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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » For all beginners out there (4 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Andy the cardician
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Many, many years ago I was playing in a band. Our keyboarder was an ambitious guy - despite the fact that he was only a little bit better than a beginner, far from being a professional. Unfortunately, he felt that he was great and blamed it all on the sound - his equipment. The chap spent all his hard earned money on the latest gear - a new keyboard, a new sound module, new speakers and amplifiers and so on and so on. Finally, he had a full pro system. It was fantastic, but his music was still average. When he then realized that he was still far from his dreams, he gave up music and sold his gear.


Looking at many young beginners in magic, I often remember that experience. A lot of new magicians fall into the very same trap - thinking that spending and spending, adding trick after trick, gimmick after gimmick, DVD after DVD to their collection, will make them better magicians.

Here is the main message - nothing can replace practice. And in order to practice, you do not need much. Spend your money wisely, my friends!

Get the basic literature or DVDs and start practicing. Mark Wilsons Course is a great start.

Try a couple of things, find out what is your thing, then go deeper into the area you like. Forget the hype around killer tricks and gimmicks - yes, hyping also happens here at this Café, forget the fancy cool vids at E, forget about spending your bucks on the flavour of the month . . . Get your basics right first.

Want more than Wilson, but short of money? - get the electronic version of the Tarbell Course.

AND - Start to perform to gain experience, do not limit yourself to the mirror and your family and buddies.

Once you got the basics right you will have a good understanding of your limitations and needs - from there you can expand in a controlled way. Plan your development.

For example, you really like card tricks and have really mastered all the moves in the Wilson book. The next step would be the Royal Road and the Expert at the Card Table - DVDs are out there as well. Feel like even more - the Card College series are awaiting.


Let me repeat again - Skill can not be bought . . . that is the bitter truth. All the books and DVDs in the world can not replace the practice.

I sometimes get puzzled reading animated discussions about the best DL, the best pass etc. The answer is simple - the best move is the one that is natural for you, and you can get away with even when spectators burn your hands.

How can you get to it? By practicing over and over, adopting the move to your own style, physics and ability.

If your DL does not work, getting the latest lecture note or DVD will probably not help you much. You have to look at it yourself. Find out the weakness, identify the problem and then think of a solution. Naturally, it is best to ask an experienced person to have a look at your handling and comment on it.

And most of all, have fun . . . do not end up like the keyboarder above . . .


Andy
Cards never lie
Joker63
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Good post Andy,

I must say I went through the buying heaps of packet card and other tricks. I have my son as an excuse for some of the tricks, but really most were for myself. Having said that my son has already done a couple of performances for school talent shows, and I am yet to progress past work and friends.

Lots of the stuff I bought is sitting in a drawer. I eventually found my preference was cards, so I now concentrate on those (though recently bought a chop cup, can't help myself). I will get around to magic other than cards soon(ish).

After a long preamble, my point (and why I choose to work only on cards at this point in time) - practice is the key to success. Lots of practice. It took all of last Christmas holidays (four weeks) to master the pinky count. This was six or seven 10-15 minute sessions each day for the four weeks. I have spent quite a bit of money on magic, but it is the time I have 'spent' in practicing that enables me to put a nice routine together.

I try to make sure I have the cards in my hands for at least an hour each day to maintain my skills. It still takes a few weeks to master each new move, but worth the time and effort.

cheers

Joker
Andy the cardician
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Spot on Joker - keep up the good work and practice and practice, most important, never loose the fun of practicing.

Andy
Cards never lie
Jaz
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Excellent advice Andy. Smile
JamesTong
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Every beginner should read this post, Andy. Very valuable and sound advice to all beginners, even amateurs and some semi-pros too.
mrunge
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Fantastic advice Andy. Well worth reading again.

Mark. Smile
Jay Austin
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This is so true. There are so many "new" things out there today that if someone were to start at the basics, they would learn that what is being put out as new is actually based on the basics. I would also suggest that someone getting started learn as much about the theory as possible. It is not only enough to be able to do the moves, one should know the reason to do them in order to best entertain their audience.
Jay Austin

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Trekdad
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Andy:

Your advice resonates with me and I believe every beginner who explores studying magic and magical entertainment. Your post should be a "sticky" in this forum.

In my beginner's quest for knowledge, I've gotten a lot of packet tricks, utilities, and even some props, most of which I'm glad I got. But the ones I find most valuable and get the best reactions are those I envisioned wanting to learn more about, and then practiced and practiced . . .

There's value in knowing which effects are just hype, or those you can't or don't desire to perform. But that can be an expensive and time-consuming lesson.
Barnhardt: You have tested this theory?
Klaatu: I find it works well enough to get me from one planet to the next.
The Day the Earth Stood Still
Jerrine
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Another area where music and magic come together. I am so glad that I have a musical background. The discipline of practice and the knowledge that a silver bell and a gig bag won't help you hit the high notes or make someone have an emotional experience. Also issues like the fear of performing for crowds and show preparation are dealt with.
Bluebox
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Right on. Reminds me of the time where I brought loads of chess books and I still sucked. Your advice can be applied to a lot of thing not just magic.
The Amazing Noobini
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Great post!

I think it's difficult to dictate or plan the order in which one learns new things these days. You go to the forums to search for a discussion about one topic and stumble upon several others that draw you in. I think the most natural way of progression is to learn whatever grabs your fancy first. There is nothing wrong in learning the basics second as long as you have the self dicipline (I tried 8 different spellings of that word. I cannot find the right one) to force yourself through the "boring" old texts that take time.

I for instance got through most of Lennart Green's stuff before I started on anything like Royal Road. No problem. It all falls into place eventually and makes sense in context with everything else. It comes out the same because no matter what you learn you are thankful for already knowing something else that relates to it.

The difficult thing is the self dicipline... discipline... forcing yourself to take the time you need. You have a ton of books and DVDs you want to go through. Whether you have bought them or just bookmarked the titles is irrelevant. They are in a queue. And you watch one DVD and realize that you have to pause when the counter is at 8 minutes in order to take a 3 week break to practice those moves.

So much to learn and it all takes as much time as it takes. At my age I have found that I understand the technical or logical principles a lot quicker than when I was younger whereas it takes me longer to remember new stuff. I have a lot more patience to prepare well but it takes me longer to learn a lot of things too.
"Talk about melodrama... and being born in the wrong part of the world." (Raf Robert)
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Lumas
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I fell into the trap of thinking that owning lots of dvds or tricks would instantly turn me into a great magician. However, I do think that certain tricks can really help you out in the beginning like the 3 card monte or twisted sisters. A few packet tricks, which are fairly cheap will motivate you to practice and practice certain moves over and over.
Paulo Cabrita
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It was the best advice from Andy!
We need time to be magician, musician, doctor or anything else.

Paulo
R. Cayne
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You are so correct Andy. Although we may be anxious to buy the newest sweet trick, gimmick or whatever is being offered it is so much better to have books or DVDs with information that we can learn that will actually carry you forward.

Work through the Royal Road and you will have a solid foundation for card magic. Work through Tarbell and you will have a solid foundation for almost all types of magic as well as the psychology behind the presentation.

Most of all is the practice. Get to where you can do it while doing something so that you are not concentrating on the "move" and then you know that it is second nature.

"How do you get to Carnegie Hall? - Practice, Practice, Practice"
Johnny Butterfield
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Where was this post when I started?
The current economic crisis is due to all the coins I've vanished.
The poster formerly known as Fman111.
mrsmiles
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Excellent post.
We've probably all fallen through this trap. I know I did. In fact I still do. The other thing beginners should do, just to add to Andy's post, is not just concentrate & focus on developing skills ... the other thing is to get out there and PERFORM. As a another poster on another thread once memorably said 'you need a place to be bad.' Go perform at charities, church events, functions at work etc. One never gets really good alone in your bedroom with a book, however good the book is. However these books are essential & the practice will set you up to improve fast during the firmament of live performance.
mrsmiles
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yin_howe
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Excelent addition and complement to Andy's post mrsmiles.

Practice, practice, practice... then perform, perform, perform.
"Talent without passion is talent wasted.."
JamesTong
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Experience is the name of the game. Perform the routine everywhere and anywhere you can and get feedbacks so you can do better the next time.

Furthermore there are times that you would do so badly that you may want to give up magic. This is where valuable lessons are learnt. Many great magicians have gone through this stage.

Heed the excellent advices of Andy and the others and then go out there to get whatever experiences you can They will be invaluable to you.
Bill Thompson
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I nominate this thread for a Sticky Bun!
"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
JamesTong
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What is a Sticky Bun, misterbill?
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