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Regular user
Western Wisconsin, USA, Earth
156 Posts

Profile of dustrod
When first starting out with serious practice and studying,is there anything you wish you would've done earlier? Im thinking, when writing my notes with each book I've read over the last year, I wish I wouldve paid more attention to the names of certain "moves" right from the start.
I have a year of serious reading material notes and never wrote them down.
Does anything else come to mind that you wish you wouldve started doing right off the bat?

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Inner circle
Pittsburgh, Pa
2971 Posts

Profile of davidpaul$
I wish I didn't buy sooo much stuff in the beginning. My enthusiasm, (addiction) was more geared to finding out "How'd they do that?" and buy buy buy. I guess that is just the nature of the beast.
So many books I never read or studied, but had to have them.
If you can't help worrying, remember worrying can't help you!
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Special user
So.California / Centl.Florida
875 Posts

Profile of Russo
Buy Buy Buy - before - what what how how - Now have so much NOT to Show & Self's personality -CAN'T RETURN - now just on shelf. Books and effects.
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Eternal Order
10129 Posts

Profile of Mindpro
On Jun 30, 2020, dustrod wrote:
When first starting out with serious practice and studying,is there anything you wish you would've done earlier?
Does anything else come to mind that you wish you wouldve started doing right off the bat?

My advice here would be something I have had discussions with many experienced magicians about and it is that they want/try to learn and spend so much time learning and working on tricks (methods and execution) that they miss putting attention and emphasis on the actual magic - in the performance of the magic, the wonder, the art of performing something rather than just executing it.

The second would be for those aspiring to actually perform magic for money, income, or profit. This regret is that they wish they would have spent as much time learning the business of performing earlier and even from the very beginning as it affects and impacts everything moving forward including the material you choose to perform. Success in magic is created in the business side of things (commercially) not in the tricks you perform.

These two things could be game-changers for so many that had to learn this the hard way.
The Burnaby Kid
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Inner circle
St. John's, Canada
3115 Posts

Profile of The Burnaby Kid
Sometimes the only way people learn that they shouldn't touch a hot stove element is to touch a hot stove element.

Meaning, in this case, one could rant until they're blue in the face about all the card stuff you don't need to know, but it won't mean much until you reach a point where you're sitting on too much card stuff and there's a massive asymmetry between the things you know about and the things you actually do for a proper audience.

That's not to trash the question, mind you. It just feels like difficult advice for people to blindly accept.

Plus, one has to figure out what is or is not essential to learn. From my vantage point, any list that stops at three things is too little, and any list that includes a perfect faro shuffle is too long. But, the fact that it's up for debate is part of the problem for somebody starting out.
JACK, the Jolly Almanac of Card Knavery, a free card magic resource for beginners.
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Elite user
New York, NY
432 Posts

Profile of TeddyBoy
I wish I had started with coins rather than cards. This is because coin magic has an initial learning curve much steeper than beginning card magic. This is due to the fact that coins require sleight of hand right away, whereas cards suck you in with self-workers and other easy manipulations. If I had started with coins, I would never have continued studying card magic, I would not feel anxious about choosing the wrong book to read or material to learn, and would not have 17 expensive magic books on my shelf that I have never even opened.
So many little time.

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Inner circle
old things in new ways - new things in old ways
9003 Posts

Profile of funsway
The tools you are using are hands, arms, body and feet -- and a lot of props and junk.

it is never too early to master and protect the use of these tools to increase dexterity, flexibility, coordination, health, stamina and awareness.

Play the piano? Juggle? Tai Chi? Isometrics? Diet?

When watching movie, Houdini practiced trying knots with his toes.

Also spend a lot of time observing how people move and handle objects. This changes over time and social conditions. COVID-19 will have its say.

What is natural and normal? How can you emulate that with sleights?

Observe real people.
"the more one pretends at magic, the more awe and wonder will be found in real life." Arnold Furst

eBooks at * questions at
Luke Wolf
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New user
53 Posts

Profile of Luke Wolf
My biggest "should've" was to delegate the word I don't like to do (and suck at it too) sooner. Even spending big bucks on that would have saved time, money (in the end) and sanity.
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Regular user
119 Posts

Profile of Kong
I should've stuck with magic through my teenage years. Also, when I briefly took it up again at 18 (while at college I had a bar job and used to do the odd trick for customers) I shouldn't have given it up when my jacket - a lovely leather jacket with my tricks inside (dynamic coins, a cigarette vanish, a few other bits & bobs) - was stolen from the staff coat rack.

Anyway, here I am around 30 years later having another go, and this time it's going quite well. Smile
Max Milagro
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New user
53 Posts

Profile of Max Milagro
I didn't take the advice I read in a book decades ago. The book was 'Las Vegas Close-Up' by Paul Harris, long before his infamous AOA-trilogy. I studied the book from cover to cover. And again ... and again ... Ah, those days! I even tried the Perpetual Motion Coin Myth. Never succeeded ... But my favorite routine in the book was the P.H. Invisible Palm. The introduction in the book is as follows: " Dai Vernon once said that if you wanted to make a name for yourself in magic, you should take one routine and learn to perform it better than anyone else. At the age of 18, this was the routine I decided on, the routine that I sweated over for an entire year - working on it almost every day, losing sleep over it almost very night." (Paul Harris)
You can make a reputation with just one trick. The one trick everyone wants to see. A lot of magicians got famous performing one routine. But 'they did it better than anyone else'. Like those one-hit wonders in the music industry. We magicians always want to perform new tricks, new routines. But we forget polishing what we we've learned. Doing it better than the rest.
Getting older, I remembered PH's advice, actually Dai Vernon's advice. Nowadays, I always perform the 'torn and restored newspaper', every single time. People want to see it, because they enjoy it and at the same time want to figure it out. Time and time again. They know me, because I'm the man who tears a newspaper and can restore it. I perform other tricks, but this is what they always remember.
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Inner circle
Reviewer EndersGame
1711 Posts

Profile of EndersGame
I wish I'd done a proper course in the fundamentals of card magic right from the outset, rather than moving too quickly to learning tricks.

I've worked through Giobbi's Card College in recent years, but I sure wish I'd done that already when starting out as a teenager, to have learned proper techniques right away, and built a better foundation for a life-time of card magic.
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