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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » Really Nervous When Performing (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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magicbean
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Drizz,

One of the greatest magicians of all time, Dai Vernon also suffered from stage freight, nerves, anxiety or whatever we want to label this feeling. One thing is for sure, that Vernon's love of magic did not deter him in anyway from enjoying this wonderful art. He practiced until pefection and became famous among the magic community for his contributions. We as magicians admire vernon, yet the lay public probably never heard of him, in comparison to other magicians that perfomerd regularly.

Some of us may never be performers, some of us simply enjoy reading , collecting or experimenting with magical effects. Magic offers so much enjoyment that it really doesn't matter if we perform or not.

My point is simply that, in yuor heart you are a magician because you love magic not because you feel comfortable performing. I do hope that eventually you overcome this so you can enjoy magic even more!

Good luck!
Andy the cardician
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A little bit of nervousness is actually very good, as it keeps you focused and able to perform at your peak.
Cards never lie
robert bianchi
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I recently posted this to another person in the Café that was having the same problem. I hope that it helps.

"Being nervous is a natural defense mechanism that many performers, sports people, trial attorneys and many others have. It is a chemical reaction in your body, but it can be controlled once you first learn that it is a natural response that many if not most expierence.

You have to learn to put it into perspective. First, recognize that it simply is the way that it is, and that things are rarley as bad as you think they will be.

Also, realize that there are relaxation techniques that you can use, and readily find on the internet. Rather than dwelling on the fears and nervousness before a performance, visualize yourself doing the tricks well, and feel the satisfaction that you will have for a fine performance, and the joy you will give to others.

You will make mistakes, we are all human. But, the nervous, yet accomplished performer, will move on as if nothing bad happened and most will not even see the error.

Lastly, (and this list is not exhaustive at all) when I am nervous, it is helpful to me to realize that there are many other people and situations in the world that are truly sad, dangerous, and lifethreathning. Most of us are very lucky compared with the plight of others. Performing magic is not one of those things that are tragic, life altering, or deadly. It is important to enjoy the things in life that you choose to be a part of. Save the overwhelming feelings for those things in life that are truly sad, and for which you have no, or little, control over."

Best of luck. Bob
SeaDawg
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I know this may seem dead simple, but make sure the first trick is dead simple, stunnig and something you hit with 100% accuracy. The confidence of knowing the first one will get a positive sresonse will help get you into the show. From there, hopefully all your practice kicks in and you are rolling.

Good luck. ( And I think just about every performer gets those butterflies)
Crazy people take the psycho-path thru the forest...
The Amazing Noobini
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I don't personally believe in all the supposed cures for nerves that can be found in these forums, a' la "think that you are the greatest magician in the world" and other attempts at self-deception. Nerves is not solely a rational thing that can be cured by telling yourself that there really isn't anything to be nervous about. Of course there isn't. You already knew that. But you are nervous anyway. That is the problem.

Some people are more nervous than others. We are simply wired differently. Some of us are mammoth hunters with spears and race car drivers. Some of us are designed to be afraid of mammoths and speed and stay at home in the cave instead. If not the human race would have died out long ago. Unfortunately magicians and other creative and artistic people can be found among those who sit at home in the cave and practice while the cool and popular cavemen are out being wild and taking risks.

Many of the most legendary actors and musicians throughout history have suffered badly from nervousness. Most performers do to some extent, regardless of if they are magicians or country singers.

The cure: There is none. By all means... Try fooling yourself with a nice pep talk and some breathing excersizes. If you are gullible you may fall for it and relax a little. Probably you will just believe that you are more relaxed and feel better, but your hands will still shake. It is normal. Live with it. For some people it becomes easier with experience. For nearly all it becomes easier a bit into the act. Maybe your juggling of 58 slippery balls-routine should be at the end of the act and not at the beginning. So be it.
"Talk about melodrama... and being born in the wrong part of the world." (Raf Robert)
"You, my friend, have a lot to learn." (S. Youell)
"Nonsensical Raving of a lunatic mind..." (Larry)
BrianMillerMagic
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I agree with what the Amazing Noobini just posted. Nervousness affects people differently, and for different reasons. I do not believe in most of the "cures" that performers like to give to younger, inexperienced performers. For myself all it took was performing through my nervousness for years until eventually the nerves do not last long. That isn't to say that I don't get nervous anymore - I get extremely nervous just before beginning a gig, be it table-hopping or my stand-up show. What you'll realize over time is that the nervousness just hangs around until you get about half-way through the first trick/effect/routine. By the time I am finished with the first table of the evening I am warmed up, feeling good, and ready to go. In fact when I do my stand-up show the nerves now usually disappear by the time I am done introducing myself and exchanging some pleasantries with the audience.

So basically just stick with it, perform with shaky hands and a sweaty forehead, but overtime these things ought to at least minimalize and you will be left with an even stronger performance because your talent will be the same (or better), and yet there will be fewer obstacles to overcome. The most important thing is don't let it discourage you from performing!
DJC
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I have a large background in coaching professional ahtletes. I would like to share some thoughts on this subject. Nervousness is a result from a lack of confidence. Now what is confidence and how do you create it? Confidence comes from getting predictable consistant results from an action carried out. Confidence allows a person to perform at their highest level. This is becaues the movements and decisions are made with hard certainty. If confidence is lacking movements become undecisive and inconsistant. So say you are home practicing: you get routine down in front of the mirror. This builds confidence in this environment because it is very controlled and predictable. If then said performer goes out in front of people he is now in a somewhat uncontrolled situation. Now he doesn't know what the audience is thinking or how they will react if he messes up or whatever. Now nervousness and adrenaline kick in and here we are in performance hell. OK. so heres what you have to do if you really want to deal with this. You have to start by performing in front of a few people with simple things that get good reactions. The more times you do this and get a good response the more confident you will be and the more you will want to do the routine. So what Im saying is build on successes. don't put yourself in a tough situation at first. You need to get some easy small performances that will insure good responses before you move on. A wise man once said " I don't try to find a 10 foot hurdle and jump over it. I find 10
1 foot hurdles and step over them. Hope this helps
DC
bizjak
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I don't think it can ever be stressed (haha no pun intended) that confidence comes with familiarity. Practice until the manipulation becomes second nature. Then you will no longer become concerned with the effect but just with the performance...and overcoming that fright that my friend comes with doing it. You will always be nervous...use it to your advantage.
Darkfrog
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Quote:
On 2006-12-06 18:04, bizjak wrote:
I don't think it can ever be stressed (haha no pun intended) that confidence comes with familiarity. Practice until the manipulation becomes second nature. Then you will no longer become concerned with the effect but just with the performance...and overcoming that fright that my friend comes with doing it. You will always be nervous...use it to your advantage.

I would like to point out though that not everyone has problems with shaky hands with manipulation. I myself, find that I have trouble with my patter, my voice cracks, I forget lines,etc. I also am very self-conscious that my voice is shaky or I'm pausing too long in some areas and flying through parts of my patter that should be strong and slow, with dramatic pauses.
I guess what I'm saying is that it isn't always the 'moves' that get you, it is the whole stage fright package that needs to be addressed.
I will practice my patter until I
bizjak
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Very true Dark...I apologize if I wasnt completely clear. If you become very practiced in your manipulation then the only thing you will need to manage will be the "stage fear" and the overcoming of that comes through practice in the forms of in front of a camera etc. but truly the only way to overcome it is by getting out in front of an audience and doing your program. I think as performers this will always be the greatest obstacle and one will truly never conquer it ...just be able to utilize it more to our advantage. I hope that makes a little sense and good luck in your future endeavors.
Robert Apodaca
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Thanks for everyones great advice.

I just came back from my first show ever! It was for a local nursing home. Although I was pretty nervous doing a show for the audience. I remember not to long ago I would be even more nervous for one person.

I kept my patter up and my voice didn't squek. My hands however were effected. I found it MUCH more difficult to do an Ascanio spread with people watching. I even flashed on my Invisable Palm but I don't think anyone caught on. I almost died when spreading the Invisable deack but that went smooth.

I want to get as much performing time as I can.
ToasterofDoom
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Congrats! A professional performance! It's more than what I did, anyways.
BrianMillerMagic
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"I even flashed on my Invisible Palm but I don't think anyone noticed."

Further proof that sometimes we really can get away with murder, and it seems as though years of work on the perfect "invisible" move may not matter anyway. That isn't to say that it shouldn't be invisible though, for that off chance that someone is burning your hands! Now that is a nerveracking feeling; just last week I performed 2 hours of table-hopping for some company's annual dinner and got to the highest, richest executive in the house, who decided he would burn my hands and never look away or even blink. Needless to say that when the joker and his signed card switched places instantly, visually, and under his hand...that $20 tip he handed me I would say was well-deserved Smile .

"I want to get as much performing time as I can."

That's the spirit! The easiest and most surefire way to become more comfortable is by doing. Congrats on a solid first event, and best of luck in the future!
rmoraleta
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Congratulations!

Being nervous also keeps you up on your toes, so it's not an entirely negative situation.
bizjak
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Congratulations on the performance...soundslike things went well for you. Good luck in the future.
Bill Thompson
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I used to get the flutters when I first started actually performing for others. As a beginner I was using the standard beginner effects with simple methods. A lot of time I was scared the methods would be too obvious or the effect would be too over exposed (as in a lot of commercially available kids magic kits, etc.) I found this to be not as true as I first thought... The tricks wowed, they were easy to do and hard to really screw up, and built my confidence.

There is a good reason that these effects should be learned and used when beginning magic. They are part of the learning process in my opinion and learning them and doing them for others is a step that shouldn't be skipped.

As far as the exposure of methods with kiddie magic kits, that doesn't matter either because I have fooled people with apparatus that they knew about from their own magic set. One example of this is the Prayer Vase. I give it out for examination at the beginning and end of the trick and have people wonder how I did as the one in their magic set didn't work like this...
"To let understanding stop at what cannot be understood is a high attainment.
Those who cannot do it will be destroyed on the lathe of heaven." - Chuang Tse
mkiger
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For me the toughest part was the opener, getting the rythm of the audience. The way I found was to use either a trick that I knew cold (that means one I have performed hundreds of times for real people) or one that was as close to self workng as I could get. I used to slip a few like that in between the tougher ones to give myself a break. It is a very secure feeling to have them burning your hands when you are not doing anything, they get bored and then you do the sneaky bit. Unfortunately you have to perform to get better at performing.

The trick is not to be the best, it is to keep getting better. I can do things now that I could not do twenty years ago, there is a lot more I still cannot do. A good deal more I will never be able to do, it is one of the things that make this hobby so rewarding.
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