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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » Typical learning times? (3 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

DrMidnight
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I am aware that everyone learns differently and that no two people are the same, however, I was curious as to how long some forum members might expect learning a technique to take.

Some background:

I am a beginner to card magic (non self working) and have started learning from the Royal Road to Card Magic using a study guide I got off of these forums. However, the guides are a bit vague about how long some of the earlier techniques take to learn. They simply state, for example, that at the end of four weeks you should have a working knowledge of the Overhand shuffle, Riffle Shuffle, Hindu Shuffle, and the Classic Force.
However, it doesn't explain how long each day you should practice or even what a working knowledge means. Does this mean be able to fool a lay person?
I'm into my third week of this guide and I try to practice about 30 minutes or more every day. I came into this practice with a decent overhand shuffle anyways and I still don't feel comfortable doing most of these sleights in front of others.
Is this normal? Can I hope to eventually get as good at injogging as others? And forget palming a card at this rate!
I guess I'm just trying to head off discouragement by hearing I'm not the only one who isn't a rapid learner. The study guide breaks the learning down into weeks so I thought it would be easier than this for the basics.

Thanks for not flaming a newb.
silvercup
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As you said each is different. That's your answer.
You, him, her, and I all have different skills, understanding, and learning processes.
I never gave it a thought about how long to learn something.
What I did do after learning about methods in general was limit my detailed execution to things I had a reason to learn, that is things I would be performing.
Not only does it limit what you have time to practice and learn, it limits numerous purchases on things you won't learn or use.
Yellowcustard
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I think the first thing you should think of is have you improved? I you have that great and you may just want to tinker your learning style.

if I was learning like you I would spend 15mintese with the video learning the over hand shuffle Overhand shuffle,then practice as I walk around the house and once I got it kind of smooth and every thing in the right order I would move on to the next thing and do the same with that. But as I watched TV or the kettle boil I would practice all those to get them in muscle memory. When I was learning forces I wanted to be able to practice those but take the presuer of me. So I put the force in the start of my ACR so the audiance would just see it as a pick a card and yes there was no reson for me to force but I knew I could and this gave me confidence.

Always have a deck with you and every spare secound handle them practice the shuffle the cuts and hold outs.

The guy that taught me how to juggle said its better to practice six time a day for 10 minutes then practice once for 60 minutes. And I apply this to my magic and it works for me.
Enjoy your magic,

and let others enjoy it as well!
DrMidnight
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Hey thanks guys!

I'm probably just worrying too much because I feel a bit overwhelmed. I keep reading more and more ahead and thinking of all the things that I still have to learn..I just want to keep moving.
I appreciate the time spent answering my post and I'll take it to heart.

And I probably have gotten better than I think..
MRSharpe
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You may be taking the wrong approach if you intend to simply learn the entire contents of Royal Road. What do you intend to do with any move? Do you have an application for the moves you are working on, in other words do you have specific effects in mind? One of the biggest tips I could give any beginner is to learn any sleight within the context of an effect. If you don't do that then you end up being a "collector" of sleights and a sleight collection--unless you are talking about card flourishes, back palming, split fans and the like--is one you can't really exhibit because they are moves which can only be applied to effects when they are undetected. No effect, no application. If your goal is to do "jazz" magic, or to do improvisational magic, there is an entirely different skill set having to do with handling an audience and thinking on your feet about how to flow from one effect to another. And it's possible to improvise with a very few sleights.
I've seen the lesson plan you mention and have passed this along to another novice of my acquaintance to whom I've given the same advice. I can understand your feelings of being overwhelmed and worry. Kick back relax and consider what you are going to do with what you have once you are done learning.
Finally, it might be possible to learn an effective classic force in four weeks, but doing it solo is quite a task. I recommend a DVD by my friend Anthony Gerrard in Kalamazoo, MI on the classic force to jump start the learning process. He calls his version the Idiosyncratic Classic. You can find him at gerrardenterprises.com. Call him up and tell him Marty recommended him.
Custom Props Designer and Fabricator as well as Performer from Indiana, USA
RobertlewisIR
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Malcolm Gladwell would say 10,000 hours--but I suspect he's mistaken.

Really, there is no good answer. I've always approached things in much the way MRSharpe suggests, of learning sleights in context of routines. And how long it takes varies a lot. Some moves, I've gotten the hang of in about ten minutes. Others, I still don't feel ready to perform ten years later. And the ones I find difficult are probably different than the ones you will.

I'd also say that some of the stuff you're calling "basics," I find relatively advanced. I never even TRIED to learn the Classic Force as a beginner. Yeah, the mechanics of it are simple, but it's such a timing/audience management thing, I think one needs to call upon some real experience to be able to pull that one off properly.

The best thing to do is to remember that practice does not make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect. So no matter how long it takes, make sure you're making real progress instead of developing bad habits. If you do that, you'll get it all eventually.
~Bob



----------



Last night, I dreamed I ate the world's largest marshmallow. When I woke up, the pillow was gone.
Andrew Immerman
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Your performing comfort may not be the best barometer for your technical progress. As we gain performance experience, we learn to experience our magic as our audiences do. Though, before this happens, we often fall victim to the false belief that our audiences know everything we do, see everything we do, and are aware of everything we are. I seem to recall Darwin Ortiz discussing the importance of experiencing our magic as our audiences do, the barriers to this, and some methods to overcome this.

Do you have someone you can practice with and trust feedback from? Perhaps a mentor? If you find yourself consistently nervous in front of audiences, perhaps you should get comfortable performing a self-working set in front of audiences first.

Based on what you've described, I'd suggest you consider alternating between two types of practice. While learning mechanics, focus as much of your attention as possible on those mechanics. Once you have the basics of a technique down, practice with as little of your attention as possible on those mechanics. For example, while conversing with friends, with your eyes and your attention on your conversation, practice your false overhand shuffles. If you can maintain a top stock while actively conversing with friends, you can certainly do so in front of an audience.

Recap w. some additions:
- Practice with partners, mentors, and friends
- Consider performing self-working material to develop performance comfort
- Solo practice with as much focus as possible, then with as little as possible
- Learn to experience your own magic as your audience actually does
- Don't be concerned whether your learning faster or slower than anyone else
- Cultivate confidence

Btw, just from what you wrote, I'd bet that you're a great deal better than you think.

Andrew
55Hudson
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Dr Midnight,

Less is more. You listed three different shuffles you were learning - learn one way to do everything and perfect it. Then move to another technique. That is, one shuffle (overhand!), one control, one force...

As mentioned above, learn specific tricks that incorporate these skills.

The first trick will take some time to get right. Then the second will take less time - you will already have the control and force skills. Now you are only learning the reveal (or routine). In this way you can learn a number of tricks relatively quickly.

Good luck!

Hudson
Ado
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If you can't do the move without thinking, you're not there yet.

P!
DrMidnight
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I shall redouble my efforts! I am attempting to perform each trick in each chapter for friends or family before I move on. So far, Chapter One went well. I was nervous in my head but wasn't as bad as I thought. I'll continue to find new people to attempt these tricks on until the thinking goes away.
Thanks again.
SDMoore1
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Doc, I'm a newb here, too, and completely relate to your original post. I mean I REALLY relate.

Here's a thought. Cut yourself some slack. You're doing this as a hobby, not a profession, right? What's the rush? You are most likely doing EXACTLY what you should be doing. Go slow, and get it right. Go slow, and avoid bad slight of hand habits. Get it right before going to each step 2 or 3 or 4. My way of thinking is that such an approach will pay off handsomely in the long run.

Nothing is more painful than watching a newb fumble an advanced technique, badly. Nothing is more cool than watching an advanced cardician flow through a fundamental technique so well, that I don't realize that he just used a move I'm aware of, but did it so well that I was fooled. Artistry!

Now, ...getting your hands on a few packet tricks, a few self-workers, isn't a bad thought either, as this allows you to please others and entertain (which is the whole idea, right?).

Even pro baseball players play pepper. Me working the first several sections of RRTCM over and over isn't going to hurt me in the long run.

Keep posting, and keep me apprised of your progress (or lack of!). It sounds like we are very close to being in the same place.
Cardflipper
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Quote:
On May 31, 2014, Ado wrote:
If you can't do the move without thinking, you're not there yet.

P!

This is key.
GreenKnight33
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Hey Doc,

As others have said, I think you're doing fine...it just takes time. I started Royal Road last summer and I'm up to the P*** and DL. Someone else mentioned this, but I'll second it, that it helps with the shuffling controls to walk around and do them. It helps I think to learn how to control the cards with a bit of a variable of shifting weight etc. New cards, when I first started seemed SO SO slippery. Now, I love opening the new pack of cards! It's kind of addicting!

If I could recommend one book....that's free!, it's 'Magic in Mind'. You can get it from Vanishing Inc., and it has loads of great essays from the great great thinkers about magic. I've read it two times, and going on a third. There's lots of solid approaches about different aspects of performance and even very theoretical aspects of magic (e.g. Categorizing Magic).

All the best to you! You will get it, in time! It's an amazing hobby and I have even more appreciate for the work of the professional magicians. They do indeed make it look so easy.

Cheers,
GreenKnight
DrMidnight
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I am adding walking around to my practice routine. I don't know why I didn't think of this before. I appreciate the comments and help!
DrMidnight
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Just a follow up post, I am on week 3 of the study guide and have become quite comfortable with the overhand shuffle, riffle shuffle, hindu shuffle, injog, etc.
I have attempted to perform almost every trick from the DVD set that goes with the above chapters.
I am happy to say that most of the tricks have been for my wife and she admitted last night that she hasn't figured out how I've done any of them yet. (And believe me, we have the type of relationship that she would love to catch me)
So it appears practice actually helps and I feel a lot better about my chances to tackle the next chapter on the study guide: The Classic Force. I understand it's very intimidating to many people.
Thanks again for the advice and the encouragement. I've added the walking around practice and even practice shuffle controls while I watch TV.
I may be back soon with questions on the Classic Force. I watched it performed and a week doesn't seem long enough. Smile
Yellowcustard
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Greta work Dr Midnight. I think we could all learn from you by the fact you have practiced and learnt a lot of stuff and you have a low post rate. Good work and keep putting the energy in to what matters.
Enjoy your magic,

and let others enjoy it as well!
challengedmichael
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I agree with Mr Sharpe and would suggest taking a look in Roberto Giobbi's Card College series. He does an excellent job of giving routines to perform the slight. Don't judge your progress by someone else's time table. As long as you are having fun there's your incentive to continue.
CraigMcK
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DrMidnight you mentioned the RRtCM "study guide". Just curious, but is this from another thread on the Café? I'd quite like to have a wee look at it myself.
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