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Steve Haffner
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Kentucky
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I've been thinking about the idea of playing guitar in a kids show, but I would want to be able to perform an effect while I play. So my question is, what effects are available that can be done "no handed"?

One thought that comes to mind is based on the idea of using a mini RC transmitter to make something move or appear that is not in close contact with me. Of course, I'd have to find a way to control it with my feet or elbows or something. This could work because the music would drown out the motor noise.

Another thought is if I turn around at some point while I play, I could time it to play an open chord or notes (which require no fingering from the left hand) when my back is turned and make a move - so it sounds like I'm still playing with both hands and haven't missed a beat.

I've never used IT, but would it be impossible to levitate an object while playing guitar?

I think all my ideas must be really nutty, because every time I post one of them here on the Café, nobody responds. Tumbleweeds roll across my monitor while I wait for a response. That's cool though, because I know if something strikes a nerve, people will jump on it.

- Steve
muzicman
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LaCenter, Wa
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Ah, A fellow guitarist! I have been toying with different ideas to bring my guitar into the show. It has some great possibilities. There's all kinds of "cover" behind the body, the neck,and the tuning head. Some flash cotton that is electronically triggered behind the tuning head is a great misdirection to pull a large object from behind the body of the guitar. If you play accoustic, you could have a silk come out of the sound hole using a pull.

I just got the "Impossible Hank" which allows you to program a dancing hanky on your shoulder. You could routine a lengthy skit and play it back whenever you want. Hands free and no wires!

I have only been able to use my guitar as a warm up before the actual show. I play my rendition of Van Halens "Ice Cream Man" but I change the words to "Magic Man" and all the verses are magic related but sound similiar to the original song. It's an upbeat song that ends with me saying... "So you wanna see some magic"? As I slide my pick down the strings for that last note of the song then I ignite my flash cotton and produce a silk from the flash and go into a routine with the single silk. The guitar sits in the stand the rest of the show.
AragorntheMagician
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There's a guy on ebay who makes reasonable (for magic) remote controlled gadgets. He's got the Drawing Card Rise, Snake Garbage Can, etc. I want to say the remote Drawing Card Rise was about $70 using "Buy it now". PM me if interested and I'll pm you his info on ebay. You could come up with a good story line on any of his stuff and sing/play about the magic and it happens.
Aragorn TM
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magicgeorge
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I had a similair idea I wanted to have a puppet sitting on the end of my mandolin and sing along as I played it. I was originally going to go the same route your thinking of by having an animatronic puppet that I could operate at the same time as holding a chord. However I scrapped that idea and decided to go another way. I'm going to fake the music (prerecord the mandolin) and have a fake hand on the neck with my real hand controlling the puppet. I'm still playing around with the idea but I have a prototype made that looks pretty cool.

Your IT idea would work pretty well, it would be very possible to levitate an object while playing guitar. If you stuck an anchor to (for example)the bottom of your guitar you could levitate something by taking a step or two back; your hands wouldn't have to leave the strings.

All the best,

George
magic4u02
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Another idea is to do a drawing and place the drawing on an easle and walk away. Talk to the kids about imagination and how powerful imagination can be if you are willing to believe. Then you can play a song like Imagination from Willy Wanka and the Chocolate factory or Puff the Magic dragon. As the song plays, the eyes start to move and the mouth openes up. You sing a verse and then the drawing comes to life to sing along with you. Could create a very magica and comcical experience that would delight your audiences.

Kyle
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chris mcbrien
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Ok, I'm going to play the devil's advocate on this one.
I don't think you should distract from the magic of your musical talents, I think the music you're playing is magic enough! I love a great guitar song, I always wanted to play but my parents (God love em', I know I do!) stuck me with the clarinet (YUCK!). Really, as the Paul would say: "Let it be"!
Chris
chris mcbrien
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OK, or do the drawing board...(the more I think about it the cooler I could see it being). I still would be hesitant to take away from your talents, though. You'd have to have it down really cold and killer for this to work....
Chris
magic4u02
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I think it can work if you allow yourself to be set up in such a way that the focus goes from you naturally to the board and then back to you. You would have to work out the choreography onit so that the audiences knows where to focus their attention at what times. But it could be a great and funny entertaining routine.

Kyle
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Spellbinder
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What a challenge, fellow guitarist! I'm thinking of things you could do when you finally put the guitar on a stand -- if the guitar had some eyes and a moving mouth on its face (RC operated) it could continue to accompany you and sing along in its own voice as you perform non-guitar magic.

Some guitar pranks -
You play a bad chord on purpose, shake the guitar and play it again, then turn the guitar over and pull out a string of music notes from the opening... oops! I have an acoustic guitar with a big open hole, but you may be playing an electric, so I'm not sure where the notes would drop out of. Anyway, after removing the bad notes, the chord is played correctly and the song resumes.

Have a long elastic chord mounted next to one of the strings. During the song pull it way out, get your fingers caught in it, snap it, finally cut yourself loose and continue.

It's for a kids show, right? Play the Itsy Bitsy Spider while a big rubber spider slowly crawls up your body and right on up the guitar to the top, then you pick it off and toss it into the audience or change it into a piece of candy, etc.

Get a digital voice recorder and record a harmonica piece. Camouflage the voice recorder so it looks like a harmonica. Put it in your mouth and press the PLAY button with your tongue and you can seemingly play the harmonica and the guitar at the same time. Sort of like a ventriloquist drinking a glass of water.

Eleazar Goodenough plays the Ukulele and does this wonderful little song in his Hawaiian routine where he gets the members of the audience dancing a hula dance when their name is called. I've suggested to him it could be a kids' mental effect where he simply knows the name of every kid in the audience (mnemonic code) so he can call them out to dance the hula.

While on the subject of audience participation, you might pass out "self-playing" instruments to the kids, like the air drum sticks, a recorder, a kazoo, and so on. You have the kids test the instruments for sound, then under pretense of tuning them up, you render them silent so a pre-recorded group of professional players can make the kids look like they can actually play the instruments and all they have to do is act the parts and join in your song.

My idea "bank" is drying up now. Need to go out for another beer.
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Steve Haffner
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Kentucky
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Wow. Lots of interesting ideas. Spellbinder, I love the gags. I'm definitely not above loading up my kids' show with gags.

The Itsy Bitsy Spider suggestion sounds awesome - how would you make the spider move? Maybe anchor thread to the guitar and "imperceptably" move the guitar further from the body?

"You play a bad chord on purpose..." Ha! I have enough of those by mistake! Great idea though, and I would be probably be playing an acoustic so I would have a hole to pull stuff out of.

- Steve
jimgerrish
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Itsy Bitsy Spider: Try a toy battery operated motor with long black silk thread attached to "axel" and going down to spider. Motor is high up on your body, thread goes down your body, spider in the top of your sock at the start. Guitar is in front of thread for a few songs. When ready for the Itsy Bitsy Spider, reposition guitar in back of thread and pactice will show you how to catch the thread someplace on the top of the guitar to make the spider travel up it as you play. Start motor and play song. Because the thread is winding around the axel and not a larger wheel, the movement will be slow at first. Just play the song and pretend not to notice the spider until the kids start pointing to it (and probably screaming!). If kids are terrified of the spider, try giving it a name "Anabelle" or something like that. Introduce "Anabelle" as the world's friendliest spider. If that doesn't work, catch the spider and get rid of it.
DeWayne
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I play the ukulele at birthday parties! Nothing magical but a fun inderlude. I tell them my magic wand misfired and shrunk my guitar.

I tell the kids I stayed up all night last night writting a very special birthday song for Billy's 6th birthday. Then I sing and play the regular ole Happy Birthday to You song. After I'm done they all say they know that song already. I say I must be a very good song writer for them all to know my special song already. Sometimes they sing along and I say it must be a really good song since they never heard it before yet can sing it already. I play it up and "argue" with them until one of us has had enough. Then I say I really really did write a very special country song and sing the same song with a hillbilly twang. We do it all over again. Then I have them vote on music or magic. They always vote magic! Then we go back to the show.

-DeWayne

ps: If I'm still around for blowing out the candles. I usually bring out the uke and say hey lets all sing MY Happy Birthday song for Billy. And I play the song as everyone sings to Billy. Kids love to tease back that I didn't write the song.
magic4u02
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DeWayne:

You show a perfect example of going above and beyond for your client. You do not have to play when they blow out the candles, but you do and that adds more value to you in the mind of your client because you are giving them so much more then just a magic show. You are now a part of solving the problems and meeting the needs the client may have for that event. When you do this, clients will remember it and will come back to you time and again because you give them far more then anyone else will. Great job and great idea.

Kyle
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todsky
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Steve, your situation is one that is near and dear to my heart. I also play guitar, sing and write songs. But I tend to write 'adult' songs, and do kids shows, so I've never been able to mix the two. However, it's such a shame that I can't, as kyle puts it, give that added value to my show by also playing music for the kids, which is something I'd just LOVE to do! My way of approaching this seems to be that I'm going to have to write a few kids songs, preferably songs that have some magic references in them, and play them between tricks, or maybe even as short introductions to tricks! Dewayne seems to have a good thing going with his uke. Another possibility is to record my songs and have them playing as background while I do the tricks. But I also like the idea of magic happenign while I am playing my guitar. So many possibilities, but all I know is that I also need to bring my love for music into the show. Good luck to you!
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EvanMagic
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In a recent talent competition I was in. This guy was a lot bigger than his name. Me, also being a magician made him all the more "egotistic" persay toward me. He would come over and touch my props, saying "Oh I know how you do that!" and just stuff like that. Well when the MC introduced him, everyone was pretty excited because he could do magic, and play guitar, and that's what he did. He played a simple song, than moved onto a trick he had little idea what he was doing. The audience was far from flabbergasted. But, I can say now, the quote "They talk more than they do" was a perfect example.

Just thought I would share this story, best of luck to put this together. Maybe add some cool effect to the guitar like a confetti launcher or something.

Just an idea Smile

Evan
chris mcbrien
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How about Puff the Magic dragon (Axtell's dragon breathes smoke...very cool item) comes out to talk after you call him by playing and singing "Puff the Magic Dragon" ...ok, it's a very old song...and that's why it works...it's a classic! Many people know the words, and if the kids don't, they'll love it! Also, parents will know it, and you'll get points from them for bringing the song back. Maybe move the tempo up a bit to modernize it...
Just an idea.
Chris
Skip Way
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Hocus-Pocus' Tipper Monkey may be ideal. I have one and I have the most fun interacting with it's shenanegans. Basically, it's one of these screeching, cymbal-clanging monkeys with a concealed controller that will fit your needs perfectly. I can see you singing a song when Tipper joins in alternating between "singing" or clapping his cymbals out of time...stopping whenever you look at him. The kids will get a kick out of your annoyance and the by-play is limited only by imagination. Best yet, because your hands are in plain sight and busy, they'll never figure out how you're controlling him!

I use mine to reveal chosen cards (Clap the number), read minds (Think of a number between 1 and 10), Addition (Ask Tipper to add two numbers and clap the sum), interrupt me (offering great misdirection) at points in my street show, applaud wildly for big tips and so on.

The only problem I ever had with him is that his bulging eyes (They bug in and out) frightened some of the younger children...so I gave him dark sunglasses. Problem solved!

Give it a look...if it's still available.

Skip
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chris mcbrien
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I"ll have to check this out...
Chris
harris
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Music and magic are a great combination.

I am thinking of getting a ukele. Smaller to carry than my guitar and case.

In the past I kept Nigel in the guitar case.

Pics could be used as coins for spell bound, pics across....

This is a great food for thought thread.....

Currently I produce my melodica from 3 scarves...

There must be away to produce your guitar or how bout some hot music...

if you are into flash paper produce a pic out of a small..(repeat small piece)


User beware fire can and is dangerous.... Adults only.... insert lawyer stuff hear...

I would not use the fire stuff for kids shows, but since I use my music(harmonica...melodica) in my adult family style I thought I would mention it here.


I have not used flash paper in a long long time.

Be very careful.

My neighbors house actually exploded on Sunday.. He is not a magician but it makes me aware of the dangers of any pyro stuff....


Be safe and creative

Happy HOYC


Harris
Harris Deutsch aka dr laugh
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Skip Way
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I tried the Ukelele, but it was a pain keeping it in tune mooving in and out of temperature zones as I do. A friend of mine uses a Suzuki Omnichord (I think it's called the Q-Chord now, and comes with self-loading "player piano" style song cassettes) to great success and I have been working with it lately. This thing is the size of an Autoharp with chord buttons, electronic voices (guitar, organ, banjo, etc) and a selection of rhythms and chord patterns (Waltz, country, rock, march...). You select the sound you want and strum it like an Autoharp. It's like a portable Hammond organ strapped to you. It's actually easier to play than a chord organ because you strum it rather than playing specific keys. I have had more fun singing "Fractured" kid's songs with this thing. If you've never heard of this thing...and you want a portable music instrument that's easy to learn...look into this thing! For those of us who can't tell a fret from a "G" String...
Skip
How you leave others feeling after an Experience with you becomes your Trademark.

Magic Youth Raleigh - RaleighMagicClub.org
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