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Profile of magicmonty
How do all you more experienced performers tackle nerves ?...that is if you still have them...if you do not have them , then how long did it take you to get over your nerves ?.

I know everyone is different but just a general guide would be good...I did my second show yesterday and all went well except for the fact I was very nervous!!.

If I get any replys...i would imagine that they will say , the more you perform the better your nerves will get...but are there any methods out there to help you with your nerves ?.

Thanx John .
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Inner circle
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Profile of RicHeka
Actually a bit of nervousness is good. It gets the adrenaline flowing. The real key is CONFIDENCE. If you know in your mind that you can do your routines almost without thinking about them, the nerves are greatly diminished. This mindset allows you to focus on presentation and having fun. Once you get into your act the nervousness will be gone. Another important thing is to SMILE(sincerely).When you see your audience return your smile, you will feel more confident. Best.

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Bar Harbor, ME
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Profile of drwilson
I am fortunate in that I was required to do a great deal of public speaking (lecturing, actually) before taking up the wand. As you say, even experienced performers are nervous. Here are a couple of things that I have found helpful.

First, have the first two minutes down rock solid, so that you could do it perfectly if awakened in the middle of the night by gun-toting guys in ski masks. Try doing something that is absolutely foolproof as an opening effect. No sleights, no difficult handling, something visual. You KNOW that you will open flawlessly, so you will go on confident. The audience picks up on your confidence and likes you.

Second, try to get some experience doing the most horrible, grueling gig imaginable. I worked twelve- to fifteen-hour days pitching slum magic and running a sideshow at a fair. After four days of that, any gig that was indoors for an hour show seemed like sitting in a bubble bath eating bonbons. This does a lot for your confidence. The grueling gig also teaches you not to waste energy being nervous, because you don't have any energy to spare in a situation like that.

Another good one is to do closeup in the children's burn unit or cancer ward at the local hospital. Not only are you bringing much-needed joy to these settings, you will also learn quickly that performing magic isn't about your emotions, it's about what you have to give your audience. When you have a regular gig after a few of these, you will be much more at ease.

I hope that you find this useful!


Al Angello
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Eternal Order
Collegeville, Pa. USA
11047 Posts

Profile of Al Angello
When Babe Ruth pointed to the center field wall just before he hit the ball over the wall he was nervous, and focused, and all charged up with adrenalin. What I have learned over the years is, if you let this extra charge guide you, you will always play over your head. One word of caution is, when the show is over you will be exhausted.
Hope this helps
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
"Footprints on your ceiling are almost gone"
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Profile of honus
Do you have community colleges or the like in Scotland? A beginning theatre class would do wonders for you -- you'll get experience in acting goofy in front of strangers Smile, and you'll learn a number of relaxation techniques you can use.

Here's one. Get up. No, GET UP, right now, right here at your computer. Take a deep breath and stretch up, up, higher, reach for that ceiling, up on your toes, holding that breath in, and now . . .
LET ALL THE AIR OUT as you bend over, touching your toes (or trying to, if you're built like me Smile ) Hang there for a bit, and feel all the tension in your body flowing out of your hands and down into the floor. Too bad for the people who live downstairs. Keep hanging, and don't tense up your shoulders!
Now, UP again for another deep breath. Stretch. Count ten, or twenty, or thirty, whatever you can comfortably do.

And so on.

Get the tension out of your body, and get the images of failure out of your head. Picture yourself doing everything right. Over and over again. Any image of doing something WRONG, drop it, right away. Replace it with the good image.

As mentioned above, a little nervous is good. Shows you care.

Good luck!
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Profile of RicHeka
Honus :You are absolutely correct.In my desire to help this guy out I forgot that this was the Little Darlings Forum.
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Special user
Nashua, NH
578 Posts

Profile of olivertwist
Great tips from DrWilson. What worked for me was volunteering in hospitals and for charity groups. There's less pressure when you do the free shows. I also found Toastmasters very helpful for improving public speaking and gaining confidence before an audience..
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a little town in nowhere
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Profile of Montethrower
A little unrelated in subject material, but Corinda and Fogel deal deeply with DEEP BREATHING! It is important. As stated by Fogel, when you have only about five or less minutes to go on stage, etc., there's not much else you can do. BUT, if you do nothing, your nerves will get worse. Deep Breathing and shuffling cards beats down my nerves.
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Eternal Order
Philadelphia, PA
15111 Posts

Profile of magic4u02
I have always realized that I am a tad nervous before going on to perform any of my shows. I realized a long time agao what the main reason was. It was not so much that I was nervous about performing in front of people. What I learned was that I became nervous if I felt that I was not properly prepared. That is where my nerves came from. I realized that if I took the extra time to prepare properly and not to rush but to make sure everything is set and such, then I relax a bit more and I tend to do a lot better.

I do things now to help with this in that I 1) rehearse all my routines a lot before ever putting them into the show. I have check lists I use to make sure I have everything packed in the truck ready to go. I have systems set in place to help with a lot of aspects of the show so that I spend less time being nervous that I am not prepared the right way as I should be.

As others have stated, nerves do get the adrenalin flowing and that can be a good thing. I get charged up when I perform and it keeps me going and feeling good on stage. You just have to make sure that after the show, when the adrenalin sarts to wear off, that you have access to rest and to get some water of sports drink to help put back in your body what you have lost through doing the performance.

Another thing I do is keep a sign in one of my cases that reads. "smile stupid your supposed to be having fun". This always makes me laugh and makes me think before I hit the stage. It puts me in the right frame of mind for my performance.

The other thing I do is always start my various shows with 2 routines I know like the back of my hand. These are effects and routines I do not even have to think about. Just as the audience needs to warm up to you, I need to warm up as well and these routines help me to do that.

Kyle Peron


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Profile of magicmonty
Wow ,
Thanks all you guys...i have taken all the advice given freely and will try all of your suggestions...Honus I tried your method to relax and it helped a great deal...even if my boxers crept into unknown regions !!{A LITTLE NERVOUS IS GOOD SHOWS YOU CARE.). What a great line that is , means a lot to me....

Dr wilson thanks also for your great advice which I have printed for future reference....Rich I think your suggestions were key also..need to get those routines down perfect so I can enjoy myself more.

Al , olivertwist and montethrower many thanks also for your suggestions.

Kyle...solid gold reply as usual by you ....have also printed all that you mentioned...great advice from a very experienced performer...How fortunate I feel to have people who will take the time to help and advise others like myself.

I can't thank all you guys enough and hope you realise that however good I become as a childrens performer , a lot will be down to the advice given here , which will mould me into being as good as I can...and that's all I can be.
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