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Topic: Demonstrating, vs. teaching
Message: Posted by: docelk (Sep 17, 2005 05:23PM)
I was staring at my ever growing collection of DVD's, and lamenting about the inadequacy of my two latest purchases. In actuality, many of these so called teaching aid have been disappointing.

Yes, the demonstrators can show you how they do their thing, but teaching you is another matter. How many of them actually anticipate the problem areas, and show you how to get around them. How many provide you with hints to shorten the learning curve, and how many can really dissect their area of expertise and present it from a beginners standpoint. Answer: Very few.

A good teaching DVD, and book, for that matter speaks to the pupil, not to those who already know how to accomplish the effect. "Here's how I do it" is just not good enough.

It makes me appreciate people like Daryl, Giobbi, Mark Wilson, John Bannon, and many more, who really understand the difference between showing you how they do it, and teaching you how it should be done. We should be aware of this when we recommend books and teaching devices to others.

Message: Posted by: Tony Noice (Sep 17, 2005 06:13PM)
I would add Harry Lorayne. His descriptions almost always enable one to perform the effect or move without wrong turns.
Message: Posted by: evolve629 (Sep 17, 2005 08:04PM)
Yeah, demonstrating is fleeting and teaching is everlasting...
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (Sep 17, 2005 10:41PM)
Unfortunately, the capacity to teach is not automatic with other skills. Plus what works well to prepare one person to do the routine is not useful to another. One of the nice things about magic is that you can select your teacher. When you find the ones that benefit you the most, stick with them. Results do count!

Good Luck!

Magic By Sander
Message: Posted by: Alewishus (Sep 18, 2005 12:18AM)
Teaching is way over-rated!
I went back to my highschool reunion and most of the teachers/stiffs are still doing their deadend jobs or are retired!
btw you can learn from a video, but what you're gettin' is instruction and not teaching.
Teaching is a dialectical process.

Message: Posted by: yentlswolfs (Sep 18, 2005 02:17AM)
That's exactly the reason why books are so much better!
Message: Posted by: elmago (Sep 18, 2005 03:26AM)
Add Jeff McBride to the list of good teachers.

Books are not necessarily better. They can be poorly written. Or written in a differnent time period I cannot relate to. don't get me wrong through, Im a big fan of books and I learned many things "the hard way".

Miguel Rangel
Message: Posted by: yentlswolfs (Sep 18, 2005 06:20AM)
Add Brian Tudor to the list of bad teachers! That guy is just horrible.
Message: Posted by: Charlie Justice (Sep 18, 2005 06:52AM)
I can't tell you how many times I've stared at a book or DVD and wondered why they didn't cover "such and such" since it seemed so obvious to me that it would've made things easier to understand.

Am I giving them too much credit to believe that these 'teachers' (read sellers) are holding back knowledge and experience from their students (read buyers)in order to force them to experience the learning process on their own? Were I to ever become a mentor I would certainly use this 'technique' with my pupil but that would only be productive in a one-on-one type scenario. It seems a bit too much of a stretch to believe that's what is going on in the market place.

It can certainly be frustrating....good post!
Message: Posted by: scorch (Sep 18, 2005 10:27AM)
I think you're discovering why so many of us recommend eschewing DVDs for the most part, and instead concentrate on getting a good collection of books. The medium of DVD lends itself to "demonstrating," and sloppy teaching. The act of writing forces one to be more detailed and deliberate. And the act of reading engages the intellect in an active way, whereas video viewing is entirely passive. Plus you get get way more routines in a decent sized book than on a DVD.

Of course it's an uphill battle, because today's youth are being raised with too much video information where the content is supplied for them, so they don't have to think or be creative.
Message: Posted by: Ignore me... (Sep 18, 2005 12:18PM)
Perhaps one of the things that makes one a better teacher is knowing not only how things go right, but also they can go wrong. This can come about either by being very imaginative in terms of trying out many things, in order to see how the different approaches result, or by learning from one's students, hearing their questions and see the difficulties they run into through their variances from the core procedures. I know that I learn something about my own processes whenever I am asked something requiring some thought.

In magic, some video instructors have the experience or the imagination, and can show what is absolutely necessary to make something work. "Remember to leave your index finger here, or things will go poorly!" However, if someone is, for example, a one trick pony, that person might not be able to step outside what is essentially exploration of knacks, and will not have a good understanding of what contributes to making something work; that lack of understanding will translate to not being able to give an understanding to others.

I think one reason books are a great learning tool is the thinking which students have to bring with them to make them work. A book requires the student to experiment with the written text, making small adjustments until the written description works. The student must make and explore the variations, eventually discovering the details for herself or himself that make or break the moves.

If one learns from video, and one's body and/or gestural language can reasonably approximate what is given on the video, then one can get by merely copying the moves, without having to apply any thinking to the process. This is what is decried by more open and creative magicians, this parrotting of move and process, without any understanding required. A thoughtful student can take a video and still get out of it what one can get from a book, but if one is either lazy to begin with, or doesn't have experience in terms of learning deeply, a video can be the worst kind of crutch, standing in the way of a student really progressing in becoming a better conjuror.

Message: Posted by: scorch (Sep 18, 2005 07:02PM)
On 2005-09-18 01:18, Alewishus wrote:
Teaching is way over-rated!
I went back to my highschool reunion and most of the teachers/stiffs are still doing their deadend jobs or are retired![/quote]

Actually teaching is extremely important, and so many of the best practitioners of virtually all of the arts are involved in teaching at many different levels. If you haven't done it yourself, you should try. The mere act of teaching forces you to learn you own stuff much more deeply and thoroughly. If teaching is overrated, then I guess you would say that Dai Vernon and Ed Marlo were hacks? Mozart and Beethoven were stiffs because they taught? Picasso and Diego Rivera were hacks because they were teachers?