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Topic: Teaching magic
Message: Posted by: 20Robert04 (Jul 14, 2004 09:10AM)
Hey everyone
I have been offered to teach a youth theatre class some magic. I would truley like to cover the basis of both card and coin due to the fact that that is what I feel most comfortable with, but may also do some small mentalism.
I was wondering if you guys could give me any insights on to exactly what I should teach these kids, I was planning on the basics such as: shuffling, mechanics grip, double lift, finger palm, classic palm, etc.
any insight from everyone would be most appreciated.

Message: Posted by: Rupert Bair (Jul 14, 2004 09:34AM)
Noo! stop paul what are youi doing you cant just teach kids palming and double lifts that's crazy are you in any sort of magic club? if so they tell you not to disclose secrets its ok teaching the kids basic tricks so they can go and perform to their friends eg pick a pin but you are going to teach proffesional magic, secrets to witch many pros swear buy imagine if a kids from this theatre went to a resturant were a magiciian was working, it wouldnt be 'turn it around' it would be you double lifted that ace you plamed the top card.
Maybe you should just teach them siple but effective small tricks.

Message: Posted by: Donald Dunphy (Jul 14, 2004 09:40AM)
Depending upon the age and the ability of your students, you might be better off teaching self working tricks, as opposed to ones relying on slight of hand. Although, if they are advanced, they have to learn at some point.

For example, while a french drop is a nice thing to learn, some will need more work than others to really learn it well.

Of course, be sure to teach them the rules of magic, as well, such as not revealing another magician's secrets (being a good audience), practicing, keeping magical secrets that they can do, etc.

What age will your students be?

- Donald.
Message: Posted by: what (Jul 14, 2004 10:00AM)
I have tought some magic to cub scout groups (ages 8-11). I teach mostly self working effects which you can make with ordinary objects. I teach them the rubber pencil gag (this would be great for acting class because it requires a little acting to pull off well). I teach them how to vanish a acoin from under a glass, and how to make a production box out of a cereal box. How to cut a string in half and restore it (the string through straw method). One great coin trick is the thieves and the sheep. There are some good no-sleight versions that are very entertaining. Enjoy and good luck,

Message: Posted by: Vincz (Jul 14, 2004 11:03AM)
I suggest teaching them those automatic working tricks, not those using sleights. Teach them easy one will do, becase they might not have the patience to learn sleights.
Message: Posted by: TheTopBanana (Jul 14, 2004 12:47PM)
Iwanted to say the same thing everyone else did but they said it first...
Message: Posted by: flourish dude (Jul 14, 2004 12:52PM)
Go to the bokstore and get a simple book on magic and teach from there. As a magi you should know it is not the magic that counts it how you do it. If you show how the fun the trick is before you teach the trick they will not say "That is dumb, or that is easy". The cub scouts have a book on magic that would be good for cub scout goups, but most dover books are good. I even have an old Michael Ammer tape where he teaches kids some stuff.

Here is a list of some books to look at
Magic for Dummies
Klutz book of magic
Self working card tricks.
magicians in the making (James Merrills)
The Children's magic kit (Karl Fulves)
Easy to Do Card tricks for Children (Karl Fulves)

You can also look online, do a search for magic for kids, easy magic or magic for children ETC>>>

I would not give away things you use in your show. Plus if this is a new group do not show them the double lift or any hard card moves they are not ready for it. Do a good key card trick. I would also not show the TT.
Message: Posted by: billyboy123 (Jul 14, 2004 01:30PM)
If you search on the internet, you will find many sites that have a beginner section and a quiz protected advanced section. If you teach from the begginer section you will not give away many slieghts, but still have good tricks to teach the kids.
Message: Posted by: Alym Amlani (Jul 14, 2004 01:49PM)
I too would emphasize patter for the kids...let them know that the presentation is the KEY to make magic good... I would then think of some prototypical tricks where the method is VERY simple (even like a criss cross force) and the effect is VERY strong.

Again; this really depends on your age group.
Message: Posted by: 20Robert04 (Jul 14, 2004 02:06PM)
Thank you thank you
all this information is wonderful, please keep it coming.
I guess I should have mentioned it in my first post but I will be teaching this around the age of 8-11.

I have a few of the books that flourish dude mentioned, I'll have to go through and look at them.
Im also planning on looking at my libary for some more books. Again thanks everyone for your suggestions and comments, please keep them coming.

Message: Posted by: 0pus (Jul 14, 2004 03:08PM)
20Robert04 wrote:

[quote] . . . to teach a youth theatre class some magic. . . .[/quote]

I am not sure how advanced the theatre class is, but this strikes me as a unique opportunity to teach a false put or take (e.g., French drop, etc.). A HUGE part of sleight of hand is the ability to act as if something is in your hand when it is not, or to act as if something is not in your hand when it is. This fact could make magic and theatre dovetail very nicely.

Message: Posted by: macmagic (Jul 14, 2004 03:36PM)
Hello here is some help for you, more then half of my programs are classes and with over 300 shows a year that's a lot of classes.......the other question is how long is it going to be here is my basic structure for an hour long program:
intro/explain this is a magic class not a show
rules(not talking when I am,must keep hands to yourself(this is important in the magic class)and have fun)
hand stretching into sliding the tip of your thumb off then teach it
pass out paper lunch bags to put stuff in,then teach them how to throw an invisible ball into the air and then hear it land in your bag(simply snapping fingers on bag)don't pass this over as to childish it gets a huge reaction!Then teach them how to perform it.
French drop using a penny......pass out pennies and teach them(they will get excited when they find out they get to keep them)
mind reading crayon perform with helper then teach it, you can pass out crayons(box of 4) if you want sometimes I do sometimes I don't
pass out ed Harris trick sheet and teach them the optical illusion of rolling the paper into a tube and looking thru it so it looks like you have a hole in your hand.
next is the fortune telling fish.........this is pretty much the second highlight of the show.
then the highlight
everyone gets a wand!
I have been performing this exact program for over 4 years with many many repeat performances, the kids love it and everything I am teaching can pretty much be found in any book on magic at the library!
if some things are not clear let me know and I will try to help more!
Message: Posted by: 20Robert04 (Jul 14, 2004 10:06PM)
could you tell me were I can find those, I'm checking out every book in my libary on magic tommorow, and some heads up would be great.

Message: Posted by: macmagic (Jul 15, 2004 07:50AM)
Well to be honest I have been doing these for years and not sure which books they came from.....most books will have the tricks I described the only thing you wont find in a book would be the fortune telling fish which you have to purchase from oriental trading etc.
do you have the Ed Harris trick sheets? if not you should contact eric paul he has them all on cd for the computer so you just have to insert your contact info.......most everything I teach is right on the trick sheets that way they get the instructions on how to do them, sorry I don't know the names of the books its been a long time!
Message: Posted by: NJJ (Jul 15, 2004 08:07AM)
There are three types of magic students.

1) Those who happen to be present for the class. e.g. you are hired to perform and teach tricks for a scout group or theatre group are attend for some other reason. For these kids I'd suggest teaching the most simple of tricks that can be found in magic books in their school library. No moves that a pro might use. e.g. 21 card trick.

2) Kids who have chosen to learn magic but don't want to be a magician. These tend to be school holiday programs or drama groups. These kids have limited dedication and only a passing interest but do want to be involved. I'd suggest teaching them the same as the first group but also teaching a french drop or some such move that requires practice. Also get them designing their own costume or character as a fun exercise!

3) Magic fans. Those who want to learn magic and are willing learn. Teach them a force (e.g. criss cross), a control and a revelation to start. Don't move on until they learnt the first ones. No use getting them to run when they can't walk!

That's my thoughts!
Message: Posted by: Caleb Wiles (Jul 16, 2004 12:15AM)
I have taught the cups and balls in magic classes before using paper cups and pom pom balls. Sometimes I also teach the jumping rubber band. I have had magician friends tell me that I shouldn't teach the cups and balls, but I only teach the simple version that is in all of the beginner's sets anyway. The children are impressed and feel that they are learning really good tricks, but are still not going to know how a professional magician's cup and ball routine works.

Does anyone else have any thoughts on exposing the cups and balls?
Message: Posted by: NJJ (Jul 16, 2004 02:24AM)
The problem with teaching and cups and balls routine is that everytime those kids see the trick they'll think (and probably say) "Oh, I know that one!"

Beginners and children don't tend to recognise the difference in skill between beginners and advance versions of these routines.

Also, kids who get a magic set and LEARN cups and balls have to make and effort. Your exposition just requires them to sit and watch!
Message: Posted by: mghia (Jul 17, 2004 09:26AM)
I am the 2004 Magic Instructor for the New Jersey Workshop for the Arts.
I also have taught magic classes over the years for other schools and groups.

I agree with some of the advice given. Magic takes time to learn. Even what we think is easy is not for them. They might UNDERSTAND it but try to have them show you and most will not be able to do as well as you think without much practice.

Where it gets sticky is that if you are teaching one time at a group or a summer at a camp, they are there to have FUN and when it comes to practice, they only will want to do it for a short time.
They do not want to be magicians but learn the tricks.

Drilling them on the rules of magic only takes you so far before they zone out. Believe me, they will think they know the trick and even if they do it well before they leave, they can mess it up when they show their parents or even in front of you the next day.

My problem is that I teach them good stuff. Tricks I grew up with as a child. THe problem is that after working out a routine for my demo, I am reminded that even the most basic of effects, can be professional and entertaining.

I wish people would stop saying to find material in books and be free to use it. My point is, some of the BEST secrets are in these books if presented properly.
THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A KID ONLY TRICK that is just fine to expose. It does not make any difference if it is in a childrens magic book or from Tarbell.

It gets stickier than if you are trying to not give them anything too good. They will be bored if you only show them the rubber pencil trick.

To give an example, since I have 78 students this year, and they pay a materials fee, they all get magic sets. These sets contained magic milk pitchers. I thought it would be great. BUT now regret showing them the secret. I had one when I was there age so what is the problem? Some baby doll bottles work on the same principle so what is the issue? I just felt that the dedication I have had with the majority of students was such that they learned something too good. IF they were dedicated to practicing at home and paying attention in class, I might feel different. But really they did not DESERVE to learn it and learn it properly. My goal is to teach them the PROPER way to do the effect. This means I teach them some of my inner thoughts. To teach them the poor way to save some of the secret only has 70+ kids showing others the WRONG WAY. So I am forced not to show them at all or only present it the RIGHT WAY if there is any hope to have good junior magicians.

The same was with the beautiful sets of double changing scarves they received. Here we have a self-working effect. I am shocked how many STILL flash the gimmick or wrong end. These sets were better made silks from USMI and the end only sticks out just enough so if performed well, it will not flash. It is SELF WORKING yet takes some skill. I was shocked how even 8-9 year olds did not "get it" after 8 days of practice. Again, I had these at their age and thought I did fine with them. What could be more self working? But then, I did want to be a magician and was performing for groups by that age.

Before I am flamed about teaching stuff like that, let me explain this is a camp that has everything from TV PRODUCTION-FENCING. It is an Arts workshop taught by pros in their feild. MAGIC has been one of the most popular courses for over 10 years. They have a waiting list and parents with the money to pay for it. They pay a kit fee on top of the steep class fee. They expect a little more than magic with pencils, coins and bands. (we do that during one week)

MANY of these kids take the course year after year until they are ready for Magic 2 which is the older group.
This group learns the cups and balls up to phase three if they will master the French drop (Most do not get it ever a year later since they do not practice)
I have had trouble with having them PROPERLY do cut string/straw trick and the gross motor skills for some to do the jumping rubber band just do not cut the mustard and they end up exposing it.

My point to all of this that what you teach will vary on age and skill level. It will break your heart to see something like the jumping band exposed. It seems so simple but some will not get it down and ruin it for the others who can. I still pull that trick out in a pinch and it is not a throw away effect.

Even the ball vase they will screw up since someone will slip and the shell will pop into view. I have seen it happen. Heck, I have had it happen to me once or twice in my life time. All you need is one to expose the effect for the rest. Most magic classes you can not pick and choose who gets to come in.

To teach magic properly you really need kids who WANT to do it right. They want to WORK and PRACTICE. BUT you can not dictate who takes your class so wind up with some will make you regret shown any of them.
There are very few tricks that can not be presented professionally and you will find a new love for the "tricks in books" once you start working with them again.

Try some optical tricks like with the arches. Let them cut them out and learn the effect. Stick some coins to your forehead. (air pressure method) They love that one. I would say for a short term thing, PERFORM a few cool effect but only explain the silly and fun stuff.
The hole in hand is very magical as well as the floating finger based on the same concept are strong since they trick their mind. They EXPERIENCE magic so have the fun. MOST can do these things instantly.
(Some like myself have trouble since we are MONOCULAR and can not do tricks with 3-d like sterograms or were you need both eyes to work at the same time. so be aware if a child looks upset for not being able to do such a trick when most can.)
Any questions?


I disagree with what you said about cups and balls if one actually teaches it hands on.

I show my Magic 2 class phase one-three basics and then show them a tape of Johnny Ace Palmer doing his chicky routine with the cups. EVEN though they know the basics and were taught a basic vanish (most of the core routine JA uses) they still ask many questions and ask if I will teach them what he is doing.

I do not explain his routine but say all I have taught them was used in his routine so PRACTICE AND STUDY.

So you can see, they are thrown off track from the basics since he does it so well. The pros have their handling variations that change how the effect works.

Sure the kids MIGHT be able see a POOR magician do the cups and see the EXACT moves they learned.

But remember that many should transition to the "magician mode" and be more intrigued and impressed with the new moves they are seeing when a pro does it.
They should not be yelling out I KNOW I KNOW but rather having a brain freeze when they loose track since the magician is going beyond the basics.
So while they might start thinking "I know how to do that" they should end saying "but I do not know how he did THAT."
Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (Jul 17, 2004 03:49PM)
Just a bit of background. I am one of the co-leaders of the Philadelphia Society of Young Magicians. I have been terachings kids ages 7-17 the art of magic for over 11 years now and have realized a lot about what to do and what not to do when teachings kids magic under any setting.

With this in mind, many folks above are correct. There just is not enough time or devotion to teach the kids sleight of hand magic.

The bottom line is that you want to motivate and empower the children. Give them a touch of confidence and self-worth and make them love magic not get frustrated by it.

By saying this, you want magic that is easy to learn or that is indeed self-working. The child needs to be able to perform this trick with little practice and with ease. This encourages them to want to learn more and empowers rathers then frustrates.

I also make sure that the kids always take a magical oath and make sure they realize how serious a thing it really is. I also emphasize the need for practice before ever showing a trick to anyone and also talk a lot about presentation versus showing off.

Message: Posted by: mghia (Jul 17, 2004 06:41PM)
I think you will agree, that they will hardly EVER believe the oath is a "serious thing" when compared to how a working magician sees it.
I do have some students who will follow it to the letter. Some have given me reports how they asked how something worked and the child would not tell.
But many will just feel we are being over dramatic.
Message: Posted by: Emazdad (Jul 18, 2004 03:29AM)
I get the kids to say a magical oath, but then explain to them that if they tell someone how their tricks are done, the next time they do it that person is liable to give the secret away and spoil it for both them and the person they are showing the trick to. I tell them it's best not to show even there best friend or brother/sister the secret as they may get jealous of you being the centre of attention. but they can tell their dog or cat as they are good at keeping secrets.

As with anything you do with kids if you add a little humour it tends to sink in a bit more.
Message: Posted by: Rupert Bair (Jul 18, 2004 08:11AM)
Emazdad do you teach them tricks then? I bet their are loads of cats and dogs watchin magic shows sayin I know how that's done!
Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (Jul 18, 2004 08:56AM)
I have most all my kids take the oath and have found that most truely respect it. The reason for this is because I let them know I take it very seriously and I talk to them seriosuly about it. I will not go forward teaching them without a 100% commitment from them all about the oath.

I also handle it like Clive ina way. I show them that they will not have as much fun with the magic if everyone they show it too is told the secret. They seem to understand.

Once they take the oath, then we begin teaching the effects and then working as a hands on workshop to learn them and learn presentation as well.

Message: Posted by: Rupert Bair (Jul 18, 2004 09:57AM)
I think what you need is tricks were they can put their acting abilities into use.
Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (Jul 18, 2004 10:03AM)
You really wants tricks that are easy to learn and easy to teach. This way the child can get energized and enthusiastic about the art of magic instead of frustrated with it. Build up their sense of accomplishment and you will have them hooked.

Message: Posted by: mghia (Jul 18, 2004 10:50AM)
On 2004-07-18 09:56, magic4u02 wrote:
I will not go forward teaching them without a 100% commitment from them all about the oath.
You are lucky you can do that.
Where I teach this is not an option. They pay too much or too little to REFUSE teaching.
Example- Last week a sent a letter home to the parents that stated if the children did not bring their props in the next day for class they would not be able to participate.
Fair right?
The administration who has to OK all mail going to the parents edited my letter stating
"The parents pay to much to tell them their kids can not participate. "
They edited the letter to say that they would have "DIFFICULTY in participating."

And in other camps and summer programs, whenever I tried to be strict, I would be told that "the kids are hear to have fun not follow strict rules"

So you are lucky if you can just REFUSE to teach them anything if they do not follow the rules.

When you are concerned with those few kids who can not keep the secret, the administration will just say "they are only kids." To them they understand the idea of the protection of secrets but in the end, they default to the children having fun since their parents are paying for them to be there.
Message: Posted by: Jeff Alan (Jul 18, 2004 11:02AM)
I have taught hundreds of kids magic classes in homes, magic shops and public schools and I use to get upset if they did not take the course seriously or if they revealed the secrets. But now I agree, they are just kids! Plus these days, many of them are being raised to never have any kind of secrets for safety sakes, kid's take everything literally and so they don't like having secrets. So it's important that what we teach them be decided on very carefully. NO THUMBTIPS! (I use to teach it!) We still must try to teach them the value of magic secrets. Plus make them feel like part of a "special" small group who knows the secrets (like a club password), I often tell them that they are special now, and must not tell the Muggles of the world the secrets!

BTW, never let them take home supplies until the END of the course! Many items I don't give them even after they learn it, until the last day.
Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (Jul 18, 2004 11:05AM)
Well I handle this by telling the clients up front on the phone as well as having a signed contract with them before I do any teaching lessons for libraries or any event.

The client gets educated on how seriously I take magic and how we will have fun, the kids will have a good time, and the kids will get a lot out of it.

BUT they also know that these classes are going to be professional in every way. That I do not simply give away secrets. I show them how to appreciate an artform I take seriosuly and expect every student of mine to do the same.

Most clients do not have a problem with this at all and infact many complement me for my love and approach to the art of magic. This kids also get a lot more out of it and I tend to weed out the kids just wanting to learn secrets from those really truely interested in learning the art.

Message: Posted by: 20Robert04 (Jul 19, 2004 11:29AM)
As always everyone here is a huge help. Just a little update for you guys, ive been to my libary and checked out EVERY book on magic they had. Im now weeding threw them looking for the easy entertaining effects.
Thanks again for the advice and the stories, this is truley a wonderful place.

Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (Jul 19, 2004 12:36PM)

You are most welcome. Good luck on your reading and your research. If we can be of any help to you, simply let us know.

Message: Posted by: Hamilton (Aug 5, 2004 09:24PM)
This has been a very interesting read for me as I have been considering doing a little magic camp but have been debating these very ideas. I am curious Mr. Peron and others what tricks you would teach for a 101 week long class. I just finished assisting for a week long circus arts camp that ended with a very simple stage show for some of the parents and families.

I would like to focus on performance even more than just doing tricks.

Some sort of easy story patter routine performance with some simple effects throughout would be my approach.

Any thoughts?
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Aug 6, 2004 03:22PM)
I have been teaching a week-long Magic Camp each summer for the past 8 years. The past two years have been double camps (1 morning, 1 afternoon), 43 kids in all this year. WOW!

The main consideration is the age range. We divide ours up 1st through 3rd grade & 4th through 6th grade. There is a world of difference between what those different ages can handle.

The younger kids need 99% self-working magic. The other 1% consists of really basic sleight of hand (simple coin vanish). At this age, you really need to keep things very basic: rubber pencil/wand, multiple out mental choice, upside down George. Buddah Papers works well with an in depth story. I make one up along the lines of a Jack in the Beanstalk tale with an old lady (witch) trading a magic paper wallet for the kid's family cow.

Physical dexterity takes longer for them to get a handle on than a week will allow. Surprisingly, many of these kids can program their parents' DVD players, but they can't work a paper clip.

Now for the older kids, you can get much more in depth. But you still need to give them a lot of self-working stuff, too. The reason for this is you want them to attain some short term goals. Some kids get very frustrated very quickly if they don't see results. Granted, these learn today/show your parents tonight tricks are not going to get polished that quickly, so you have another angle for them. Teach them these kinds of tricks early in the course, and develop them into more refined performance pieces through the week.

At the same time, you can give them some more challenging tricks, with the understanding that they are going to have to work harder for these; they won't happen tonight. The basic cup and ball routine as sold in every slum magic set is wonderful with styrofoam cups and pom-poms. Don't get into big loads or anything more elaborate. The basic penetration through a stack of cups will absolutely thrill them... and they will probably fool their parents with it, as well.

Another thing to remember is that a stack of 11x17 copy paper and a bunch of crayons and pencils will go a long way if you let them know how important it is to advertise their show with posters. This works great, even for the older kids, it gives them a break from the learning - practicing - learning - practicing, and you'll really be amazed at the creativity these kids will show with their work.

Keep it fun, keep control, and give them breaks. You have to remember that this is a generation used to getting their information in doses of less than 30 seconds.
Message: Posted by: Hamilton (Aug 24, 2004 10:17PM)
Thank you for the info mr. baker. I just got "Magicians in the Making" and between it and here am planning out the structure for next year.
Message: Posted by: magicbern (Aug 26, 2004 06:49AM)
Visit the late Brian Flora's site (his business and product line is kept alive by his wife Jan)He has an audio tape called Teaching Magic Classes for kids...and also a video tape on the same subject. Lots of good tricks as well as invaluable advice.
To be frank I wasn't too impressed with Magicians in the Making...lots of padding and not very informative for those looking for more advanced tricks to teach. Not all kids who attend these classes are magically-inept! Just my view though....others may beg to differ.
Message: Posted by: spatrick (Aug 26, 2004 01:39PM)
I don't know if this has been adressed in this topic yet, but if this is a theater group why not teach them about staging as well as the magic. Teach them about audience control, lighting, stage direction, sound, as well as how to turn tricks into routines.

I think too much emphasis is on the trick nowadays and too little is placed on professionalism.

S. Patrick
Message: Posted by: Hamilton (Sep 20, 2004 09:32PM)
Thank you magicbern for the Brian Flora reference and the evaluation of "Magicians in the Making". I have been away for a bit so still haven't started it yet, so it is good to know what to expect.

Mr. Patrick, I agree that emphasis should be placed on performing arts and not learning secrets if you can't perform the basics there is no need to learn the advanced secrets.
Message: Posted by: magicbern (Sep 22, 2004 07:15AM)
You're welcome! Anything to help a fellow magicafe member. You'll find the Professor (Flora)'s stuff still very workable today!
Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (Sep 22, 2004 09:01AM)
S, Patrick is right. There often times is not enough emphasis placed on the Presentation part of magic. So many times we teach tricks and effects without ever giving the student the most important advice we can give them.

Magic is NOT about the trick. it is NOT about fooling anyone. Magic is about entertaining people.

We need to teach them not only the effect, but simply ways to entertain and how you entertain. This to me is even more important for the student to learn at an early stage in their development.

Teach them things like patter, presentation techniques, routining skills, movement. character and style. All of these will serve the student very well.

Just my 2 cents worth.

Message: Posted by: Hamilton (Sep 22, 2004 10:17PM)
Certainly valued at more than two cents, Kyle. I agree whole heartedly, this is the area I want to focus on for them.

Along those lines.

I have the Once Upon a Time by Punx and Sheherazade by Ulf Bolling-Borodin.

It seems to me this would be a good place to start from when teaching. The tools learned from telling a story with magical effects as accompaniment will serve them well whatever they want to do with their careers. They can always become more minimalist later if that is where they want to go artistically but the process of learning to tell a story in front of an audience will build all those skills Kyle mentions above and self esteem as well.

Any other references for real story line patter examples? I am looking for age appropriate stories and effects that go with them. Both the Punx and Borrodin books are pretty much adult material.

I have to temper this ambitious approach with reasonable expectations of what the kids can do as well.
Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (Sep 23, 2004 08:19AM)
Another thing I do with my SYM students is to teach a very simple effect. this effect should be easy enough that anyone can learn it fairly fast. This empowers the student andgets the effect out of the way.

We then use that trick to explore the fundamentals of presentation and routining and patter. Since everyone knows the effect, we are not stuck on that.

I also show them that a simple effect like Professors Nitemare can have such a vast different entertainment value simply by the way it is presented.

Because I have the help of other magciians at my meetings, we each take turn doing the EXACT same trick but each with his or her unique style of presentation.

The students immediately understand now how important it is for the presentation to be a part of the magic and that they need to work together.

Message: Posted by: Hamilton (Mar 13, 2005 08:52AM)
Coming up on the summer season and thinking on this topic some.

I am thinking of potential effects for the kids. Kyle, I like Professors Nitemare idea and was also thinking about sponge balls as so much variation can be had there, almost too much. Simple card tricks could work but might be too flat. I want to give them something more inspiring and inherently performance oriented. Something that encourages "flamboyance" for lack of a better word or helps them to find themselves in presentation. I am rambling a bit here but... any ideas?
Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (Mar 13, 2005 09:10AM)

I think you have the right idea. When I teach kids magic. I try to empower them but also teach them the importance that it is not about fooling anyone as much as it is about entertaining them.

With this in mind, I empower them by teaching them effects they can learn with relative ease and with objects they can easily find at home. It empowers them because they can get these items for the tricks I teach and because they build self-esteem because they can perform it with some practice.

The entertainment value is taught through the process of showing a trick and then showing several varioues ways the trick can be routined in regards to patter and presentation. In this way they realize how important routining really is to the entertainment value of what they are performing.

Message: Posted by: Hamilton (Mar 13, 2005 07:37PM)

Thanks, for picking up on this so quickly. I thought being such an old thread it might go unnoticed for awhile. How do you do that? Magic I guess.

Anyway I was also thinking that it would be good to try particularly in the beginning an effect in which the work of the magician is done up front and the rest is performance and revelation. Still trying to put my finger on the right effect though. But like I said just starting to think on this again.

Also I had a PM regarding an earlier post in this thread that I thought I would bring public.

"I noticed online that you have a copy of Punx's and Brodin's story-telling magic books. Which is you opinion is the best of the two?"

Well, that depends on a few things.
Your orientation in terms of what type of magic you like to do?
Borodin tends a little more toward the weird and dark.
Weather you like to buy by the pound?
Borodin's book is bigger.
If you are interested in starting with the masters work?
Punx was the master but Borodin is certainly now a master of his craft as well.

As I mentioned I have both. I got the Punx book first and then Borodin's. They are both great. No waisted time or money there. I don't really think either are "best". I would (did) start with Punx and go right on into Borodin. But I have a feeling if you get the Borodin book first you'll want to get the Punx after. So in the end it matters not. Is but a choice.

Message: Posted by: circuskevin (Apr 28, 2005 03:48PM)
Interesting thread this. For me anyhow. I've been teaching circus skills in schools for a few years now. I'd like to add magic workshops to that. Done quite a few magic workshops at juggling conventions which have always gone down well.
If 'macmagic' reads this I'd be curious to know what age group he does his magic workshops for?
I've bought the book 'Houdini in the classroom' by Michael Kett which nicely collects ideas together.

Message: Posted by: chris mcbrien (Apr 28, 2005 05:00PM)
I also have these books, and re-read them often. It's true that first and foremost a magician is an actor playing the part of a magician....there's where good dramatic (and comedic) training comes in.
Especially when training young people to do magic in a way that will be entertaining and transend "hobby"(which I don't badmouth, but wish to differentiate from something that is extroverted versus a hobby, which is introverted by nature), it's important to get them out of their shells and give them some kind of background to understand the roots of magic, which for moder day magic lie in shamanism and street performance from ancient times...
Just a thought...
Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (Apr 28, 2005 09:30PM)
Chris: Amen to that borther.=) You really want to let them know there is a difference between doing a trick and being entertaining. Anyone can do a trick but it takes a real magician to entertain with the magic that they have. This is what is the hardest to teach kids, but is also important step.

This is why I often take a simple trick and styart with that first and teach them the basics of how to perform it and perform it correctly. I keep an easy trick first so that it empowers the child and not discourages them. they need to feel good that yes they can do magic and magic is fun. A simple trick builds confidence. I then can spend some time teaching the art of just how do you take this trick and entertain with it.

Message: Posted by: jezza (Oct 4, 2005 04:27PM)
On 2004-07-19 12:29, 20Robert04 wrote:
As always everyone here is a huge help. Just a little update for you guys, ive been to my libary and checked out EVERY book on magic they had. Im now weeding threw them looking for the easy entertaining effects.
Thanks again for the advice and the stories, this is truley a wonderful place.

whatever you do please don't teach them double lifts,and in valuable sleights working magicians use on a regular basis ,a simple key card location is fine
good luck
Message: Posted by: magic4u02 (Oct 4, 2005 07:49PM)
You would never want to teach beginner magicians double lifts and slieght of hand first off any ways. The important thing for beginners to graps is the fact that we must empower the student. By empowering them, you give them a simple effect that you KNOW everyone there can do and will do by the time they leave that class.

The sheer fact of the kid being able to do magic empowers them and makes them feel special and gets them to like magic in a knew light. This is critical if you want them to continue on with magic.

The worst thing you can do is to try and teahc beginners card slieghts and effects that take more skill and time to master. This only will distract the child and make the child feel disgusted with magic because they can not do it.

The best advice is to start simple and start with things they have around the house. Start with impromptu magic effects so that it does not cost them any money, but they can do it with stuf they already have and create magic that is easy for them to learn.

By doing this you also have the power to be able to teach them the importance of 2 key things:

1) Magic is not about fooling people as it is entertaining people
2) In order to entertain people you must realize the difference between performing a trick and performing a magical routine of entertainment value

Both of these are critical to teach the young magicians at an early age. You inspire them and get them involved and work with them one on one . Do not lecture to them as this only frustrates. Work with them as a workshop where you show the routine and effect and then explain it and then pass out the stuff they need to do it with. Then work with each kid until they feel they can do it with ease.

I have been doing this and other ideas with our SYM club in Philadelphia for the past 11 years and it really does make a huge difference. Hope this helps.

Message: Posted by: James Munton (Oct 4, 2005 11:18PM)
Sorry for the self-promotion, but my How To Teach a Birthday Magic Class DVD is aimed at 8-12 year-olds. You get to see me perform the class at a live birthday party. It's also received some very nice reviews from Magic Café members!

I do the same tricks at several after-school programs.

I agree with Kyle. You'll quickly find out that at this age, most kids are not able to do double lifts and the more technical tricks. You need fun and engaging tricks which they want to learn and show their parents and friends.

I also think it is important to teach the kids about creating a presentation for their magic in order to be entertaining rather than just doing tricks. The kids are very creative and come up with some wonderful stories.