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Topic: Practicing..
Message: Posted by: Zephury (Nov 27, 2013 10:17PM)
So with numerous tricks, before I perform for my family, I try to do the trick 100 times consecutively without a mistake, once I do that, I move on to working with my little sister (who is 7, doesn't catch a lot of mistakes), but for some reason whenever I go to show older people or adults, I get nervous and make mistakes. 100 times in a row, flawlessly, yet that one time I show someone else, I fail. How can I work on this? Do you guys have any ideas on how to truly build confidence and stop getting so nervous?
Message: Posted by: Bulla (Nov 27, 2013 10:26PM)
You just need to start performing more. Start out with things that don't require sleight of hand but rather rely on subtle principles. This way there isn't anything for them to "catch," and in turn you'll gradually get more comfortable in front of people.
Message: Posted by: bowers (Nov 27, 2013 10:37PM)
The more you perform in front of
the one's that make you nervous
the better it will get.
Todd
Message: Posted by: Old Market Magician (Nov 27, 2013 11:07PM)
It's ok to be nervous. Everyone is when they are first performing magic. Unlike other forms of art, the spectator's opinion of you really rides on whether or not you "fool" them; at least that's often the thought of a beginner. Over time, you'll come to find that the audience is merely only looking to be entertained. You're learning magic because it's fun. Keep it fun. If you love the magic trick you're performing, then the people you're performing for will most likely enjoy it too.
Message: Posted by: PaulSharke (Dec 2, 2013 06:33PM)
[quote]
On 2013-11-27 23:17, Zephury wrote:
... I get nervous and make mistakes. 100 times in a row, flawlessly, yet that one time I show someone else, I fail.[/quote]

What's missing in your practice sessions yet present in your performance?

Tension.

To be exact: emotional anxiety, which causes physical tension.

Actors face this challenge too. (Most of my training is as an actor.) You can seek to reduce tension during your performances. You can also learn to refashion anxiety to your benefit. (Remember, tension is physical and anxiety is emotional.)

Learning to reduce tension is a matter of intent inner mindfulness. Notice, in the moment -- whether it's in your day-to-day life or during performance -- that tension's accumulating in your muscles. Just make a little mental note of it: "Oh. I'm tense. I'm tense in my [location]. I noticed the tension when I started to think about [subject]." The eventual goal here is to catch yourself AS YOU BEGIN TO BECOME tense, and to CHOOSE to relax instead. It takes time, practice, mindfulness to reduce unnecessary physical tension.

Learning to refashion emotional anxiety is the second way to approach the problem. (Both approaches should be used, in tandem.) First, when you become anxious, gently remind yourself that tension and anxiety are separate things. There's no reason your body should "go along for the ride" when your brain starts to worry, worry, worry. Second, you can examine the roots of your anxiety. It's probably not necessary to enter therapy at this point (!) but it can be helpful to do a little reflection about why performance leads to anxiety so quickly.

As an actor, one of the most helpful pieces of advice I ever heard about combating "stage fright" went something like this: Folks who go see a play -- or a magic show! -- WANT YOU TO SUCCEED. Your audience is rooting for you! As an actor, or a magician, treat your audience likewise. Perform with the attitude "I can't wait to SHARE something WONDERFUL with you."
Message: Posted by: yankay37 (Dec 11, 2013 09:56AM)
I believe that sometimes you have to run before you walk. Practising 100 times is overkill.
You have to practise until you feel comfortable with the movements/slights/whatever, and then go to some teens, younger adult relatives and friends and try it on them one by one.
THIS is where you actually learn. You need to me in front of a real person who is watching your hands, and feel the adrenaline to understand exactly how you should move. Practising with yourself will not teach you this.
Message: Posted by: Mercutio01 (Dec 11, 2013 10:09AM)
As a teacher, I ran into this problem the first year or so with every new class. I think PaulSharke's advice is right on the money. At some point, the being in front of people ceases to be as much a concern, and then the focus shifts back to entertaining or enlightening (I try to do both). The pressure doesn't go away completely, and that's probably a good thing because it keeps you on your toes, but standing up and doing things teaches you as much as reading and practicing things. It's something I still have to convince myself with respect to my magic.
Message: Posted by: Zephury (Dec 11, 2013 12:06PM)
Thanks for the advice. I've definitely realized that you can't teach yourself certain things like that. Do you guys have any advice on finding a teacher or attending a class for magic? The only ones I have knowledge of is Chavez's school, and the tannen's camp that's for 8 days a year or whatever it is.. But I live in Florida. About 2 hours north of Miami. What's the odds of calling up a professional in the phone book and instead of wanting to pay him to perform... pay him to teach me and him actually doing it? I know that most magicians I've ever met guard their secrets well. Which I definitely admire.. A magician should guard his secrets well. But how do you find a teacher? :P
Message: Posted by: Mercutio01 (Dec 11, 2013 04:45PM)
If you find out, let me know. No one local to my area either that I can find. There used to be a SAM ring nearby me in NJ, but it apparently disappeared a few years before I moved here. The nearest I can find is almost 2 hours away. I've contented myself with books for now, but I keep looking.
Message: Posted by: MentalMidget (Dec 11, 2013 11:27PM)
Zephury, if you haven't looked already, be sure to see if there are any magic clubs/organizations in your area.

As to your idea of calling up a magician and requesting lessons -- the most likely difficulty I could see you encountering would be his schedule. Another problem might be that, even if they're open to it, it will likely be a new and daunting idea for them. I competed in speech and debate for nearly ten years and did quite well - but, when I started coaching, it took me a few months just to figure out where to start and how to help my students *learn* in stead of just talk at them. Teaching (good teaching, anyway) is a lot harder than it might seem. One final thought, before making any calls, try to check them out online and see if they seem like someone you'd want to learn from before ringing them up.

Even so, it wouldn't hurt to try calling a couple though and just seeing what they say. Worst case scenario, you won't be any worse off than you are now.

All of that said, a lot of people start off learning by themselves though and, honestly, it's a pretty good way to learn something like this. Books aren't always the most exciting things in the world but magicians tend to be pretty entertaining authors. Get your hands on as many good magic books as you can, work on effects that interest you, look for every opportunity you can find to practice/perform and just see what happens.

There's no perfect system to mastering magic beyond doing it....so just do it and have fun.
Message: Posted by: Zephury (Dec 12, 2013 01:12AM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-12 00:27, MentalMidget wrote:
Zephury, if you haven't looked already, be sure to see if there are any magic clubs/organizations in your area.

As to your idea of calling up a magician and requesting lessons -- the most likely difficulty I could see you encountering would be his schedule. Another problem might be that, even if they're open to it, it will likely be a new and daunting idea for them. I competed in speech and debate for nearly ten years and did quite well - but, when I started coaching, it took me a few months just to figure out where to start and how to help my students *learn* in stead of just talk at them. Teaching (good teaching, anyway) is a lot harder than it might seem. One final thought, before making any calls, try to check them out online and see if they seem like someone you'd want to learn from before ringing them up.

Even so, it wouldn't hurt to try calling a couple though and just seeing what they say. Worst case scenario, you won't be any worse off than you are now.

All of that said, a lot of people start off learning by themselves though and, honestly, it's a pretty good way to learn something like this. Books aren't always the most exciting things in the world but magicians tend to be pretty entertaining authors. Get your hands on as many good magic books as you can, work on effects that interest you, look for every opportunity you can find to practice/perform and just see what happens.

There's no perfect system to mastering magic beyond doing it....so just do it and have fun.
[/quote]

thank you for your advice. I've gotta get out there and tackle performing.. I know a lot of different tricks by now and I can do many of them without error but I'm still unsure of how to present myself to someone for a performance nor how I'd comprise my routines.. I've gotta work on my patter too. I still feel pretty far away from doing it. I feel like I'm holding myself back.
Message: Posted by: Matthew Rider (Dec 12, 2013 07:20PM)
Zephury, I would try holding off on learning new tricks for a little bit while you focus on making what you already do better and more entertaining. I'm not sure how long you've been into magic for, but, like anything, it's a process that you have to go through. Don't rush, take your time, and you'll get there. Also I would say get out there as much as possible and perform in front of strangers. This is probably the best advice I can give you to help you become a better magician - Performing arts, particularly magic, are not something that you can learn how to do well through practicing alone. You need the experience in front of real audiences. I hope that helps you. :)
Message: Posted by: Zephury (Dec 12, 2013 10:29PM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-12 20:20, Matthew Rider wrote:
Zephury, I would try holding off on learning new tricks for a little bit while you focus on making what you already do better and more entertaining. I'm not sure how long you've been into magic for, but, like anything, it's a process that you have to go through. Don't rush, take your time, and you'll get there. Also I would say get out there as much as possible and perform in front of strangers. This is probably the best advice I can give you to help you become a better magician - Performing arts, particularly magic, are not something that you can learn how to do well through practicing alone. You need the experience in front of real audiences. I hope that helps you. :)
[/quote]

Yeah.. I definitely need to work on my double lifts. After asking around about whats most important, I can definitely agree.. a lot of people have said to take note of most magician's double lifts.. And it's really true.. 99% of magicians that I've seen perform have had a really unnatural double lift. It's one of my top priorities right now to get a really good double lift. I watched a video on youtube called "the best of Dai Vernon" and the things he mentioned about double lifts and other principals really did make me take note of things. Cards are light and should be handled gentile. Too much focus or pressure on one card causes it to be unnatural.. I went to every person in my family and just asked them to turn over the top card on the deck and every single one of them pushed the top card over with their thumb and turned it over with their right hand just as a push off double lift. That's definitely what I'll work on mastering.

The video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=te-hmawIyAU
Message: Posted by: krowboom (Dec 16, 2013 10:19PM)
Don't obsess over a single slight. Do like others on this thread advised. Perform, perform, perform until you're not nervous anymore. The best gig is close up where different people are walking by your booth or stand or whatever. That way you do the tricks over and over again. Before you know it you can do the trick without thinking about it so you are concentrating on your patter which is the most important thing anyway. That's how Steve Martin got to be good in magic. He worked at a stand in Disneyworld and did the same tricks over and over again.
Message: Posted by: Michael Graves (Dec 18, 2013 12:57PM)
As the professor once said...." I would rather to ten tricks great, then do 100 ok ones"
Message: Posted by: Flyswatter (Dec 18, 2013 01:08PM)
That's interesting, I sometimes practice in front of my 7 year old sister and she always catches the imperfection that many many adult specs have over looked. Which forced me to rethink and perfect my routines much faster than if I only practiced.
Message: Posted by: Michael Graves (Dec 18, 2013 01:30PM)
Ill post later why kids see things that adults don't.
Message: Posted by: TheBruceBeat (Dec 18, 2013 01:37PM)
My background is as an actor. I worked professionally for 30 years, and nerves are part of performance. In acting, the cure for me was going onstage and becoming involved in the artificial reality of the show, investing in it and living in it. I have limited experience performing magic for people, but the same seems to be true here as well. We create a narrative using patter to tell a story, to give a context to doing tricks. Without it we will seem hackneyed and arbitrary, and we have all seen magical performances that seem like nothing more that a series of tasks that have been serially accomplished.
Who cares?
Once the narrative is there, investing in the sharing of that story is the best cure to nerves that I know of.
Message: Posted by: MAV (Dec 25, 2013 08:51PM)
If you were looking for a magician to give you advice or lessons you might think that you would want to find the greatest one around. However, that could be a mistake. Just because someone is a great magician does not necessarily mean they would be a great teacher. Those are two different skill sets.

It has already been mentioned above, but I too encourage you to locate a local magic club. Membership costs are minimal, you can get great free advice from the locals, they have lectures where you can learn new effects and watch other amateur presentations, plus you can present magic to the group, where you will receive quality feedback and help reduce your anxiety and nervousness.
Message: Posted by: mrmakeithappen (Dec 26, 2013 05:57PM)
[quote]
On 2013-12-18 13:57, Michael Graves wrote:
As the professor once said...." I would rather to ten tricks great, then do 100 ok ones"

[/quote]

Good advice
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Dec 26, 2013 06:29PM)
About 30 + years ago, a couple of the card guys in Chicago planned to tease ED MARLO. They spread the word that there was a gorilla in the Lincoln Park Zoo that could do a good double lift. They thought that this might stimulate a good discussion when the card guys met on Saturday afternoon at the Greek restaurant near Magic Inc.

Eddie didn't even blink an eye! He asked the group: "Does he use a push off, or a strike?

I'm quite definitely NOT a cardician! I'll admit to having read Erdnase when I was 14, but I never got "infected"! I learned fanning, and fancy shuffles. I do enjoy watching a GOOD card man. I've had the privilege of meeting and knowing men like Alex Elmsley, Ricky Jay, Dai Vernon, Charlie Miller,Jon Racherbaumer,Chuck Schulien, et al. I just sit there and watch(ed) with awe, when they picked up a pack!

I do know this: It takes TIME and TALENT! + A LOT OF PERSISTENCE! You can't buy any of those things "over the counter"!
Message: Posted by: acesover (Dec 26, 2013 07:40PM)
Many times when you perform for friends and family it is not so much getting nervous. While that is definitely part of it. I feel that a bigger part is being self conscious. Not exactly the same thing. You begin to go completely out of character that they know you are. You are fighting two demons. The actual performing of the effect and trying to overcome your phony way of talking and acting. By that I mean. You start to use patter which is nothing like you really act or talk. You are coming across as being phony and you sense that and they feel it. You are acting weird to them and not being yourself. Already you are putting so much pressure on yourself. You know you can perform the effect as you already did it 100 times. That is not the problem. The problem is the circumstances involved here are unnatural and phony. You know it and so do they.

My suggestion would be to try and talk to them as you normally would and work your patter around being natural with them. You cannot come off like Richard Osterlind to them because they know that is not how you act or talk. Start with something simple like saying. I am going to show you something and I want you to tell me what you think. As opposed to. I was away on a trip and met this gypsy woman who gave me this deck of cards and said that you will know when to use them etc, etc...it sounds like to much BS because they know you did not meet this gypsy woman and you weren't anywhere in the last 6 months but home and seeing them every day.

However if performing for strangers you can use any kind of manner you want as they are strangers and do not know how you really act. I hope you understand what I am trying to say here. More than likely you are showing them an effect you just learned and do not really have an act prepared. You are showing them a trick...You do not show people tricks you perform effects and entertain them. So by asking them something as simple as, tell me what you think of this and begin your performance in a most natural way not imitating someone you watched do the effect but be yourself to family and friends. You now do not have to act as a complete other person. All you have to do now is perform the effect and concentrate on that alone. Which you know you can do as you already did it 100 times. It should remove much of your anxiety which is what messes up your performance.
Message: Posted by: bowers (Dec 27, 2013 12:15AM)
I always felt more pressure from family or friend's
when I was doing a show than a crowd I didn't know at all.
I think you feel you have to prove that your a good magician.
Todd
Message: Posted by: Poof-Daddy (Dec 27, 2013 01:04AM)
I may have missed it if someone else already said it, but as for stage fright or general nervousness of getting caught. Always remember - "Don't Run If You're Not Being Chased" you will realize in time, exactly how much spectators miss because they don't even know the method exists and they have no idea what to look for. Practice till you get it, then try it out. If you get caught or make a mistake - Learn from it. It happens to all of us from time to time but until you perform for several audiences, you cant really learn audience management. Keep it up, it will get better with time and real world practice.
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Dec 27, 2013 02:22AM)
Poof! 1350!!! (I didn;t know that card guys could count that high!!! (HEE HEE)

Youse have quoted the late & Honorable AL BAKER! ("...Don't run if you arent beibg chased!"). If you look back far enough, you'll find him on the cover of "SPHINX". (early '40s)

He was well known for his "Letters to Harold" (a mythical young magician to whom, Al would offer advice). Al had a very dry wit! I remember his suggestion to Harold, who was having a problem with the classic force. Al wrote: "So, you're having a problem with the "CF". You say that when you offer the fanned deck, the person takes the card just above
"the" card. Well, move "the" card up one before you offer the deck!"

Me!? I use Hurling Bull's "invention". (as recommended by EDDIE FIELDS (of INVISIBLE DECK FAME) a "SEVENGALI".

Yr's 'til the deck is shuffled!
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Dec 27, 2013 02:27AM)
Before someone jumps on the typo above.....Al never said "beibg"!
SEVENGALI is not a typo. That's what Eddie called Hurling's deck. ==I 'usta" pitch them there decks!
Message: Posted by: Quentin (Dec 27, 2013 04:57AM)
There is a difference between practice and rehearsal.

Practice is learning the moves and the handling. Then you need to put words to your presentation. It is a bit like learning the piano. You practice with the left hand and you practice the notes with the right hand, then you try both hands together. Then nothing seems to work, but keep at it and the hands will learn to work together and you will have a melody. With magic you practice the handling, then the words - your patter, until they flow together.

Then comes rehearsal when you run through the whole presentation as though the audience was present. This helps you work out the misdirection and blocking. Blocking could be where you stand in relation to the audience so they don't see anything they shouldn't, or where you place something for later use so it doesn't intrude on what is happening now. During rehearsal, you imagine what might go wrong and deal with it as though it were really happening.

The best advice is to start with self-working tricks and when you feel relaxed and the audience is enjoying you, do a few moves like DL's or a palm or a classic force that have absolutely nothing to do with the trick. That will help with your misdirection and timing, so when you really do need to use those moves under fire, you already have some experience with them.
Message: Posted by: Madloxxx (Jan 2, 2014 06:55AM)
At the moment, I have the same problems as you have. I practised a slight 100 times and it worked without a problem but then showing the whole routine a audience and it fails becaus my hands were shaking and I was very nervous.

Now I developed another method for me to learn sleights. I practise not only the slight at itself, I do the whole routine. Then I often change what I'm practise. For me its good to learn 2 - 3 sleights / tricks at practing session. I repeat all 2 or 3 for like a half to an hour. I noticed, that it isn't good for me to practise more than 1 hour without a break. I prefer to practise more than once a day.

The problem with beeing nervous at performing has a simple solution for me: More performing with strangers (not family / girlfriend / boyfriend). It's the only way for me to learn to handle my fear from failing.

Hope that helped.

Greetings

Madloxxx
Message: Posted by: Logan Five (Jan 7, 2014 12:34PM)
Practice in public. I work with my cards and other things at my local Starbucks. Practicing there provides lots of noise, people talking with one another, it's almost like working a gig.

All the best,

L5