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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » The 'dreaded' shaky performer syndrome! Help!! (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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vootrage
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Now... just to clear this up, I am not new to magic. I have been practicing for over 2 years now. BUT here is my problem. Whenever I perform the adrenaline gets pumping so hard that I begin to get very shaky hands. This makes it very difficult to perform. I have talked to other magicians and they say they had the same problem. Any advice on how to overcome it would be truly appreciated!
Jem
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Hi vootrage,

I have found myself in the exact same position as you many times when performing, so I perfectly understand what you are talking about. There were times (when I first started out) when I wondered to myself if I was the only guy in the world who had this problem of shakiness. Even up till now, I still feel the adrenaline rush and the "trembles" whenever I perform, but I have realized that it is less serious than when I was just starting out.

I would love to tell you that the shakiness can be eliminated overnight, but sadly, I guess it only comes through months & years of experience. I've been into magic for about 1 year only, and I still get nervous now and then, but its getting better as I progress. The more you perform for as many different people as possible, the more confident you become, and the less frightened you would feel.

Hope this helps. All the best to you!
vootrage
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Thank you for your response JEM. If anyone else has had this problem PLEASE POST!
Leon of PrimRose
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I used to have that problem and even now(I've been practice for about a year) every once and a while I'll get "The Shaky Hands Syndrome". Not nearly as much though. I agree with Jem that the more practice you have in front of an audience the easier it becomes. Try practicing in front of family members to get you better with an audience. They tend to be less critic. Also find an audience type that you feel most comfortable with. For example, I am best with teenage girls, and most adults. Perform in front of all kinds of people to find that out. Smile Smile
Being forgotten is worse than death

There was never anything but life...life and death...Good...Evil...It all depends on how you look at life... and death. The strong, the weak. It's all just a concept.

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harris
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Harris Deutsch
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One nearly normal idea is to use it and perhaps even exaggerate it as part of your routine.

It also could be used as a "natural" or unnatural misdirection to load or ditch things.

Part of comedy is admitting the truth of things.
(The first reference of this that I can remember is the article on Laughter in Tarbell)


As far as the shaking and nervousness if you want to be more centered here are a few more nearly normal ideas.

1. Hand warming technique where you hold your hands together. Visualize something causing them to warm. Such as warm water, the sun, hot sand.

At the same time breath slowly through your nose in for 3 counts hold for 3 and exhale for 6 counts.

I taught this and other techniques when I was a Nearly Normal Counselor at Kansas' Oldest Bed and Breakfast also known as Lansing State Correctional Facility.

2. Tai Chi is a good mental meditation as well as a great conditioning and flexibility exercise.
The movements slow you down.

SELF Talk and positive visualization of doing a positive performance instead of concentrating on your

FEARS - write them down about the programs and other things in your life.

If you have not had a physical in a long time you might consider getting one.

Balancing ones physical, mental and spiritual life is important to this Nearly Normal Performer.

Harris Deutsch
Laughologist
http://www.nearlynormalmagic.com
harris.deutsch@leesummit.k12.mo.us
Harris Deutsch aka dr laugh
drlaugh4u@gmail.com
music, magic and marvelous toys
http://magician.org/member/drlaugh4u
gocall911
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I have been in magic for 9 years and I am just now starting to get over this! It does take time but one of the key factors is know that you can do every effect just right and #2 is HAVING FUN! For a long time it was hard for me to have fun preforming but one day something just clicked and I now have so much fun doing magic for people. Don't worry just work at it and you will get better!
"Use your head." ~Dai Vernon~
invalidity
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Hi... I have this problem too. I am pretty new to magic, having started early this year. I am usually OK in practice but start trembling during performances. After a couple weeks though I found that I no longer trembled as I was performing the odd trick for my friends almost everyday.

But after a several weeks of not having the opportunity to perform for anyone, the shaky hands returned when I next performed.

So in short, I find that the only way (for myself anyway) to stop shaky hands is to perform in real-life situations on a regular basis. No amount of practice and/or rehearsal is sufficient if it is not accompanied by real-life practice.
Reis O'Brien
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Ironically, I have no problem with the shakes when I'm performing for strangers. It's when I'm performing for friends and family that I get shakey! I guess I'm more worried about messing up in front of them. Of course, my friends and family being rather outspoken critics may have something to do with it.

Anyway, keep plugging away at it and have confidence! You can do it!

Smile
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eddieloughran
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I used to shake terribly, and then one day I discovered them gone.
It isn't just conferdance, its knowing the routines, and have gone through them so many times you know nothing can go wrong, and relaxing, and enjoying yourself. Being in control helps.
Take it easy and don't think about it.
I do find that starting with an easy, quick, self working trick helps.
Scott Grimm
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Do stuff in the begining of your act that does not require any slights. Save them for the middle when your hands are calming down. Adrenaline won't last very long and will have no choice but to subside sooner or later. And the more you perform the better it will get. Keep telling yourself that and eventualy you will start to believe it. It's like tricking your own mind. Good job, though, in getting up and doing it anyway! That is the mark of a pro. Smile
Faith is at the heart of all magic.
harris
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Being confident and knowledgeble in what your doing was an excellent idea.

My experience was more nerve racking with people closer to me. I think someone said even a prophet has to leave town to get noticed. (as in the Carpenter)

I used to get real nervous when asked to share in a staff meeting.

Yesterday I gave one of my Laughology Programs to a group of our School Based Social Work Team.

It was a hoot. One of our Docs was chosen to do an improv routine. He was asked to imitate a runway model.

He not only did it, he got on one of the conference tables to walk on.

You might also look into a theatre or improv class.

See some of my other post on this.

Regarding the handwarming.

This exercise actually lowers bloodpressure and bloodflow and increases Alpha and Theta waves in the brain.

Again always check with your physician related to physical stuff.

I did when my hands cramped when I switched to using Larger Silver Morgan Dollars.

Harris Deutsch
Laughologist
Harris Deutsch aka dr laugh
drlaugh4u@gmail.com
music, magic and marvelous toys
http://magician.org/member/drlaugh4u
jonesc2ii
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Yup, I have shakes, for me the best thing is to start the act with a mentalism effect that involves two audience volunteers. The trick can't go wrong and is a bit of fun, after a few minutes of that the shakes have almost gone. Smile
www.ixyl.co.uk/forums - for when you fancy a debate or a quiet chat.
Giuseppe
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Don't worry i think that everyone gets them at one time or another. If you perform stage magic and you don't need volunteers you could always have them shine a spot light on you Smile ( i had this happen at my talent show, which i pointed out during a trick)
Anyway just keep performing and it should start to fade a little each time. hope i helped Smile
vootrage
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Thank you for all of your responses. I am compiling a list of all your suggestions and i am going to put them to pratice. And if there is anyone else out there don't be afriad to share your experiences with me and any thoughts that may help. THANK YOU ALL! Smile
DougTait
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Several years ago a survey was done of what was peoples greatest fear. The No.1 fear was speaking in public. Add to that performing solo in a genre where not everything works as planned all the time and it is understandable why some magicians get the shakes.

Fear is a normal response and can be controlled. For the most part your audience is on your side. They really want you to do well, since that is the way they will receive the most enjoyment.

Through practice, routing and more practice you will build skill and confidence and, as stated before, perform in front of an audience at every opportunity. This way you will learn CONTROL. You will build the confidence that YOU are controlling the situation (a necessity) and leading the audience where YOU want them to go. Just as misdirection is vital to good manipulation, direction is vital in that YOU must take charge, direct the performance and be the leader while you have the stage. You audience WANTS this, expects it and needs it.

It may take some time to develop this characteristic, but once attained it will make you a better performer, give you a great deal of personal satisfaction and will be a lot more fun for everyone.

Best wishes and Smile
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men [and women] to do nothing."
matinex
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I've got about a year of serious magic under my belt.

The other day I was doing a show for my niece's 10th birthday party. Early on one of the kids caught me during a Harry Potter-themed egg bag routine, and from then on, I really started sweating. Everybody was too polite to say anything (possibly they didn't notice but I doubt it). I think I rushed the rest of the performance but ultimately everything turned out all right.

The problem, I realized, was that I didn't practice the egg bag routine enough prior to the show. I'm certain that if I had known the routine inside and out I could have overcome or even avoided the jitters. The egg bag isn't technically demanding but the timing and patter are extremely critical, and that's what I should have practiced more.

All of this is a roundabout way of saying the jitters often come when you're not confident about your ability to do the trick, and practice can help provide that confidence.

So can having fun. If you do tricks that make 'em laugh, then you won't even be thinking about your shaky hands because you'll be basking in the moment of entertainment.

Just some thoughts...

-Dave
Eirik
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Nice to read this thread,
I am not alone!!!
In the beginning i got really bad shakes, especially with cards, for me it looked like the cards were jumping up and down in my hand.
I have only been doing magic for two years now, and i still get the shakes if i am asked to perform a trick i just learned, i often feel that the audience is looking for mistakes, looking to "get the trick"
So now i always start with a easy to perform trick, that is a trick i belive i can do in my sleep, after a few safe ones, the audience often go in to the mood of "i don't understand anything", when i see that, it makes me relax, and the magic gets more fun cause it makes me get my selfconfidence back, and i do belive that is the most important thing when performing your act: experience,fun and selfconfidence..
-e-
...As long as i`m not a world-champion at anything, the great reactions of doin` magic will do just fine.....
vootrage
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Its also nice for me to know that there are other people with this problem. And i am not sure how long it will take to get over this but i am putting all these suggestions to use.

By the way has anyone heard of or used BETA-blockers? musicians use then to combat the tremors. Does anyone know about magicians using these and does anyone think the'll help? Here is a link to info about them:

http://www.ethanwiner.com/BetaBlox.html

let me know all your thoughts!

:wow:
Reg Rozee
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Whew, it looks like there are a lot of us! I remember I was doing the floating match once many years ago and it was shaking so badly from my hands trembling, it looked like it might jump right off the gimmick! Not very mysterious that way...

Many of the above techniques have worked for me. Starting with a self-working trick, Tai Chi, knowing the effect so well that you can do it blindfolded or backwards, etc. And it does come back if you don't perform for a while. You have to feel very relaxed, almost casual about performing and not "Oh BOY! HERE WE GO!!!" It's easier to avoid that if you perform frequently, I think.

One thing I found made the problem worse. After a performance I had the bad habit of going over it in my mind and just tearing myself up inside over every little mistake, even if it was something only I would have seen. This made things much worse the next time. Learn from your mistakes YES, but let go of them. Focus on the positive reactions you get. That will help you relax more as a performer.

-Reg {*}

p.s. By the way, concerning beta blockers, I personally wouldn't use them. I want a solution I can have with me all the time, and I don't like relying on pharmaceuticals for things I can fix myself. If you have an actual medical condition, that's different.
Reality is what doesn't go away when you stop believing in it. -Phillip K. Dick



Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes? -Chico Marx
Michaels
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Vootrage,
For what it's worth we have all experienced the yips one time or another. I know they've been mentioned before but after 35 years of performing magic I can truly say experience, confidence and starting off with a self working trick are probably the best pieces of advice for the shaky hands. Techniques like Tai Chi, hypnosis and meditation only work if the technique has been perfected.
"Our technology is ahead of our humanity"
Albert Einstein
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