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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Ever so sleightly » » Frustration is setting in with sponges and coins (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

robvio
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Somerset KY
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I realize that after six months, my sleights are not what a seasoned pro are.

But I am starting to lose faith in learning beacuse I feel as if when I watch myself its nothing short of awful.

I have gotten some compliments, don't get me wrong. I realize also that I have gotten better with time, but I feel like I am not getting better and its frustrating.

I practice for about an hour a day on nothing but basic sleights so is it that it will get better or will it plateau? Is it possible that I am not destined to get better?

Advice...help!
Josh Riel
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of hell
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6 months?

I have been a Magician for 9 years, and still am not on the level of a seasoned pro. Don't let it get you down. Time will do it. Either you will realize that you aren't getting better because you really don't like what your doing, or you will improve with the seasoning that comes with time.
Magic is doing improbable things with odd items that, under normal circumstances, would be unnessecary and quite often undesirable.
mrunge
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Charleston, SC
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Also, keep in mind we tend to be our own worst critics. The repetition of practice might seem boring and you might feel you're really not progressing, but you are, whether you realize it or not.

Hang in there, keep practicing and just have fun. It is magic after all and is supposed to be fun!

Mark.
Bill Palmer
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When learning, everything has a plateau. That's what the learning curve is about. When people say something has a steep learning curve, they generally mean that it has a shallow one. When we approach a new subject, we learn the basics fairly quickly. That gives us a steep curve. It's when the amount of material learned per unit of time spent is smaller, that we have a shallow learning curve.

Now that I have confused you, let me explain something about what happens when you learn. You acquire principles quickly. But at some point, you find that the learning doesn't seem to provide much improvement. There's your plateau. So, what do you do about it?

First, videotape yourself, and see where your errors are. If something looks funny, then you are doing it wrong. Practice the real action before you practice the sleight. For example, if you are doing a sleight that involves pretending to pick up an object, practice actually picking up that object so you know what it is supposed to look like. Then practice pretending to pick it up.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Michael Baker
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Near a river in the Midwest
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There are a few possible causes for this, and you may be able to identify those causes with a bit of quick annalyzing (deliberately misspelled to get by the auto-censor). If possible, find a magician near you who is more proficient with these things, and ask them for help. It may be that you are learning sleights that are not really good ones (and there are plenty of those). It may be that the sleights are valid, but you are learning them incorrectly. It may also boil down to the fact that some sleights are better in some hands than in others, almost regardless of the time spent. Sometimes you can learn to modify a sleight to make it more natural in your own hands without compromising the effectiveness of the sleight.

Consider also the context in which you will use the sleight. Sometimes certain sleights will look horrible when not properly framed within the context of the routine. Many magicians do the pass with a deck of cards. Most of them are very bad at it, if looking only at the sleight itself. But many of these same magicians understand enough about the direction of attention through focused interest, how to construct a compelling plot, the timing of when a sleight is actually done, and a general blending with the performance environment, that sometimes even a slightly off-target execution of a sleight can still accomplish the job as effectively as if it had been done perfectly.

While this is not as desirable as perfect execution, the fact should not be overlooked that the success or failure of a performance of magic often relies on the performer's ability to get from the beginning to the end, almost as if he were riding a bull. He has to make adjustments and learn to work the situation at hand. Each ride should also give you insight on the next one. This is how experience is generated. Learning where your rough spots are is the first step in being able to fix them.

Because you mention coins and sponges, I will assume that your arena is close-up. While there is no substitute for practical experience, trust me when I say that the close-up arena affords you many opportunities to covertly execute critical sleights in the shadows, only inches from the actual epicenter of focus, be that visual or mental.

Think about how the sleight will be used, and practice not only the sleights, but also the surrounding actions that will serve to mask the sleight. Of course, it is impossible to find a rehearsal studio replacement for a real, living breathing spectator, as you will find when actually performing, but you can enlist the help of other magician friends, or close friends or relatives that will tolerate being on the receiving end of a trick for the 500th time. Even though they will all eventually know your secrets as well as you, you will get the sense of timing.

The next step would be to conjure up some faith in your abilities and go out and take your magic for a test drive on a real audience. At the two extremes, you will either come back home safe and sound after a perfect ride, or you will crash. Most likely you will end up somewhere in between, and that's not bad. You end up with something better to strive for without being a complete failure. Smile

~michael
~michael baker
The Magic Company
Bill Palmer
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This is absolutely true. It's almost like when you are practicing music.

You can learn a chord, but it doesn't mean anything until you put it into context. Until you know what happens next or what came before, the chord means very little. Once you have it in context, then you have a full "song" or in this case "a routine."

But the song doesn't mean much unless you are singing it TO someone.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Alan Munro
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Kentwood, Michigan, USA
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An-alyze (Don't you hate it when goosestepping censorship programs won't let you spell, correctly?) your actions and try to determine why they don't work, the way you'd like them to. Don't just practice long and hard - a direction is needed, and only a few repetitions are needed. Space out your practice sessions and practice the sleights in the context of a routine.

If at all possible, learn from a DVD. It gives you the opportunity to see how good the sleight can look and to observe the hand positions.
Bill Palmer
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Ana1yze everything carefully.

I will disagree with Alan on one minor point, and that is only slightly.

If possible, learn from a teacher. If no teacher is available, learn from a DVD, if you can't get the material clear from a book. Sometimes just one little hint from a teacher can make the difference.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Julie
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Hello Robvio

Another very practical approach is to have a "study-buddy" relationship with a friend who is also involved in Magic. You can be a great help to each other (only) if you are brutally frank with one another and share constructive criticism.

Remember this is supposed to be fun!

Julie
Jaz
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NJ, U.S.
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Quote:
On 2006-11-18 20:55, robvio wrote:
I realize that after six months, my sleights are not what a seasoned pro are.

But I am starting to lose faith in learning beacuse I feel as if when I watch myself its nothing short of awful.

I have gotten some compliments, don't get me wrong. I realize also that I have gotten better with time, but I feel like I am not getting better and its frustrating.

I practice for about an hour a day on nothing but basic sleights so is it that it will get better or will it plateau? Is it possible that I am not destined to get better?

Advice...help!


After 6 months your not going to do what a seasoned pro has done for years.

Don't lose faith in yourself. You say that you've gotten some compliments, have gotten better with time but now feel like you're not getting better.
Obviously you are making some progress.

As suggested, put those basic sleights to use in routines. This will help with your timing as well as other details.

Michael Baker has given some excellent advice that you should listen to.

Enjoy the journey. Smile
robvio
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Somerset KY
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Guys, maybe I am too tough on myself.

I have always been the type to be competitive and strive to be better or even perfect.

Its hard. Its fun, but hard. Especially when my enthusiasm for this is higher than my skill. <------Thats where my frustration starts.
Bill Palmer
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I know you are pretty far from Louisville, but there are a couple of good clubs there. You should check them out.
"The Swatter"

Founder of CODBAMMC

My Chickasaw name is "Throws Money at Cups."

www.cupsandballsmuseum.com
Mr. Muggle
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Are you practicing for an hour at a time or in multiple smaller sessions? If your working for one hour straight you will most likely compound your errors and get in the habbit of repeating a flaw - instead of perfecting perfect technique.

Keep a coin in one pocket and a sponge in the other. Each day should offer many short practice sessions to run through a short phase of a routine - keep working, you'll do it.
"Now you're looking for the secret... but you won't find it because you're not really looking. You don't really want to know the secret... You want to be fooled." - The Prestige (2006)
Alan Munro
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Quote:
On 2006-11-19 12:12, Bill Palmer wrote:
Ana1yze everything carefully.

I will disagree with Alan on one minor point, and that is only slightly.

If possible, learn from a teacher. If no teacher is available, learn from a DVD, if you can't get the material clear from a book. Sometimes just one little hint from a teacher can make the difference.


I agree, a teacher is best. But, quite often one isn't available.
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