(Close Window)
Topic: Suggestions for Warm-Up Routine
Message: Posted by: Cody Comet (Dec 16, 2007 11:28AM)
Hey everybody, whats up? In this topic, what I want is some suggestions on how to develop a warm-up routine for my act. I don't want a canned warm-up routine, just some suggestions on how to develop my own warm-up routine. Anything will be appreciated.
Message: Posted by: mcharisse (Dec 16, 2007 11:58AM)
Just be creative and remember what you want to accomplish -- getting their undivided attention and setting the ground rules for the show. This first is pretty easy, really, kids pay attention to magic, in my experience. The second is up to you -- I've tried a lot of things: Goofy props (foam rubber rock in shoe, toy pop-gun, electric deck) to segue into something magical. Lately, I've been doing a little thimble magic in the warmup as well - the kids really like a little bit of hand magic - establishes your cred as a magician and you can get them talking, pointing and saying magic words.
The other day I did a librarly show and started by asking kids how many knew they were supposed to be quiet in the library say SHHHH real loud. Then, how many knew they were supposed to be real noisy at a magic show, say abracadabra real loud. Then I showed a silk, called it a balloon, with all the kids disagreeing, then changed the silk into a balloon, did needle through balloon, along with a "do not try this at home" warning. When I popped the balloon, I said, "Now that I have everybody's attention, it's time to start the magic show."
I think you can afford to experiment with warm-ups, as they have only to accomplish a little, and really the show should build from there.
Hoep that gets you thinking...

Message: Posted by: Cody Comet (Dec 16, 2007 12:03PM)
Thanks, and that most certinatly got me started on the right path.
Message: Posted by: ROBERT BLAKE (Dec 16, 2007 12:36PM)
Blendo is a great start. show the kids the silks and let them call what color it is. then let them do a magic spell and all silks join to one big silk.
Message: Posted by: Cody Comet (Dec 16, 2007 06:49PM)
That's a great idea Robert! Why haven't I thought of that before?
Message: Posted by: KC Cameron (Dec 17, 2007 08:47AM)
Warm up is a time where I let the kids know my personality. If I am waiting to start, I pace in front and stare at the kids with a slightly strange look. They start nervous giggling, and in an over-the-top style, I tell them "No Laughing". Of course, this starts them laughing more, and I get a lot of eye contact. I also say "NO SMILING" which always brings grins and laughter. I act frustrated with them, but in a way that they know I am just playing.

When the show starts, I spend a lot of time getting them good and loud using my magic words and motions. When they are about as loud as they will get, I start the magic.

This way my magic always starts with a bang. I get a lot of eye contact which helps control the kids, and lets them know they are going to have a good time. I do this in both school shows and BPs.
Message: Posted by: harris (Dec 17, 2007 08:51AM)
A class or series of workshops on improvisation is suggested. They have helped this nearly normal one.

Props from Whose Line is it anyway is a fun one. Practice with things in different rooms at your house and friends and families as well.

Caution don't pick up a heavy round table and pretend it is a steering wheel..
Great laugh at the time but PAIN for this un thinking comic the next couple of days..

My library shows sometimes start with a 20 minute warm up depending on when the first family shows up....not a steady 20 minutes but different bits..based on the season the people and my mood.

Something as simple as a SPS idea of rolling a ball to and from a small child.
Hint ..I usually roll it to an adult first.

Message: Posted by: honus (Dec 17, 2007 10:49AM)
On 2007-12-17 09:51, Harris wrote:
Something as simple as a SPS idea of rolling a ball to and from a small child.
Hint ..I usually roll it to an adult first.[/quote]

I usually play catch with them with an invisible ball. ("Ever seen one of these before? No? That's because it's INVISIBLE!") At some point, the ball becomes visible (a sponge ball), leading into my first routine.
Message: Posted by: Jef Eaton (Dec 17, 2007 11:23AM)
Kandu here.The color changing ball to square is a nice opener. Play a guessing game with the kids. Tell them they have to watch the magician's hands because they are reaaly fast. Put the ball in your right hand and have them guess and,more importantly, point to where it is (hold your arms outstretched to the sides of your body). Of course it is in your left. Do it again. Th third time you sneak it out and put it into your pocket (they go crazy). Last time there is a square in one hand, another colored ball in the other and the original colored ball is back in your pocket where you started out. I use a yellow ball inside because I find the black one stains the square.
Message: Posted by: Cody Comet (Dec 17, 2007 03:18PM)
Hey everyone, thanks for the great ideas and keep them good ideas coming!
Message: Posted by: NJJ (Dec 17, 2007 04:53PM)
Rather then suggesting routines I thought I might suggest some psychological techniques that can be applied to warm up routines.

1) Reward the children for correct behaviour. e.g. a game where you have a prize for the best clapper etc.

2) Have the children follow a set of simple instructions. This will remind them they are not watching TV and also condition them to do what is expected later on.

3) Set up a 'magic word' that, when spoken, will get the children sitting down and quiet. This is your emergency button for when the kids get TOO excited. Make following the magic word FUN.

4) Ensure the children are sitting in a specific spot from the start of the show. e.g. a magic carpet.
Message: Posted by: disneywld (Dec 17, 2007 06:40PM)
I do an interactive dye tube routine. It warms me and the kids up.
Message: Posted by: Cody Comet (Dec 17, 2007 07:26PM)
Very good ideas from everyone so far, I'm starting to get an idea of what I want to do, but still keep the advice coming!
Message: Posted by: Michael238 (Dec 19, 2007 05:41PM)
Blooming boquet works well also.
Message: Posted by: TheAmbitiousCard (Dec 19, 2007 06:02PM)
Robert Blake usually has the best ideas in the business.
When he talks, you should listen....

Actually, I often use a quick blendo routine in my "busking" act as a warm-up.
Message: Posted by: Cody Comet (Dec 19, 2007 07:05PM)
Thanks for noting that Frank and thanks for your suggestion mrlucky! And thanks to everyone for welcoming me in kindly to the Magic Café and giving me just the right advice that I needed which rivals advice given by local magic club members, one of which is past IBM president Robert(Bob) Escher. Happy Holidays to all on these forums!
Message: Posted by: johnpert (Dec 20, 2007 09:43PM)
I've had fun with three quick warm up tricks. The kids are conditioned to say the number that I show on my fingers. I say, "Warm-up trick number" They say "One."

I do the trick, move on to two and three.

The tricks are colourful, magical and comical. Examples: (ball vanish with a cloth, Darryl's jumping knot performed using a short routine, vanishing bottle, what's next, silk vanish combined with vanishing wand to relocate the silk,)

Message: Posted by: fuzzysponges (Dec 20, 2007 11:25PM)
I don't get it. How do you warm up with three tricks? I'm half way into my show by then.
Message: Posted by: Danny Hustle (Dec 21, 2007 08:59AM)

Great question!

To answer it you just need to think of what the point of the warm up is. The reason for it is to condition your audience to respond when you want them to in a way you want them to. It is also to educate them about ways NOT to respond, get them laughing, and let them get to know you.

The first five minutes of my show is just interacting with the kids, talking to them, getting them to raise their hands, to respond verbally when I ask them a direct question, and to let them know the rules of the show (in a funny way!). The way in which I deliver it also lets them get to know my character so we start off on the right foot. I saw in another thread that you have some improv training so this is a great way to get them to play with you in a direction that you control, without taking control.

After a few shows, in just a couple of minutes you can start your show with the kids focused, happy, and responding just the way you want them to.

As I said, it was a GREAT question because you didn't ask for a canned warm up, but for thoughts on developing your own. That is very clever. If you know why a thing works you can apply those simple rules to anything you like. Keeping what you want to accomplish in mind with your warm up you should be able to develop something that works a treat just for you. I think you are going to do very, very, well, as a children's entertainer.


Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (Dec 21, 2007 09:46AM)
This is a funny thing my wife and I do at our young shows from time to time. It gets a great reaction.

1) To condition the kids to want to respond and interact and to get them used to raising their hands we do this:

Ok boys and girls rasie your hand if you are here today. If you are hear today raise your hand nice and tall so we can count who is here. 1...2...3... perfect. Hands down.

Ok now riase your hand real high if you are NOT here today. If you are not here raise your hands real high (I always raise my hand here as the kids often will mimic me and then start giggling and laughing). Ok let's count who is not here today. 1....2.....3... Perfect hands down.

Ok now raise your hand if you are just tired of raising your hand? Nice and high for thosw who are tired or raising their hands. hehehe Perfect you guys are going to be just great.

Message: Posted by: harris (Dec 21, 2007 10:30AM)
Sometimes while checking my music I ask if "it is too loud". Volume is set on 0 or

On raising your hand...

Raise your hand if you Can NOT hear me.
Message: Posted by: Cody Comet (Dec 21, 2007 02:37PM)
Danny-Thanks for your advice and your kind words and merry christmas to you!

magic4u02-That sounds like a pretty good warm-up routine, keep working at it and merry christmas!

Harris-That sounds like a pretty good warm-up too and merry christmas!
Message: Posted by: Scott O. (Dec 21, 2007 03:55PM)
I do a variety of warm-ups depending upon the show I'm doing. I was at a birthday this past summer and as I was setting up, all the children came in and sat down to watch "the show". Usually, I'll blow up some balloons and stick them to the wall (ala static electricity) behind me (not my idea, I read that little gem on this very board a few years back) to form a colored 'backdrop'. As I started doing this, the kids oohed and aaahed and started calling out the color I was about to inflate.
I said "Oh, you like red?" as I held a red balloon. "YES" they shouted. "Sorry, I don't have any red balloons," I said as I inflated it and stuck it to the wall. I did this with every balloon. The children (6 year olds) loved it. And I've used it many times since then.

I've also done something similar to what Kyle described. I say "Is everyone here?" "YES," they scream. "OK, raise your hands if you're NOT here." A few always raise their hands. "You're NOT here? OK, we'll have to wait." I look at my watch, and then look up as I whistle a little I'm-waiting-patiently music. If timed right, children and adults will laugh at this. Then I repeat. Each time more and more children are "not there." Sometimes at this point I'll do Terry Herbert's high-pitched counting of the children. Eventually, I just tell them that we're going to have to get started, and then jump right into the show.

These are simple ideas, but they let the children know this guy is going to have some fun with them. So, a warm-up doesn't have to be magical, it just has to let the audience know a little bit about your personality before you get into the meat of the show.

Scott ;).
Message: Posted by: cardcaptor (Dec 21, 2007 07:34PM)

I think one of the best props to have if you want your audience to be warmed up is the Axtell's Off The Meter, its great, I watched the video and its cool for big or small crowds.

Message: Posted by: Cody Comet (Dec 21, 2007 07:35PM)
Thanks for your advice Scott and Merry Christmas to you!
Message: Posted by: Scott O. (Dec 21, 2007 10:37PM)
You're welcome, and a very MERRY CHRISTMAS to you as well!

Scott ;).
Message: Posted by: johnpert (Dec 22, 2007 12:05AM)
"I don't get it. How do you warm up with three tricks? I'm half way into my show by then. "

The purpose of the warm-up for me is to get the audience (mostly children/family audiences) to get involved. This happens by saying the number of the warm-up. The warm-up tricks are quick bits of magic with comedy and interaction. laughter built into it.

So, how do three tricks become a warm-up??? They (tricks) are conditioning the audience to have fun and participate. I don't think time is important, in my opinion, as long as they are enjoying the entertainment.
Message: Posted by: magicianessmagic (Jan 23, 2008 08:14PM)
Hi there. I'm totally NEW to this site and just wanted to thank everyone for their posts! They've been GREAT. I am currently (it's tough!) on a tropical island performing for kids. I'm new to magic but old to performing for kids and I found myself the other day needing a new warm up. So I found ALL of your suggestions sooooo helpful and my new warm up worked a treat!! I'm sitting on a balcony, overlooking my husband sailing on the ocean and laughing and loving where this magic show business has got me! Isn't life one grand adventure?

Thanks sooooooo much everyone, your posts REALLY helped.
Jodie (Magicianess Magic)
Message: Posted by: harris (Jan 24, 2008 07:11AM)
Cody ...what have you worked on, written, played with and or actually used?
What was the result...

Knowing oneself and the different venues, ages, and background of your audiences is very important.

Have fun learning and then sharing your discoveries and creativity.

Message: Posted by: jakeg (Jan 24, 2008 09:01AM)
I've been using "The Letter" as an opener. I end it by 'reading' the rules like never calling on anybody who gets out of their seat, and not crossing the line. our or five minutes, and as good as any warm up I ever tried.
Message: Posted by: Cody Comet (Jan 24, 2008 04:47PM)
Hey Harris, so far, my warm-ups are a clapping contest of sorts that warms the audience up and sets up some groung rules, and I'm working on a version of Sammy Smith's Shrinking Glove to use as a warm-up.
Message: Posted by: harris (Jan 25, 2008 08:11AM)
You might think of adding Googley Eyes to create a puppet with the glove..

Latest glove puppet is made of one of my toe socks...

Along with music and sound jokes to warm up , I include whispering...If you can not hear me raise your hand....

Mr. Smith has shared some great ideas in print and in the lectures of his I attended.

Harris "too old to know everything" deutsch
Message: Posted by: Cody Comet (Jan 25, 2008 08:27PM)
Those are some very good ideas Harris. I'll probably elaborate on some of them, especally the eyes on the gloves. Now that would probably make my routine pretty unique. And Sammy Smith is a genius in our field. I have his two DVD's and they are among the best in my small collection. Thanks for your ideas Harris.
Message: Posted by: PZoom (Jan 29, 2008 08:51AM)
The warm-up I have chosen doesn't really fit in with the rest of my act (since it is mental based), but I find it has been a hit with kids and adults alike.

I give them a bit of patter, borrow a magic wand from someone and then ask for a volunteer. Once I have my volunteer, I give them what I call "The Brain Busters". The routine is simple:

(1) Have the volunteer say the word "Roast" three times out loud quickly. (Try it)

(2) Then ask them "Quick. What do you put in a toaster? Say it out loud!"

(3) If all goes well, the volunteer will say "Toast", to which you can reply something like "Nice try, but you put bread in a toaster and get toast _out_ of a toaster". If it fails, you grumble about the person have too strong of a brain... but there will be some in the audience who were thinking "toast". Somtimes when it fails, I'll shake my head and say "You put toast in a toaster, right audience?" and someone will shout out "Yes". It helps get the effect either way.

It gets laughs, its zany and gets the room warmed up quickly. To make up for the humilation, I give the volunteer an Official Math Magician's Assitant license (a playing card sized license) and a fortune telling fish for helping me out. Once children see there is reward for helping out, you get a lot of participation (if you need it) for the rest of your routine. As a bonus, children will see this as magic they can do with their parents. I'll follow up with two more Brain Busters and then start my routine.

Most of my act is close-up, but I am a big Amazing Kreskin fan and love this mental trick.