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Brad Burt
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Preface: The excuses for not learning a physical 'skill' that you would really like to acquire are legion. In magic they come in two or three basic forms: I'm too old, I'm a clutz, my hands are too small. I know there are others, but those three are by far and away the most common. None of them are generally valid. Unless you have hands the size of a Cherrio you should be ok. I have fairly small hands for a guy my size and that was my excuse vis-a-vis the guitar for YEARS! Take away a genuine problem with arthritis or some other malady affecting either your hands or co-ordination thereof, on.....

Guitar and Magic
By Brad Burt
Copyright 2008 Brad Burt Magic Shop Online

There is no question in my mind that others will have had the same experience that I am about to relate. But, I think it's compelling enough and universal enough to be of help to others who 'may' be struggling to acquire a competent skill in magic....even though they 'believe' that they started too late.

I began my magic journey early. I was about 11 years old when I found my first magic book. It was all non-skill tricks, but fun nonetheless. Soon thereafter a non-magician friend did a wonderful little card trick that just killed me time after time. I was entranced. Even more so once he showed me how it was done! The slight used was a classic (The Glide) and it was done poorly and YET he STILL fooled me! That was my first clue that magic was something special. I'm neither stupid nor unobservant and yet I was FOOOOOOOLED! And, I loved it. I loved the simple elegance of the method and the brutally killer nature of the effect.

I was lucky that my next book was a wonderful classic called the Amateur Magician's Handbook by Henry Hay. It was and still is a wonderful text on sleight-of-hand and how to do it properly. It formed the context for my magic education for years to come and it was the matrix within which I taught magic for years and years.

I was young and fairly adept with my hands and I WANTED to learn how to do magic with those hands and do it well. I practiced, I learned, I performed and I taught. That's what you find in my Private Lesson Teaching DVD's, but that's not what I want to talk about.

I just turned 56. Yikes. At age 50 I decided that I WAS finally going to learn how to play the guitar I bought when I was 47. So I really went at it. I practiced chords, etc. When I got to Barre Chords I blew out the tendons in my left elbow, both medial AND lateral! It took two years to recover. No guitar from age 51 to 53. I slowly began to practice again, and gradually found I was ok. From about 55 to this last birthday I have worked 'really' hard and have actually made progress…….but, it's SLOW!

Of course I thought that my skill with cards, coins, billiard balls and whatever else I could find to manipulate would help with the guitar. Maybe it did, but IF it did I haven't been seeing it. It's just slow. I'm older. My neural pathways are long geared for the quick acquisition of MAGIC …not…..guitar. Sigh.

But, that said, I have found that I CAN learn to play the guitar even though it is taking somewhat longer than I had hoped. And, I have had a very, VERY good private teacher! You see the point of this is simple…if you have taken up magic as a hobby, shall we say 'later in life', don't worry if you seem to be learning stuff too slowly. It's OK. I guarantee it's ok. Take it a step at a time. Learn one technique and GET IT DOWN and then move on. Work from small success to small success and you will get there. Just don't give up. I'm telling you…if I can learn to play the guitar….YOU can learn to do good, maybe even great magic!

I can say this, because although I really did seem to have a talent for magic, it was not easy for me. Seriously. I worked hard at it. But, what should be encouraging to those having a tough time? I have never, EVER displayed the least bit of talent for music. None. Nada. Zip. I still have a heck of a time with basic music theory. As long as I can work on Chords and Scales I'll be ok. I even know a song! But, I'm telling you in all honesty: If I can learn to play the guitar YOU CAN learn to do magic well. Keep with it. If you have questions let me know! I will be happy to 'try' and answer them if I can. Hey, most of the time the answers make great essays to mail out to my entire list!!! Take care and hang in there,
Brad Burt
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