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Topic: Stop that shaking
Message: Posted by: danny (Apr 23, 2002 07:56AM)
I know I may get some obvious answers but I am a card man and I practice my tricks and moves to perfection but when I perform I shake because of nerves. What do you guys do to get over your nervousness?
thanx in advance
Message: Posted by: Thoughtreader (Apr 23, 2002 08:02AM)
Nervousness tends to come from uncertainty, and with magicians it can come from uncertainty of their material and the situation. Knowing your material so well that you do not have to even think about it, so that it is all automatic with no thought combined with more experience working in front of people should help immensly.

PSIncerely Yours,
Paul Alberstat
Message: Posted by: grieve (Apr 23, 2002 08:11AM)
I used to experience the same jitters while juggling and while rock climbing the more difficult climbs. I obviously didn't juggle while climbing. :)

I handled the two situations differently.

For juggling, I just kept performing in front of people until I finally gained confidence. It also helps to remember that as a spectator people want the person on stage to succeed. Ask yourself if you ever watched an act, and wanted them to fail (boy bands exluded) :)

For climbing I would actually take a few minutes and ridicule myself. In other words I would carry on about how scared I was in a mocking way and shake and fall on purpose. Doing all of this while on the ground. It looks so ridiculous that everyone starts to laugh, including me. Riding that wave of laughter I would just start climbing. Two moves in I would have forgotten my fears (but not my safety mind you)*, and usually succeed on the climb.

I hope this helps,

*Disclaimer: Rock climbing is a very dangerous sport. It is very easy to die while doing it, and even easier to injure yourself. If you choose to do it, please learn all the proper safety techniques and procedures, and practice them with an experienced instructor.


On 2002-04-23 09:02, Thoughtreader wrote:
Nervousness tends to come from uncertainty, and with magicians it can come from uncertainty of their material and the situation. Knowing your material so well that you do not have to even think about it, so that it is all automatic with no thought combined with more experience working in front of people should help immensly.

PSIncerely Yours,
Paul Alberstat


Excellent point, I should add in my post that I already know how to juggle, and that the tricks I was performing were easy tricks, that I had been doing privately for years. So my nervousness was just plain old stage fright. Not fear about being able to do the trick. The only solution for that fear, as Paul points out, is practice.

Message: Posted by: Jim Morton (Apr 23, 2002 10:57AM)
Jitters aren't that uncommon. Personally, I get the most nervous with stuff that I'm new to. The jitters decrease substantially with effects that I can do in my sleep. I have also noticed that I'm the most nervous during the first five minutes, so I always start with something fairly goof proof. By all means, the best cure for jitters is just doing it.

Message: Posted by: Daniel Meadows (Apr 23, 2002 11:05AM)
Do you perform to people you know? I sometimes get nervous performing to people I do not know so well because I don't always feel comfortable with them yet, it goes away the more you practice. Practice on people you know, until you build up your confidence more.
Message: Posted by: Steve Friedberg (Apr 23, 2002 02:14PM)
One thing, Neil, about performing for people you *don't* know...if you screw up, you'll never see them again!


Always be "on" when you perform...a little bit of nervous is a good thing...but let the fun you derive from mastery of these illusions in private carry you past the jitters.
Message: Posted by: CharlieC (Apr 23, 2002 05:10PM)
Try opening with a simple(r) effect, that might give you the confidence to do more complicated effects without shaky hands.

Make sure you are breathing normally, also. :D
Message: Posted by: Daniel Meadows (Apr 24, 2002 04:46AM)
It may be true that you might not see them again but if you screw up then they take away a poor impression of you AND of magic. Thus you may have "damaged" them for another magician. It bears thinking about.

Suffer- I think you are spot on with the breathing thing, it does make a difference and seems obvious but we often forget about it.

Also, know what you are going to say for each effect too, it takes the pressure of thinking on your feet away.
Message: Posted by: M.P.D. (Apr 24, 2002 05:11AM)
this is obvious enough bbbuuuuuuutttt.... before you do any magic go off into a corner by yourself (without your side-kick, bike) and take a few moments to relax, take a few deep breaths and think about how much they are going to enjoy what they are going to see. plan B slip some mickeys into their drinks and do a snowstorm in china. :pepper: :pepper: :pepper:
Message: Posted by: Gawin (Apr 24, 2002 05:23AM)
Hey man what would be the badest thing that could happen to you.
You mess a trick!
And what about it?
NOTHING - really nothing, everyone has a bad day and this is yours! But next time it will work better as everytime before because you do more practice on it!

Why should you be nervous???

And to come over it - take a deep breath and do something like a ritual. This usually helps - believe me.

Why do you think I do before coming on
"stage" always put a rubberband around my hand. No I donīt do a trick with it but itīs my ritual!
Message: Posted by: Steve Friedberg (Apr 24, 2002 06:46AM)
You're absolutely right about the importance of doing your best whenever you perform, and for whomever. But I'd respectfully take issue with one small point: while each of us represents the craft of magic, we can't presume to bear the burden for the universe of magicians.

Ergo, if we have a bad night, or slip...that reflects more on me than it does other magicians. And I have to deal with that. For instance, I did a set for some folks the other night...15 out of the 16 tricks worked beautifully. The 16th didn't. I said, "hmmm...worked great in the book..." and went on. Later on, I reviewed what went wrong and found out what I had done to slip up. It won't happen again.

But it DID happen. The lesson is to make it better next time...in doing so, I take my own performance to a higher level, and thus reflect a bit more favorably on other magicians as well.

Hope this helps.
Message: Posted by: Martin_H (Apr 24, 2002 10:28AM)
To reduce shaking I can suggest two things:
First try to perform as often as you can for a "real" audience and do things, which you know you can do blindfolded at midnight..
(so you should reduce the things, that could make you nervous - eg no patter for the trick or a difficult slight, ..) If you are comfortable with the feeling of being in "mid of attention" you can choose more difficult tricks and slight of hand.

The second thing is: do some relaxation exercises or meditation (there are much products on CD market).

so far from my view

happy relaxing

Message: Posted by: Daniel Meadows (Apr 24, 2002 03:24PM)
Steve- You are spot on. I re-read my post and it sounded a little too heavy for what I meant. I just meant that just because you are not going to see someone again is not justification for not trying your best. Your post put it better than I did. Cheers.
Message: Posted by: dukenotes (Apr 25, 2002 12:54AM)
I'm a musician as well as a magician. No matter how well I know my material I get nervous anyway before a performance. If you are like me, just realize that it tends to go away during or after the first song (trick?) and the rest of the energy you are left with is really positive.

So I guess if you are like me; try and start with something really simple and perhaps a bit comedic to build your confidence level. Save your more complex stuff for later in the performance.


Message: Posted by: Gawin (Apr 25, 2002 02:30PM)
One more from me.

BE COOL - the audience isnīt your enemy - even if it seems so!!!

Donīt think about it - in some years (months) youīll be familar with them - go on your way and donīt stop!
Message: Posted by: The Bear (Apr 26, 2002 05:05AM)
An interesting idea I once read about regarding public speaking is to visualise the audience as being completely nude, or dressed as clowns! Or maybe combine the two, with the men as clowns and the ladies being nude.

If it doesn't work, at least you will have an interesting view while you perform!
Message: Posted by: Tricky (Apr 26, 2002 04:09PM)
Loads of people say to me "practice until you can do it without thinking" but practicing in a dark corner of your room for hours aint gonna get you there! sure you have to practice lots but nothing can prepare you for a real performance, other than performing. and like the other guy said the first trick is always the hardest, but after that I am usually full of adrenaline and perform the rest of my routine with ease.
Message: Posted by: owenwildboy (Apr 26, 2002 08:26PM)
Some people will always make you feel nervous. Some people will always be sceptical and even if you have fooled them, they will still give you that look as if to say "I know how you do that" even when they don't have a clue!!

If I came across the latter for some tricks I don't even bother. I like entertaining for those who like being entertained. It can be nervous, but it can also exciting too!

Use those nerves to your advantage.
Message: Posted by: Matt Graves (Apr 26, 2002 11:14PM)
I get incredibly nervous, and I don't even perform professionally. I've found that it's actually easier for me to do magic for total strangers than it is to do it for family and/or friends. With strangers, it's like I have nothing to lose; I may never even see them again. And usually, people are very appreciative of what you do, as long as you do it well and in a spirit of fun rather than with a know-it-all attitude. The attitude thing used to be a problem for me; then I got busted good a few times, and I've since learned humility . . .
Message: Posted by: MikeSmith (Apr 28, 2002 02:31PM)
I performed in the British Magical Championships Close Up competition in front of over 1000 magicians and was terrified until about 30 secs before I walked on when I took a deep breath and said to myself," Let's do it". The nerves vanished.

I also play guitar and sing in a couple of local folk clubs in front of maybe 20 people at a time. Every time I get up to play I shake like a leaf. By the time I'm finished I'm shaking even more.

I think the big difference is having confidence in what you are doing. Trouble is, you gain the confidence through performing. Catch 22! That's life
Message: Posted by: Jimmy Lee (Apr 28, 2002 05:11PM)
It's normal to be nervous. I agree with what most of our magical friends have mentioned so far.

But remember, we learn from mistakes too! Once you have enough practice, try to perform to as many people as possible, that's the best way to overcome it.

But remember, if you are not nervous at all, you are one in a million. We are human after all.

Jim. :bluebikes:
Message: Posted by: Rod Lages (Sep 30, 2002 01:06PM)
Just practice. You gain the confidence through performing. Start with friends and family. If you get caught, thatīs ok. You know these people and they probably just gonna laugh at you.

Best Regards,
Rod Lages
Message: Posted by: EsKlibur (Oct 2, 2002 08:04AM)
Hey I'll just add a couple of thoughts to what's already been said:
I found out that stress comes from the fear of the unknown (wow you all knew that, sorry) so try to prepare to the exact conditions. Once you know your routine and patter, practice with conditions close to performance. That is to say:
-Talk exactly as if people were watching (if you're to ask a question, ask it, pause and carry on with a typical response)
-Don't use mirrors. You will tend to look at a fixative point that won't be here when you perform. Instead picture a few spectators (your lamp, screen...) and move your eyes from one to another
-If you mess up, try to get back on your feet. A lot of experience comes from messing up, so try to save it for when you're alone.

Ho and I truly think starting with an automatic trick or a very easy one helps a lot.

Anyway good luck with that! :light:
Message: Posted by: kaasjongen (Oct 3, 2002 09:35AM)
Pour yourselve one scotch...;) It really works.
Message: Posted by: Azaziel (Aug 11, 2005 01:10AM)
I get the jitters with my family sometimes.. I blow it off and just keep going.. act natural. Sometimes its cause your pumped up with adrinalin.
Message: Posted by: WhiteAngel (Aug 19, 2005 09:34PM)
When I'm clogging, playing music, or preforming magic, To keep me from shaking as bad, I curl my toes up in my shoes, and since noone can see this, it's not ambarassing, and it helps realive some of the stress, and of course, like everyone else has said, the more you preform, the more you'll feel comfortable. It will never completely go away though, so learn to control it and get used to it. Best of luck, hope that helps!
Message: Posted by: Jerome Finley (May 25, 2006 03:48AM)
Realize that "fear" and "EXCITEMENT" elicit the exact same responses within the mind and body, use the same chemicals and neuro-pathways to affect the nervous system.

The next time you get the jitters, know that it's not fear, BUT EXCITEMENT!
You're about to perform and your mind/body knows this. It's getting pumped up.
Look at it from a different angle and you will react to it at a different angle.

Go get em'
Message: Posted by: tyrael07 (May 27, 2006 12:43PM)
The funny thing is, I kinda lost the shaking part, but maybe this is just my feeling
but my performance seem to degrade as well. (my audiences didn't react as well as they used to be)

maybe they can't see the enthusiasm that I had in me when I was so excited to perform and I shook?

any clues?
Message: Posted by: daffydoug (May 28, 2006 04:14PM)
On 2002-04-23 08:56, danny wrote:
I know I may get some obvious answers but I am a card man and I practice my tricks and moves to perfection but when I perform I shake because of nerves. What do you guys do to get over your nervousness?
thanx in advance


I VIVIDLY remember my first payed performance decades ago. I was shaking VIOLENTLY! And the effect was not cards, but an effect where I would suspend a glass of water on a glass rod! if that glass dropped, man well, you can imagine.

I learned an important lesson. number one PRACTICE until you can do the effect in your sleep! Number two, confidence, and the cessation of shaking comes with good ol' TIME!
Message: Posted by: daffydoug (May 29, 2006 03:53PM)
Oh yeah, I forgot, the glass was on the BOTTOM of the rod.
Message: Posted by: evolve629 (May 29, 2006 06:40PM)
In addition to practice, practice and practice, one can occupy oneself with say memorization of a dollar serial number so that your mind is not focus on the specs. Sometimes when I'm nervous and I tend to focus on some of my fav. magicians - in terms of their demeanors and quirks (if any) and I can carry myself confidently thinking how confident they carry themselves :)
Message: Posted by: evolve629 (May 29, 2006 07:50PM)
I'd also suggest Ron Bauer's twenty-four performance scripts for magicians to gain confidence and how to use misdirection and direction. Website is at - http://www.thinklikeaconjurer.com/