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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » Magic and Music (My first post) (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

drhackenbush
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Hello to everyone! I’m a children’s folksinger who always thought I’d be a magician… my first business cards said “Children’s Parties a Specialty”, and I believe I did one paid magic show in 1976 for a neighbor. However, I have always been a magic shop regular for years, and though I have collected and used lots of tricks and books, I pretty much resigned myself to the fact I would never be able to put together a real magic show.

For the past 9 years, I’ve been singing for toddlers, doing story hours and preschool programs. Somewhere along the line, about 7 years ago, I was asked if I would entertain at birthday parties. At first, I was scared of the prospect, but ultimately gave it a whirl, and now it is a regular part of my work week. I mainly do birthday parties for ages One to Five, and have lately been adding magic to my programs. Yes, I do one-year-old parties, at least one a week, and believe it or not, the younger birthday children are always quite involved in the program. I typically do a 45-minute musical birthday show, and for the Ones and Twos, it is broken up into two sets, the first being 30 minutes, then a break, then another 15 minutes. The World Famous Banana Trick is the hands-down favorite, and the eyes-on-the-hand Peepers are a close second (not a trick per se, but a great attention-getter), and the Goshman “Puff the Sponge Dragon” has been a great lead in to the Peter, Paul & Mary song. I bring egg-shakers and maracas and tambourines for the children to play, and often the birthday children end up trying to strum the guitar for at least half of the songs.

Regarding doing magic for toddlers, I realized that when I began singing for children in the 90’s, I wasn’t quite sure what to say between songs. So when it recently occurred to me, once I sat down and thought about it, that I was able to overcome that issue some time ago and have been able to put together cohesive musical routines, maybe I might have some hope doing the same with my magic after all these years. Granted, the selection of tricks has to match the interest, intellect and attention of the toddlers, but I am finding it’s possible, and have gotten great ideas from reading posts in “The Little Darlings” board. I’ve found that books like the Fitzkee Trilogy have also been helpful, as have “Bobo’s Magic Show” and Frances Ireland’s books.

Since this is my first post to the Café, please allow me to say thank you for giving me the push to go ahead and pursue my birthday-magic side again. I look forward to joining in the discussions on these boards.

Charley
TroyRoark
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Welcome to the Café. You'll find a wealth of good (and not so good) information all through this BB.

I might suggest checking out "The Tricky Business" threads (I think that's what it's called.) They are my favorite. You'll probably get some use there also.

Troy Roark
drhackenbush
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Troy -
Thanks for the welcome! You are right, the Tricky Business thread is a great resource. I got my intro to David Kaye's "Silly Billy" Lecture notes there, and always find neat bits of information there.

Charley
Findlay
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Charley
I also incorporate songs in my magic show. My repetoire is a little limited and would be interested in discussing material.

Ian
drhackenbush
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Ian,
I'd be glad to talk about the songs I use in my programs.

Charley
Peter Marucci
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Charley,
Songs and simple magic sound like an ideal combination for entertaining the younger set.
Congratulations!
And, BTW, welcome to the Café!
drhackenbush
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Peter,
Thanks for your welcome and kind words. Just got back a little while ago from another 1-year-old party - it is so fun to do!

Ian - Some of the songs I sing for the kids are:
Twinkle-Twinkle, Little Star
ABC
The Wheels on the Bus
Old MacDonald...
You get the idea. Toddlers and younger kids seem to love the classics, and though I do a few original songs, those old favorites are always the choices when I ask the parents what songs they'd like me to make sure I don't forget. I also sing folk songs that the grownups remember from when they were growing up, so there's something for everyone.
Tim Zager
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Charley, I found some inflatable music instruments (guitar, sax, clarinet) in a local toy store. With 2-4 year olds, we form a band and pretend to play with the music. It's a hoot to watch how creative the kids can be.

Tim
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drhackenbush
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Tim,

You're right. Kids are amazingly creative. It's amazing how smart they are, even at a really young age. I was just teaching one of my classes (I also teach music enrichment at some preschools) about "air guitars" and we also made air trombones, trumpets and drums, which got some giggles. I like the plastic instruments you are talking about. The kids really do like to actually have something in their hands to play, nice as invisible instruments are. Of course, I can't leave home without those sponge bananas, though try as I might, when I try to play them, they make a sound like a sick elephant bleat and the kids just laugh at me. I was sure banans were musical...
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