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magicadam
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London, Uk
25 Posts

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Is there any recommended reading for children's parties magic?

I have done one performance for a family friend and it went pretty well. I'm interested in audience control, as I found this the main problem. I also noticed what amazes adults (mental stuff, flourishes), does nothing for children. They only really care about colours and silks. Would you say this is true?

I would love to put together a show for the summer.

Many thanks,

Adam
SethL52
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Arab, Alabama
56 Posts

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Yes. As far as my work goes, most the kids like this : Silks , Colors, Wands , Sponge Balls and of course, Rocky the Raccoon.
Dennis Michael
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Inner circle
Southern, NJ
6018 Posts

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Wow,

Where does one start? A good approach would be to purchase some videos of different pros working. Get to see how they deal with the audience, look at the technical approach and presentation when they deal with the kids. This is a fast start for learning.

Your question is so broad, a book could be written on it. It is true that mentalism and flourishes which focus on the "serious" usually flop for kids. (There are exception, and that depends on the presentation.)

Colors are important, but fun is even more important. They like to believe they know how it is done. Involvement is a must. Anticipation of their reactions and dealing with them properly is a sign of a skilled performer.

Age difference also play a part. A lot has been written here and in the archives. Learn from them. If you want to test a powerful, fun, easy to learn effect, try out the "Vanishing Bandana". It requires a banana and a tape recorder. Follow the instructions and make all kinds of facial emotions. It is still loved by the kids and every performer does it differently. Analyze why this works so well. What elements are in it that makes it so powerful? It isn't the fact the banana disappears (magic disappearance).

Also, kids bore easily and their minds drift if they are not focused on what the performer is doing. In essence, it is more than doing magic, it is entertaining that is the key.
Dennis Michael
Andy Wonder
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Auckland, New Zealand
744 Posts

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The reading I would recommend for the audience control area you are interested is the booket, 'Top 10 Problems Performing for Children' by David Kaye. It is avaliable from Denny & Lees Magic Studio for US$10.
Andy Wonder, Auckland, New Zealand
nums
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I have a life, or I would have more than
366 Posts

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Try Performing Magic for Children by Uweshenk and Sondermeyer. It is excellent on what to do for children. It does not have much magic in it, just how to handle the kids, and what they need to be entertained.

Jeff

It is available from Magicbooks by Post.
Emazdad
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Inner circle
Plymouth UK
1954 Posts

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Quote:
Also kids bore easily and their minds drift if they are not focused on what the performer is doing. In essence, it is more then doing magic, it is entertaining that is the key/


I couldn't agree more. Some people think doing children's shows is just about having a lot of colourful props, etc., but it's not. It's what you do around the trick and your personality which are important. That's why there are lots of very skillful magicians out there who can't and won't do kids. Some say, and I don't disagree with them, that kids magic is the hardest branch of magic.

Adults, as a general rule (unless they're drunk), don't rush up to grab your props and then run round the room with them. If they're bored, they'll just sit politely until the next act, not get up and start playing. If you accidentally mess up and flash something, they don't shout loudly what they've seen and call you a cheater, etc. The list goes on.

I don't know any books on controlling kids, but a couple good methods are:

1) The magic line. A line of tape on the floor where you want the front row to sit. I tell them if they cross it, if they're a boy they'll turn into a girl, and vice versa. This stops them edging forward and you having to keep moving them back, and helps control grabbers.

2) The magic circle. A 12" colourful ring. Put it on the floor where you want the assistant to stand. I tell them it helps get the magic out of their tunny, and if they step out of it 3 times they've run out of magic and we have to get a new helper. 4 times and I don't see them and if they're a boy they'll turn into a girl.

3) Bribery and corruption. A large balloon model that will go home with the best behaved, loudest magic word shouter. I also tell them that everyone who's really good may get a model to take home.

4) Talk to the kids as you're setting up. Tell them we're all going to have lots of fun, and tell them that if they're good they may get a chance to help.

5) Enjoy it! If you're enjoying yourself, they will to.

6) Lots of audience participation. If you just stand and magic at them they'll be off bored very quickly. They love fun, and joining in, even if it's only to shout a magic word.

7) Make an announcement before the party starts asking the adults to leave if they want to talk. If the adults talk behind the children the ones at the back will not be able to hear you and will start to fidget. As they fidget, the background noise increases and the kids in front of them start and so on. Stop the adults talking and the fidgeting stops. I know this from experience. Luckily it's only now and again that you get a couple who are rude enough to strike up a conversation during the show.

I could go on and on, but you'll soon learn from experience, and I'm sure lots of the other Café members will share their experience and techniques with you.
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley
www.emazdad.com

"Magic is a secret, without the secret there is no magic"

Remember there are only 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.
Tim Zager
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Kansas City
222 Posts

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I would recommend anything by David Ginn, Sammy Smith, and Steve Taylor.

David Kaye (Silly Billy) and Ken Scott have very informative lecture notes.

Tim
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with a Digital Business Card.
Cheshire Cat
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Wilmslow, UK
941 Posts

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If you can get in some time with a really good pro. entertainer, magicadam, this is a bonus--as long as you don't try to copy too closely. I was lucky enough to work with an exceptional guy for a couple summer seasons in the 70s (I played piano). Although I had done a few shows with others, this really inspired me - and I worshipped the guy! The only thing being he thought I was trying to rip off his act and business and never spoke to me again! Very sad, but such is life.

Re: good reading--well, it doesn't come much better than where you are now in the Magic Café.
Smile
Emazdad
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Inner circle
Plymouth UK
1954 Posts

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"The only thing being he thought I was trying to rip off his act and business and never spoke to me again!"

I had this happen to me. A bloke asked me for some advice on entertaining children as he'd never done it before and he had been asked by his firm to do some magic for the kids at their open day. As he was a fellow member of the Plymouth Magic Circle, I gave him some advice and took him along to a show. The next thing I know, he's seen entertaining children in a social club using one of my routines word for word, move for move. It's the last time I'll ever do that for someone.
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley
www.emazdad.com

"Magic is a secret, without the secret there is no magic"

Remember there are only 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.
keeblem
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Inner circle
Essex, UK
1166 Posts

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Hi magicadam,

Mark Leveridge goes into crowd control in his book/video "The Magic Party". I can highly recommend this book (I've got a short review at my web-site http://www.kidzmagic.com) I'm a big fan of Mark Leveridge's routines and books, but to be honest, I think he is perhaps a little bit too strict with the kids! Afer all, they are there to have a good time!

My wife tells me the reason I get on so well with children is that I talk to them like adults! I don't know if this is true, but most children certainly like to be treated as if there were grown up!

Mark
Jim Tighe
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Veteran user
West Virginia
360 Posts

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Well Adam, congrats on your first show. I would highly recommend David Ginn's Professional Magic for Children. I consider this the bible for putting together a children's show. You may also want to buy a video or two of his to give you a little confidence on how well some solid routines and formulas will play for children. You can't go wrong with anything from Duane Laflin, Sammy Smith or Marty Hahne either.
As for the crowd control, I've had good success with a large thick rope laid down on the floor and a friendly warning that everyone needs to stay behind the rope in order for the magic to happen. An idea I believe I got from Professional Magic for Children. Best of luck!
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