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Profile of KevinHall
Take time to appreciate the basic psychological nuances of each effect. I am talking about things like misdirection, body gestures, patter, the wonderful “power of suggestion” and the all-important element of surprise (meaning the spectators do not know what you are doing till its already done). These basic fundamentals are (I feel) the keys to magic. They encompass every effect. I find these areas to be the most interesting part of performing.

Also don’t reveal the secret. Revealing the secret is like finding out your parents are Santa Claus. The childish look of amazement is the true joy of performing that keeps all magicians enjoying our craft.

As many have stated books are your best bet to learning magic.

Oh yeah, practice, practice, practice.
Kind'a like play'in the piano.

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Profile of magiciandude
I agree for the most part but there is one tiny thing that does not pass in my oppinion. It is that not everybody learns from books the best. Im only 13 but I still have enough experience to know that books arent the easiest thing to learn from some times. Take me for instance, I love reading but I find it hard to learn a trick from a book. I learn hands on like a lot of other people therefore I buy videos. Videos give you a way to see exactly how it is done from a point of veiw that is like watching a mentor teach you a trick. Im not saying that all people learn that way, but some do.

Just thought I would add.
Lance R. Wilson
Magic is the psychology of the audience.
-Lance Wilson
steve proescher
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Virginia Beach
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Profile of steve proescher
Lance, you are not alone. I too have difficulty with books. I have found, though, that the more magic I see and understand from video, the easier it becomes to see and understand the magic on the printed page. My video watching vs. reading is now about 50/50, but I see the trend towards reading.
Chris A.
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Even tho' it may seem harder from the books, it is worth the effort. Use the videos *with* the books, not as a replacement for them.

Using the video only is sort of like watching a movie version of a book to do a book report. You'll get the broad strokes, but you'll lose most of the details.
AKA Chris A.
Keepin' the Funk Alive
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Profile of davidpaul$
Here is a tip to make it easier to learn from a book. Get a tape recorder and read the instructions of the routine you want to learn into it slowly. Then listen to yourself along with cards or whatever in hand. That way you don't have to prop the book open and fiddle with pages turning over. It's a simple matter to rewind......I'm not knocking videos,I have a couple hundred. We as human beings have a habit of copying the style of the performer which is not a good thing.
David Paul Smile
Guilt will betray you before technique betrays you!
Matt Graves
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Huntsville, Alabama (USA)
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Profile of Matt Graves
Some of the best advice I've ever heard (or read, really) was in The Amateur Magician's Handbook by Henry Hay. He said there are only four essential steps in any effect: Show them what's what, get them on the edge of their seats, spring your surprise, and notify them to sit back and applaud. That sounds really simple, but it's helped me have more "impact" sometimes.
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Ontario, Canada
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Profile of techneeqs
If your a beginer and you want to get into cards I recomend Daryls Encyclopedias of card sleights. They come in DVD and VHS, and I'm new to magic and Daryl seems to be a good teacher to me. Check them out if you have a chance.
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Profile of PatUmphrey
There have been several good discussions on this topic. Without saying too much:

I think you have to develop the necessary skills to learn from a book. In other words, you need to practice learning from a book. Gain this skill and you will have a whole new wealth of information, that you may not find on video.

“And you’ve got a perfectly logical reason for showing the cards like this” -Harry Lorayne

“Paging Mr. Herman” –Rafael Benetar
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Profile of Masimax
I think that a Book is a little better because you have to work hard to learn the trick or routine and when you know this it is your version of the trick. It's your own style.
When you learn from a video it more easy but the risk is to reply the "style" of the performer.

I've learned some tricks on video of Ammar and Daryl, but a lot of these where on book that I've read some years ago.

Yes I've learned the timing from the video, it's difficult to learn from a book.
Timing is easy to learn when you perform for real people. It's a must or your performance fails.

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Profile of Priest
I have only used books so far, well, books and people, but I find that it is easiest with books that show detailed photos along the way.

If a book only gives detailed instructions in print, it can sometimes be quite difficult to understand.

Often if I can't grasp a trick, I will go to the internet and try to find a video of the trick (not the secret) being performed. And this usually helps me to understand the visual of working through the trick.

Anyway...just my $.02

"Funk is not something U can buy at the corner store.
It is something that U find deep within Ur Soul!"
.:The One Year Project:. .:Forums:.
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Profile of Chessmann
Videotape yourself.

There's (for me) a big diffence between looking at myself in a mirror doing an effect, and doing it without a mirror.

Example: Doing the Retention Coin vanish felt very awkward without the mirror - I couldn't SEE what I was doing! I taped myself and was amazed at how well I was doing, but THAT was all because of PRACTICE! ;^)

Oh, yes...I almost forgot...PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT! ;^)
My ex-cat was named "Muffin". "Vomit" would be a better name for her. AKA "The Evil Ball of Fur".
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