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Robert Apodaca
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Hi, I've been doing magic for a really long time, but I still get very nervous. When I'm practicing I can nail every move, but when I have to perform even if it's for my friends or family I usually get incredibly nervous. My words start to tremble during my patter and my hands begin to shake making a lot of my sleights harder. For example, I have a very good Elmsley Count, however when I tried doing it for the first time I messed up and severly flashed the hidden card.

Do any of you used to feel the same way? Do you have any advice on overcoming this?
TannerJade
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Hi Drizz...
This should help!

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......forum=41

-Tanner
Brad Burt
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Dear Drizz:

Definately take a look at the link above. Your 'problem' has been dealt with at great length and you'll find some great stuff on the Café.

Mostly the problem is this: You get nervous because of the imagined horror of making a mistake. Right? It would be terrible 'IF' you make a mistake and that thought becomes the linch pin in a series of thoughts that make you more and more nervous. That cycle is one that only gets worse as you get more nervous.

So, let's consider the following: What is the WORST possible thing that would happen IF you blew a magic trick??? Would more people in the world starve to death? I mean really do you expect a knock on the door from the hunger police with a warrant to arrest you because you blew a magic trick and dang! 1000 more folks died of starvation?

Would world terrorism get worse? Would, and here add any horrible thing you want.

Let's get more personal. If you blow a magic trick would you become impotent? Would you suddenly find you have a horrid disease the root cause of which could be traced to screwing up a magic trick? Hmmmmm.....o.k., maybe....MAYBE you would be embarrassed. Not fun, but it's almost NEVER fatal.

You have to put messing up a magic trick in perspective. Once you do that it makes it possible to shrug your shoulders, say so freaking what and go forth to have some fun and most likely NOT mess up. It's getting nervous ABOUT messing up that causes most of the problems!

Just mellow out bro. Really. Take it from someone who has been behind a magic demo counter for 33 years. You ARE going to blow it. Don't make it worse by worrying about it as if blowing a magic trick is somehow an affront to either God or man. No one cares. Not really. My argument isn't for being sloppy! But, once you DO have your chops down they are NOT improved in any sane fashion by worrying about making a mistake. You will or you won't, but DON'T do it because you are afraid of blowing the trick! That's just wasted effort from every direction.

I have made this recco before: Have 1-2 starter tricks that you CAN NOT blow. Easy, mechanical, self workers if that's what it takes that ARE good, but that you don't have to worry about. Get the experience of 'succeeding' and then carry it over to a trick that is a little bit more demanding.

I guarantee you can beat this thing. Just don't take it so seriously. It's not brain surgery....I wonder if brain surgeons say, "Hey, it not magic..." Best,
Brad Burt
R.S.
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Drizz,

You're not alone. That happens to me as well. And apparently many others, according to the posts. In practice sessions, I can perform effortlessly and, for the most part, flawlessly. But when it's crunch time, the adrenaline says "Wait a minute pal - you're not gonna get by that easily!"

However, I have found that the level of my nervousness is in direct proportion to:

A) WHO I am performing for. The more 'important', 'critical', or 'discerning' I view this person to be, the more nervous I will become. If it's for my very forgiving (not to mention easily distracted) mother, then I will do fine because I know my chances of success will be pretty high. But if it's for Ted, the very savvy Engineer in work, then the tension increases.

B) HOW MANY I am performing for. More people means more nervousness. Too many eyes watching my every move.

C) THE DIFFICULTY LEVEL OF THE TRICK. More difficult means less margin for error means increased nervousness.

Mind you, I am not a professional - magic is a hobby for me (albeit something I am quite passionate about). And this is probably something I'll always have to deal with, since as a non-professional I simply don't have enough performance opportunities to reinforce and build on my previous confidence levels. Primarily, my performances are limited to friends and family at holiday gatherings and occasionaly in the workplace, so gaining experience is an uphill battle for me.

Anyway, many thanks to Brad and Jaxon for their advice! I will hear their words the next time I perform. And Drizz, I hope that just knowing you are not alone helps in some small way. Good luck!

Ron
"It is error only, and not truth, that shrinks from inquiry." Thomas Paine
Thoughtreader
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Drizz,

The advice that has been privded so far is the truth so go re-read it. The more sure of yourself, the more sure you are of what you so, the easier it gets. The one thing that helped me the most was remembering "it's a trick, period. Worse case scenario, it screws up. No lives lost, no danger. They are just trying to have a good time and if I am having a good time and relaxed, they will be too." So forget about worrying so much and just do it. Stop concentrating on the trick so much (and if you know it well enough it should just automatically go without you thinking about it) and instead just focus on the audience. Focus on laying back and enjoying yourself and you will find that it not only makes them at ease but relaxes you much more.

PSIncerely Yours,
Paul Alberstat
Canada's Leading Mentalist
http://www.mindguy.com
AB StageCraft
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Matt Malinas
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You will find all the advice you need right here.
other than that, don't worry, it happens to everyone and with time you'll be able to overcome it

-Matt
The masters make the rules, for the wise men and the fools
Robert Apodaca
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Thanks a lot for your advice, guys. I've read all of them and I've read a lot from that other thread. I feel a lot better about performing already and I already feel more confident about myself. Before I wouldn't want to perform for random people but I'm feeling more better about it.

:)
Face
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Run a search here in the Café, I belive you`ll find lot of information about this, cause similar topics has been discussed here many times before.
Bob Sanders
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After forty-eight years in the professional entertainment industry, I can still tell folks that I always shake while I'm being brave!

Welcome to show biz! It's wonderful!

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Bob Sanders

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AmazedWiz@Yahoo.com
sleightofhander
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Try sqare breathing right before the performance. Breath in for 4 seconds, hold for 4, then exhale for 4 . I've tried it and it helps calm you down.
GWSchott
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I believe that building self-confidence is the best way to combat nervousness. Once I get the first 'ooooo' or 'ahhhhhh' from an audience I feel much better.
Yours In Magic,
Gordon
abc
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I am guessing from what you said that you only do one or two effects at a time. Although the advice above is very good it may not be applicable if you are only going to do one or two effects.
Find yourself a guinea pig audience. Mother,friend or whatever. Let this be the first person you perform any new effect for. The same nervousness may not apply but the fact that someone else is watching changes how your brain works. If you can do it for them without a problem you should be OK to do it for others.
Malchat
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Quote:
On 2006-11-11 03:43, sleightofhander wrote:
Try sqare breathing right before the performance. Breath in for 4 seconds, hold for 4, then exhale for 4 . I've tried it and it helps calm you down.


Don't ignore this advice - it's excellent. It's called 'tactical breathing' in martial arts/combat shooting.

The reason you're shaking is because your heart rate is too high when performing. The beating of your heart is part of your automatic nervous system which controls all unconcious movements of your body; so if your heart is beating fast, everything shakes and twitches along with it. You can't conciously control your heartbeat, but you can control your breathing, which acts like the volume control dial for your heart beat.

1) Breathe in through your nose for a slow count of four, let your belly expand like a balloon
2) Hold for a count of four
3) Slowly exhale through your lips for a count of four, letting your belly collapse like a balloon with its air released
4) Hold empty for a count of four

Repeat if necessary. It doesn't matter who you are, the above routine will quickly lower your heartbeat and spread relaxation through the rest of your nervous system. Sometimes you'll also feel more focused after (because of better oxygen intake.)

Watch your patter when you go into your routine - try not to pitch your voice and quicken your words, because that will mess up your breathing and get your heart rate up again.
“You are what you pretend to be.”
Bendy
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Performing for a few friends or family members is much harder for me than performing for a few hundred people I don't know. I think it's because they know you...REALLY know you. It leaves you vulnerable before you even start. I get shaky when performing for friends and family, too.
Performing for other magicians...multiply the friends and family shakes by about a factor of 10!

As far as larger crowds go, though, I'm always nervous BEFORE going on. Always. I shake, my stomach is in knots...the works. Then, when I'm on...I guess I'm still nervous because I sweat like nobody's business; but the other symptoms fade away into just massive sweating. So I pull off the tricks just fine...smooth as silk most of the time. ...I just need a shower and a trip to the cleaners after! I have an ulcer that never bothers me. ...Until after a performance. Through the performance, I'm okay. After, I'm in pain. I'm guessing the nervousness not only turns to sweat, but produces more stomach acid. Taking antacids before and after the performance do not help. It's just the price I pay to do what I love, I guess. Too much info??

Anyways, Drizz. Read and heed the advice given here. It will serve you well. And know that in your nervousness, you are in good company.
Darrendarko
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Hiya.

I play the drums in a band.. and the first couple of times we played with an audience I was so nervous and my forearms were absolutely killing with cramp or something.. but one nnight we played at a club near my home, and I was on after the opening band.. so I had time to have a couple of pints.. and believe me.. ALL my inhibitions were gone!- And I played like I do in practise!! It was superb!

I have a feeling this will apply to the routines I do with the cards too.. though I havent had a chance to test it yet! Will post once I have!!!!
Chatterbox41
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I performed for years and still occasionally even though I think of myself as a magic hobbyist these days. I always try and open with a very simple, but still high impact trick/routine. Once I get good response, the nervousness seems to disappear and as I progress through a routine I relax.

Of course, that being said, I'm assuming you know your tricks to do them fluently at home for yourself and you have your script down so you're only dealing with performance anxiety instead of trying to work on the "moves".
Malchat
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Quote:
On 2006-11-17 10:09, Darrendarko wrote:
so I had time to have a couple of pints.. and believe me.. ALL my inhibitions were gone!- And I played like I do in practise!! It was superb!


I'm not being funny as I say this: I have seen performers go down very dark paths because they followed this advice.

Don't even go there.
“You are what you pretend to be.”
mouliu
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There're already plenty of useful advices, I'm going to add a minor one.

When you practice, try to do it as if for real. Speak out the patters, wait for a few seconds for those moments you know audience may respond. If you have a videocam, record your practice and it really helps.

Just my 2 cents.
A novice't reflection: I like watching my audience's jaws drop, but sadly in reality I'm just too busy to enjoy it. Smile
MagiClyde
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The scary part is when it starts becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more scared you become about screwing up, the more likely it is to happen. After a while, it can turn into a full blown phobia.

Do the relaxation techniques that others have listed here. they can really help. Another thing that you may want to do is practice performing the trick in front of someone who is already familiar with how magic is done. If you blow it, you will not be revealing the secret to a layperson. Believe it or not, I am the opposite of most beginners. I have almost no fear of performing in front of other magicians, but get really nervous in front of laypeople. The real trick is to put oneself into autopilot and DO IT. There is no substitute.
Magic! The quicker picker-upper!
Robert Apodaca
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I would like to thank everyone here again for the excellent advice. I plan on doing my first actual show in a couple weeks for a local nursing home and I feel really confident about it.
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