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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » Getting Started with Childrens Magic (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

magicsarge
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Northamptonshire, Great Britain
79 Posts

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Hi all, I'm in search or a little advice, can you help?
I perform magic to adults both palour sized and close up - but magic to an audience of just kids frightens the life out of me!!!!!
I feel this is an area I need to improve - people are asking me to do parties etc. but I always avoid this as I am an 'adult' magician....I am missing out I feel on the chance to perform and gain experience and work.
So, I am planning to put together a kids routine, any advice on content, illusions to use and presentations will be appreciated, I have no time limit on this, its an exercise to make me better at what I do, thanks again everyone
p.b.jones
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Inner circle
Milford Haven. Pembrokeshire wales U.K.
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HI,
the actual effects you choose to perform are not that important vertualy any trick can be made a good routine for kids with some thought. Just make sure you hit as many of these bases as you can with your routines.

1. colourful
2. suprise
3. partisipation helpers on stage
4. partisipation as a group
5. funny (look don't see, turn it around, breakaway items ext)
6. easy to understand
7. changes of pace
8. bits of business

Also if you plan on performing at birthday parties you need a feature the birthday child effect.
Phillip
magic4u02
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Eternal Order
Philadelphia, PA
15111 Posts

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Sarge,

First I would say thank you for posting here. Secondly I would make sure that this is soemthing you really want to strive to do. You should never feel that you have to be FORCED into doing children's magic. It should be soemthing you want to do yourself. Some magicians simply are not cut out for children's performances, and that is just fine. Each magician has to find his or her own style and what shows work best for them.

Also, understand that performing for children is the hardest audience you will ever have to perform for. An adult will be polite if you mess up or if the show is not going great. A child has no inhibitions at all and will shot out things that an adult simply would never do. With this said, however, performing for children can also be the most rewarding.

If you are going to try and start learning about children's magic, you have the right first idea. That is you simply can not oput a time frame on it nor force yourself to perform a paying gig in a short period of time. You really must devote time to learning about children's magic, what makes a children's magical routine fun for the children and how to handle certain situations that may come up in a performance for kids.

I would reccomend starting out by getting some books or videos from some of the top children's performers. These could be from David Ginn, Sammy Smith, Silly Billy and others. These are great for learning about routines, what works for kids and getting yourself educated on this new area of performance.

You will find that there are certain things kids react to positively to in any kid's performance. Some of these are:

- Magician in trouble syndrome - Kids love it when they think the magician is in trouble or has failed at a trick. To them it is showing that they fail a lot as children learning, but adults can as well. Kids find it very funny and comical

- Kids see but you do NOT see - This is a case where the children see what has happened or see soemthing that should not be there, before the magician does. This could be a rabbit figure popping his head out everytime a magician looks away etc. The kids love knowing they have seen it first beofre the magciian.

- Physical comedy - You have to be careful of this one, but kids do love it when the magician apparently gets hurt from a silly wand to spring snakes hitting them in the face etc. Physical comedy is funny for kids.

- Surprises - Children love the unexpected. Surprises in your routines can make them fun and fascinating for the kids watching.

These are just a few to get you started.

Kyle
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glodmagic
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USA
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Hello Magicsarge
As you are aware, kids "smell" fear and will find an opportunity to pounce.
If in close proximity they are capable of grabbing your props and as Kyle said they will scream out without reservation on what they think.

Here is one useful hint::
Kids will scream out that "I know how it;s done, you lifted...". Now the usual reaction from a newbie is to think "oh cr*p, I messed that up." and suddenly you become self conscious. Train yourself to ignore or joke such statements off or misdirect to the next effect. Often the child is like a police interrogation in an effort to see if you will crack. In otherwords, little Johnny may not know at all if that is how it is done but shrewdly testing you to see your reaction. Keep your cool, be funny, and "bond" with the kids at their level. Watch some cartoons, see what kids like now in the stores and books, The rewards are greater in many ways than adult gigs.
When kids love you they really love you!
Remember ANY of your posts here can be Googled by your customers and Clients. Just entering your name in Google can bring up your negative comments that stay for years!
magic4u02
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Philadelphia, PA
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Good point glod. Another thing to remember is the fact that many kids will say, "I have seen that one before." This does not always mean that they have seen it and do not want to see it again. In fact I have found that in most cases it is the opposite.

Children respond based upon familiarity. If they are familiar with soemthing, they get excited about it because they recognize it. In most cases, them telling you they have seen this one before, is only stating to you that they have seen it, liked it and want to watch it again.

Kyle
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serge storms
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Las Vegas
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If you can perform for kids like at birthday parties, schools etc, you can perform for anyone, kids can be the toughest. Treat them like little adults, don't underestimate them or their thinking. As noted here by others, mix it up with colors, themes and various volunteers. A special trick for the birthday kid goes along way with the parents. Don't overplay to the birthday kid though. If you're doing kids birthdays, as also mentioned by others, make sure it because you want to. With a good kid party show and promoted right, you can eventually be doing 2-4 birthday parties a weekend easily. But you have to want to do it and put up with the abuse that comes with doing shows for these little rascals. I usually limit the show to 30 or 60 minutes max for kids under 10 and I don't do shows for kids under 5. Just my opinion from years of doing it what works and what doesn't.
"Overkill is Under-rated"
magicsarge
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Northamptonshire, Great Britain
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Thanks every one for your wise words, I will now embark on my journey...
Firstly I will do some research (if this involves watching cartoons it can't all be bad!), I will play around with some props, I'm pretty lucky as my local magic shop seems pretty well stocked for kids magic, and most of all I will get some experiences under my belt. I have volunteered for a charity gig soon and I think some of those scary children will be there!!!
I'll keep you all posted on my slow progress. Thanks again guys
magic4u02
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Eternal Order
Philadelphia, PA
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It is always best to first do charity and free show performances. This is a great way to get your feet wet, try out your show, video tape it and learn from your mistakes. I wish you much luck and please keep us all posted.

Kyle
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alson
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Magicsarge,
I am now doing only kid show . Kids are blast. Remember they are tell if you do something wrong but that the fun it. Keep your routine moving faster than with adults . Always have something going on with the show. I like to use my puppets
first and go in to magic and back into puppets ,that way they will not get bore.
Keep the tricks simple ,I do not mean that as a bad thing ,kids are not as stage
stuck as adults are by magic . Be sure to do a warm that is very inportant ,because that set the pace of the show ,there are many books on this.
Kids do love magic so be sure to make them part of your show some way all of them.
I think once you get a few shows behind you ,you may be surprize . I use to do 6
shows a day for kids and like I said I love it.
Alson
Michael_MacDonald
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1964 - 2016
Washington
2034 Posts

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I would like to add a few points to the wonderful advise given so far.

1) never make the child the brunt of a joke ( I.E. break away wands)
as a performer it is our job to entertain, and publicly humiliating a child is one way to lose your audiance fast.
when marketing your show you may use the fact that you build thier self-esteem and self worth through posative feed back.

telling them how great at magic they are, or you couldn't do the magic without them saying the magic words.

2) make sure your material is age apropriate each age group has a diferent level of perception and should be taken into account when performing.
you will need to be versatile and have back up props that will fit to an older child.

3) make as much participation tricks as you can stuff into one performance.

4)children are prone to outbursts when they are happy, expect this and use it.
the best way to get repeat bookings from a venue is for the parents to feel that thier child had a great time.
when the child laughs out loud are screams in delight you are doing your job right.
when they scream out the magic words they are releasing energy that has built up and will come out one way or another.
better to chanel that energy into helping the show and not disrupting it.

5)have them count with you, such as should you chose to do misers dream when you get a few coins in the pail try having them count out loud how many are in the pail.
this also lets you recycle some of the coins to double your production.
have them name colors of the silks you produce ect.

6)exagerat all motions.
you need to use a lot of body language when performing for small children, lots of over done facial expressions will lend to the show.

7) make sure all your props are secure and a safe place while you are standing away from them as the children are curious and will look into that box/case and play with what you have in there.

8)try to know how many children are expected and what age range as this will not only help you prepair for the give aways if you use them but also what props you 3will need for that age group

9) when sellinbg hte show always make sure that you present a set of benifits for your client that your compatition doesn't offer.

just a few things off the top of my head that have worked well for my self and many others, if I think of more I will toss them out in here.
if you have any questions or comments post them here or email me and I will respond when I get them..

Michael
holmes
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It appears that Michael has banned us all from using breakaway wands. That should put paid to fully 50% of the people here I imagine.

Actually I think kids are tougher than you think. I don't suppose the occasional use of a breakaway wand by some daft silly magician is going to traumatise them for life.

I have just realised that everything I do has potential for "humiliation". Not only do I use a breakaway wand (several times in fact) I also use the multiplying wands where kids end up with wands all over the place and they look a bit ridiculous tryng to hold them all. I also use the Bongo Hat which has a fairly humiliating touch to it.

Kids know the difference between having fun and being humiliated. Trust me on this. If you work with them in an obviously friendly way and come across as slightly incompetent (some people should be able to do this quite naturally) the kids will know that you are not trying to humiliate them.

Kids laugh at other kids. It is the reality of life. What the magician does to them is a tiny fraction of what goes on in the playground.
magic4u02
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Eternal Order
Philadelphia, PA
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You can use your assistant to get laughs and use them in comical means. That is a part of entertainment. The important thing is that they know and the audience knows that you appreciate each person that helps, you and you treat them with respect no matter what you are doing.

I treat every person on stage as a sguest in my own home. I can use them for laughs, and I often do. But I develop my character and personality early in my show and the audience gets to know I am there to have fun with them.

If I use a break away wand, I will get the laughs from it, but I will say things like, "That is ok Timmy.. It wasn't your fault. I forgot to tell you the right magic words."

And after the p[erformance I will always personally thank them for coming up and helping me and I ALWAYS make sure the helper gets all the applause and not myself. This makes them feel special and their experience with me is a positive one and not negative.

Kyle
Kyle Peron

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Lee Darrow
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Chicago, IL USA
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Just say to the kid holding the breakaway wand - "WOW! You must be pretty magical! Look at how you pulled all the power out of MY wand!" this makes the kid look cool to his friends, takes the sting out of the effect and puts the joke sort of on you, the performer.

Kids know about Harry Potter and understand about wands having power that can be depleted and recharged. Might be a good basis for a bit using the breakaway or multiplying wand...

Lee Darrow, C.H.
http://www.leedarrow.com
<BR>"Because NICE Matters!"
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