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Topic: Master Magician??
Message: Posted by: Paul Budd (Nov 27, 2007 08:29PM)
Not sure if this is the MOST appropriate place for this, but it shouldn't be far off-base if it isn't:

I've had this on my mind for awhile........has anyone ever thought of creating a formalized, well-structured system (curriculum maybe) that would allow magicians to work though "levels" until they reach the level of "Master Magician"?? Maybe Chazpro (sp?) has something along these lines?? Railroad modelers (I think) have something like this....usually takes at least 10 years to become a "Master modeler". I've just been thinking about it.....for it to be serious, it couldn't be the kind of thing you'd achieve within 2 weeks, or it would lack credibility.
Message: Posted by: Jaz (Dec 1, 2007 05:06PM)
Because of the various types and elements of magic, I don't see how any course of study and practice can make one a true master of magic.

One might study a field of magic and master a few routines or perhaps become a master of props like cards or coins, etc. Thru years of performing one might be considered a master of illusions or closeup or busking or etc, but I doubt full mastery of the entire art of magic is possible.

Even then, who decides one is a Master Magician?
Other magicians, the public, the performer?
Message: Posted by: abercrombe (Dec 1, 2007 10:56PM)
I think many people spend years learning tricks and they consider themselves master magicians because of what they can do. They work at the goal to be known as a master magician. Maybe the goal should be entertaining the audience with magic and be known as a entertainer. Someone could be in magic for ten years and not have the abilities another has in a shorter time span. I think you need a genuine love for the art, a desire to study, practice, practice, practice, learn the some history of our art, learn some theory, psycology of magic and more. You can see that there is so much to learn that it would take a lifetime to master some of it. Be an entertainer and you will succeed at your craft.
Message: Posted by: HusssKarson (Jan 8, 2009 12:03AM)
Any master magician here?
Message: Posted by: jtmorris (Jan 21, 2010 03:32PM)
So how would someone get the title Master Magician? Is it self proclaimed? Awards? How much does one have to master to be a master?
Message: Posted by: InventorRu (Jan 22, 2010 08:00AM)
I think the idea has merit even if it is never put into practice,it is an interesting mental exersize.There are plenty of other creative subjects which manage to decide who is worthy to be on the course and how to assess them at the end.

Three Dimentional Design,

Imagine the students turning up on the first day.What would be the first exersize you would give them..?
Message: Posted by: DATMagic (Jan 29, 2010 04:50PM)
Sometimes I wonder if that was what the Fox series secrets revealed was trying to do so everyone could be a master magician. Still sore about that one, sorry.
Message: Posted by: courtmagician (Mar 31, 2010 10:05AM)
I agree that this is too complex a subject and would require study in numerous fields of expertise to proclaim someone a master magician. I have no interest in stage illusions and minimal interest in mental magic, so would I never make it to that level should I choose to follow the course of study?

Coming from a background in film production (well, at least with a BS in it), I know we study the various facets of production, including technicals like lighting and sound, and history and theory, etc. I don't think most people go into magic (even professionals) wanting to know all of that.

Of course, how many of us would choose that course of study if it were offered at a college or university somewhere...? Hands please, :wavey:
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Apr 19, 2010 05:48PM)
I'm not really straining to be a master magician, I just don't want to be considered a grasshopper magician...
Message: Posted by: daffydoug (May 7, 2010 10:09AM)
I think the title is illusive. And unattainable. Peter Loughran bills himself master of illusions and indeed he is. But to master the entire field????? It's too vast!

I have seem magicians market themselves as "master magician" or "Master of Magic", but I think that's pompous.

Besides you don't master magic. It masters YOU.
Message: Posted by: amazing eric (May 25, 2010 03:32PM)
I have a different take on this. Although it is impossible to be a complete master of the art of magic in all its aspects, it is possible and indeed attainable to achieve a certain level of mastery in a specific scope of the art. For example, I would look at Eugene Burger as a master magician in the field of closeup magic. Although he does comparatively little in sleight of hand than say, Michael Ammar, he is strong in his stage presence and presentation. This comes from two reference points: First, he has personally answered the subjective question for his character of what is "magic". For him, it is about the experience and not necessarily about the technique, unless it aides in the experience. Second, he has gained stage and time experience performing his character for thousands of shows and has developed a mastery of his act.
Message: Posted by: kal (Feb 20, 2011 09:37AM)
I would say masters are all around, and each would have made their own way to their current standing in the field.
As far as a 'generic' curriculum I would be tempted to find similarities in the art of acting.

When it comes to mastering magic, it all too often comes down to technicalities, such as close-up card magic against huge stage elusions. How can you be Lance Burton AND Ricky Jay?
My take on it is that the true masters, while possessing technical excellence (no doubt), are far more skilled in other areas.
The 'Minor' would be a students actual preferred skill (cards, mentalism and so on) and would be a generalization of the skills therein (All 13 steps or a Complete Course).
But his Major, the main body of education would be on the oft-neglected-in-the-beginning skills of entertaining!
The skills of audience management, scripting, presentation, misdirection/direction, presence, acting, secret-script and on and on.
The concepts.

Actors don't learn Hamlet, or the nuance of a playing a depressed heroin-addict widow. They learn the skills to move into any area, to perform in any environment. Magicians could, and perhaps should, start off learning the general skills, the 'major' facets of entertaining/amazing/scaring. It could seem daunting but this is not an easy field and as rewarding as learning a new sleight can seem, in the bigger picture you learn nothing. You fool yourself and that's about. You start to think it matters in, and of, itself.

Looking at the masters, such as Mr.Burger, the mastery of presentation is clear and concise. What you are doing is nowhere as important as HOW you do it. Suddenly the most technically 'simple' method becomes a wondrous display for the participant.

A master actor is one who connects to the audience, who elicits an emotional response. Is this not the way for all masters in all arts?

If we wish to create a new line of masters of magic we must work from the ground up, and from the great goal to the lesser goal. Entertain the crowd, connect, and give them a moment. If you master the classic pass too that's a nice bonus!
This is a larger subject, that of the direction, reason and goal of magic and magicians. The respect for the art and for ourselves. Looking at the rewards (personal), the expectation of the performer and the respect for the craft in the acting world, the music world and virtually all other arts magic really needs to expect more of itself.
We may not all be masters such as Mr. Burger but we should start trying to be.
Message: Posted by: joe yang (Feb 25, 2011 03:33PM)
Interesting idea and it may have been done. Magic as entertainment is an Asian tradition dating back to at least the 9th century. There aren't any professional writings on the topic because those performers couldn't write. There are illustrations, journal accounts and letters about those performers. Some of them had troupes, students or disciples, you name it.

In a kind of medieval, guild sense, these were master performers. They were sought ought as teachers. They could get work, get a crowd and get payed. Now if by master, you mean master of all skills, no, they weren't masters. Were they masters of their trade in a narrower sense?

Today the Korean government recognizes some "Gut" or "Kut", traditional shamanist theater, as a "National Treasure". Some practicing "Mu" or shaman could arguably be considered masters.

Interesting idea, it could be done, maybe. It would probably be a full time job. Anyone good enough to make it work should be too busy performing. If they weren't, would they be the right person for the job? Then there would be the issue of abuse, fake masters, scams, self delusion, all the good stuff we see in the martial arts.
Message: Posted by: Simon Mandal (Mar 7, 2011 08:27PM)

I don't think this will ever happen.

Many of the greats don't even agree on what makes good magic.

People have been successful building magic shows based on wildly different philosophies.

Many world class performers are deficient in SOME area of magic.
They are still world's more entertaining, and emotion provoking than many more well rounded magicians are.

There is no certification process for being a great artist or entertainer.

I don't know how many magicians would jump through hoops to become certified.
Lay people do not value educational credentials in a performer.
It's a very results based industry.

Don't get me wrong.
I am all for the elevation of our art.
Message: Posted by: daffydoug (Jul 16, 2011 09:28PM)
Would we even consider the likes of Copperfield a master magician?

David obviously has grand illusions mastered! And he can FLY like Superman!!! And he has shown that he can do close up, but is he a master of close up? Look at the thousands of effects that are available for close up, walk around table hopping, etc.

How many has David mastered?

But I'm sure that the lay public, if someone would say David was a Master magician, would have no trouble accepting it.

So it's all in the perception of the public, I would say.

look at some of the greats of our time.

Michael Ammar comes to mind. Man, guys like him and Michael Close can do just about anything as far as close up, restaurant magic and that general venue.

But what about the Copperfield type illusions?

So in that sense they are not masters, but in my eyes, they are truly masters.

Look at some other greats. Let me pick a name out of thin air. Bill Malone. Now there's a guy who can fry any audience! And keep them laughing, too.

But Bill's not a master, is he, because he has never performed stage illusions,

Juan Tamirez. A true master if ever there was one...Who could doubt his mastery? But sadly, he is NOT because a master magician would be able to do all phases of the art. He doesn't do doves, and he doesn't do stage illusions...

Really, the conclusion is that the title is entirely subjective.

The conclusion is that you can pick a phase of the art that you love, and work hard and long to master it, and then, no matter what anybody says, you ARE a master magician.

But let's look at a well rounded magician. Ahhhhhh! That's the term. "Well rounded." Lance Burton! Obvious master with doves and manipulation...I've seen him do harrowing escapes, he does stage illusions very well, and to my knowledge he has good chops for close up. Maybe he is the closest we can come?
Message: Posted by: Decomposed (Apr 16, 2012 07:43PM)
Good post Doug.
Message: Posted by: Anatole (Aug 31, 2012 09:18PM)
In the days of guilds, one became a master by going through the stages of being an apprentice to a master, then a journeyman, and then (after gaining sufficient experience while on his journeys) became a master himself, and possibly a grandmaster.

A critical part of becoming a master is the production of a "masterpiece," which is where we get our word for "a person's greatest piece of work."

In the world of magic in the present day, a few of us may have enjoyed an apprentice/master relationship with a mentor--but I would think that is rare. In the Middle Ages, the only way an artist could learn was to be an apprentice to someone who was a master. But in the Middle Ages, literacy was rare, so learning pretty much had to be on a personal basis. When (thanks to Gutenberg and others) books became easy to print and acquire, learning gradually moved beyond the person-to-person basis. With today's video instruction resources, knowledge can be obtained much more easily and impersonally. But the knowledge then needs to be crystalized by actual performance before live audiences.

An example of the master/apprentice relationship in the modern world might be Harry Collins as the master who took on Lance Burton as an apprentice, although in today's parlance the word "master" has given way in most cases to "mentor."

There are few ways today to certify that a person is a "master." I think credentials can be established to a certain degree through performing and endorsements from clients and fellow artists--in our case, through the endorsements of the audiences we perform for and other magicians.

----- Amado "Sonny" Narvaez
Message: Posted by: Magician Shaun (Sep 25, 2012 07:59AM)
If you Google "Master Magician" Lance Burton is the top result. Penn and Teller also called him "Master Magician." I would also venture to say Tommy Wonder was a Master Magician. Micheal Ammar too!

In my opinion a Master Magician could be much like a Master Craftsman. There are many crafts and if you master yours you can be a master craftsman. There are many fields of magic too. Is it better to be the master of a specific field or a journeyman of many?
Message: Posted by: Glenn Morphew (Oct 28, 2012 04:57AM)
How you become a "Master Magician"


Hope you enjoy it.

Message: Posted by: 55Hudson (Oct 28, 2012 08:12AM)
Thanks Glenn - enjoyed that very much!

Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Oct 28, 2012 09:55AM)
VEEEERY nicely done, Glenn- thanks!

Message: Posted by: kellaroneil (Oct 30, 2012 02:45PM)
It is all about perception, no matter how much one knows or how 'well' he/she performs, it is how the performer is perceived by the spectators. We can't master all, but should be master of few. We can't be everything to everyone.
Message: Posted by: J-Mac (Jan 8, 2013 10:41PM)
Glenn, I just saw your Master Magician video, and that was indeed the work of a Master Magician! Congratulations sir!

Message: Posted by: harbour (Feb 20, 2013 03:17PM)
Small difference, Glenn.
Message: Posted by: silvercup (Feb 20, 2013 03:50PM)
Even then, who decides one is a Master Magician?

The guy with the official Master Magician Certificates, suitibale for framing of course.
Message: Posted by: Andy Tauber (Feb 21, 2013 09:24AM)
On 2013-02-20 16:50, silvercup wrote:
Even then, who decides one is a Master Magician?

The guy with the official Master Magician Certificates, suitibale for framing of course.

If you were truely a master couldn't you just produce the certificate out of thin air????
Message: Posted by: Jim Sparx (Apr 7, 2013 10:45AM)
I may not be a MASTER, but I AM


Wanna make something out of it?
Message: Posted by: The Amazing Pog (Apr 8, 2013 01:42AM)
I agree that magic is too broad to be able to compose a step-by-step progression chart for the whole of it, but maybe it would be possible to construct a progression from layperson to competent magician with a focus upon the key fundamentals, and perhaps an elective or two for the various areas.

Fundamentals might include such things as theory, performance, audience management, history, business skills etc which are applicable to every area, and then perhaps the most fundamental slieghts and ideas of the key areas: cards, mind magic and mentalism, cups, coins, rope, illusion, etc
Message: Posted by: Macphail (Jun 13, 2013 05:46PM)
In order to be a master magician IMHO, you have to have to be able to perform every effect named by Fitzkee. I think this is quite fair.

Or, alternatively, you have to know that whatever genius effect you have performed is somehow named by Fitzkee. This lowers the bar considerably.

If you also know that Dariel's last name was actually Fitzroy, perhaps you could could claim Master, but that's really lowering the bar. :)

Message: Posted by: Jonathan Pendragon (Jul 20, 2013 04:36AM)
Anatole phrased it well. It's an archaic term whose European origins come from the level of expertise in craft. It's Asian origins have more to do with magic because of such wonderful characters like Zhang Guo Lao; magician, expert at making booze and master of martial arts who could kick while doing a back flip. I did that move in a film (over David Carradine's head) because of bet with martial arts legend Mike Vendrell. The master - student relationship still prevails in the arts, but there is no rigid scale that can judge the accuracy of it's implementation.
Message: Posted by: Raymond Singson (Oct 2, 2013 07:08AM)
Although I agree that magic is entirely too broad to receive a formal "Master-level" title, I think it would be interesting to at least acknowledge who is "classically trained" in the craft. Magic's organizations like the IBM, SAM, etc could publish an extensive curriculum covering various aspects of magic ranging from close-up sleight of hand, stage manipulation, to more abstract lessons like performance theory. Actually pursuing the curriculum would be optional for new, general members, but those who actively take the lessons and excel in them could/should be formally acknowledged. I don't think this would form an unintended hierarchy the way "Master Magician" humorously implies-- I think it would just instill more respect and awareness among magicians for what they love.

I believe that actors, singers, dancers, etc, all come from just as expansive forms of entertainment, but only a few of them are classically trained in their craft. The general public typically doesn't know who is classically trained, but the individual entertainer has a memorable experience and respect for his/her craft.

It'd be nice. Don't know how practical it would be, but I think it'd be a nice way to educate those among our own ranks.

Message: Posted by: Peter McMillan (Jan 19, 2014 09:13PM)
On 2012-10-28 05:57, Glenn Morphew wrote:
How you become a "Master Magician"


Hope you enjoy it.


That was great! Thank you for the post.

I will never obtain the title of Master Magician, but when folks tell me how much they enjoyed what I did to entertained them, that is enough.

To paraphrase Glenn, "We all put our pants on one leg at a time". Unless you sit down of course. May be Losander could work on that for us to buy.
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Jan 20, 2014 03:15PM)
I put my pants on over my head.

It is quite demanding but it is only through these challenges that we may live up to our full potential and rise to Super Human status.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: ColtonRaelund (Mar 6, 2016 05:11PM)
~TARBELL~ This is the very closest to the course you speak of that will ever exist. As Jay Marshall said, any person who masters at least 10% of Tarbell's material, would possibly be the greatest magician alive.