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Jonathanmc
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Las Vegas, NV
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Try a couple of the following ideas.

Before the performance try some relaxation exercises.
Learn to slow your breathing; this will help with nerves and shaking.

Don’t try to plow through.
If you find your self shaking and can’t perform allow your self the time to stop even if you are right in front of an audience. If you try to plow through it will only get worse. Tell a joke; admit to the audience that you are very nervous. Turn this into a joke by invoking the spirits of Houdini, Blackstone etc. Remember your audience wants to be entertained so they are on your side.

I used to be a singer and was singing at a church one Sunday. At the time in the service for the psalm I went to the music stand, the organist started and I began to sing. When I got through the first page I realized I didn’t have the other pages on the stand. At the time I just stood there like a deer in headlights. Now I know I would stop get the music and then go on. The priest referred to this as my nuclear meltdown for years after.

If you do mess up make that part of the performance. Don’t get frustrated and say something that will alert your audience to the fact that what is happening isn’t supposed to happen. The other day I was doing a party and at the final unlinking of my ring routine they all got mixed up. I have done this routine dozens of times correctly but this time it just went really wrong. I told the audience it was the final figure the “nest of noodles” figure. Did some of them know I got it wrong? Probably. But the point is I tried to use my mistake to still entertain them.

Enjoy your performance. Yes we do this for an audience, but we really do it for ourselves. Try to enjoy performing for your sake.
jcards01
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Waterloo, IL
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Practice until you can do it without thinking....that said, nothing will stop you from the nerves when you first perform a show for people you don't know. that's just the way it is. seasoned professionals become better at it, but still some have the quiet nerves when performing for a new audience. It just takes time!
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Aubrey_T
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Paso Robles
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Frank Sinatra said that every night he feared not being able to hit the notes of the songs even though he sang them all the time. He said it was just one of those things you go through. You get into it and after a little bit you realize it's going to be okay.

The point is this know your stuff and know it well. After a while you'll see that your routines will be more comfortable cause you are comfortable with the efects. The fear tends to come from the "what-if's" in your mind. The more often you get through the effects the more you will be put at ease. New routines might bring you this similar feeling but you'll find that it will become much easier. We all want perfection but fear keeps us from it. Go through the routines so that you can do them without thinking or more importantly so that you can get through the mechanics of it without thinking and concentrate on actuallt presenting it. This will make your magic more enjoyable for you and for your audience.

Hope this has helped...it helped me out when I was getting started!
DanielSteep
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You could do what I do ... vidoetape your self and then watch it to see ur mistakes or talk to some other magicians on MSN or AIM and do ur tricks on cam I do that all the time....
madmaxa
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Quote:
On 2006-01-19 11:45, TKE wrote:
Another tip jeff McBride mentions in one of his series....

start out with material you have down cold..in your case even self working or super easy stuff (ie a "pen thru effect")

after you build up your confidence move to something you're working on..

THEN end with easy/selfworking stuff..

so basically you're starting and ending easy..if you messup or get nervous in the middle you having something less nerve wrecking to look forward to afterwards.


I cannot agree completely. Pen through anything is something you can ruin very easily if you are nervous or performing badly. In my opinion, you need build a confidence in your self, and the best to do it is to have your audience amazed. What I mean is that you should do some of the simplest, but most effective routines, like handkerchief vanish with thumb tip. Sometimes just this one is enough to leave people sleepless. Once you feel “you have them”, move on self working stuff, they cannot catch you with (meaning there is nothing to hide, like in “pen through anything”, something that you can give to your spectator in hands).
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TKE
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I suppose technically you can ruin ANY effect..even when using a TT..

but I mean a pen through effect is almost as simple as you can get..

along with a hank vanish as you said
davidpaul$
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Eugene Burger's 5 words of advice. " Give yourself permission to fail "
If you can't help worrying, remember worrying can't help you!
pkg
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You will never succeed unless you fail! cliche but true! to err is human, and no one EVER did not fail...

practice practice and practice! in front of a mirror (i use a make-up thingie mirror, has 3 mirrors, one facing you, and 2 on your sides...covers all angles...well except your back...)

use a Video Cam, tape it, watch it and watch it again...practice till you can do your routines blindfolded!
Double posters should be shot!

No really!!
johnwolfe
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gettysburg, PA
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There is a well know magician who will practice a trick or routine 200 times before he performs it in public. That may seem excessive. I have been doing magic for 35 years and I'm currently trying that rule. I'm working on a vanishing strip of paper using a TT and I mark down each time I run through the trick in front of a mirror, patter and all. I'm up to 55 rehearsals with this one trick and it can get tedious. However, I'v noticed that I'm picking up on very subtle things that can happen while I'm performing that build my confidence.

Examples: Oops, the paper tore when I pulled it out. How will I cover that if it happens during a performance?
Or, Gee...that patter seems to not fit during this one phase, how can I improve it?
Or, That is a dangerous angle, how can I cover that so I won't be distracted during the performance?

I have also gotten into the habit of scripting my patter. This may seem tedious but it forces you to think through your presentation and find words that fit your own style.

One of the benefits of so much practice is that when you do perform the trick in public, you will be at the point where you will not have to think about what you are physically doing in terms of moves and slieghts and can actually focus on the audience and the presentation. Athletes refer to this as muscle memory. As one magic writer observed, we brush our teeth every day. We don't think about the moves we use to accomplish the act of brushing, we just do it out of muscle memory. The same should be the case with our magic presentations.

Another good pointer I learned is, don't watch your hands while you perform unless you want to focus the audience attention on them. Whatever you watch, the audience will watch. Learn to look the audience in the eye while you address them.

Good luck with your work.
gibson99
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I have just gotten back into magic recently and find that my hands tremble and I also seem to rush when performing.
Foucault
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Something that Brad Burt wrote in one of his series of e-mail mini-course lessons hit home to me (and I paraphrase):

Thinking about what happens when you mess up, think about it in the grand scheme of things: No-one's going to die. No wars are going to start. You're not even going to be having a great impact on the magic community. You simply screwed up. Oh well. Let's learn from it and move on.
Josh the Superfluous
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The man of
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Gibson99, I had the same problem. Same advice as above "just do it".

How about the opening line "I'm still new at this. It only seems to work if I constantly shake my hands." ?
What do you want in a site? "Honesty, integrity and decency." -Mike Doogan
"I hate it, I hate my ironic lovechild. I didn't even have anything to do with it" Josh #2
deputy
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I agree with josh, just do a couple tricks you know inside out. go out in public like a restaraunt or a bar and do it for a couploe people first. good luck
magicman226
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San Antonio, Texas
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Quote:
On 2006-01-20 06:11, madmaxa wrote:
Quote:
On 2006-01-19 11:45, TKE wrote:
Another tip jeff McBride mentions in one of his series....

start out with material you have down cold..in your case even self working or super easy stuff (ie a "pen thru effect")

after you build up your confidence move to something you're working on..

THEN end with easy/selfworking stuff..

so basically you're starting and ending easy..if you messup or get nervous in the middle you having something less nerve wrecking to look forward to afterwards.


I cannot agree completely. Pen through anything is something you can ruin very easily if you are nervous or performing badly. In my opinion, you need build a confidence in your self, and the best to do it is to have your audience amazed. What I mean is that you should do some of the simplest, but most effective routines, like handkerchief vanish with thumb tip. Sometimes just this one is enough to leave people sleepless. Once you feel “you have them”, move on self working stuff, they cannot catch you with (meaning there is nothing to hide, like in “pen through anything”, something that you can give to your spectator in hands).


It can be messed up easily, but I pulled off "explaining" I can't reveal too much, but I told the kids that I was so strong that the pen "couldn't handle it" It's hard to explain what I was saying, but I would be revealing a secret.
Christopher Williams
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Portsmouth, UK
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Its all pratice. There are as said beofre, moves that you can do all the time by your self, but do it to someone else and it will go wrong. Its hard really, as infront of a mirror, you get a biased view on your move, but you will never perform the move exactly the same twixe, even if it is the VERY slightest difference. But when you perform to someone other than the mirror, its so much more different, they shouldnt see the move or something like that, and that pressure gets to you. Its just practice practice, practice. that's all there is to it, you will never be perfect at anything. I get the top shot everytime usually. But every once in a while I miss, and it looks silly. But that's not practice, that's just misjudgement, I did something different to what I would do to catch it.
Working in the magic shop pretty much 5 days a week, I perform lots and practice in there a lot, so I gain experience of what works and what doesn't.
The shakes are different. I used to shake like hell infront of people when I first started. Now I don't. There are however thoes times when those nerves come back, usually when I'm trying to perform to magicians, that those shakes come back, but not very often and they aren't really noticable, but if you make a big thing about them and concentrate on the shaking, it will make things worse. Its like a fear, you have to try and overcome it, and the only way to conquer fear is to meet your fear head on. In this case, it is performing. don't worry if you mess up at first or if something goes wrong, you need to get over your fear of performing, and those nerves will go

Hope this helps

PM me if you ever need help
www.magicman13.co.uk

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Jondalawyer
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I've been working on getting over being reluctant to perform by trying out new moves or routines on magician friends. They are honest and the risk of exposing a secret (one of my biggest concerns) is mostly eliminated.

I know a lot of people who don't like to perform for other magicians, especially more experienced and talented magicians. My experience has been that they are the most helpful and understanding.
Christopher Williams
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That's true Jondalawyer. The older more experienced magicians, well, most of them are happy to tell you what you are doing wrong and try and help you if they can. However, don't be put off when you do come across some magicians who wont offer any help, instead they either put you down, or try and complicate matters, and yes, there are some magicians like that out there, I have met some of them and that is why I am all to happy to help anyone
www.magicman13.co.uk

Copies of the limited edition 'MindPlay' still available
Genghis
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Though not the original poster, I'd like to thank everyone for their comments here - very useful to me also.
wattomagic
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I suppose without this fear, there would be no desirer to improve ones performance and magic would become boring. that's how I feel anyway.

Chris
magicman226
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San Antonio, Texas
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You are definitely going to be nervous at first. I was literally shaking during my first gig. However, over time, you will get used to how to perform and get less nervous over time. Just go out and perform, and if you mess up, so what, welcome to the club. Nothing is easy at first, and I know for a fact everyone got nervous in the beginning. I will personally hunt someone down no matter where in the world they are and personally congratulate them if they could truly say they were not nervous in the beginning.
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