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Topic: How To Practice
Message: Posted by: Steven Webb (Nov 23, 2013 02:25PM)
I posted this on the beginners forum because I yhought it was relevant. I'm reposting it here to see if anyone else has suggestions.

The key to learning magic, anything even, always seems to boil down to practice, practice, practice. Obviously, it is very important. My question, however, is: How do you practice?

Personally, I have a lot of trouble in this area. I buy a new book or DVD, like Al Schneider's Theory and Practice of Magic Deception and devour it quickly but by the time I get to his vanish and Expansion of Texture, I have trouble making myself practice.

So, in essence, how do you practice? What do you do? When, where, how, how long? Thank you.
Message: Posted by: Head Case (Dec 11, 2013 04:22AM)
FORCE YOURSELF at first to plow though the WORK part of it.

Honestly, the only REAL way to get REAL practice in from REAL people, is to really go out and just perform for people. I don't know how old you are. But when I pick up a new effect and want to put it though its paces. I just head down to the bar, have a couple drinks and let it rip.

Just like Gregory Wilson said, Your going to suck in the beginning. So go out and get your sucky-ness out quickly at a random hang out spot.

Your not going to ruin magic or be hated forever if you mess up in front of people. In fact its better to go and mess up in front of REAL RANDOM people and have them call you on stuff so you know what to fix exactly.

Just my $0.02
Message: Posted by: Atom3339 (Dec 11, 2013 11:14AM)
PRACTICE takes 1) Time, 2) Understanding and Follow-through of what you want to accomplishment and, 3) Dilligence with correct repetition. It is an INVESTMENT of all these things to produce the outcome you desire. You have to be willing to make this investment. That is the first decision.
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Dec 11, 2013 01:43PM)
It's all in your attitude.

Give yourself permission to have several Magical toys close-at-hand around your easy chair or where ever you find yourself with free time.

Whenever you get bored pick up some Magic and play. I only practice as long as it is fun.

Practice is one of the JOYS of Magic as a hobby. Why get a hobby you don't like?

I can't agree with Derek's advice. Having a drink and performing an unfamiliar effect would be a disaster for me (and my audience).
I always practice quite a bit before showing it to anyone but my partner (but honestly the first real people try can still be rocky).

Derek's plan works for Derek.
I have my own ways. See what feels right for you and give it a try. You'll find your own "what works" by trial and error if you jump in and get started. Getting started is the important part.
If you try something and it doesn't work you can toss out that regimen and try another.

-Mary Mowder
Message: Posted by: Mark Boody Illusionist (Dec 11, 2013 07:40PM)

This should be your next investment in your magic http://www.geraldedmundson.com/tof1/bookorder.htm This will help you in so many different ways, it is a fantastic read with real world solutions to your questions.

Message: Posted by: Steven Webb (Dec 13, 2013 09:30PM)
Thank you all for the responses. You've all answered my questions in better ways than the other forum did(though I appreciate the effort they put in).

Derek Castillo:

It is a hard truth to hear but a good one. The part about forcing yourself seems especially true as I really have trouble pushing myself to practice. I can sit down and practice my overhand shuffle but I'm not doing anything new as it's something I've been working on for a few months new. The bar part is hard because I do not drink and I'm not a very social person. One of the reasons I wanted to get into magic was to open some social possibilities up. It is a little hard with a wife and three young kids.


Trying to make that investment is the hard part. I've never sat down to learn a skill before. I've always been an academic who learns things easily. I've never had to "practice" something. I'm sure the investment is worth it. I haven't seen much payoff yet but I haven't put much in to see a payoff. As my teacher says "A painter can look at his painting and see beauty. A musician can play a piece and enjoy its wonder. No magician can perform something and be amazed by it."

Mary Mowder:

Thank you. You are a true fountain of truth. I have yet to implement your journal of progress but I bet it would help a lot here. Keeping fun is hard. How do you take something so routine as practicing a vanish and make it interesting and exciting? The "Why pick up a hobby you don't think is fun?" is a little scary as I do find magic fun, I just find practice difficult. I always have a deck of cards, three silver half dollars, and a Rubik's Cube for The E******** C*** near me, along with a variety of books and DVDs. I love to read theory and history of magic, I struggle with the practice part. Again, echoing the others just starting is how to go and I have trouble with that.


Another book? It sounds intriguing but with the amount of money I've spent on books, DVDs, tricks, and cards, I'm not sure if I can afford another book yet. I've bookmarked it for future reference.

Thank you for your thoughts. I'm going to try to integrate what I've read and see where it takes me.
Message: Posted by: Mary Mowder (Dec 13, 2013 10:43PM)
The overhand shuffle is just a bit away from a jog shuffle.
Think how much you'll enjoy having a control like that in your hip pocket.

You may wish to check out Mr Mystoffolees' "Who will Stand with Me" thread in this forum.It is a group of folks who practice together, separately.
Read the rules on the first page and skip to the end and join. We don't all follow the rules but checking in with our progress with the other members is encouraging and makes us a little more responsible.

If you settle into the details of practice, how well the move works, the timing, The natural movement, the feel and sound of the cards. It can be like a tea ceremony.
Practice calms you and helps focus in the moment and on the goal of the moment.


Message: Posted by: Head Case (Dec 18, 2013 09:17PM)
Get one of the videos from gregory wilson like off the cuff or on the spot. or even his penguin magic lecture. and watch and re-watch it over and over. Watch the way he acts, how he leans in and out of "frame" not out of camera frame but the frame he sets around the magic, how his wording makes the off-beats to be able to create misdirection, and also how he interacts with people (You say you having a hard time being social)

The reality of it is.. There are a few paths you can go down with magic. You can either be a closet magician that sits and practices constantly but never performs for people because its "never ready". -or- you can be a magicians magician that finds the most impressive / technical ways to do effects that your still will impress other magicians. -or- you are a magican that performs for laymen, and just like to perform and show people a good time.

And Im sticking by what I say, which applies to everyone, and everything... to get better at something / or overcome a fear or anxiety of something... You have to get out and DO IT over and over and over until it becomes natural. Until the fear is gone, the awkward feeling fades away. Until you become proficient at the effect / routine / move that you are trying to accomplish.

Practice by doing. Not reading.

Its all just about the path you want to go down.

Obviously this is all just my opinion. But it works for the majority of people I know also.

As far as getting started practicing. don't try and do it all. Its kinda of like trying to get the ball rolling on a task, or working out. Just do 1 thing. Just take your cards out, after that, then just work on 1 move, then on 1 routine, then on linking 1 routine smoothly into another. etc etc.. But it all starts with taking the first step.

Let me give an off topic example. I have been sick and laying in bed for over a year now from a disease. And I need to start working out again for rehab. However just trying to put the weights onto my home gym in taxing enough. Until I read an article that explained what I said just above. Just make the first step. so for me. the first step is just as simple as taking the clamps off my weight bar and changing one side of the weights. Easy enough right? well once I get done doing the first side.. Look at that..IM now up, and at my weight set. moving the weights and getting set up for my workout.... If I were to think about setting up the weight set, doing the workout, pushing myself, cleaning it all up etc.. I don't end up doing anything. But if I just taking 1 tiny step (Take off the bar clamp) it gets you at least there doing SOMETHING. and gets the ball rolling. You can apply that to practice as well.. or anything really.

All the best to you.
Message: Posted by: landmark (Dec 19, 2013 10:51AM)
I've found that committing myself to a performance date of some kind helps me get focused in my practice more than just about anything else.
Message: Posted by: Gerald (Feb 8, 2014 04:45AM)
Thank you for recommending my book! I do appreciate it. Reviews at:


Thanks again, Mark!

Message: Posted by: Mark Boody Illusionist (Feb 8, 2014 07:07AM)

It's a "small" investment that will pay dividends for the rest of your life. It's wise to invest in things that makes us better performers, we all own enough tricks already (myself included). Good luck.

Message: Posted by: Soniczjx (Dec 13, 2015 04:43PM)
I agree Head's opinion, you should practice and then go out to perform, that triggered you to study more sleights and practice more. Just my two cents.