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Profile of magicwiia
I'm new to magic and doing it for fun with no aspirations beyond that. I'm struggling with learning the routines in Stand Up Monte. There are various phases and I've watched the DVD for hours and will stop and rewind and start again. I've tried doing things a phase at a time but don't feel like I'm building on the phase before it. It seems as though I've hit a wall and can't keep track of routines.

I feel like someone who has gone off-road with his vehicle and got stuck in mud up to the rims. I get out of the car, look at it, and say now how do I proceed from here?

Does anyone have a suggestion of how I should get past this hurdle?
Theodore Lawton
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Profile of Theodore Lawton
Hi magicwiia!

If you're doing magic for fun you might want to try some other "Monte" variations that are easier. Myself and others that perform Stand Up Monte agree that sometimes it can be difficult to remember the routine if you get away from doing it regularly. I haven't done it in a while and will need to refresh before I perform it again. There is a lot to remember in this routine.

Since you're not a regular performer you might get frustrated with having to refresh yourself often with the moves before you want to do it for people. I say this before you take the time to learn it because so many have mentioned this drawback to the routine.

There are easier routines out there you can learn and have fun with as a hobbyist. You may not finish clean with some of them, as is mentioned in the other thread, but who cares? If you do it right it won't matter and you'll be learning to have confidence while having fun. You could do a "monte" that doesn't end clean, put the cards away and go into a coin trick, as an example.

Just my opinion.

But to answer your question, there are a few ways I know of to go about it.

1. Keep chipping away at it. Wear a shirt with a pocket and just keep trying to get it. You will eventually.

2. Use a pad and paper and make your own notes. Then, try it without the dvd. I had to do this. Just short notes with step by step reminders of what cards come or go next. I use this to practice without the video. This was the biggest tool that helped me "get it." With notes you can perform the full routine without the video and having to stop and start it. This helps you to remember what comes next. It's hard to get it all into the memory and still operate the dvd player.

3. Leave out the phases you struggle with. Garrett himself suggests changing the routine around to suit yourself or your performing style. Make it shorter and just focus on the phases you can perform well.

4. Continue to practice the challenging phases you struggle with, but want to eventually perform, until you get those down and then re-insert them back into your shorter routine.

Hope this helps. Whatever you decide - make sure you're having fun!
Magic is the bacon in the breakfast of life.


God bless you and have a magical day
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Profile of MGordonB
As a fellow “just for fun” magician I have come up against the same hurdles that you have.

I agree with everything that Throdore has said. What has worked well for me when learning from a DVD is to break it up into little chunks and write it down as I go. I learn and practice each chunk, following the steps i’ve written down. Before long I got the trick down.

Theodore’s suggestion about learning easier versions is also a good one. Color monte, for example is pretty easy and I’ve gotten good reactions whenever I’ve done them. IMHO there are card tricks/sleights that really require you to be a regular performer. What I mean by that is that for some tricks the routines/moves are such that you need to be constantly practicing and performing it in order to pull it off. One such move for me is the MCF, I can do this move, but I can’t do it well enough to perform it. Now if I were a working performer, and did this move 3 or 4 times a week, i’m sure I could refine it well enough to perform it. That’s not to say I don’t know a lot of tricks, I do. It’s just that I’m focusing on easy to master tricks that don’t require a lot of knuckle busting moves.
Bobby Forbes
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I would not ditch stand up monte for "other" easier routines. It all just comes down to practice buddy. Just do Phase 1 over and over for a few days. don't focus on any other part of the routine except for that one phase. It will become automatic. Your muscle memory will kick in. Then switch to another phase and do the same thing. When you feel like its all clicking, throw it all together and do it over and over. It will stick. This is a great routine. don't give up on it.
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Profile of FlightRisk
I don't know if anyone has developed a mnemonic for this routine or to help you with one, but I couldn't even remember the most basic routines if I didn't do them regularly. Same with song lyrics. Everyone else can sing along to the radio, I usually can't unless I focus on memorizing a song. So, you could build your patter to include hints to yourself as to what to do, OR you can have a mnemonic in your head. It isn't as hard as it seems to do a routine and talk, and in the "background" in your mind you have a little poem or phrase that is relatively easy to remember that guides you through the routine.

I like doing a couple of tricks silently because then I run through the phases in my head and only have to mime things while concentrating on the internal conversation in my head. It would be interesting to see if this trick could be reworked as a mime bit even though there is power in the patter of the swindle that all monte bits have.

I did my mnemonic first for an old packet trick in order to remember all the elmsley and jordan counts, especially when one of the moves required doing a count but remembering on the third try you put the card on the bottom instead of the top and another move counted 3 as 5 which requires pushing cards back to the other hand during the count. Maybe Harry Lorayne can offer a tip for remembering this trick. Other than that, it is wrote memory and lots of practice.
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Profile of landmark
The hard part of being a beginner in anything, be it learning a musical instrument or writing a book is not having a sense of what your learning curve will be. After a while though, you'll be able to understand your own process and not get too freaked out when you seem to hit a snag."OH, okay this is the point where it seems impossible; now I understand what to do, but I just can't get it; Oh, look, I can do it now; then it all falls apart and it's crap; now I give up for a week and then come back to it, hey--it's looking better; uh-oh, no I'm flashing who am I fooling, and so on.

It's a process. One thing we don't do well in schools is teaching students how to learn and what to expect on the path. It's a process. Eventually you'll find what your own learning pattern is. Once you do, you'll accomplish more because you won't give up before the cake is baked.

Ted gave some great suggestions for when you're stuck.
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