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Topic: How to learn magic trick the best way?
Message: Posted by: Failed Magician (Oct 25, 2009 06:03AM)
Hi, even I was already interested in magic years ago, only about recently I got myself a chance to buy tricks and DVD about magic tricks. I do this merely as a beloved hobby that in my honest opinion is the most suitable for me. Because it challenges me to plan routines, improvised when a gimmick card doesn't work well with a trick then I had to find other method so it is still useful rather than being kept in my plastic box :D

Anyway, I've read some of the threads here, and I can see many of us still rely on books. The thing is, here I can't find books about magic tricks. Most of the shops sell the practice in form of video format (DVD), or e-book. As I also do not earn much as an elementary teacher here, I usually roaming around in Youtube, looking for some tips on sleight of hand (I have a great and deep interest in tricks using cards only, and perhaps coins for later). So all my tricks are card tricks.

Is it enough if I only learn from DVD? The other skill I usually learn is when I bought a trick, the instruction then will show the skill required. Apart from that, I do not any other source of reference to improve my skill.

I've also read someone's posting (Geoff, if I'm not mistaken), he list the order of skill that beginners should have. Well, so far I could do little skills with cards. Deal and shuffling are standard even when controlling card will make my shuffle about tacky.

I'm now working on pinky break and double lift. I got no book on how to do this properly so I usually do some experiments at home and try to find the one that is the most comfortable for me. I really would like to learn more about sleight of hand, not the complicated one, just standard but good enough to let me do more tricks with cards.

Now I only rely on gimmick and perhaps gaff cards. But I'd love to do more than that. I would love to do tricks with just a regular deck of card. So any idea how to move on? Thanks guys, I really enjoy my time reading soooo many good stuffs here. Now I start to understand that brotherhood of magicians is very deep. I would not call myself a magician, as I am not and I feel that I do not have the decent qualifications. But it would be an honor if one day I could feel that I'm a part of this brotherhood :)

As Jeremy Hanrahan once told me, "magicians helping magicians", it has a very deep sentiment value than just a saying. Anyway, any tips would be greatly appreciated.
Message: Posted by: Jaz (Oct 25, 2009 08:02AM)
[quote]
On 2009-10-25 07:03, Failed Magician wrote:
Anyway, I've read some of the threads here, and I can see many of us still rely on books. The thing is, here I can't find books about magic tricks. Most of the shops sell the practice in form of video format (DVD), or e-book. As I also do not earn much as an elementary teacher here, I usually roaming around in Youtube, looking for some tips on sleight of hand (I have a great and deep interest in tricks using cards only, and perhaps coins for later). So all my tricks are card tricks.
[/quote]

You can order magic books on line.

Good places to start for cards are:
"Close up Card Magic" - Harry Lorayne.
"Royal Road to Card Magic" - Hugard & Braue.
"Scarne on Card Tricks" - John Scarne.

For coins:
"Modern Coin Magic" or "New Modern Coin Magic" - J.B. Bobo.

Others that explore several props:
"The Magic Book" - Harry Lorayne.
"Amateur Magician's Handbook" - Henry Hay.
"Mark Wilson's Complete Magic Course".

[quote]
Is it enough if I only learn from DVD? The other skill I usually learn is when I bought a trick, the instruction then will show the skill required. Apart from that, I do not any other source of reference to improve my skill.
[/quote]
Skill comes with practice. Lot's of it.
Message: Posted by: JamesTong (Oct 25, 2009 08:19AM)
I agree with the books Jaz recommended you. And besides lots of practices you also need deep thinking ... about the execution of the techniques, theorectical principles, presentation, etc. Don't rush through everything.

The Café itself is a huge library of information. Read through the various posts and discussions and you would be pleasantly surprised on your improvements.
Message: Posted by: HerbLarry (Oct 25, 2009 08:29AM)
Hi Failed,

Knowing what is supposed to happen like a card break and then figuring how best for YOU to get there on your own can be a good thing. There is in Magic as well as life more than one way to skin the proverbial cat. I would never skin a real cat.
To the books I have no magic shop near me and found all I could want online.
The list provided by Jaz with one Z above is fine & dandy, yes both. I would also suggest
http://www.thelearnedpig.com.pa/home.html where you will find Expert at the Card Table, Card Manipulations 1-5, More Card Manipulations 1-4, Encyclopedia of Card Tricks, and many many more!!!
A multitude of Ebooks are available for purchase at reasonable prices from Lybrary.com and yes I spelled it write.
Message: Posted by: DaleTrueman (Oct 25, 2009 08:47AM)
Amazon and ebay have both provided me with enough reading to keep me going for a while.

From Amazon I got

Henry Hay's Amateur Magician's Handbook and
The Royal Road to Card Magic

and from ebay

Joshua Jay's Complete Magic Course
and a few others

The first three I had never heard of until I came to the magic Café, I bought them on recommendations in other threads. Even with having them sent to me here in Australia the price was great.
Message: Posted by: RobertlewisIR (Oct 25, 2009 12:42PM)
[quote]
Anyway, I've read some of the threads here, and I can see many of us still rely on books. The thing is, here I can't find books about magic tricks. Most of the shops sell the practice in form of video format (DVD), or e-book. As I also do not earn much as an elementary teacher here, I usually roaming around in Youtube, looking for some tips on sleight of hand (I have a great and deep interest in tricks using cards only, and perhaps coins for later). So all my tricks are card tricks.[/quote]

I would advise against YouTube for learning magic. Yes, it's free, but you get what you paid for: lots of kids who've never performed for laypeople in their lives trying to "teach" magic. If you really want to learn, it's worth the small investment in some quality learning material.

[quote]Is it enough if I only learn from DVD? The other skill I usually learn is when I bought a trick, the instruction then will show the skill required. Apart from that, I do not any other source of reference to improve my skill.[/quote]

I would say no. I have nothing against DVDs, and some good DVDs are better than some bad books. But if you're serious about learning the craft, you've got to do some reading. That way, you're actually learning how to PERFORM and make it your own, rather than just emulating the guy or gal on the video.

There are plenty of magic shops online where you can get both books and DVDs, and I recommend a healthy balance of the two (but if you can only afford one, get the books first).

[quote]I've also read someone's posting (Geoff, if I'm not mistaken), he list the order of skill that beginners should have. Well, so far I could do little skills with cards. Deal and shuffling are standard even when controlling card will make my shuffle about tacky.

I'm now working on pinky break and double lift. I got no book on how to do this properly so I usually do some experiments at home and try to find the one that is the most comfortable for me. I really would like to learn more about sleight of hand, not the complicated one, just standard but good enough to let me do more tricks with cards.

Now I only rely on gimmick and perhaps gaff cards. But I'd love to do more than that. I would love to do tricks with just a regular deck of card. So any idea how to move on? [/quote]

Royal Road to Card Magic is a decent place to start. It'll take you a while to work through it, for sure, but it's one of the best ways to learn the craft properly.

Also, if you ever want to do anything other than cards, and I suggest that eventually you should, you can't go wrong with the Tarbell course. Those books are a gold mine, and I find myself looking back at them all the time. The complete course will cost some serious coin, but it's well worth the investment, and if money is tight you can always get them one at a time.

EDIT: Just remembered to add, Mark Wilson's Complete Course in Magic is a worthwhile investment, too. Last I looked, I think they were selling for around $20, and will give you a really good starter course in a variety of techniques.
Message: Posted by: munkywrench (Oct 25, 2009 12:51PM)
I know that some guys will video teach you. Either with dvd's or direct video posts. You let them know what you need and they video it for you. Kind of like hanging at the shop but, not. Just look for guys that offer that or just flat out ask. Both parties benifit because the teacher gets practise teaching and the student moves on in learning a little better. With technology the way it is information is way more available than ever. Book learning is tough but part of paying your dues. A little help is always appreciated when you are stuck.
Message: Posted by: themagiciansapprentice (Oct 27, 2009 05:41AM)
Learning from youTube just encourages bad habits and poor showmanship. Buy a book or dvd then learn a routine. Yes, just one. Then practice it until you're happy to show some-one.

There are also teaching guides to some books like Bobo's 'Modern Coin Magic' that encourage you to do a little bit at time. These allow you to make the routine your's rather than just mimicing some-one else. I also found it better to successful at a few things and then gradually increase these instead of trying to learn everything in one go.
Message: Posted by: Failed Magician (Oct 27, 2009 09:53AM)
Thanks guys for all great support and info. Yeah I tried not to mimic the guy. I've read some tips on doing double lift. I also had myself practicing Torn by Garcia. I understand the art of sleight cannot be done or gained in just weeks time. It would require a long effort and dedication. But I glad that I've decided to start practicing it from now.
Message: Posted by: JamesTong (Oct 27, 2009 09:56AM)
Enjoy the journey and have fun.
Message: Posted by: Ruldar (Oct 27, 2009 06:31PM)
I find a mix of dvd's and books (like the ones mentioned) seem to work best for me. I can't stick with just one or the other (ADD I think).
Message: Posted by: ico (Oct 27, 2009 07:28PM)
DVDs are the next best thing to have a good magician actually teach you. If the presenter also happens to be a good teacher, even better.

Don't we all use a mix of media when we learn something these days? - books, videos, internet forums, [b]practice[/b]? :)
Message: Posted by: troppobob (Oct 27, 2009 10:12PM)
G'day Guru

I reckon the general theme of these responses captures the essence of the current methods used for learning magic performance. I use them all and tend to value the stuff from books because I recognize that it helps me not to simply copy what I have seen on DVD and You Tube.

For some years I have been developing my busking performance which includes the "Cups and Balls". I first read a number of books on the subject including the one by Gazzo. The learning by reading (as you would know being a teacher) enables the imagination to create it's own picture of what you come up with. This imagination fueled approach is then enhanced by the video media.

I must admit that you tube has a hidden (perhaps not that hidden) bonus. I have at times gone on there to see an inexperienced younger person present a trick that is new to the market with the hope of recognizing the method.

All the best with your learning.

Bob Latta (aka Troppo Bob)
Message: Posted by: pradell (Oct 27, 2009 10:26PM)
One of the best ways to go about learning a skill is to acquire a positive attitude and mindset that allows one to believe that striving for greatness is ultimately possible. As a prestigitator and cancer survivor (19 years) I know the power of positive thinking. Now, dear self-named Failed Magician, is there anything you think you can do to change the way you perceive your chances of success in this undertaking?

:magicrabbit:
Message: Posted by: Failed Magician (Oct 28, 2009 10:00AM)
My goodness, I truly cannot believe with all the positive response and suggestions here! Thank you guys! The thing I have learned today was that I have to actually put myself as the audience. Blend with them and trying to see the performance from their angle without worrying the trick will fail or wont go well. From there, I start to understand what can make them go "wow" or "pfftt". This includes some insight for me when plotting a script or patters that can make my next performance is smoother everytime.

Does this also happen to any of you?
Message: Posted by: JamesTong (Oct 28, 2009 10:12AM)
There's another book I would like to recommend you - "Strong Magic" by Darwin Ortiz - it is a book about how to develop strong magic performances (whether close-up or stage acts).
Message: Posted by: jusakarman (Oct 28, 2009 02:50PM)
Hi buddy....

try search any books like art of astonishment by paul Harris or card college by giobi....and Maximum entertainment by ken webber....
remember not only focus on your sleight of hand but your performance too....

anyway try to read book more usefull than watching video's........
there are too many magician in our country be like that..just watch video video video......and I can tell you that , pathetic....

so do you want to be come a common magician in indonesia..or try to be different...?
Message: Posted by: Josh Riel (Oct 28, 2009 07:58PM)
There's some difference in beliefs about making your magic "original". Personally, my greatest hurdle was me. I took lots of great magic and contorted them so that they were "mine".

As time progressed, after developing many bad habits I came to understand the problem.

Something that would definitely be worth reading (And I wish I had this way back then) is [url=http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=43500&forum=117&27]Whit Haydn's "Against Originality in Magic"[/url]

The link is to another topic in the Café' from 2003.

Lots of words, but they are good. I would suggest every beginning magician to read this, it is worth so much more than simply telling you to be different, or to stand out.
Message: Posted by: JamesTong (Oct 28, 2009 08:32PM)
Thanks, Josh, for pointing to that topic. Would be a great read for many here.
Message: Posted by: DaleTrueman (Oct 28, 2009 08:53PM)
Yes thanks for that. It's a very good insight for folks like myself.
Message: Posted by: Mr. Mystoffelees (Oct 30, 2009 09:06AM)
I have found "The Ostrich Factor" to be a great help in learning how to break an effect down and learn it thoroughly and easily:

http://www.geraldedmundson.com
http://www.sidestreetcircus.com
THE OSTRICH FACTOR: A Practice Guide for Magicians
Message: Posted by: Failed Magician (Oct 30, 2009 10:15AM)
Well, answering jusa's question, at the moment I don't have a plan to be a magician. Because I know the truth foundation of being a magician is sleight of hand. And sleight of hand is a lifetime skill and dedication. It's like painting. No instant process that could allow someone to achieve it within months time.

As I also don't have any kind of sleight, I do magic tricks as hobby. I realize it somehow challenges me to be creative, to improvise things and planning scripts or patters. I enjoy designing a short performance for my co-workers. I even already got some short routines, I just need a scotch and soda :D

Anyway, I will read whatever I need to read. Hopefully I would get much insight to overcome my tacky movement.
Message: Posted by: funsway (Oct 30, 2009 04:33PM)
There are many effects that do not require special sleights, and are beyond the
self-working kind. As I have lost most mobility of my hands due to arthritus and palsy I have had to find alternative mothods of doing what I used to accomplish with sleights. The result has sometimes been a better effect that the one I did previoulsy.

So, find effects you both like and can do -- then just do it. You may find the audience cares more for 'your' magic that you can imagine.
Message: Posted by: DaleTrueman (Oct 30, 2009 05:29PM)
[quote]
On 2009-10-28 20:58, Josh Riel wrote:
There's some difference in beliefs about making your magic "original". Personally, my greatest hurdle was me. I took lots of great magic and contorted them so that they were "mine".

As time progressed, after developing many bad habits I came to understand the problem.

Something that would definitely be worth reading (And I wish I had this way back then) is [url=http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=43500&forum=117&27]Whit Haydn's "Against Originality in Magic"[/url]

The link is to another topic in the Café' from 2003.

Lots of words, but they are good. I would suggest every beginning magician to read this, it is worth so much more than simply telling you to be different, or to stand out.
[/quote]

After reading this I watched Pop Haydn perform the linking rings on video. Even though it's such a classic and I know exactly how he does it, it was such a joy to watch.... A fantastic performance that needed nothing new.
Message: Posted by: Failed Magician (Oct 30, 2009 08:27PM)
I would love to learn sleight, but sometimes we now rely on gimmick too. So I thought I would just focus on double life and pinky break. I would love to learn false cut, EC, etc.
Message: Posted by: Ruldar (Oct 30, 2009 09:03PM)
I am trying to focus on the basics, but allow myself one gimmick trick per set. (I only entertain my family, but they seem to enjoy it). I figure with the basic sleights down I can add in more gaffs later, but if I rely on them now I will never be any good.
Just my approach.
Message: Posted by: Failed Magician (Oct 30, 2009 10:06PM)
Same as me here. Basic sleight with simple gaff still do a kicker result.
Message: Posted by: DaleTrueman (Oct 30, 2009 11:04PM)
Yeah I like the gaffs but am slowly making my way through the Royal Road and praticing the sleights.... still very early stages but I have already learnt a few moves that will be killer when put into action and will leave people wondering how you could of "fully shuffled the cards" yet still pluck the desired cards out from wherever you want them to be. None of them are as difficult as I would of thought either (so far), though I'm yet to pull them off in front of people lol........