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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » How to motivate kids to really practice magic tricks (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Daniel Ulzen
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Hi everybody,

how can we motive the kids to really practice a magic trick?

My ideas so far:
- to tell them to do the trick 30 minutes again and again
- to tell them they will be proud if they really practice the tricks
- to tell them they can get respect and find new friends if they really pratice the tricks
- to give them a card with the words "I promise myself to practice a magic trick every week 30 minutes again and again"

Would be great to get new ideas.

Best wishes

Daniel
rossmacrae
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You can't enforce it, and as a kid I would have soured on the idea of anything someone wanted to surround so firmly with rules. But you're planting a seed - maybe it won't bloom into fascination with magic until much later, and not in every kid's life, but it will bloom.
stijnhommes
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It depends on the age of the kids in question, but I think first touching on the oath is important here. Because if they know keeping the secret a secret, they'll also know it's important to practice so you don't accidentally reveal it.

I'd simply be honest with them. If you don't practice enough, you might accidentally show the secret and if you do that, your friends will no longer be amazed at what you can do.
Alan Munro
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I think that people have to stop praising mediocrity. Life is full of disappointments and kids need to have real accomplishments to have a sense of pride. Make it clear that they need to think about what they're doing, when they practice. If the trick doesn't work, they need to work on it more. They need to work on it until they can do it out of habit, without having to remember what comes next.
Skip Way
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I agree with Alan 100%. If a student really wants to learn magic, be supportive while being up front, honest and direct with them. Point out the flaws, why they exist and how to fix them. If they don't want to follow your guidance - explain that there are others who will and move on. Praise them honestly when they improve and get it right! That honesty makes all the difference. Set those standards now!
How you leave others feeling after an Experience with you becomes your Trademark.

Magic Youth Raleigh - RaleighMagicClub.org
TonyB2009
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My son has developed an interest in magic. All I am doing is making sure the props he needs (TT, cards, etc) are available, he has access to my books, and he knows I am always there to explain or critique. Nothing more - and no pressure. If he is truely interested it will grow. If it is a phase I will not spoil his enjoyment of it.
Daniel Ulzen
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Hi everybody,

thank you very much for your interesting thoughts. They really helped me.

But I am missing something. If you are a teacher at school, you can not have the attitude: "If they want to learn it or not is up to them, I told them where the books are". In a school situation it is your job to motivate the kids.

To tell them if you don´t practice enough your friends will get the secret - that is one very good good argument. But it is not enough.

I guess we should touch deeper desires - to get respect, to find friends, ... So I believe to motivate kids to really practice magic tricks it is important to show them really cool tricks they can learn and maybe it is helpful to tell them directly about those chances.

Best wishes

Daniel
Tony Thomas
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Daniel - I think you are missing something. Ask yourself the question, what motivates you to practice. This is very different than school. It is extracaricular, volunteer, a hobby. What motivates a kid to practice basketball. There is some internal drive & it's fun. The real question is how do you feed that internal drive to be good at something. First, the question assumes the internal drive is really there. It can't be our desires implanted. This can be hard for parents (speaking from experience here). If the internal desire is there, I think the answer has more to do with inspiration. Feeding our kids small tastes that inspire them to create, and then giving them the room and choices to develop. If there were manipulation and control techniques that would work - we would probably try them, but these things tend to backfire, as most parents (including myself) know.
From the Encouraging Magic of...
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Daniel Ulzen
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Hi Tony,

I guess some of you misunderstand me. I don´t want to manipulate or control any kid. Of course every kid has the right to decide not to be interested in magic tricks. I am not interested in thousands of things too and I don´t want anybody to tell me what to do.

But: If I have 30 kids in front of me and I teach them some magic tricks I think it is still important to find a way to motivate them the best way I can think of.

Best wishes

Daniel
Skip Way
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I agree with TonyB and TonyT in that the motivation to practice and grow in the art must first be present - or at least open to cultivation - within the student.

However, it seems, that Daniel is looking at this from the perspective of a magic teacher approached by an interested student. Do we padfoot about withholding detailed critiques, advice and direction so as not to risk the youth losing interest? Or do we take an active hand in guiding the student to the desired outcome or encourage him to move on.

TonyT, you know personally of one very talented young man in our area who had the opportunity to mentor under one of our masters. The first assignment given to this gifted then-adolescent was to read and discuss Nelm's book Magic and Showmanship. The teen refused stating it was a waste of his time. The mentor wished him well and sent him on his way.

Seven years later, the student, now a budding young pro, realizes that there is more to magic than perfecting difficult flourishes, feints and dodges - without showmanship it's just showing off; a lesson he could have mastered much sooner.

Passing-fancy students come and go. Truly devoted students want and need to be molded, pushed, corrected and rewarded. For a student to accept this from a teacher, the student must respect the teacher.

Set the objectives - Teach the objectives - Monitor the objectives - adjust as necessary. Smile
How you leave others feeling after an Experience with you becomes your Trademark.

Magic Youth Raleigh - RaleighMagicClub.org
Daniel Ulzen
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Hm - just to make it clear: Lets say you are an elementary teacher and you go into a 5th class and you teach the maybe 30 kids some magic tricks and you want to motivate them to really practice the tricks - that was the situation I was thinking about.
Tony Thomas
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I'm not trying to paint you in a box Daniel. Your question is a good one and from a magic insturctor point of view (instead of a parent), it does make me think differently about the answer. I'm agreeing with the comments on the thread. I know Skip is dealing with this issue week in and week out, as he leads a Magic Youth International Chapter in Raleigh. I think similar to great teachers and coaches. You set the bar high, give them opportunities to perform what they learn, some will be motivated and succeed with high marks and others will decide with time this is not their thing... One suggestion might be having regularly scheduled opportunites for each student to perform. Provide a feedback sheet giving them objective feedback. Knowing they will perform is a motivator to practice, assuming the internal drive is present...
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Tony Thomas
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Alan Munro
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Quote:
On 2009-11-27 10:09, Daniel Ulzen wrote:
Hm - just to make it clear: Lets say you are an elementary teacher and you go into a 5th class and you teach the maybe 30 kids some magic tricks and you want to motivate them to really practice the tricks - that was the situation I was thinking about.

Not everyone will be motivated to practice. Few want to really learn magic tricks, well enough to perform them.

I remember one of my teachers, who put up boards all around the room with a wide variety of activities. A certain number of activities, in each category, had to be completed in order to pass the class. It was an English class. Activities included artwork with written descriptions, classifying parts of speech, diagramming sentences, writing letters to companies to get free samples of products, writing for information from organizations that we had an interest in, among other things. Not all students excelled, but it was hard to argue with his results, because he saved many students from failure and he had the support of parents, despite the fact that some of his practices went against the school regulations.
TonyB2009
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I have been in situations like this and I have no answer for you. Some are interested, some are not, and I know of no way of motivating everyone to learn. I just soldier on and encourage those interested, while trying to entertain and engage those who are not interested. Sorry.

My original answer was given in the context of a child who was showing an interest, not in the context of a child in a class situation.
seadog93
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Why should they be motivated to practice?
I'm not clear on the situation or the goal. Why are you teaching an entire class magic tricks, is it an assignment or fun opportunity? Will they be graded?
When I teach kids magic (which isn't all that often, but I've done a few classes and a lot of one on one) I always want to make them 'jump through a few hoops.' In the context of a class, I will teach the class and help make sure they get it, but they have to come to me if they want to learn more or learn subtleties, etc. If it's one on one, I want the child to learn a trick from a book first then I will help them make it better. If they are two young to read, I'll teach them something simple and they have to show me that they have been working on it for me to either give them subtleties or learn something new.
My perspective is that if a child is not motivated to learn magic, then that is ok and they shouldn't be learning magic. I think the interest and drive to learn and practice is what decides wether you will be a magician or not, ...and there is nothing wrong with not being a magician.
That being said, if for some reason I really wanted people to be motivated to practice, I would try to use a little NLP. Create a vivid future picture (using visual, auditory and kinesthetic language) of a future where the child is doing a magic trick/routine/effect perfectly and how good they feel and how good they make other people feel, and all the other myriad benefits of learning properly and have them remember from that place in the future all the satisfying practice they did in front the mirror, with other class members, etc.
Then vividly create a future were they attempt to do a trick/routine/effect and fail, they are unhappy with themselves and know they could have done better. Adults watching the trick are supportive, but clearly not impressed and some other kids their own age laugh and show how it was done; have them remember from that place in the future, now, how they didn't bother practicing and how they really wish they had.
Taking all the time in the world, right now, come back to the class room and imagine both realities and be aware that these are both options. If you choose to do magic for people which future would you like to have?

Also, as it's been said, feedback is important. If you want to perform and you really experience that second reality (and we all have) it's a big motivator. I think performing for the class is a great idea.
"Love is the magician who pulls man out of his own hat" - Ben Hecht

"Love says 'I am everything.' Wisdom says 'I am nothing'. Between the two, my life flows." -Nisargadatta Maharaj

Seadog=C-Dawg=C.ou.rtn.ey Kol.b
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