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Topic: Introducing magic as a hobby
Message: Posted by: paulmagic (Apr 19, 2014 09:39PM)
If you had 30 minutes to introduce magic as a hobby to pique the interest of 8-11 year old boys so they would want to consider magic as a hobby, what would you do?
Any suggestions? Thanks
Message: Posted by: MGordonB (Apr 19, 2014 09:56PM)
A Svengali deck, a TT and silk and maybe sponge balls
Message: Posted by: rklew64 (Apr 19, 2014 10:11PM)
Show a you tube video...seriously. and the response will not be as immediate as you would like it to be. Is there some tight window of some sort. Would you really think they would want to put in time to learn it right if they knew the workings of those tricks or any trick. Not being a ****er, just realistic. Well, only you would know if any of them might show some attraction to learning magic.
Message: Posted by: paulmagic (Apr 20, 2014 04:13PM)
Thanks for the responses. A bit more background.
This is for a group of 8-11 year boys doing a hobbies badge for ICONZ ( Boys Brigade). This particular project / badge is a hobbies badge, the purpose being to introduce boys to fun and worthwhile hobbies (rather than them just playing PC games, PS, Xbox, or doing aimless stuff , vandalism etc)

Half the boys come from low income families, some no fathers around, families who live on the benefit etc. discipline is an issue for some (hence lacking focus). I have been using magic (i am a hobbyist) in many of my lessons and they enjoy this. Often some will come up to me and ask me to suow them a trick etc.
i do not usually oblige for the reaons of teachin the boys patience, not to demanding amd because I do not want to do a trick without decently mastering it first (most magicians would understand this reason).

One of the hobbies (badge starts in May) we will run (plan to have four, where the boys would break into their sub units and go to stations - a different one each week for 4 weeks). Many unruly, unfocused boys are becoming more focused over the last 6 months - bonding with each other and with us (adult helpers). Attention span, discipline etc has improved among other things so timing for this badge is good.

They like watching the magic I do. But I do not want to reveal how a magic trick is done unless there is genuine interest and some commitment to put in time to practice.
I would have to reveal some magic but I want to reveal a trick or two that is already genrally exposed (minimise magic exposure). Something that will teach that it requires practice and thinking etc but not too hard for a 8-11 year old so that he will give up.

Also, knowing that budget will be a constraint if any is keen, thinking about things like the best kind of magic etc

Message: Posted by: paulmagic (Apr 20, 2014 04:17PM)
And I should add that I am wary of the boys who are the "smart-alec" types whose interest is more of just wanting to know how a trick is done so they can declare the "i know how it is done" etc. :-(
Message: Posted by: jimgerrish (Apr 20, 2014 10:02PM)
One solution I have used in the past was to buy some old magic books for kids at used book stores, etc. and then cut up the books to make a learning card for each separate trick. Then I would perform a show made up of a series of the tricks on the cards so they could see what they were about to learn. Then each person would choose which trick to learn for the next meeting. They have to read the section of the book on the learning card, build the trick and learn to perform it. I would act as a consultant to help them read the material if they needed that help, assist them in building the props while making sure that they did most of the work themselves, and act as a practice audience before they performed the trick for the other kids in the group at the next meeting. After the next meeting's performance, the group would critique one another's performance, and then they could swap cards or choose new ones to prepare for the next meeting. After a few times using the cards, I began to have them take a magic book from the small library of books I provided, select some trick in the book to prepare for the following meeting. By the time of the last meeting, everyone prepared what they considered their best trick to perform in a show for the whole school or other kids who were not in the magic group.

Some of the kids would show up for a meeting unprepared and then I gave them the choice of dropping out of the group, or using the meeting time to work on the trick they had chosen and then perform it at the following meeting. It was always their choice, and I only remember one young guy who needed three weeks to learn his trick, but after that he caught on more quickly and he never gave up and never quit.
Message: Posted by: paulmagic (Apr 20, 2014 11:17PM)

Thanks. Really interesting idea. Much appreciated
Message: Posted by: jimgerrish (Apr 21, 2014 03:40PM)
Some former students who learned by this method: http://wizkidzinc.com/OldPhotos.html
Message: Posted by: paulmagic (Apr 21, 2014 04:28PM)

Wow! I am not so ambitious. If any show real interest, I can only provide basics and then redirect them to the local magic club that focuses on helping children / youth. Except the problem is distance and transport ... ;_(
Message: Posted by: TheRaven (Apr 27, 2014 08:39AM)
Based on the situation you described card and coin magic would be readily accessible to all with low barriers to entry.
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Apr 27, 2014 11:42AM)
[quote]On Apr 19, 2014, MGordonB wrote:
A Svengali deck, a TT and silk and maybe sponge balls [/quote]

Given the situation and the purpose, I say "NO" !!!

The boys you describe. do not have the economic ability to spend $7.50 for a Svengali deck, or a $5.00 TT, or a $5.00 set of sponge balls.

Invest the $$$ in a book like Karl Fulves has written. Start with a thrift shop deck of cards!, a bit of string, a handkerchief, etc.

At a first meeting, talk about hobbies. use magic as an example. Perform a trick with 'something'. DO NOT show them how it's done. "If you are interested, I will HELP YOU LEARN IT,(Learning is an ACTIVE,not a PASSIVE "THING"!) at our next meeting. (Use the 'cliff hanger" technique")
Message: Posted by: Dick Oslund (Apr 27, 2014 11:45AM)
Jim Gerrish has some good thoughts, too.
Message: Posted by: paulmagic (Apr 28, 2014 05:34PM)

Thanks for your input. Will show some short performance clips, demonstrate some magic, pass out cheap cards. perform a simple card trick, and if anyone is interested, will show how it is done and get them to practice. If they come back and show that they have and are willing to learn, will move on from there.
Message: Posted by: paulmagic (Apr 28, 2014 05:36PM)
My deciding to show some clips is to show a bit of variety in magic and how good some of the pros are, so they know it is not just about "I know how it is done" but performance, practice, pleasure, entertainment etc. Something to aspire to ...
Message: Posted by: Mb217 (May 2, 2014 03:47PM)
Interesting string. :)

I would add here that Coin Magic is very eye-catching to kids. Coins are everyday items that most kids are familiar with and did not know that they could be made to do such amazing things. :)

It's a real learning experience to practice and develop the sleight of hand to do the effects. A great place to lesson-plan from is "Bobo's New Modern Coin Magic." The book teaches the necessary moves and takes you through various levels of effects. You can get as heavy into it (or not) as you like and the practice can occur anywhere or at any time.

I could also point you in the way of some trick coin items, but for kids, it's a good idea to learn the right way first, and IMHO that is to become good with Sleight of Hand. That way you can do magic with any coins at any time. It also allows you the ability to create. :)

If I had to teach a group of kids some coin magic, I would start by showing a few coin tricks to grab their attention. Then once I have their genuine interest to learn, begin to show them some basic moves, then simple enough tricks. Then they can begin to go as far as their interest takes them. :)

A great, easy enough coin trick to practice and work on is something like "Gadabout Coins" or a simple enough, Coins Across. These are good tricks to learn and grow from, and they stay with you forever and transform as you keep moving forward. :)

Good journey. :)
Message: Posted by: paulmagic (May 5, 2014 07:58PM)
Mb217. Thanks for your reply and input.
Disasterous workshop for me so far. Except for one boy, the interest is more "how is it done" and really short (and I mean) short attention span.
Ended up giving demos of a bunch of small children's magic tricks / props (the kind that you get in a beginners magic kit) and then asked them to play with them and try and figure out how the tricks are done.
That kind of worked :-)
Message: Posted by: djjkarate (May 6, 2014 10:48AM)
Maybe if they could "make" there tricks and then perform, it's a craft and a learning..
How about the SPOT CARD ... ?? use an index card and a pencial to make it.
I teach sunday school for that age, and you are correct.... Attention span is SHORT...
I try to incorporate a game in learning.. How about Setting up 3-5 stations of tricks to learn, give them a minute at each station, and then play musical chairs to see who gets to perform it... Also I find giving a prize helps. As simple as a piece of hard candy..
I think someone mentioned going to second hand stores for cards. I've been going to Value Village and have aquired about 100 packs of cards.. I try to get Bicycle, and the rest I toss in a box (hoyle, casino decks, etc)

Don't give up... "Our" kids need role models to help them along !!

Message: Posted by: Mb217 (May 6, 2014 03:06PM)
I remember growing up and being just about the only kid on my block/in my neighborhood that loved magic. Our local library had only one book on magic, and every time I took it out, I was the last person to take it out as well. :D I had no mentors and was really all alone in this interest. Eventually, another kid became interested, and he and I were all we had in one another as to magic. :) Today, I dare to say that I am still the only kid (I'm still a kid at heart) :) on the block that practices the art, even though it has proliferated greatly the world over, though seemingly still sprinkled lightly enough to not greatly build up too much anywhere. It's still pretty much a somewhat secret art I guess, with many more people that enjoy it than actually perform it.

I have always hoped that I would someday have an apprentice to teach all this stuff, but so far, nothing yet. I guess you really have to to have a passion for it to pursue it as I did over the many years... To leave it and come back to it time and time again.

At times I often used magic when I taught college in NYC, used it at holiday parties to amaze children and adults, and often thought about actually suggesting a class on the art and teaching 5 tricks, with the bulk of the experience background as to psychology. Or it could've been a class in how to be the hit of the party, how to engage people - A communications class maybe? :D Anyway, I think it would've been a hit. :)
Message: Posted by: paulmagic (May 6, 2014 04:15PM)
Thanks for all the comments and stories. Have not given up. three more weeks to go - each week with a different small group of boys (rotation for this badge) Good ideas but not suitable for the physical set up.
Think it was a disatster because one boy was just 7 (another story why he is alloweed to come) and another was the kind who wants to be the centre of attention - know it all, and wants to be the comedian :-( :-)
What is more important to me is that the latter boy finally realised that he was being rude and inconsiderate in his actions not just to me but the others for being silly. The magic part is not the important part to me as the purpose is not to teach magic but teach about a hobby (and if anyone shows interest, that can be followed up privately). The programme is about building good character in boys, helping to give them better direction and helping refocus their energies into positive things.

Next week should be better as it will be a different group of boys ands I know I will keep learning how to better approach this :-)

BTW I am NOT interesed in finding an apprentice / disciple to teach magic. I leave that to others far more competent than I am. I do share stuff and help with what I can with those really interestedin magic.

Again thanks for the responses
Message: Posted by: paulmagic (May 6, 2014 04:17PM)
Oops - excuse the many typos