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Profile of nelly
I'm quite new to magic, and I only do cards at the moment.

When I get in from work; I pick them up and practice moves like the Elmsley count, Riffle Pass up the Ladder, etc etc.
Do you use a system or a fixed process, like practicing all the tricks you know rather than just the sleights? Or both, or what?

I read on these forums that Darwin Ortiz practices 4/6 hours a day!!!!!

What do you do? Any help or information of the best way to practice would be massively appreciated. Thanks.
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Profile of Arellion
The best way is to pratice when doing something else, particularly false counts. Practice while reading, driving, walking, talking, watching tv, etc. This makes the moves more natural when you perform them, and stops you habitually looking at your hands. Just my opinion; obviously it isn't set in stone, it's not even set in jelly.
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Profile of cheeto4567
I agree that it is good to practice while you are doing other stuff, such as watching the tv or talking to the tv. I'm weird. But make sure you set aside time to actully practice the move or trick without any distractions, and with a camera or mirror. Otherwise, you are likely to just be repeatly doing the move incorrectly; and/or not aware of angle problems.
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Thousand Oaks, CA
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Profile of GeorgeG
Although it is always nice to have a good stretch of time to concentrate on practising your magic, whether it be a routine or sleights; most of us live busy lives- and free time is in short supply. I keep props and a deck of card handy at work, so when an opportunity arises, I practice as long as I can.
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Profile of denny_Corby
Jeff McBride told me to take one trick, and practice that for about about an hour a day. As well as to do that trick everywhere.
Great Domino
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Profile of Great Domino
If you've got a little brother or sister, I suggest you get them to be your guinea pig. Practice by yourself with patter, and then show them and only them; until even they don't know what happened.
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Profile of obi-wan
I keep two lists of effects. One is all the effects I am happy with and the other is a list of effects I am working on.

I try to run through the effects I'm working on as often as possible and also try to run through my other effects at least once a week to keep them sharp.

When I practice I like to practice the whole effect including moves, presentation and patter.

When it comes to sleights I just practice whilst watching TV or whenever I've got a few minutes to spare but I only practice sleights that I need for an effect and don't keep a list of sleights to practice for the sake of it.

Thanks Smile
Mago Mai
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Profile of Mago Mai
When I want to learn a sleight that is all I practice for a while.Sometimes 15 minutes,some others 30 minutes, one or two hours.

Somedays I fell like practicing more than others.

I like to start to learn a new move really slow.So I can concentrate on the mechanics of it. This helps me inprove my hands-eyes coordination

Mago Mai
I invite all of you to share some of my magic on videos.Please, CLICK HERE
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Profile of cardican66
I too pick one move and/or effect and practice until I am satisfied. After that, I move on to incorporation of the effect into my routine. This way of practicing works for me.

Experience teaches only the teachable.
Aldous Huxley (1894 - 1963)
Paul Sherman
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Arlington, VA
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Profile of Paul Sherman
John Carney advocates two methods of practice. The first is thoughtful practice. Run through a move slowly, make sure you understand the positions of all the fingers. Make sure that you understand the thinking behind the move as well as the precise mechanics of the move. This kind of practice should be done with as few distractions as possible.

The next type of practice is motor-memory practice. This is where you sit in front of the television and practice a move mindlessly. You do this AFTER you've put in the thoughtful practice. Eventually you'll be able to execute the sleights without thinking about them, which is where you want them to be for actual performance. If you have to think about a sleight in performance your hesitation or tension may betray your technique.

Finally, I find that in addition to the above, it's very useful to add yet ANOTHER form of practice. If I've been practicing a sleight (e.g. the bottom deal) I will, of course, do the mindless practice for hours on end. In performance though, you may only have to execute a single bottom deal in the course of an effect. I find it useful to leave a deck lying around and occasionally pick it up and perform a single bottom deal (or whatever). It more accurately reflects the pressure of actual performance if you only have one shot at performing the sleight deceptively. A good friend of mine shared this technique with me and I've found it very helpful. I believe he heard it first from Jay Sankey, although I could be wrong about that.

Hope these help.

"The finished card expert considers nothing too trivial that in any way contributes to his success..." Erdnase

some youtube videos
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Profile of sbays
"The best way is to pratice when doing something else, particularly false counts. Practice while reading, driving, walking, talking, watching tv etc."

Um ... please do NOT practice while driving, unless you have your sleight of car technique down. Smile
"Opportunity may only knock once, but temptation leans on the doorbell."
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Profile of Bonford

Very good advice you passed on there, in my opinion. Something I'd add: don't forget to practice what the move would look like without the slight.

After a few thousand hours of practice someone might have a pass with an invisible transposition, but the move is still telegraphed with its awkwardness.

No matter what the move is, I always make a point of going through what the natural motion would be if nothing at all occurred.
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Profile of cheeto4567
On 2003-05-01 22:33, sbays wrote:
"The best way is to pratice when doing something else, particularly false counts. Practice while reading, driving, walking, talking, watching tv etc."

Um ... please do NOT practice while driving, unless you have your sleight of car technique down. Smile

Unless you can drive with your feet. Smile
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New Orleans
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Profile of MagicT
Your added practice advise is good except for one thing. It is extremely hard for a cardician to see a deck lying around, pick it up and perform the practiced sleight once, then put the deck down. Its like a bad drug addiction. Once the cards are in the hands, a cardician cannot put them down for a while.
I have this problem myself, and must resort to attending therapy. The therapy I use is to attend non-card lectures whenever possible. Unfortunately, when a card guy comes in town, we are all doomed.

Just some words of wisdom.

Trini Montes
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Profile of Magic_streak
Just practice whenever you feel like practicing. If you ever feel the need to force yourself to do it, you'll never do it well.

Motor-memory practice is relaxing for the mind as you don't think about it. However it can sometimes lead to malpractice. Imagine doing the wrong thing over and over for hours at end without knowing it. It would be useful to bring your mind back to what your hands are doing once in a while to check if you are doing the moves correctly.

Have fun practicing! Smile
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Profile of Alewishus
No one can tell YOU how to practice or how much to practice; when is enough, enough! There is no system but the one you develope for yourself. I would give you one piece of advice, and that is to love the pasteboards. If you do, then you will practice until it becomes absurd - the whole notion of 'card magic', what a crock...
You will begin to despise them for taking up your hours, then after a period of separation, you will rekindle the love that you once had and find that you've become a better 'lover'.

It's the grape talking...
Sack subs, ok Ross?
We miss you asper.
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Profile of PaulGreen

Here's my 2 cents:

Practicing a sleight or move is fine, but I feel that it is just as important to practice (rehearse) how the sleight will be used in the context of a performance.

Magic, at least by my standards, is a performing art. Hence one must think about how a sleight or move is being utilized in the performance before an audience. Things to consider are misdirection and the direction of attention; the blocking of a performance; the interaction, or lack of interaction with the audience. Each of these concepts, and others as well, need to be part of our rehearsal strategy.

In my opinion, sleights are best practiced when they are going to be used. The practice of a move is useless on its own. Yes, the technical aspects of any sleight need to be practiced, but they really do not gain any value unless they are used in a motivated routine.

Thanks for a great question. I hope that it promotes more thinking on the way we all perform.


Paul Green Smile Smile Smile

Here is an additional nickel's worth:

When I am rehearsing, I start at the beginning of a routine. If I "fluff" a line or move, I stop and begin at the beginning of the routine again. For me, this trains my mind and body in a complete package. I learned this from one of Magic's best teachers--Ken Brooke.

Further respect,

Paul Green Smile Smile Smile
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Profile of BryanDreyfus
You left out one important practice consideration that I learned the hard way...

There will be times that for whatever reason, the moon could be in the 8th house, whatever. You will blow an effect to the point of nonfixability.

Ever consider what you will do when that happens?

My first night of working Illusions Restaurant, I totally blew my "Triumph"- the climax to my act! The pushover and cut went way bad..way way bad....What did I do?

I picked up that deck, boxed it in the messed up order, saying : "It hasn't liked me all week," and I brought out "Another deck that hasn't given me any problems at all". I ran through it and placed their card on top (my card routine- I know in advance what the card is going to be, because of theming)... did a false shuffle and proceeded. I proceeded naturally. I just stayed unflustered, and carried on. I noticed no difference in the response for that trick, from any other where I didn't screw up.

What would you do? (Rhetorical; no need to really answer.)

Oh sure, I can spell "Antidisestablishmentarianism", but I can't type t-h-e.
Ashkenazi the Pretty Good
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Profile of Ashkenazi the Pretty Good
I'm looking for a "card work-out:" a series of shuffles, passes, flourishes, whatever.

Something I can do as a sort of card calisthenics: just a routine.

Or several. You know, this three days a week, this when you're picking your nose with your right hand, that when you're indicating to your date that you find her/him intolerable, etc.

We could have been practicing!
Mark Williams
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Las Vegas, Nevada
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Profile of Mark Williams
This is going to sound weird, but I not only practiced in front of a mirror, but also in front of my friend's cat. That's right...a cat!! The cat naturally followed the movements of my hands while I tried performing a "move". When the cat was no longer able to follow along, I was ready to perform for a "live" audience. It worked for me!! I told you it was weird! Smile
"Once is Magic!! Twice is an Education!!"
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