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mmreed
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Harrisburg, PA
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Any tips or advice for those starting out in magic - say with coins or cards, and practicing the sleights and moves, only to find themselves messy, uncoordinated, and finding themselves being plain obvious in motions?

For example, messy double lifts, awkward palming, continually exposing the moves, etc...

I know the core answer is practice more till it goes away... but my question to the community is more of how to handle the aggravation and frustration of "not being able to do it yet" and the disappointment that slowly builds as you try to become better to find yourself not progressing as you think and fell you should.

We have all been there - bought a new DVD, watched it, tried it, shook your head at how messed up you were... kept doing it, only to put it aside with the intent to proactice it more later - only to never come back to it again...

what advice and ideas to keep people "on the path..."?

I'm sure there is a wealth of learning and practice advice out there among the community....as well as motivation and mental reinforcement ideas to keep us in the right state of mind.

Lets discuss!
Mark Reed
Wedding and Event Entertainment
davidpaul$
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I can't tell you how many times I threw the cards on the floor.
Yes I can, a lot. It's a good thing that you want to get better, and being
frustrated at your lack of success/ progress is normal. It takes time for certain
muscles do to things they have never done before. It takes time for your fingers, to move in ways they have never done before. Relax....you will get it.

When I first started out I saw Paul Harris perform "Tap Dancing Aces" and I knew I wanted to perform it no matter what. He made it look so easy, and I couldn't get down the simplest move. Yes I became frustrated but I knew it could be done, and little by little I saw some progress. I would practice that routine daily.
The key for me is that I really enjoyed the process despite my inability to do it like Paul. Then after some time....we are talking months.....success..

I think what might be helpful is to pick a routine/effect that you really like and focus on the moves, timing, finesse. I picked Paul Harris' effect because it had many different card moves that once learned, I could incorporate into other routines.

One final thought: Realize that you are just starting out and that frustration is normal. Learn to ENJOY the journey. Develop a passion for learning. Yes you will get frustrated, but it just shows your desire to want to do better. That's a good thing. The rewards are GREAT !! Don't give up. Enjoy this wonderful art.
David Paul
If you can't help worrying, remember worrying can't help you!
erlandish
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That's a good question...

I think the key to finding the necessary motivation is to get success early, to know what it's like to do a trick that wows people. Fortunately, there are plenty of tricks that hit hard but are also dead easy. Get a few of those under the belt, and then hopefully the beginner will get a taste of what it's like to do a good trick, and draw on that in order to convince themselves to persevere and learn the harder stuff.

Tricks do exist that allow one to perform a specific sleight under really favourable conditions. You can misdirect away from a slightly imperfect more (and arguably you should misdirect from every move no matter how perfect it may be). For instance, with the palm, you can try Psychological Impossibility from Tarbell. Similarly, instead of learning a false transfer in order to vanish an object, do a trick that involves switching in a similar-looking one, so as to create greater distance between the move and the effect. Research will be needed in order to find the perfect trick for the sleight you're learning, though.
The Jester Extraordinaire : bderland.com
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Andy the cardician
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A number of things help to overcome this kind of motivational plateau.

Find a friend - helping each other up is always good

Plan your development - rather than trying to do all, go step by step
(see also http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......um=41&44 )

Record your progress - looking back you will always feel good

Set yourself smaller goals - babysteps is the word

Limit your practice time - too much is always bad, as you loose the fun

STOP and take a time out if you feel that the fun is gone.

Andy
Cards never lie
abc
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South African in Taiwan
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Quote:
On 2008-03-11 23:12, mmreed wrote:
Any tips or advice for those starting out in magic - say with coins or cards, and practicing the sleights and moves, only to find themselves messy, uncoordinated, and finding themselves being plain obvious in motions?

For example, messy double lifts, awkward palming, continually exposing the moves, etc...

I know the core answer is practice more till it goes away... but my question to the community is more of how to handle the aggrevation and frustration of "not being able to do it yet" and the disappointment that slowly builds as you try to become better to find yourself not progressing as you think and fell you should.

We have all been there - bought a new DVD, watched it, tried it, shook your head at how messed up you were... kept doing it, only to put it aside with the intent to proactice it more later - only to never come back to it again...

what advice and ideas to keep people "on the path...."?

Im sure there is a wealth of learning and practice advice out there among the community....as well as motivation and mental reinforcement ideas to keep us in the right state of mind.

Lets discuss!

Don't take it that serious. It is just magic not the end of the world. I know guys who at points in their lives have practiced 8 to 10 hours a day. I don't even always have 30 minutes availble to practice. Find times to do challenging things. I live on the 18th floor and it takes the elevator 37 seconds to get to the floor. I see how many coin rolls I can do in the 37 seconds and that is fun. Right now I am on 23 (coin rolls not the floor).
I agree woith learning some easy tricks and them doing them to stay motivated. I also think that your body will build up muscle memory. Practice something and them just let it go for a few days and get back to it. Your brain needs time to process it.
Finally, you have to believe that you will eventually get it right. Practice with the end in mind not the process.
Hoppini, the Mediocre
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A few thoughts:

My main advice is to find a couple different things you want to learn, and alternate between an easy one and a hard one. Don't work the same thing over and over till you hate it. I'm working on basic coin sleights, and I can't classic palm to save my life, so I've been alternating between practicing the palm and working up a neat little "coins across" bit that doesn't require me to do one.

Practice often for short durations. I basically started this journey st a Christmas party this past December when a magi friend of mine taught me how to french drop small objects. 5 or 6 times a day I'd stop in front of my hallway mirror and do it ten times. Then it was 10 times with no mistakes. Then it was 10 times and if I screwed up I had to start back at 1. ABout that time I decided to work on a finger palm vanish, so I'd half the time do the french drop and half the time the finger palm and so on and so forth, till I'd worked my way through most of Mark Wilson's coin stuff. Currently I'm doing half coins, half rope stuff...and having lots of fun with it.

And by the way, I'm happy to say that I can do most of the basic vanishes very well. Anf I also noticed my hands began to move smoother and more magician-like (if that makes any sense) So rest assured, it will come.

Don't be proud. Keep the fun. Sure, you want to learn some of the tougher card moves...but remember that you can show folks a good time with a Svengali deck and the Professor's Nightmare too. Its all fun, and its a mistake to think that you will only have value as a magician if you know all the tough moves.

Above all, have fun with it. Someone here already said it. Its magic...don't beat yourself up over it. If there's something you truly cannot get a grasp on, then do something else and then come back to it.
0045
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I set myself a target quite some time ago and that was to be able to do eight perfect Farrows in a row, I must have practiced this thousands of times and still have not accomplished it, (My best so far is five)

I don't practice this move to the exclusion af all others which is probably why it is taking me so long, it took me over a month just to do the first one, but boy was I pleased with myself.

I guess what I am tyring to say is that dilligence pays of in the end and I know that one day I will meet my target.

I have a small list of effects that use the Farrow but will not perform them for anybody but myself until I am 100% happy, there are many many more effects that I can do well without having to run the risk of failure.

There is an age old saying that everything comes to he who waits (and practices).

Persevere mmreed, have fun on the way and you will eventually get there.

Regards 0045
Bob Sanders
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Magic Valley Ranch, Clanton, Alabama
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Horse trainers use a simple method. Training happens everyday but only for a short period. Quit with successes.

It takes time. But it lasts a lifetime.

Keep on, keeping on!

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Bob Sanders

Magic By Sander / The Amazed Wiz

AmazedWiz@Yahoo.com
DomKabala
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I've grown old after diggin' holes for
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All I can advise is to "make haste slowly". Practice the mechanics of each sleight slowly, absorbing each intricacy/subtlety in it's entirety before advancing. Practice with a purpose and concentrate on the task at hand...don't be distracted. Understand that even the masters were beginners at one time and that mistakes make you better. If you become aggravated, it's time to call it quits for the time being because the state of mind is an important ingredient in progressing. When you are not physically practicing, try practicing the mechanics in your mind (Visualization). Intersperse your practice sessions with rest breaks, don't practice in "marathon" sessions...you will only regress by practicing mistakes and inherit bad technique. If a particular sleight is giving you problems, shelve it for a while and practice something else. Sometimes when you return to that "stumbling block" you will succeed with it. The most important thing as others have said...Have Fun!
Cardamagically,
Dom.
:) Smile
We don't stop playing when we grow old...we grow old when we stop playing.

God is enough, let go, let God. Gal 2:20

"Anything of value is not easily attained and those things which are easily attained are not of lasting value."



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molsen
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To add a little perspective: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xavFb4WH7o0

Addressing the issue:
Each successive sleight will get easier. I started with the Charlier Cut, and struggled for a long time. Afterwards learning other sleights was easier. My hands somehow got more used to learning new movements.

There are still things that my pinkie find deeply unnatural and may never agree to do, however I keep practicing. I switch between slights I do fairly well, and those I don't seem to "get" yet, both to prevent cramps from straining too much, and to remind myself that there are moves that used to seem impossible, that I am now able to pull off decently.

Be determined without being stubborn. Practice much, but allow yourself rest. Everything with a certain measure...

Michael
erlandish
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I should have included this in my advice above, sorry to double-post...

Not all sleights are really created equal. Doing a false shuffle and false cuts at the beginning of an effect involving a full deck stack, and doing a DL in the middle of an ACR, aren't really the same, and not just because of the mechanics of the sleight.

When you're doing a false shuffle and false cuts at the beginning of the trick, you're giving yourself the luxury of doing sleights outside of the Critical Interval (Darwin Ortiz's idea for the period between when the spectator believes the trick starts and when he believes it's finished)... essentially, when the heat is off. That's a great way to take pressure off yourself, and maybe that can help you not get all wound up and nervous during a sleight. What's more, if you mess up the false shuffle and the cards go everywhere, destroying your stack, do something involving a key card -- remember, the spectator hasn't been given the signal yet that a card trick is starting.

A sleight during the Critical Interval, on the other hand, does require perfect handling, and that pressure can cause you to tighten up. Perhaps identifying those tricks that are demanding when the heat is on, and putting them off a while in your development, could be beneficial.
The Jester Extraordinaire : bderland.com
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Koolmagic114
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For me I had time put aside for straight demanding practice. Dedicated and intent. These were the most fustrating! By far. But this time was used to get the mechanics down. And the moves proper. Then I had a less intense practicing which was always done without the intensity. Sitting in front of tv just doing the moves over and over again. But since my time is divided with the tv I didn't get as agravated.
Eddy

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The Amazing Noobini
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For me becoming older has helped me a lot. I don't know how old you are and if you are young this may not be what you want to hear. But when I was around 35 I suddenly had the patience to pace myself and study things I was interested in even tho I didn't need to in order to pass some class or make money.

If you are younger, try to think that you will have the time to become phenomenally good by the time you are my age (40-ish). And I'm sort of amazing at some sleights so just imagine how good you will be! It's just a question of hanging in there.

When you have worked on a couple of sleights for a few weeks or so and you are completely fed up or you simply don't feel that you are getting anywhere, simply leave it alone. You will be inspired to pick it up again later through this very forum and posts you will read in the future that are about the very same troubles you had. Or a new DVD bringing new and different light to an old problem. When you return to these sleights, you will suddenly make a leap forward. Maybe not enough to do it perfectly but it will be a great step. You make the most progress when you put it away after a long bout.

On how to handle the frustrations... you simply get used to them and accept them after a while. Last year I tore up around 8 decks in anger. I'm on one deck so far this year. A few days ago I returned to a certain sleight that I should have mastered a year ago and I still have no clue why it isn't working. The feeling of hopelessness hasn't gone away. But I know that I managed to learn many of the other seemingly impossible ones really well. There is hope. There is still time. If you can't do it after a month of work, think of how utterly impossible it will be to a spectator!

In addition I want to say that I am a great advocate of tinkering with things while being distracted. For months I have only practiced while watching TV or DVD (non magic) and that way I get in maybe 4 hours of hand exercise each day without being bothered by it at all. I tried to start on my new coin DVD a month ago and realized that I needed to improve certain palming skills. That is disappointing. Training for months and then getting the DVD as a reward only to shove it back into the shelf after ten minutes. It's a great feeling of disappointment. But at least I'm moving forward.

It takes as long as it takes. Just hang in there. You have already come too far to turn back.
"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)
Jaz
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Heck, I just got caught out on a new trick (yes, trick) that I thought was a simplicity itself. This happens to me occasionally. Smile I do them again because I learned from performing.

Practice of technique, working on misdirection, some basic scripting and rehearsals are essential. However, when it comes to performing for people, it all changes.
The adrenelin flares up, people are burning you, all your fears seem to appear and BANG you screw up.
However, this is where you really learn and often need to reevaluate everything and try again.
Trying again is not easy for one who rarely performs but you really have to make the attempt.

Good luck MM,
R.S.
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As usual, everybody has given great advice. Also, remember this...

Ameteurs practice until they get it right. Pros practice until they can't get it wrong.
"It is error only, and not truth, that shrinks from inquiry." Thomas Paine
abc
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Quote:
On 2008-03-12 18:17, R.S. wrote:
As usual, everybody has given great advice. Also, remember this...

Ameteurs practice until they get it right. Pros practice until they can't get it wrong.

And they still occasionally do get it wrong. It isn't the end of the world if it goes wrong. Magic isn't brain surgery.
Lord Anacho
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Gerald Edmundson's book "The Ostrich Factor" is a nice read in this context.

Also. Do not only practice, but rehearse as well. Make an act of some 3 to 5 effects, simple things not requiring difficult sleights. Rehearse this to perfection and perform it. That brings the joy in magic, where sometimes that might be lacking in sleight practice.

Ciao for now

Erik
"The secret impresses no one. The trick you use it for is everything" (Alfred Borden in The Prestige)
Andy the cardician
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It is important to celebrate small successes as well
Cards never lie
fxdude
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When I first started I could barley shuffle a deck, I hadn't ever really handled cards that much. I decided to start with gaffed coins since I was used to handling money. I stayed away from cards because of all the lifts and shuffles. I then decided I would try to start using gaffed decks. The more I handled the cards the more comfortable I felt. Even with the gaffed decks you start to learn simple sleight of hand tricks. Basically I started small and simple and moved my way up at my own pace so I didn't feel rushed. Good Luck!
Joker63
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I've done much more teaching than magic, and plenty of learning myself. Dealing with frustration in learning, is pretty much dealing with frustration in any situation - IMO.
Learning can be frustrating. As many of the posts above suggest, learn to enjoy small victories.
Many people talk about a learning curve, and generally picture a continuous line going up. I tend to find it is more of a curve of peaks and troughs - sometimes we go up - enjoy these times - sometimes we go down - this is the frustrating part. When we start to rise again we (generally) get higher than the last peak fairly quickly and continue up 'till the next down curve. The process repeats.
One of the posts above mentioned that each successive sleight does get easier - there are a few exeptions (Faro, the Pass would be a couple).
It took me pretty much six weeks of practice to learn a pinkie count. Many short sessions each day until I got the move, and now lots of frequent practice most days - I always try to have the cards in my hand at least once a day.

There is plenty of research that shows we learn less effectively when stressed - read frustrated. I would suggest short practice sessions, put the cards (or whatever) down when frustration sets in - read a book/watch a DVD if you want to keep magic going when not physically practicing.

sometimes progress is slow, and we don't realise we are progressing. I am sure you are moving forward, so try and keep enjoying.
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