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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The little darlings » » Magic Workshop for Teens (4 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

JayF
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I'm going to be doing a magic workshop for 20 high school students at a local library. The format is that I'll teach the teens for 3 hours, and then they will collectively put on a 30-45 minute performance for their families. I have taught magic classes for younger kids before, but this will be my first time teaching teens, and it will also be the first time my students will be performing immediately after a class like this.

I'm wondering if any of you have done similar workshops for teens. If so, I'd really appreciate it if you would share with me what you did in the workshops. What tricks did you teach and what magic principles did you cover? What went well and what would you change if you did it again?

I would really appreciate any suggestions or advice!

Thanks!!!

Jay
Red Shadow
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Look at my post below on my latest release "How to run a Magic Workshop". The two live workshops are both done for teenagers at a scouts meeting.
JayF
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On Mar 23, 2015, ku7uk3 wrote:
Look at my post below on my latest release "How to run a Magic Workshop". The two live workshops are both done for teenagers at a scouts meeting.


I saw that post. Unfortunately, I'm doing the workshop this coming Thursday! I don't think the DVDs will get to me before then. And, frankly, I think this is going to be a one-time thing. At this point, I'm not planning to do any more of these things.

I've got Danny Orleans' "The Art of Teaching Magic to Children" notes. Using that and some other resources, I've got quite of a bit of the workshop planned out already. However, yesterday my wife asked me if I had put anything on the Café about the workshop to see if anyone had any good ideas I should know about, so that's why I posted what I did.

If I'm going to do anymore of these workshops, I will definitely order your DVD set!

Thanks,
Jay
Red Shadow
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In that case, check out my Magic School series on Youtube for tricks you can teach. Start with this one:

http://youtu.be/sDjLA8OHEbw
JayF
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Thanks! I will do that!

Jay
JayF
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On Mar 23, 2015, ku7uk3 wrote:
In that case, check out my Magic School series on Youtube for tricks you can teach. Start with this one:

http://youtu.be/sDjLA8OHEbw


And I'm serious -- if I ever do another one of these workshops, I'll definitely order your DVD set. Thanks for the information about your YouTube videos!

Jay
harris
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Harris Deutsch
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Last time I did a 3 hour workshop for clinicians ( aka big kids with lots of letters after their name) I over planned for 4 months prior to the gig.
Harris Deutsch aka dr laugh
drlaugh4u@gmail.com
music, magic and marvelous toys
http://magician.org/member/drlaugh4u
JayF
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On Mar 23, 2015, Harris wrote:
Last time I did a 3 hour workshop for clinicians ( aka big kids with lots of letters after their name) I over planned for 4 months prior to the gig.


Would you mind letting us know what you did in the workshop you conducted?

I suppose I haven't been too stressed about this gig because I have taught magic to kids, and I've taught magic to adults. Plus, teaching is what I do for a living. At the same time, I'm not into reinventing the wheel when I don't have to, and I find it helpful to see how other people have approached situations. That's why I posted on here.

Jay
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The workshop was called
Ordinary people working with ordinary people with extraordinary problems

It was part of a statewide conference on mental health.

I shared about my work with middle and high school students, using the arts.
The arts include music, drama, comedy, puppets and magic.
No secrets were taught.
One thing I learned was to have break out sessions and allow participants to share and teach.
Also that my fears led to having way to much prepared material.
Harris Deutsch aka dr laugh
drlaugh4u@gmail.com
music, magic and marvelous toys
http://magician.org/member/drlaugh4u
JayF
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On Mar 23, 2015, Harris wrote:
The workshop was called
Ordinary people working with ordinary people with extraordinary problems

It was part of a statewide conference on mental health.

I shared about my work with middle and high school students, using the arts.
The arts include music, drama, comedy, puppets and magic.
No secrets were taught.
One thing I learned was to have break out sessions and allow participants to share and teach.
Also that my fears led to having way to much prepared material.



Thanks for the information. I think it is usually better to have too much prepared material rather than not enough. Smile

Jay
JayF
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Let me mention one routine I am planning to do and see if any of you have any feedback. One of the issues with the performance part of the workshop is that I know already that some of the teens are shy, and they will feel more comfortable being on stage with others. So, I am planning to teach them all the classic how-to-tie-a-rope-into-a-knot-without-letting-go-of-the-ends Hunter Puzzle Knot. Then, during the performance section of the workshop, the teens who do not want to do a routine by themselves can do this routine together.

What I am planning to do is to ask those teens to bring up one of their family members. Everyone gets a length of rope. Then, I'll lead everyone in doing the puzzle knot. The teens will be able to tie a knot, but their family members will not be able to do it. I'll then ask them to switch ropes ("maybe the problem is the rope"). We'll all do the puzzle knot again, and again the teens will succeed while their family members will fail. Since I anticipate most of the family members brought up will be adults, I'm hoping this will generate some humor. I'll then have them switch ropes back and try again. Again the teens will succeed. Finally, I'll have the teens all do the first part of the puzzle knot. Then, I'll have the family members take the ends of the rope from the teens. Now, when they pull the ends, the family members will succeed in making a knot.

I think the way I have it planned will work ok. It kind of follows the rule of three in that the teens will succeed three times while the family members will be unable to create the knot. Then, as a finale, the family members succeed with the teens help.

Please give me any feedback/criticism/suggestions-for-improvement you would like.

Thanks,
Jay
JayF
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Hi folks! I did the workshop for teens yesterday. The kids seemed to have a good time, and they all seemed to really enjoy learning some magic. The librarian called the workshop "a complete success," so that was good. I felt pretty good about it, though I figured out some stuff I would change if I ever do this again.

There were a couple of people who helped me, and I want to publicly thank them. First, Steven Ablett mentioned his Magic School video series on YouTube in this thread. I got some good ideas from those videos. If I ever do another one of these workshops, I am definitely going to buy his DVD set!!!

Arizona magician Richard Steele was kind enough to have two fairly lengthy phone conversations with me about the workshops he has done in the past for teens. His ideas helped to make my workshop a lot more successful.

There were a few primary resources I drew from in putting together the workshop. The first was Danny Orleans' set of notes on teaching magic to kids. The second was James Munton's DVD on teaching a magic class at a birthday party. The final one was Greg Moreland's two DVDs on "Easy Magic Tricks You Can Do!" (By the way, Greg teaches a handling of Out of This World on his second DVD that solves some of the problems I've seen in other versions, and I think it's worth checking out even for seasoned cardicians.)

So, let me briefly run down what I did in the workshop. The librarian had asked me to do an icebreaker at the beginning. She had suggested an icebreaker that another workshop instructor had done. Here's how she described it to me in an email: "Our last arts workshop leader started by having each person say their name, why they came to the workshop today, and one thing they like about themselves. They 'whys' were revealing, but the exercise of saying what they like about themselves was amazing. It set such a positive tone for the day, somehow infusing the feeling that everyone would be supported and celebrated. Also, there were two participants who couldn't think of anything and instead of letting them off the hook completely, he moved on, but went back to them and made them say something, even it if was 'my shoes.' It was cool." I did the same icebreaker, and I will say I thought it was cool too. The kids mentioned some really interesting things about themselves, and it started the workshop off on a positive note.

After the kids introduced themselves, I did a short show. This was Richard Steele's idea. He suggested I do a brief show for the kids, blow their minds a bit, and then tell them I'm going to teach them all of the tricks I just did. So, I did that, and it worked like a charm. The kids were fooled and entertained, and then they were excited to learn how I did the tricks.

[Oops! My wife needs me to do some stuff RIGHT NOW, so I'll have to get off-line. I'll put more details on here later if anyone is interested. If not, that's ok.]

Jay
harris
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Putting your wife first us priceless and a lesson in itself.

I just got reminded of the puppetry workshops I have done for teens these last 9 years.

If you are a puppeteer you can capitalize on the popularity of puppets and vent I. The movies, TV / Cable/Internet and arenas

Thanks to Terry Fator, Jeff Dunham, Jay Johnson and the regional puppeteers that have elevated this art to our public.
Harris Deutsch aka dr laugh
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music, magic and marvelous toys
http://magician.org/member/drlaugh4u
JayF
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The puppetry idea is an interesting one. While I usually use one puppet in kid shows, I'm not really a puppeteer.

Well, even though no one else responded, I'm going to assume your response, Harris, means that you might want to know what I did in my workshop. I hope it might be a little helpful to anyone else who might wind up doing one of these gigs.

First, let me say that there were originally supposed to be 20 kids. But, because of some sicknesses and a couple of kids being gone for spring break, I ended up with 12 teens. Ten of them were girls! I knew going in that there were going to be a good number of young ladies there, so I brought with me the issue of Genii with Suzanne on the cover. At one point I talked briefly about how most magicians are male, but not all. I talked about Suzanne's success and how cool it was that there were so many young ladies in the workshop.

The show that I did at the beginning of the workshop consisted of the Professor's Nightmare (PN), a key-card card trick using the "smelling the cards" presentation found on James Munton's DVD, a one coin routine, Steven Ablett's "Combination" routine from his Magic School YouTube videos, the Hunter Puzzle Knot, and finally a card force routine.

After doing the show and telling the teens that I was going to teach them all those tricks, I talked about some of the rules of magic (I decided to limit it to three). I talked about not telling others how it was done. The analogy I used was that magic is like a club. When you join a club, you learn stuff like the secret handshake, where the chocolate chip cookies are hidden (one of the teens said that), and other stuff people who are not in the club do not know. By coming to the workshop, the teens had joined the club of magicians. So, it was ok for me to teach them some of the secrets. But, it was important that they not tell the secrets to people who are not in the club, people who are not magicians. The teens seem to get it, and they all promised to keep the secrets. I also talked about not repeating a trick unless it is specifically designed to be repeated (like the Hunter Puzzle Knot). I finally talked about the importance of practice. So, three rules. Keep the secrets. Don't repeat tricks except when they are supposed to be repeated. Practice, practice, practice!!!

After I discussed those three rules of magic, I then taught the kids all of the routines I had done in my initial show. When I was first putting the workshop together, I've got to admit that I felt a little weird about teaching them the PN. I mean, I do the PN in almost every show I do. However, there were a few things that led me to go ahead and include it in the workshop. I thought about the fact that I learned it when I was just 8 years old. Also, it is in beginner's books like Charles Pecor's The Craft of Magic. Plus, Danny Orleans teaches it as part of his magic classes, and I had a great handout from his notes that I could give the kids. So, I decided to go ahead and teach it to them. I'm now glad that I did because this trick was one of the kid's favorites.

All of the kids had brought decks of cards, so I then taught them the key-card principle and showed them three ways of revealing the selected card. I showed them Munton's "smelling the cards" revelation and the two key-card revelations on Greg Moreland's second DVD.

Richard Steele had suggested that I teach them a couple of "real" coin sleights. So, I taught them a fairly simple one coin routine. In the routine, they learned the thumb palm, the finger palm, a simple coin pass (basically a finger palm vanish except that I had them put their thumb on the coin so that it would not fall out accidentally), and the French drop (the LePaul version from Tarbell).

[One more thing that Richard suggested to me that helped was to NOT do the jumping rubber band or linking paper clips tricks. He said that the teens would have likely seen them before. I talked about that a little bit with some of the teens after the workshop, and Richard was right. Those tricks might be good to teach younger kids, but probably not teens.]

The Steven Ablett "Combination" routine is self-working/semiautomatic, so that one was easy to teach. They picked it up with just a couple of run-throughs.

The Hunter Puzzle Knot was actually more challenging to teach than I had anticipated. I guess I've been doing it for so many decades that it just seems automatic to me. The teens seemed to get the first part of the trick pretty quickly, but they couldn't seem to get the hang of doing the "secret move." I had to go around and help probably at least half of them to get it. They did like the fact that in the routine they were able to do something that the spectator could not.

I then taught the criss-cross card force. I made up using a photocopier a "poor man's" card revelation that is kind of like Danny Archer's Emergency Card prop (the absolute best $5 magic prop I've ever bought!). Basically, on one side of a piece of paper I photocopied a jumbo card. On the other side, I had printed the words "Your Card" at the top of the page. I then folded it in half and put it in a manila envelope. I showed them how they could force the card that was duplicate of the jumbo card using the criss-cross force. The time misdirection for the force would be bringing out the envelope and saying that they had placed a prediction inside. After showing the force card, they could then say to the spectator, "would you be impressed if your card is in here?" After the confirmation that the spectator would be impressed, the kids could slide the paper out of the envelope to show the "Your Card" gag. It's an old gag, but the kids still thought it was funny. They could then unfold the piece of paper to show the predicted card. I gave them all the photocopied prop, but I did not give them the manila envelopes (gotta admit I was trying to keep my supplies costs down). I also showed them Danny Archer's Emergency Card prop and told them they could go online to find magic shops where they could buy props like this one. I also put in a plug for our closest brick-and-mortar shop which is Dave's Killer Magic Shop in Vancouver, WA.

I then taught them the penetrating straws trick from Greg Moreland's DVD. One thing that was kind of funny is that I forgot and wrapped the straw up one time the wrong way. Epic fail! Of course none of the kids messed up like that. I ended by teaching three final card tricks.

I taught them the old trick where you have nondescript cards on the top and bottom of the deck (e.g., the 7C & 8S). You show everyone their pseudo-duplicates (in this case, the 7S & 8C) and put the pseudo-dupes into the middle of the deck. You pretend to pull out the cards from the deck but just pull off the top and bottom cards. I assume everyone knows that one. One magic book I saw called the trick "Extraction." Anyway, I showed them the trick using Eugene Burger's card cheating presentation from Mastering the Art of Magic. The kids liked this trick a lot. And, when I went through some of the "finer points" of the handling that Eugene talks about, I could tell that they were really paying attention. When I went through the "whys" of Eugene's handling, I could see them nodding their heads and smiling. That was cool for me.

I then taught them Will the Cards Match? I got the idea to teach this trick from Greg Moreland's DVD, though I've seen it in other places too. I think this turned out to be the kids' favorite trick out of everything I taught them. Even after I taught it to them and they did it for each other a few times, I heard a lot of them laughing and saying to each other, "how can this work?"

At this point, our time was almost up. I showed them Steven Ablett's "Paper Clip Monte" routine (he calls it something different, but that's what I called it). We really didn't have time for them to practice this one, but I showed it to them, briefly discussed how it works, and told them to watch Ablett's YouTube video to really learn how to do it.

At that point, we reviewed all of the tricks we had discussed, and I got set up for the performance that was to follow the workshop. Ten of the 12 kids decided they wanted to do a trick or two (or three) by themselves. I found out what they wanted to perform, and decided the show order. I told them that it was fine for them to perform the same trick as someone else. I just wanted them to have fun and feel as comfortable as possible. The other two kids decided they wanted to do the Hunter Puzzle Knot with the other kids, but they didn't want to do anything individually. That was fine. There was a 30 minute break between the workshop and the performance, and the kids all used that time to practice what they were planning to do in the show.

I acted as the MC of the show. The audience was made up of the families of my students. I began the show with Bill Abbott's "Five Card Opener." As those who have the routine know, the word "amazing" is used several times in the presentation. At the end of the routine, I told the audience that what I think is truly amazing is that group of young people over there as I gestured toward my students. I discussed how I would normally recommend that a magic student go home and practice their tricks over and over before showing them to anyone, that those kids did not have that luxury. I also mentioned that one of the rules of magic is to not repeat a trick for the same audience. But, the kids did not have time to learn that many tricks. So, I told the audience that they might see the same trick performed more than once, and I asked them to pretend that they were seeing the trick for the first time. I then introduced each kid, and each of them did their set.

The most popular tricks in terms of what they performed were the PN, Extraction, and Will the Cards Match? Seven of the kids did at least one of those tricks. Several of them also did a part of the coin routine. One thing I realized is that none of them did the whole coin routine that I taught them. Most of them just vanished the coin using a French Drop and then made it reappear. A couple of the kids did a key-card trick, a couple of them did the card force routine, and a couple of them did the penetrating straws. The final routine involving the teens was the Hunter Puzzle Knot. Every single one of them came up and did the Hunter routine with a family member.

You may be wondering how well the kids did. Well, they impressed the heck out of me by doing everything really well. Not a single one of them messed up any of the tricks. While their presentations weren't really polished, they were still good. Overall, every single one of them did a great job.

I ended the show by doing three routines: Scott Guinn's "Magic Jump Rope," the Linking Rings, and Anthony Lindan's "Suit Jacket Escape."

In summary, I feel pretty good about the workshop overall. The kids seem to have a good time, and they all learned how to perform some pretty good magic. The librarian who booked me was really happy. After this experience, I'm considering maybe trying to book another one of these types of gigs. If I do, I'm definitely going to order Steven Ablett's DVD set.

Jay
Red Shadow
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I would love to take credit, but "Combination" is an old mathematical trick that someone else created. The creator is unknown. But as an effect, its super, super, super strong!

I'll let you in on a secret, I have made up a version of that trick for my normal show, that gets rid of the colours and uses secret marks to help me identify the sets. So it really does look random. The padlock is on a basket and I borrow a spectators shoe and lock it in the basket.

I then have three people each take the cards, and the cards have magnetic backs so that they stick to the magnetic board on display to keep it all visable.

Good trick.
JayF
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On Mar 29, 2015, ku7uk3 wrote:
I would love to take credit, but "Combination" is an old mathematical trick that someone else created. The creator is unknown. But as an effect, its super, super, super strong!

I'll let you in on a secret, I have made up a version of that trick for my normal show, that gets rid of the colours and uses secret marks to help me identify the sets. So it really does look random. The padlock is on a basket and I borrow a spectators shoe and lock it in the basket.

I then have three people each take the cards, and the cards have magnetic backs so that they stick to the magnetic board on display to keep it all visable.

Good trick.


Thanks for sharing that secret with us!!! I think that's a great way to disguise the method while making the trick play big.

And, if you have any feedback or constructive criticism about the workshop I did, please share it with me. I don't know if I'll ever do another one of these, but I would certainly appreciate any feedback you have. And, I was totally serious about ordering your DVD set if I ever do book another one of these gigs. Smile
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