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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » Avoiding Newbie Overwhelm (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

The Amazing Pog
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Hi Folks,

I'm new to magic, and have only just started learning about the art, and I'm finding it a little overwhelming! There's more books, history, tricks, videos, gimmicks and skills than I can possibly get to grips with in one lifetime Smile I guess this means I'll never get bored, but sometimes it's also off-putting and de-motivating for a beginner.

Any tips on how you avoided the 'lost at sea' feeling when you were starting out?
'One of the safest ways to make a good performance is to have tricks which work so easily, that mechanics can be forgotten and every attention devoted to presentation' - Corinda
mago.niko
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Athens, Greece
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Hi Pog!
You have to make a decision on which brunch of magic you will follow. Then draw all your attention there and practice as much as you can.
Don't be scared by the variety of videos, books and tricks that are available.
If you make a search on the Café you will find anything you want for a beginner..
Searching for the magic side of life...
mlippo
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As said above, you should try as soon as possible to focus on a certain kind of magic. Doing everything sufficiently well is hard, especially if magic is a hobby. So you should aim to have a professional level in what you like without dipersing energies and money on stuff you don't like and won't ever perform and on TOO MANY EFFECTS.
Do just some stuff well is better that knowing 300 effects, but perform them badly.

Once done that, start with ther classics and don't pick up the new c**p you find on the Net.
D'ya like cards? Then Roberto Giobbi, Dai Vernon, Harry Lorayne, Aldo Colombini are your men.
Coins? Bobo, Kaufmann, David Roth
Close-Up in general? Michael Ammar is a good start, Vernon comes next once you want to advance
Mentalism? Corinda, Annemann, Max Maven

Hope this helps


mlippo
DWRackley
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Chattanooga, TN
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“How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!”

You’ll get different answers from different posters, but most will be along the lines of “pick something and give it a fair try.” You are allowed to change your mind! Smile

Later on you might even combine. There are some very innovative people here who successfully combine more than one type of magic.

Another thing many posters will suggest is to buy books. There are very good “specialty” books out there. Bobo’s Modern Coin Magic, Hugard’s Royal Road to Card Magic, and Corinda’s 13 Steps to Mentalism are classics in their respective areas. Harry Lorayne (a member here) also has some excellent card books; not cheap, but very strong magic.

Possibly better for beginning magicians are general purpose books. The Tarbell course is a big chunk for anyone to swallow, but eventually you’ll want this (just not up front). Mark Wilson’s Complete Course in Magic is a nice sampling of what is possible, and just might keep you busy for a year or so. Also Henry Hay’s Amateur Magician’s Handbook is a great resource.

Some things to think about:

What do you enjoy watching? Cards, coins, boxes, something else?

How much money do you want to spend? Big illusions can be very expensive, but it’s possible to spend a bunch of money on smaller stuff as well. Mentalism can be very inexpensive (in the beginning), but if you want to be a card handler, your “props” can be a little as a deck of cards.

Where do you see yourself performing? Big stage, small platform, street corner, family living room?

Reading all this it may look like I’ve just compounded your problem Smile , but if you take it one step at a time, you’ll do fine.

I guess the single most important thing is to keep yourself interested. While you’re learning how to do the perfect Erdnase Top Change, play with a Svengali deck and collect some applause. Keep improving your sleight skills, but don’t neglect your performance either. It just might be better to have one or two “easy” tricks you can use to develop your “audience management” skills while you’re learning a shuttle pass in private. Keep it fun FOR YOU!

Best of luck to you, and

Welcome to the Café!
...what if I could read your mind?

Chattanooga's Premier Mentalist

Donatelli and Company at ChattanoogaPerformers.com

also on FaceBook
mlippo
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Definately good advice from DWRackley!

mlippo
EXTREMENINJA1
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As others have said you just need to find a branch of magic. I found that card magic was a good start because there are so many different ways to accomplish things. If you can't get one sleight to work you can often use a different one. But go for what your interested in?
satellite23
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I disagree with some of the posts that tell you to pick a specialty. I've been practicing for three years now, and I originally thought I was going to be a strict card magician because that was all I could afford at the time. However, cards are now one of my WORST props, but I still practice with them and am very good at performing with them.

Get the basics first; a few card tricks, coin tricks, sponge balls, and possible a rope trick. Get those down. The thoughts and occasional sleights you need for those tricks will help you down the road.

Also, "jam" with your props. When I say jam, I mean sit down for a certain amount of time every day and just mess around with your props to see what you can come up with. Don't try anything in particular--just mess around. That is how great tricks and ideas are invented. When you're jamming, be relaxed. Turn on your favorite music and relax.

I hope you find success,

Welcome to the Café!
epsilon97
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I have found that picking three tricks that you like and creating a small routine is a good way to practice. Create something that you can share. For each of the tricks I picked (I chose cards), I chose each trick based on a different sleight to learn. This gets me practicing three sleights, three tricks and learning to entertain.
Jim Sparx
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Far Out, Texas
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Do everything. Be overwhelmed. Immerse yourself. Read everything. When you get tired of one thing, go to the next. Join IBM,join SAM. Have, do, be magic. Above all, have fun.........

You only live once. Let the good times roll (B B King).
55Hudson
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I'm of the school of picking one trick and do it better than anyone else. You want one "reputation maker". there is nothing worse than, "let me show you another one".

Get one trick down perfect. Then learn a second.

My $0.02

Hudson
The Amazing Pog
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Thanks for all the wise input guys; there's a lot I can take from this: I'll see being overwhelmed as a positive, not a negative ( thanks Spartacus), I'll think of 3 trick routines rather than just a mess of tricks, I'll aim for quality over quantity, and after I've mastered some fundamentals I'll focus on one area before sailing off to another far shore of magic. I'll start eating this elephant one bite at a time ( thanks DW Rackley) Smile
'One of the safest ways to make a good performance is to have tricks which work so easily, that mechanics can be forgotten and every attention devoted to presentation' - Corinda
algebraic
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Welcome to The Magic Café!!

I can easily tell you what I did wrong. I bought an amazing amount of magic tricks that were pure junk, too hard for me, and I was too impulsive. I've learned a great deal over the last ten years.

I've learned to not be impulsive, but to do research on the effect, book, or dvd I'm interested in. The Magic Café has helped me greatly in my research.

If you have a local magic shop, pay it a visit. Ask to see an item your interested in demoed. If you like what you see, ask what you need to do in order to do the effect such as a double lift,ability to force a card, etc.

Research what skills you need to have in order to achieve the desired effect. Otherwise you'll have a rather large collection of unused effects.

One of my biggest mistakes was not buying books. Tricks are eye candy. Books contain mountains of eye candy at a much better value.

If I could start over in magic , I would start my magic purchases with the following:

Bobo's Coin Magic
The Royal Road To Card Magic
Tarbell Volumes 1-8
Rice's Encyclopedia of Silk Magic volumes 1-4
13 Steps To Mentalism

After you read these books, I think you will have covered enough magical ground to pursue your area(s) of magic.

I hope this helps.

P.S. Just remember, the seller is looking to sell. Do your reseach well and you'll save yourself a lot of money. This comes from someone who's thrown away a lot of junk!
motown
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Don't get caught up in the buying frenzy. Start slow.
Buy a a few of the really great beginner magic books that have a variety of classics.

There's Loraynes's Magic Book, Kaufman's Knack Magic book and Mysterio's Book of Magic and Conjuring. Each of these books can be bought for around $20 - $25 and will give you plenty to work with.

I would also encourage you to visit Aldo Colombini's site. He has tons of excellent magic that's not difficult to do and reasonably priced. Perfect fo a begginer.
"If you ever write anything about me after I'm gone, I will come back and haunt you."
– Karl Germain
Pengnome
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I had to put together a 10 min routine as an audition for the magic club I joined (the best move I made imho). I tried to have a bit of variety with my choice, so I did one coin trick, one everyday object trick, one trick using a special deck of cards and two tricks using a normal deck of cards. I learned these tricks from a (small) variety of books and dvds. Now I have this I plan to use this act as a base and expand into other tricks. After having played with these tricks for a while I drawn towards card magic so I am trying to build some card manipulation skills.

My plan is to do tricks for friends and family and possibly some shows that the club put on so I don't need a long act yet. If I decide to do something else with magic hopefully there will be a base on which to build.
Shakey
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Bobo's Coin Magic
The Royal Road To Card Magic
Tarbell Volumes 1-8


I hate to be contraversial, but these references, although excellent are a little dated now - Card College series is a far more modern treatise on the art of card magic, and Tarbell, yes great stuff, but this is 2012 now, and the student has far superior options.
rklew64
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Based on my experience and hearing others - I believe it is unavoidable - plain and simple. Just monitor the ride and learn to purchase wisely down the line.
J-L Sparrow
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When I was young, I used to think that a magician was a "real magician" when he/she could watch a magic performance and know how every single trick was done.

But now as an adult, I know that's not true. In the book Hiding the Elephant (by Jim Steinmeyer) I learned that magicians have a long tradition of being stumped by other magician's tricks. Penn & Teller even have a show (Fool Us!) where they invite magicians to perform a trick they are unable to explain. So just because you're a magician, it doesn't mean you know anywhere near how all the tricks are done.

In other words, if a celebrity magician like David Copperfield saw a magic show performed by an eight-year-old child and couldn't figure out several of the tricks, that wouldn't discredit him from being a "real" magician -- if anything, it would be a testament towards the child and the child's perseverance.

Whereas as a child I thought a magician "made it" when he/she achieved the goal of no longer being tricked by any magic trick, today I'm more inclined to think people become "real magicians" when they can amaze an audience with even just one good trick.

So don't be discouraged by all the tricks out there you know nothing about, because there will always be tricks you know nothing about. Focus instead on the tricks that immediately interest you. Practice achieving some nice illusions, and then maybe in the near future several famous magicians will be envious of your talent!
Albatros
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As an entry the above suggested books by Hay, Wilson or Lorayne give a wide overview, many thoughts about theory - and they are way cheaper than the suggested Tarbell Course or Card College. At least they offer a little bit of everything which should be enaugh to find the something you like most Smile

don't get me wrong Tarbell and Card College are gorgeous ressources and at some point just the stuff one has to check out(along with so many other classic books)!

Happy exploring!
Sven ^^
"Palming cards... Like sex, it can be learned by almost anybody,but doing it well requires some native talent and assiduous practice." (John Scarne)
The Amazing Pog
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Thank for all the comments folks. I'm having a good time exploring all forms of magic at the moment: coin, rope, cards, mental, clowning ... I've tried balloons, juggling, hat tricks ... I've also been reading loads: MWCCM, Hay's, Corinda, stuff by people as diverse as Oz Pearlman and Bob Cassidy...

I'm not going to settle down until I've had a good mooch around! having lots of fun.
'One of the safest ways to make a good performance is to have tricks which work so easily, that mechanics can be forgotten and every attention devoted to presentation' - Corinda
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