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Small Hands
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Profile of Small Hands
I would just like to say hello and happy holidays to everyone.

I am 58 years old and as a recently retired customs officer I have always been interested in deception.

Over the years I have learned some basic self working tricks but really not much more than that. Now that I am retired and have the time, I have devoted my efforts to learning some genuine techniques and have started to gain an understanding and beginners ability on some of the basic sleights. My main goals are to give me personal a sense of accomplishment, continue to learn and improve my skills, develop a deeper appreciation for the art and practice of magic and the skills of accomplished practitioners.

Hopefully at some point I can perform some impromptu intermediate tricks for friends, family and win the occasional pint at the local pub. Professional magicians need be under the illusion (I bet that has never been said here before, LOL!!!) that I will be putting them out of work.

Unfortunately at this point I will probably be asking for more advice than contributing for the benefit of others.

I may have this all wrong but I believe I should be concentrating on learning sleights and controls before specific tricks and would appreciate any comment and advice on that idea including areas within the forum to read on:

- an order of which sleights and controls are best learned and practiced first by beginners
- introducing more complex sleights and controls
- purchasing good quality training dvds. (I have some of the classic books but find video demonstrations and explanations far easier to follow)

Thank you all
Max Hazy
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523 Posts

Profile of Max Hazy
Welcome to the Café.

From what you wrote, I can give you 2 general advices:

1) Try stuff. The more you learn, the more you do, the more you practice... the more you will know what direction you want to take. Your direction can change over time too. I started as a coin magician and now I'm a mentalist. Each one of us have a personal journey in this art. We have our own paths to take and this only comes with experience, so experiment.

2) Try to go for the classics first. Get a solid base first. The bigger the tree, the bigger the root will have to be. I say this because there are too many expensive "new" and "revolutionary" material on the market today that are not worth it. Sometimes the price of a single trick is way more expensive than a dvd or book with tons of ideas.


Max Hazy
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Profile of ThSecret
Welcome to the forum Small Hands. (:

For a Great source on beginner material, one word - Tarbell. That is by Dan Harlan. Comes in book and video format, the videos being based on content they saw was the "golden nuggets" in the books, as well expands on and updates some of the mentions from the book.

A lot of your questions you can find answers to if you browse the forums. It may not seem like it at first, it is because there is so much content/sections, it takes a little bit to get used to. I would practice some sleights/controls but also make sure to do them with the full effect. Maybe even practice a story with it if you want.
"A play does not take place on stage but in the minds of the spectators."
Mary Mowder
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Sacramento / Elk Grove, CA
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Profile of Mary Mowder
Welcome Small Hands,

Most of the Café members are not Pros. so don't worry about that.

Be sure and check out the "New to Magic" forum.

-Mary Mowder
Small Hands
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Profile of Small Hands
Thank you all.

The amount of information and help available here is impressive and I will try to search as much as I can to avoid asking previously answered questions.
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Profile of HenryleTregetour
Welcome to the rookie curmudgeons club!

I am essentially new too. I will be writing my own introductory profile in a few minutes, so I won't waste any space writing details about myself beyond to say that I am 53, have meddled some, and have done a lot of reading.

I have a couple of quick suggestions. First, with regards to source materials, I have found the Mark Wilson book excellent with regards to illustrating how to do "magic tricks" (Dick Oslund will provide the correct terminology, which I don't recall right off hand). I just recently finished reading (and am currently re-reading) Magic and Showmanship by Henning Nelms. It is essentially a philosophy of how to perform magic that goes far beyond just doing "tricks." Both of these books are available at Amazon.

With regards to learning how to do sleights, have you considered the cup and balls? Beyond being a standard, it is an excellent way to learn the basic moves and concepts. It is also one of the oldest "magic tricks" dating back to at least the time of ancient Rome and maybe even ancient Egypt. As it is still performed today, there has to be something right about it.

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Moved to Seattle to see
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Profile of imgic
I second Mary's advice in checking out the New to Magic thread. It can be very intimidating to read some discussions and have no idea what's being talked about. Sometimes I find myself spending more time googling terms/names/tricks to find out about them than reading the thread...

But there's a wonderful group of folks here in the Café...and always willing to help...
"Imagination is more important than knowledge."
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Profile of scotchrocket
On Feb 25, 2017, imgic wrote:
Sometimes I find myself spending more time googling terms/names/tricks to find out about them than reading the thread...

Here here! Does this get easier in time? Smile
All about borrowed coins.
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Profile of JonathanMage
Small Hands, welcome to the Café.
I am a 53 yr old performer returning to the fold, and I offer you the following:
Almost every question you might have is covered on this site. Use the search function to get to specific areas of interest.
You will encounter a great deal of philosophic debate on terms, methodology, and execution. Take it in stride, and learn from it.
There are some wise professionals and "old timers" that have provided sage insight and advice in many of these threads that you should heed. Lurk and learn.
Specific to your post (IMHO):
Get the complete course of Tarbell.
Get the Mark Wilson book of magic.
If you wanna know cards, get Royal Road to Card Magic, anything by Harry Lorayne, and Robert Giobbi's series of books.
If you wanna know coins, check out David Roth.
Work on the basics of misdirection, and entertainment .
Know the difference between the "mechanics of an effect" and the effect itself. Practice until the "mechanics " are automatic, so that the magic happens in the mind of the spectator seamlessly.
CAUTION; when you buy effects from some on-line retailers, they will assault you with promotional emails. These emails will include statements from magicians that will say "this is going into my repotoire immediately!" And other glowing statements. Don't fall for this. Stick to the basics and they will serve you well.
Once you've established the basics, you can consider branching out into acquiring other effects.
This site provides good information on effects that play well and have stood the test of time. Research before spending your money.
Hope this helps!
Wishing you much happiness and enjoyment in your new career!
Dick Oslund
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Profile of Dick Oslund
Hi Small! (We're on a first name basis here! hee hee

Somehow, I missed saying welcome, when ya first checked in, and, "somehower" I didn't get back. I just now saw your name at the top of the forum, I punched the button and noticed that my friend, Henry had mentioned my name (not "in vain"!)

My afternoon is jammed up! I'm in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. (I can drive 350+ miles SOUTH, and enter Canada, at Windsor!) March came in like a lion last night, and, my dog team took an early flight to warmer climes! I am temporarily marooned!

I'll try to return ASAP, with a word of encouragement!

As my old friend, Pete Biro would say: "Stay tooned"!


PS: I'm glad youse aint from Quebec! Je parle Francais, seulement un peu!
Dick Oslund
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Profile of Dick Oslund
On Feb 26, 2017, scotchrocket wrote:
On Feb 25, 2017, imgic wrote:
Sometimes I find myself spending more time googling terms/names/tricks to find out about them than reading the thread...

Here here! Does this get easier in time? Smile

I like your bit of philosophy! I'm curious! How did a scotsman, get involved in Greek?

In Greek, here's the original quotation: "Das moi pou sto, kai, tyn gyn, kineso! (This "infernal electrisch peckenclacker, aint got no Greek alphabet(s)) In the original it's "Give me a place to stand, and, I will move the world!" IIRC, it was Archimedes, who said "dat", I AINT THAT old! --honest!

Ya gotta beware of them there googles!

If you have a specific question, ask it in the appropriate forum. Of course, don't ask about how "them tricks" are DONE! (Never ask a magician, how a trick is done!)

I'll reiterate! >>> TARBELL!!! <<<! Tarbell is available in 8 bound volumes, at about $20/volume, or, you can get the original correspondence school course, PHREE! (pdf) I was born too soon to know how pdf works, but someone in the Café will know.
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Profile of malaki
Welcome to the forum! I hope you will find the information and fellowship you seek.

The book that I always recommend to my apprentices is The Amateur Magician's Handbook, by Henry Hay. It has a great variety of magical means that will give you something to think about when shopping for your venue. It is the book with which I began.

BTW... The oldest trick in the book is literally the Cups & Balls. Carefully matched bowls and pebbles thought to be an early version of the Cups & Balls were found in early cave dwelling sites as long ago as 50,000 BCE.*

* Timeline of Magic - Malaki Dracwin
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