later I have a whole shelf of DVDs that I can't watch either! Someday, finding an application to watch those downloadable .wm4 files, or whatever they are, will be difficult as well.

My books, magazines, and physical instruction manuals are the only material that I've *always* been able to turn to, without any extra effort or peripheral devices than it takes to pick them up. As time goes on, the value of that is becoming immeasurable to me. I also want to pass my collection on someday, and books that are taken care of can last generations, compared to media formats which I've already seen several come and go in my own half-a-lifetime.
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kennyka
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CR_Shelton makes a great point and one that makes books the "go to" when it's all said and done. The books WILL last a lot longer than other forms of media and I have to agree with the mention of nothing better than sitting down with a book. I always have at LEAST one book at my bedside on magic. ALWAYS! In fact, now I have 2 and often it's a half dozen along with a pack of cards. But for learning if you don't have others around and time to get together is a problem, learning is still helpful with both. Taking the time to buy both formats will hurt the wallet for sure and it's true that the digital form can change. My preference is books and that's completely personal. The video format changing is a valid point in the long run and something I hadn't thought about. For me, I will learn something and then a few years later, forget it completely and re-visit it or want something as reference to add to a particular trick or effect. Books are a must in that respect. That's my (now) 4 cents of thought. Glad that was mentioned.
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