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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Ever so sleightly » » What are your views on practising and rehearsing the cups and balls routine? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

JamesTong
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What are your views on practicing and rehearsing the cups and balls routine? Is there any difference between practicing and rehearsing? How should we go about it - especially in developing a routine?

Your views are appreciated. Thanks!
pepka
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Typically, practicing involves certain pieces of the routine. Rehersal is running through nonstop, often with costumes and music. If you make a mistake like dropping a ball or something, you keep going. That can be very helpful for learning how to think on your feet when something goes wrong. A prime example is practicing cups and balls while wearing jeans and then performing in slacks. That can really change the timing of your final loads.
JamesTong
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Thanks, pepka. Really appreciate your participation on my questions posted around the Café.
Pete Biro
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I might add that doing anythink by yourself you will find IT CHANGES DRAMATICLLY as soon as someone else is wathing yuo. So... as soon as you possibly can start to perform for people. And as I noted to a friend recently, he was sitting down and having trouble with some handling. I asked, "Do you PERFORM for people sitting?" He said, "No." So I said, "Then DON'T PRACTICE SITTING." He stood up and ina few minutes was doing the moved well.
STAY TOONED... @ www.pete-biro.com
Bill Palmer
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Pepka has nailed it on the difference between practice and rehearsal.

When you are learning a routine, read the entire routine from one end to the other. Pay attention to where the moves you don't know fall in the routine. Then learn those moves.

Next, learn the moves in the context in which they occur. For example, if you do a vanish, then a loading move. practice the whole sequence.

Now do a run-through with props in hand. Everywhere you have a problem, make an indication of that. This is one of those times that I would actually advocate working from a copy rather than an original. If you do this, you can highlight and underline without damaging your source. It would probably be considered fair use to do this, in case you are worried about such things.

Now, learn the sections that gave you trouble. Again, learn them in context. Once you have learned these sections, they will actually be stronger than the parts you had no trouble with.

Now, go through the whole routine.

If the routine is fairly long, while learning it, divide it into phases. Let's say that the routine contains four phases. Learn phase 1. Then learn phase 2. Then practice phase one and phase 2 together. Then learn phase three. Learn phase 4. Practice phase 3 and phase 4 together. Then practice all four phases.

NOW you are ready to rehearse the routine.

If you have problems performing with the patter, record the patter, and practice while the patter plays. This will give you a chance to adjust all of your timing.

After you have done this a few times, you will find that the patter automatically falls into place.
"The Swatter"

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My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Sir Richard
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Over a year ago, on another Forum here asking about which Magicians influenced us I mentioned how I was totally blessed, back around 1980, to watch a very young Jim Cellini do set after set, all day long, as I was in the booth next to his right. The 1st time I saw him do the C. & B.' routine he dropped a ball & I couldn't help thinking what a clumsy oaf he was. However, several sets later I noticed that he always did that & at the same, exact, place. As I continued to watch him repeat his act to different audiences, I saw why he did that. It taught me that even apparent clumsiness can be great mis-direction, especially in the hands of a Pro, which Mr. Cellini obviously was, even back then! IMHO, rehearsing constantly not only keeps one "tuned-up", but can also bring about improvements as it can help you identify & strengthen "weak" performance areas. This question often comes to my mind: "How often does a "concert pianist" practice their craft on a daily basis to stay sharp?" Bet it's more than just a few minutes. ;0)
"In the land of Murphy there is but ONE law!"
Levity
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Good advice, Bill. I'm currently memorizing a lengthy script which I will be performing as a monologue next week, and I, too, have broken it into sections while I've been memorizing it. Then I put the sections together and rehearse the whole. It's a thorough way of learning your material, whether it be a script or routine.

G
"I suggest you watch very carefully..."
JamesTong
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Wow! Bill, those advices are excellent and very useful. Thank you!
Kent Wong
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I also believe that when you are rehearsing the routine (as opposed to practicing the moves), you need to rehearse the transitions as well. Perform the trick that comes before the cups and balls routine, transition into the routine, perform the routine, and then transition out for your next effect (if there is one). This way, your rehearsal will allow you to develop a smooth flowing, coherent act, rather than a series of choppy tricks.

Kent
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JamesTong
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The "Transition" is a very good idea, Kent. Thanks! It is certainly food for thought for me as it really did not occur to me on that one.
Bill Palmer
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That's very good. Just one thing, though -- make sure the transitions encourage applause.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Gerald
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You can’t go wrong with Bill’s outline. This method can be applied to most anything you are trying to learn. It would be a good idea to study Bill’s suggestions. They have far reaching implications.

If your practice sessions and rehearsals are consistent, creative, energetic, well-organized with meticulous attention to detail, then your performances have a good chance of reflecting those characteristics.

The opposite is also true. If your practice and rehearsal is sporadic, careless, unimaginative and disorganized, your performances will most likely reflect those traits. These “axioms” should be obvious, but we know how easy it is to overlook the obvious.

Regards,
Gerald
Bill Palmer
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Thanks, Gerald.

One of the foundations of the system I outlined is based on teaching music for many years.

If you play a musical instrument, you are probably familiar with the following situation. You sit down with either a piece of sheet music or a lead line and some chords and you start playing the piece you are working on. You hit a mistake, so you start over. Eventually, you play through the mistake. So you continue, until you hit the next mistake.

Then you start over. You play through the first section (including the mistake that you corrected) and hit the new mistake again. Finally, after doing that a while, you get past the second mistake. By the time you have gotten through all the mistakes, you have a piece of music that is very strong at the beginning and very weak at the end, because you have practiced the first part considerably more times than the end of the piece.

By learning structured sections, each section of the piece is as strong as the others.

The other part -- the part about learning the difficult parts first -- comes from an idea by Charles Cooke in a book called Playing the Piano for Pleasure. It's probably not available any more, so I'll explain his theory.

When a bone is fractured, if the fracture is put into a cast, the bone sets and actually becomes stronger than the rest of the area around it. So, Charles Cooke had the idea that if you learn the difficult part first, and make it stronger than the rest of the piece, then the rest of the piece is that much easier to learn, because the "fractures," i.e., the hard parts are stronger than the rest of the piece.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Gerald
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Bill,
We are indeed kindred spirits. Many of the practice techniques which I advocate in The Ostrich Factor come from methods I learned in music school. Learning the mechanics of sleight of hand is closely related to advanced piano playing practice techniques.

Great to find someone with whom I agree. Smile

Regards,
Gerald

BTW: The Charles Cooke book is terrific for most anyone who practices the piano. I no longer have a copy, but I remember it well.
Bill Palmer
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It's interesting how practice techniques from one art form will work well for other art forms.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
kosmoshiva
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I totally agree with learning the hard parts first. Great advice, gentlemen!
When I perform Shakespeare (as I'm doing right now, actually), there are some real tongue twisters, which I use as part of my warm-up. The toughest material must appear effortless.

If I may add to the list of advice, mainly from a performing point of view:
Think in terms of rising and falling interest - allow yourself breathing spaces! If you present nothing but effect, effect, effect, you'll exhaust your audience (and yourself). In theatre terms, we talk about this as 'giving yourself somewhere to go'.
Be aware of what's coming a few moments ahead, but play the moment. This will keep you driving forwards automatically. This is similar to a musician keeping an eye on the next measure.
Look out for repetition in your patter. If you must repeat phrases, try to find a different delivery.
If you slip on your tongue, acknowledge it as graciously as you can. Same with accidents with the props. It often amazes me that although some magicians purposefully build in 'accidents' for technical reasons, they're thrown for a loop when a real one happens ...
And lastly, don't forget - if you ask a question of your audience - be prepared for an answer! (It might not be the one you're expecting, especially if it's a dangerous question like "wouldn't it be incredible if ...?")

Hope this all helps.
:)
Don't forget to breathe.
Bill Palmer
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For some insight into the unexpected answer see this thread:
http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewt......um=171&1
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
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