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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » New to magic? » » Tarbell: any advice...? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Huw Collingbourne
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In order to get a reasonably broad-ranging understanding of the various disciplines of magic, I've decided to concentrate on studying as much of the Tarbell course as I can (before fainting from exhaustion). I am currently working my way through volume 1. I'm generally very impressed. The explanations are clear and thorough - BUT...

...some of those lessons contain a heck of a lot of material! Take lesson 3 for example (the first 'hands on' lesson in the entire course). This explains coin palms, vanishes and other coin sleights. But there are so many sleights in that one chapter, it looks as though it would take me months to learn the basic moves - let alone truly master them! Is that really meant to be a one week lesson?

Anyway, if I am to make the most of this course, I think I need some kind of study plan. Can anyone offer advice? Should I study each lesson in strict order? Should I fully master each lesson before moving on? Or should I concentrate on particular lessons that I find interesting and skim the others...?

btw, I also have some other books (Mark Wilson's Cyclopedia, Bobo, The Royal Road, Tarr's Now You See It) which I find useful when I need more complete explanations of certain subjects. However, I find the Tarbell course more 'fully rounded' than these other books which is why I plan to center my studies on this.

Any hints and tips would be much appreciated!

all the best
Huw
Peter Marucci
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Believe it or not, after 50-plus years in the business, just last year I got the Tarbell books.
(Slow starter, that kid!) Smile
The lessons can be overwhelming to someone just starting out and who wants to learn as much as he can.
My advice -- or, more correctly, suggestion -- would be to give it all a fairly quick read, and then go back and focus on the areas that you have an interest in or that caught your interest.
Remember, Tarbell was originally begun in the 1920s and a lot of the handling has changed (not always for the better) since then.
On the other hand, a lot of really good stuff in Tarbell has been forgotten and overlooked. We've got guys today "inventing" sleights and props that have been sitting in Tarbell for half a century!
And, on the other hand, while Harlan Tarbell put together a great opus, it is by no means the best or the definitive work (I don't think there IS one). So, along with the gold, there is some dross!
cheers,
Peter Marucci
showtimecol@aol.com
Huw Collingbourne
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Thanks, Peter. You're always there when I need good advice!

I was starting to wonder if maybe people in the 1920s were just faster learners than I am! As you say, there are lots of good things in Tarbell. I especially like the way he describes an entire routine, complete with sample patter. It really helps to bring the thing alive for a novice like me (though I don't propose to use all that patter verbatim - not quite my style!).

I'll do what you suggest, though, and do a fair bit of skimming followed by some selected 'in depth' work.

best wishes
Huw
Bird Brain
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Hey Huw!

I'm not an advanced magician, but I would suggest....Doing what you like! Lol!

Maybe look thru Tarbell's, and seeing some routines that catch your eye. You may dislike some routines, and really "COOL DUDE!" others! Lol!

Here's what I would say: Pick a few routines that really catch your eye, and practice THOSE like they were a college course.

I rock.

:lol:

5150,
Prof. Brain
Yes I know my enemies
They're the teachers who taught me to fight me
Compromise, conformity, assimilation, submission
Ignorance, hypocrisy, brutality, the elite
All of which are American Dreams, All of which are American Dreams
Magique Hands
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There's much more to the Tarbell Course than immediately meets the eye! I'm sure that back in the 20's, people had the time to devote to most of the material the course presented.

As Peter mentioned, skim over the book, and then settle in for some of the routines that tickle your fancy. I don't know of anyone today, that has mastered everything that Tarbell taught. Pick those that you want to master, and set out to do just that.

Have fun along the way!
- - Troy
"If you go around sprinkling Woofle Dust on everything... people will think 'My... What an odd character." www.magicmafia.com
Garrett Nelson
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Going through Tarbell page by page....
You are a smart one indeed!

I know what you mean about the lessons having too much. One could work on some of those sleights for weeks, if not months.

I would say keep going through it all, and just spend a little extra time with the things you really like/need/think look useful.

And at some point you will be doing something and think, "There was a move in Tarbell that would work great here!" Then you can go learn that one, too.

Just my way of thinking, anyway.
Thoughtreader
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Two things.

1.) What's the rush in learning? Slow down, learn it as slowly as you need and move from lesson to lesson as you learn it. Sure it is overwhelming at first but so is any new course you begin.

2.) There are two "study guides" that you can purchase relatively cheaply that will aid you in this. Check with Dick Hatch at H & R books and he can fix you up with them I am sure.

PSIncerely Yours,
Paul Alberstat
Canada's Leading Mentalist
http://www.mindguy.com
AB StageCraft
http://www.mindguy.com/store
Jim Reynolds
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I think most magicians use Tarbell as a reference rather than going through each lesson at a time.

What's great about these books is that it covers just about everything in magic. It's funny to read about a "hot new effect" on the market only to discover that it's in a volume of Tarbells.
Huw Collingbourne
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I think the problem may be that I fell for the Tarbell marketing spiel! Harlan Tarbell's introduction to the course seems to suggest that the average student will progress lesson-by-lesson, one week at a time. Having tried (unsuccessfull!) to keep up this pace, I'm coming to the conclusion that this is about as realistic as the
'Learn French in 3 Weeks' (and similar) courses that are advertised these days.
I've been learning French for over 20 years now and I'm still learning.

Maybe I should aim to spend the next twenty years studying Tarbell...?

best wishes
Huw
swamigimmick
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Huw,

twenty years studying Tarbell?

Yes that sounds about right.

Regards,
Eric.
Corinius
Mentalist and Hypnotist

"You cannot teach a man anything, you can only help him discover it within himself." - GALILEO
Huw Collingbourne
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Phew! That's a relief! I shall adjust my study schedule accordingly.

btw, I have recently started using a certain
'secret' device which bears your name (yes, that's right, an Eric! - ahem, no I was thinking more of your Magic Cafe ID...) - so you must be the obvious person to ask about this. How long does my nail need to be (I'm using a C type)? It also feels a bit uncomfortable. Should I bend the 'wings' to fit better? (I trust this question is sufficiently inscrutable to baffle those who are ignorant of the device in question?) Smile

best wishes
Huw
swamigimmick
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Huw,

Corinda wrote quite a bit on this subject.

If you don't have a copy of "13 Steps" I'll send you a PM explaining what I mean.

Regards,
Eric.
Corinius
Mentalist and Hypnotist

"You cannot teach a man anything, you can only help him discover it within himself." - GALILEO
MagiUlysses
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Greetings and Salutations Huw,

If you're interested in tackling Tarbell in a scholarly fashion, the TARBELL STUDY GUIDE - by Steve Burton, will lead you through the lessons. I think I paid about $10 US from H&R.

You can find references to the study guide on the net.

Live a great adventure, choose an extraordinary life!

MagiUlysses
Huw Collingbourne
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Well, if this really is going to be a 20 year endeavour, I guess that's not too much to pay!

best wishes
Huw
Bretigan
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Milwaukee
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Hi,

I would pick the items that interest you, and go from there. Smile

As far as detail, oh my goodness! My mother (recently passed away) always said he was a stickler for detail, and one of the best teachers ever. I recently found some of Dr. Tarbell's work on how you can look at a person's face and know many facts, like the lips, the dimples, nose. It is quite facinating at what he was discovering / teaching... not quite sure, only found bits and pieces.

Anyway, I think you are choosing a great set of books to learn from! I wish I was around when my grandfater was alive. He must have been fascinating!
magiciandude
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I would recomend that you read the whole book without doing any of the tricks yet. then go back through and master one trick before you move on to the next or you are going to be one confused guy.

Hope my advice was of help.
Lance R. Wilson
Magic is the psychology of the audience.
-Lance Wilson
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