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Paul Budd
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Not sure if this is the MOST appropriate place for this, but it shouldn't be far off-base if it isn't:

I've had this on my mind for awhile........has anyone ever thought of creating a formalized, well-structured system (curriculum maybe) that would allow magicians to work though "levels" until they reach the level of "Master Magician"?? Maybe Chazpro (sp?) has something along these lines?? Railroad modelers (I think) have something like this....usually takes at least 10 years to become a "Master modeler". I've just been thinking about it.....for it to be serious, it couldn't be the kind of thing you'd achieve within 2 weeks, or it would lack credibility.
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Because of the various types and elements of magic, I don't see how any course of study and practice can make one a true master of magic.

One might study a field of magic and master a few routines or perhaps become a master of props like cards or coins, etc. Thru years of performing one might be considered a master of illusions or closeup or busking or etc, but I doubt full mastery of the entire art of magic is possible.

Even then, who decides one is a Master Magician?
Other magicians, the public, the performer?
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I think many people spend years learning tricks and they consider themselves master magicians because of what they can do. They work at the goal to be known as a master magician. Maybe the goal should be entertaining the audience with magic and be known as a entertainer. Someone could be in magic for ten years and not have the abilities another has in a shorter time span. I think you need a genuine love for the art, a desire to study, practice, practice, practice, learn the some history of our art, learn some theory, psycology of magic and more. You can see that there is so much to learn that it would take a lifetime to master some of it. Be an entertainer and you will succeed at your craft.
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Any master magician here?
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So how would someone get the title Master Magician? Is it self proclaimed? Awards? How much does one have to master to be a master?
"Looks like a camera trick!" "I had to watch it 5 times before I...still didn't figure it out" - COINTUM-LEAP

Unbelievable, visual, simple, and motivated mix of cards and coins. COINTUM-LEAP
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I think the idea has merit even if it is never put into practice,it is an interesting mental exersize.There are plenty of other creative subjects which manage to decide who is worthy to be on the course and how to assess them at the end.

Three Dimentional Design,

Imagine the students turning up on the first day.What would be the first exersize you would give them..?
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Sometimes I wonder if that was what the Fox series secrets revealed was trying to do so everyone could be a master magician. Still sore about that one, sorry.
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I agree that this is too complex a subject and would require study in numerous fields of expertise to proclaim someone a master magician. I have no interest in stage illusions and minimal interest in mental magic, so would I never make it to that level should I choose to follow the course of study?

Coming from a background in film production (well, at least with a BS in it), I know we study the various facets of production, including technicals like lighting and sound, and history and theory, etc. I don't think most people go into magic (even professionals) wanting to know all of that.

Of course, how many of us would choose that course of study if it were offered at a college or university somewhere...? Hands please, Smile
Learning that all things magical are not limited to card tricks.
Mr. Mystoffelees
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I'm not really straining to be a master magician, I just don't want to be considered a grasshopper magician...
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I think the title is illusive. And unattainable. Peter Loughran bills himself master of illusions and indeed he is. But to master the entire field????? It's too vast!

I have seem magicians market themselves as "master magician" or "Master of Magic", but I think that's pompous.

Besides you don't master magic. It masters YOU.
The difficult must become easy, the easy beautiful and the beautiful magical.
amazing eric
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I have a different take on this. Although it is impossible to be a complete master of the art of magic in all its aspects, it is possible and indeed attainable to achieve a certain level of mastery in a specific scope of the art. For example, I would look at Eugene Burger as a master magician in the field of closeup magic. Although he does comparatively little in sleight of hand than say, Michael Ammar, he is strong in his stage presence and presentation. This comes from two reference points: First, he has personally answered the subjective question for his character of what is "magic". For him, it is about the experience and not necessarily about the technique, unless it aides in the experience. Second, he has gained stage and time experience performing his character for thousands of shows and has developed a mastery of his act.
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I would say masters are all around, and each would have made their own way to their current standing in the field.
As far as a 'generic' curriculum I would be tempted to find similarities in the art of acting.

When it comes to mastering magic, it all too often comes down to technicalities, such as close-up card magic against huge stage elusions. How can you be Lance Burton AND Ricky Jay?
My take on it is that the true masters, while possessing technical excellence (no doubt), are far more skilled in other areas.
The 'Minor' would be a students actual preferred skill (cards, mentalism and so on) and would be a generalization of the skills therein (All 13 steps or a Complete Course).
But his Major, the main body of education would be on the oft-neglected-in-the-beginning skills of entertaining!
The skills of audience management, scripting, presentation, misdirection/direction, presence, acting, secret-script and on and on.
The concepts.

Actors don't learn Hamlet, or the nuance of a playing a depressed heroin-addict widow. They learn the skills to move into any area, to perform in any environment. Magicians could, and perhaps should, start off learning the general skills, the 'major' facets of entertaining/amazing/scaring. It could seem daunting but this is not an easy field and as rewarding as learning a new sleight can seem, in the bigger picture you learn nothing. You fool yourself and that's about. You start to think it matters in, and of, itself.

Looking at the masters, such as Mr.Burger, the mastery of presentation is clear and concise. What you are doing is nowhere as important as HOW you do it. Suddenly the most technically 'simple' method becomes a wondrous display for the participant.

A master actor is one who connects to the audience, who elicits an emotional response. Is this not the way for all masters in all arts?

If we wish to create a new line of masters of magic we must work from the ground up, and from the great goal to the lesser goal. Entertain the crowd, connect, and give them a moment. If you master the classic pass too that's a nice bonus!
This is a larger subject, that of the direction, reason and goal of magic and magicians. The respect for the art and for ourselves. Looking at the rewards (personal), the expectation of the performer and the respect for the craft in the acting world, the music world and virtually all other arts magic really needs to expect more of itself.
We may not all be masters such as Mr. Burger but we should start trying to be.
I'm always honest about when I'm lying. And I'm always lying...
joe yang
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Interesting idea and it may have been done. Magic as entertainment is an Asian tradition dating back to at least the 9th century. There aren't any professional writings on the topic because those performers couldn't write. There are illustrations, journal accounts and letters about those performers. Some of them had troupes, students or disciples, you name it.

In a kind of medieval, guild sense, these were master performers. They were sought ought as teachers. They could get work, get a crowd and get payed. Now if by master, you mean master of all skills, no, they weren't masters. Were they masters of their trade in a narrower sense?

Today the Korean government recognizes some "Gut" or "Kut", traditional shamanist theater, as a "National Treasure". Some practicing "Mu" or shaman could arguably be considered masters.

Interesting idea, it could be done, maybe. It would probably be a full time job. Anyone good enough to make it work should be too busy performing. If they weren't, would they be the right person for the job? Then there would be the issue of abuse, fake masters, scams, self delusion, all the good stuff we see in the martial arts.
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Simon Mandal
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I don't think this will ever happen.

Many of the greats don't even agree on what makes good magic.

People have been successful building magic shows based on wildly different philosophies.

Many world class performers are deficient in SOME area of magic.
They are still world's more entertaining, and emotion provoking than many more well rounded magicians are.

There is no certification process for being a great artist or entertainer.

I don't know how many magicians would jump through hoops to become certified.
Lay people do not value educational credentials in a performer.
It's a very results based industry.

Don't get me wrong.
I am all for the elevation of our art.
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Would we even consider the likes of Copperfield a master magician?

David obviously has grand illusions mastered! And he can FLY like Superman!!! And he has shown that he can do close up, but is he a master of close up? Look at the thousands of effects that are available for close up, walk around table hopping, etc.

How many has David mastered?

But I'm sure that the lay public, if someone would say David was a Master magician, would have no trouble accepting it.

So it's all in the perception of the public, I would say.

look at some of the greats of our time.

Michael Ammar comes to mind. Man, guys like him and Michael Close can do just about anything as far as close up, restaurant magic and that general venue.

But what about the Copperfield type illusions?

So in that sense they are not masters, but in my eyes, they are truly masters.

Look at some other greats. Let me pick a name out of thin air. Bill Malone. Now there's a guy who can fry any audience! And keep them laughing, too.

But Bill's not a master, is he, because he has never performed stage illusions,

Juan Tamirez. A true master if ever there was one...Who could doubt his mastery? But sadly, he is NOT because a master magician would be able to do all phases of the art. He doesn't do doves, and he doesn't do stage illusions...

Really, the conclusion is that the title is entirely subjective.

The conclusion is that you can pick a phase of the art that you love, and work hard and long to master it, and then, no matter what anybody says, you ARE a master magician.

But let's look at a well rounded magician. Ahhhhhh! That's the term. "Well rounded." Lance Burton! Obvious master with doves and manipulation...I've seen him do harrowing escapes, he does stage illusions very well, and to my knowledge he has good chops for close up. Maybe he is the closest we can come?
The difficult must become easy, the easy beautiful and the beautiful magical.
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Good post Doug.
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In the days of guilds, one became a master by going through the stages of being an apprentice to a master, then a journeyman, and then (after gaining sufficient experience while on his journeys) became a master himself, and possibly a grandmaster.

A critical part of becoming a master is the production of a "masterpiece," which is where we get our word for "a person's greatest piece of work."

In the world of magic in the present day, a few of us may have enjoyed an apprentice/master relationship with a mentor--but I would think that is rare. In the Middle Ages, the only way an artist could learn was to be an apprentice to someone who was a master. But in the Middle Ages, literacy was rare, so learning pretty much had to be on a personal basis. When (thanks to Gutenberg and others) books became easy to print and acquire, learning gradually moved beyond the person-to-person basis. With today's video instruction resources, knowledge can be obtained much more easily and impersonally. But the knowledge then needs to be crystalized by actual performance before live audiences.

An example of the master/apprentice relationship in the modern world might be Harry Collins as the master who took on Lance Burton as an apprentice, although in today's parlance the word "master" has given way in most cases to "mentor."

There are few ways today to certify that a person is a "master." I think credentials can be established to a certain degree through performing and endorsements from clients and fellow artists--in our case, through the endorsements of the audiences we perform for and other magicians.

----- Amado "Sonny" Narvaez
----- Sonny Narvaez
Magician Shaun
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If you Google "Master Magician" Lance Burton is the top result. Penn and Teller also called him "Master Magician." I would also venture to say Tommy Wonder was a Master Magician. Micheal Ammar too!

In my opinion a Master Magician could be much like a Master Craftsman. There are many crafts and if you master yours you can be a master craftsman. There are many fields of magic too. Is it better to be the master of a specific field or a journeyman of many?
Glenn Morphew
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How you become a "Master Magician"

Hope you enjoy it.

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Thanks Glenn - enjoyed that very much!

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