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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » Teaching kids (12 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

MagicBrent
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I recently watched Losander's beautiful paperball levitation from Reel magic. He mentioned showing it for children. I can see doing this but I find that whether it be with my own children or just being around others, when you do a trick that boggles their mind, they want to do it too in imitation, not just participating on stage. Can you all think of a list of fun tricks that you can share that they can do too (prob. self working) that maintains its "awe" of "magic" but they can do it too? Thx
Dick Oslund
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Why not just expose the tricks that you perform in your 'act'??? (If you HAVE an act!)

Or, why not just tell them that "there aint no SANTA CLAUS???

I think it's foolish to expose tricks, as you describe. If they are interested, they'll search and learn. That's how I learned,

YOU WON'T MAINTAIB THE "AWE" OF MAGIC, IF YOU DO WHAT YOU'RE THINKING OF DOING,
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Mindpro
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Quote:
On Sep 20, 2016, MagicBrent wrote:
Can you all think of a list of fun tricks that you can share that they can do too (prob. self working) that maintains its "awe" of "magic" but they can do it too? Thx


The "awe" of "Magic" is gone once they know the secret. Isn't the whole idea of magician to be able to do things (and keep longtime magician's code secrets) to present and maintain the awe, that others are unable to? Seems the perception and approach of magic is being watered down by such mentalities.
Karen Climer
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There is a trick that I like to do where I hold up my first finger on each hand. I bump the two fists together and suddenly have two fingers on one hand and none on the other. It looks like one finger jumped to the other hand. I hope that makes sense.

As soon as I do it, even a four-year old can figure out how I did it. It's a fun trick to do because it's funny. I talk about how great this magic trick is. Then I do a silly gag. Kids immediately want to show it to their parents. But I don't feel like I've given away any real magic. (I never even tell them how I did it. It's just very obvious.) That is more of a gag, though, than a magic trick.

In my library show last year, I did needle through the balloon. I ask, "Do you want to know how I did it?" Of course, everyone yells YES! I say that I can't tell you but I know there is a book in this library that tell you how to do it. Right after the show, you can check out the book and learn how to do it.

MagicBrent, I'm curious...what is the benefit in showing them the secret?
Mary Mowder
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I think I just lost a show because I won't do a 15 min Magic Lesson for a party of 8 year olds. I believe the Kids would prefer 15 mins of Close-Up Magic entertainment (I have lots of Close-Up that Kids love).

I think it undermines the practice and thought needed to do good Magic to pretend that a 15 min Magic lesson in a noisy Birthday surrounding will do anything but set the Kids up for failure and embarrassment.

I'm sure the Hostess will find someone else who will do it.

-Mary Mowder
TKD27
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The DVD is out of print now, but James Munton put out an incredible DVD on doing a magic workshop for older kids.

One trick that would fit your criteria might be the jumping rubber band. Although it would probably be hard for younger children to do.
Dick Oslund
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Karen...Those bits are called "Handies". They aren't really tricks, just fun "things" to do.

But, why spoil the magic by telling the kids where to find it in a book? That, IMO just exposes. If they dig through a library book, they may find the method, --maybe they will appreciate it. (A good teacher doesn't just "spout facts". A good teacher motivates the student's CURIOSITY.)

I totally agree with my dear friend, Mary Mowder! --And, Mindpro, too!


"A little knowledge is a dangerous thing! Drink deep or taste not the Pyrhean Spring.

There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,

While drinking largely, sobers us again! --Alexander Pope
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Karen Climer
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Dick, I don't think it is exposing a secret by telling a kid that they can learn magic from library books. Most of the magicians I know (including me) learned simple magic tricks from books as a kid. It requires some effort to look up the call number, go find the book in the library, look through the book to find a trick you want to learn, then read about it and hopefully practice it. Only a kid who is really interested is going to do that.

Do you really consider that to be the same as standing on the stage and saying, "Here's how the trick works..."? (I'm not trying to be adversarial. That's a genuine question.)

Also, if you don't direct children to magic books, what do you do?
Dick Oslund
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Hi Karen!

I hope that I'm not bring adversarial either! --Ask Bev Bergeron, if I'm adversarial!

That's how I started too. (Library book in 1941), but there were no magicians in my home town in northern Michigan, and, I was just 10. But, I had a library card, and, I found "The Magic Show Book" by Alexander the Magician. (Remember 793.8?) BTW, Alexander was ostracized by members of the Some Are Magicians group, for exposing the "servante" the organ pipes, and the die box, etc.

When a youngster asks me how I learned to be a magician, I answer his question, with a question! I ask, "How do YOU think that I learned?" (Socratic method of teaching! --Socrates asked questions!) I LISTEN to his answer! Then, I "lead" him into realizing how one learns things. I DON'T just TELL him that he can go to the library, I want him (oops! I mean him/her) to think! After we converse a bit, the youngster usually mentions books. Then, I ask, "Where do you find books?" If he is really interested, and not just momentarily curious, he'll have enough initiative to go to the library.

I have mentored, over the past 50 + years MANY young people. Some of them are now full time successful professionals, some are avid amateurs, but, they all understand enough psychology, and respect magic enough, that they don't just just "tip the gaff" to a kid who is just "momentarily" curious.

Do you remember a magician named Doug Henning? We met when he was about 17, How about Bob McAllister? He had two successful TV shows in New York? I could go on, but, I think that that's enough.

Re: your last question: I OPEN with a "soft suckering" (read my book!) trick whether it's a Kindergarten, High School or College group--senior citizens, also. They quickly realize that I'm teasing them (gently! not nasty teasing! --People don't tease you, unless they like you! They LAUGH, and, APPLAUD at the finish, because they now know that I'm going to fool them, without making fools of them!

I follow that opening with a brief presentation on ILLUSION. I explain how their own minds fool them, and, that the more intelligent that they are, the easier it is for their minds to fool them. (We're not living in the Victorian era. --Even the tiny ones know that it's not REAL magic.)

The high school folks, gain a new appreciation for magic! They came into the auditorium expecting to be treated like kiddies. I don't do that! I get encores, and, yes, STANDING OVATIONS! Twice over the years, high school students, STOOD UP AND APPLAUDED IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SHOW, FOR MY PRESENTATION OF THE BREAKAWAY FAN. (I explain THAT ROUTINE, along with most of the routines that I developed, in the book, too.

I love doing magic, I love young people. But, I won't cheapen magic, by giving it away!
SNEAKY, UNDERHANDED, DEVIOUS,& SURREPTITIOUS ITINERANT MOUNTEBANK
Mary Mowder
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Hey, just to say,
I did get that show I mentioned before. The hostess understood my position and booked me.

-Mary
MagicBrent
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Gee Dick, I appreciate your passion but settle down. I'm not talking about ruining magic or compromising our art. I'm talking about connecting with a child where they feel empowered too to be like us like science tricks. I have a birthday teaching show but I mean in an impromptu one on one situation were there any teachable bonding moments you all enjoyed
Karen Climer
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Dick, I like your idea of the Socratic method. In my situation, I am at the library telling them to check out magic books. In your situation, it sounds like you are somewhere else, telling them to go to the library to check out magic books. I don't really think that's different. (I respect that you disagree.) I can see how one requires a little more initiative, but it took initiative to get to the library in the first place.

I definitely think it is wrong to say, "And here's how needle through the balloon works. You blow up the balloon..." I don't see any benefit to that. I guess you get the momentary joy of showing someone something they didn't know, but there are many other ways to achieve that. I definitely wouldn't do that.

BTW, I didn't interpret you as being adversarial at all. I only mentioned it in my posting because sometimes it's hard to tell on the internet if people are asking questions just to be obnoxious, or if they are trying to have a real discussion. Glad it's the latter between us. Smile
MichaelCGM
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Quote:
On Sep 22, 2016, Karen Climer wrote:
Dick, I like your idea of the Socratic method. In my situation, I am at the library telling them to check out magic books. In your situation, it sounds like you are somewhere else, telling them to go to the library to check out magic books. I don't really think that's different. (I respect that you disagree.) I can see how one requires a little more initiative, but it took initiative to get to the library in the first place.


At some point, in every library show I perform, I hold up one or two magic books that are available at that specific library, and encourage the youngsters to check them out, if they want to learn magic. The librarians appreciate it. The parents appreciate it. And the kids take my advice. I also give every child a Magical Michael Learn Magic Collector Card, which teaches two magic tricks with everyday items. If we aren't going to entice them to read and to learn the craft, who will?
Magically Yours,

Magical Michael

MagicalMichael.com Smile Laus Deo!
vincentmusician
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I agree with Dick Oslund and Mary Mowder. Doug Henning once said it is a Magician's job to create Wonder. It is pretty hard to do that when you start revealing to everyone how Magic Tricks are done and that you are a Fake and Fraud. It also hurts Magicians who perform Magic to earn a living. Kids will start yelling, I know how this is done because some guy at a Library Showed me and exposed the secret to me.
I just cannot do that to my audiences. All the illusion and Mystery which Magic creates is destroyed. It is like telling everyone there is no such thing as Magic and there is no Mystery or wonder in this world. I will always believe in the Wonder and Mystery that Magic creates. The joy of Magic is Destroyed when it is revealed. You all have a choice and can make up your mind which way you want to go.
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