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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » Practicing Sleights (4 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

hollywoo
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Kentucky
18 Posts

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I won't be specific here about which sleights I'm practicing as I'm not entirely sure what does and does not constitute exposure, but I will say it's the first three steps and the fifth step in the first practice routine in The Royal Road to Card Magic. The book mentions that the magician should practice not looking at his or her hands while performing the sleights, only checking after to see if they were successful by the position of the card(s) involved. That's all fine and everything, but...

1. How do I know what I did looked natural if I'm not looking? Should I practice in front of a mirror? Will doing so give me too much visual feedback and prevent me from learning to do it by feel alone? Should I split 50/50 and do half not looking and half looking? Just look at my hands every once in a while?

2. When do I start practicing the next thing? Should I have mastered this one fully before I even consider the next?

3. Any good video resources for basic card besides the quite expensive Royal Road DVDs? Basically there are a couple moves I think would be easier if I could see someone do them, ideally in slow motion.

4. Any other tips?

I'm not sure if these are reasonable questions or if I'm over-thinking it.
danaruns
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The City of Angels
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All very reasonable and good questions! My take, FWIW:

1. I'm a big advocate of video taping your practice/rehearsal. Mirrors are good, and I practice in front of a mirror all the time. But when I think I'm getting it, I start video taping. Video shows so much more than a mirror does. As you say, you can look away from the mirror and perhaps miss the thing you need to correct. One person I know (actually, I've heard this is common) found that he blinks whenever he does the dirty work, and never once saw it in the mirror. It wasn't until he videoed his practice that he discovered it. So, mirror yes. Video yes, yes, yes.

2. You don't need to have "mastered" (what that means might be different for you than for me -- and the better you get, the more exacting "mastered" becomes) a move before you start working on the next, but you should not load yourself up too much by trying to master too many things at once. I like to have one thing in a fine tuning stage, one thing in a functional but not performable stage, and one "just trying to get the hang of it" stage.

3. I don't know any good video resources, but I'm sure lots of folks here will have great suggestions. I'm a big fan of having live people teach, rather than video. You can get ten times the benefit from an hour with a live person than a month with a video, imho. You just need to make sure you're getting a good instructor. Fortunately for me, I live in L.A. and have easy access to Vegas, so I have had the benefit of many wonderful magicians to learn from. Elsewhere, the pickings might be slim, and video is the best option. But I always try for the best first, and a good live instructor is the best you can get, imho.

4. Practice intensely in short bursts. It's far better to do three 15-minute sessions than one 45-minute session. Practice until you can do it perfectly. Then practice until you never do it wrong. Then practice until you can do it perfectly while reciting a poem or something else that takes all of your brain power. When you can do that last part, you're ready to perform it, and not before. Some basic moves simply require tremendous repetition. For instance, when I was learning the particular DL I like to do (which came from Eddie Fechter, Harry Lorayne and more recently Pop Haydn), I did a thousand of them a day and it was a week before I could do it well, and a month before I could do it consistently without a get-ready. Sometimes you just need to put in the numbers. Other times, it's about something else entirely, like positioning for angle sensitive moves, or some such, so you need to keep focus on whatever the quirk is of the particular move.
"Dana Douglas is the greatest magician alive. Plus, I'm drunk." -- Foster Brooks
hollywoo
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Kentucky
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Thanks! I live in Louisville, so a teacher may or may not be easy to find; I'll have to look into it. But I appreciate the intensely in short bursts thought, especially since I have ADHD and 15-20 minutes of intense focus is a soft cap for me. All of this advice will be very useful. Thank you again.
Ado
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Inner circle
Pittsburgh, PA
1004 Posts

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1. First, make it look natural when you look at it. It won't get better by not looking. Once you make it look natural when you're focused on it, do it as well while not looking. While talking, or counting backwards. Video will help tremendously. A move looks natural when you watch the video and can't tell it's a move anymore.

2. Practice what's needed. You're learning effects, not moves. If the effect's method requires 3 moves, practise those 3 moves. If you want to replace a move by another one, learn that other one, and see which one suits you better. But don't learn a move for the sake of learning it; it's quite wasteful.

3. I like to watch Bebel's performances, because it shows you what a DL can look when done smoothly. It won't teach you how to do it, but it should help you realize that what it can be done well and in a non-suspicious way.

4. Learn full routines well. Very well. And learn to perform them while engaging your audience, instead of learning to talk to your audience while you do the effect.

P!
Chollet
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Don't be fooled by the fact I only have
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I'll jump in with another tip:

When practicing sleights, spend some time practicing the move without doing the sleight. For example, see what it looks like to square up the cards naturally, then work toward making your get-ready for a DL look like that. You can apply this to practically every sleight.

You see, the reality is that the handing during most sleights might not be the way you would naturally handle the cards (or coins, etc)...so you need to focus on making your natural patterns look more like the sleights and vice-versa, if that makes sense?

Best of luck!
Harry Lorayne
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New York City
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I think I must have written it hundreds of times in my books - when practicing any sleight or maneuver, do the action without doing the secret move - and then work at making the sleight look LIKE THAT.
[email]harrylorayne@earthlink.net[/email]

http://www.harrylorayne.com
http://www.harryloraynemagic.com
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