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20Robert04
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Hey everyone
I have been offered to teach a youth theatre class some magic. I would truley like to cover the basis of both card and coin due to the fact that that is what I feel most comfortable with, but may also do some small mentalism.
I was wondering if you guys could give me any insights on to exactly what I should teach these kids, I was planning on the basics such as: shuffling, mechanics grip, double lift, finger palm, classic palm, etc.
any insight from everyone would be most appreciated.

Paul
Rupert Bair
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Noo! stop paul what are youi doing you cant just teach kids palming and double lifts that's crazy are you in any sort of magic club? if so they tell you not to disclose secrets its ok teaching the kids basic tricks so they can go and perform to their friends eg pick a pin but you are going to teach proffesional magic, secrets to witch many pros swear buy imagine if a kids from this theatre went to a resturant were a magiciian was working, it wouldnt be 'turn it around' it would be you double lifted that ace you plamed the top card.
Maybe you should just teach them siple but effective small tricks.

Matt
Donald Dunphy
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Depending upon the age and the ability of your students, you might be better off teaching self working tricks, as opposed to ones relying on slight of hand. Although, if they are advanced, they have to learn at some point.

For example, while a french drop is a nice thing to learn, some will need more work than others to really learn it well.

Of course, be sure to teach them the rules of magic, as well, such as not revealing another magician's secrets (being a good audience), practicing, keeping magical secrets that they can do, etc.

What age will your students be?

- Donald.
Donald Dunphy is a Victoria Magician, British Columbia, Canada.
what
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I have tought some magic to cub scout groups (ages 8-11). I teach mostly self working effects which you can make with ordinary objects. I teach them the rubber pencil gag (this would be great for acting class because it requires a little acting to pull off well). I teach them how to vanish a acoin from under a glass, and how to make a production box out of a cereal box. How to cut a string in half and restore it (the string through straw method). One great coin trick is the thieves and the sheep. There are some good no-sleight versions that are very entertaining. Enjoy and good luck,

Mike
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Vincz
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I suggest teaching them those automatic working tricks, not those using sleights. Teach them easy one will do, becase they might not have the patience to learn sleights.
TheTopBanana
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Iwanted to say the same thing everyone else did but they said it first...
flourish dude
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Go to the bokstore and get a simple book on magic and teach from there. As a magi you should know it is not the magic that counts it how you do it. If you show how the fun the trick is before you teach the trick they will not say "That is dumb, or that is easy". The cub scouts have a book on magic that would be good for cub scout goups, but most dover books are good. I even have an old Michael Ammer tape where he teaches kids some stuff.

Here is a list of some books to look at
Magic for Dummies
Klutz book of magic
Self working card tricks.
magicians in the making (James Merrills)
The Children's magic kit (Karl Fulves)
Easy to Do Card tricks for Children (Karl Fulves)


You can also look online, do a search for magic for kids, easy magic or magic for children ETC>>>

I would not give away things you use in your show. Plus if this is a new group do not show them the double lift or any hard card moves they are not ready for it. Do a good key card trick. I would also not show the TT.
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billyboy123
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If you search on the internet, you will find many sites that have a beginner section and a quiz protected advanced section. If you teach from the begginer section you will not give away many slieghts, but still have good tricks to teach the kids.
Billy
Alym Amlani
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I too would emphasize patter for the kids...let them know that the presentation is the KEY to make magic good... I would then think of some prototypical tricks where the method is VERY simple (even like a criss cross force) and the effect is VERY strong.

Again; this really depends on your age group.
Logic Defied
20Robert04
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Thank you thank you
all this information is wonderful, please keep it coming.
I guess I should have mentioned it in my first post but I will be teaching this around the age of 8-11.

I have a few of the books that flourish dude mentioned, I'll have to go through and look at them.
Im also planning on looking at my libary for some more books. Again thanks everyone for your suggestions and comments, please keep them coming.

Paul
0pus
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20Robert04 wrote:

Quote:
. . . to teach a youth theatre class some magic. . . .


I am not sure how advanced the theatre class is, but this strikes me as a unique opportunity to teach a false put or take (e.g., French drop, etc.). A HUGE part of sleight of hand is the ability to act as if something is in your hand when it is not, or to act as if something is not in your hand when it is. This fact could make magic and theatre dovetail very nicely.

0pus
macmagic
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Hello here is some help for you, more then half of my programs are classes and with over 300 shows a year that's a lot of classes.......the other question is how long is it going to be here is my basic structure for an hour long program:
intro/explain this is a magic class not a show
rules(not talking when I am,must keep hands to yourself(this is important in the magic class)and have fun)
hand stretching into sliding the tip of your thumb off then teach it
pass out paper lunch bags to put stuff in,then teach them how to throw an invisible ball into the air and then hear it land in your bag(simply snapping fingers on bag)don't pass this over as to childish it gets a huge reaction!Then teach them how to perform it.
French drop using a penny......pass out pennies and teach them(they will get excited when they find out they get to keep them)
mind reading crayon perform with helper then teach it, you can pass out crayons(box of 4) if you want sometimes I do sometimes I don't
pass out ed Harris trick sheet and teach them the optical illusion of rolling the paper into a tube and looking thru it so it looks like you have a hole in your hand.
next is the fortune telling fish.........this is pretty much the second highlight of the show.
then the highlight
everyone gets a wand!
I have been performing this exact program for over 4 years with many many repeat performances, the kids love it and everything I am teaching can pretty much be found in any book on magic at the library!
if some things are not clear let me know and I will try to help more!
"Its a magic thing...........you wouldn't understand"
20Robert04
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Macmagic
could you tell me were I can find those, I'm checking out every book in my libary on magic tommorow, and some heads up would be great.

Paul
macmagic
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Well to be honest I have been doing these for years and not sure which books they came from.....most books will have the tricks I described the only thing you wont find in a book would be the fortune telling fish which you have to purchase from oriental trading etc.
do you have the Ed Harris trick sheets? if not you should contact eric paul he has them all on cd for the computer so you just have to insert your contact info.......most everything I teach is right on the trick sheets that way they get the instructions on how to do them, sorry I don't know the names of the books its been a long time!
Greg
"Its a magic thing...........you wouldn't understand"
NJJ
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There are three types of magic students.

1) Those who happen to be present for the class. e.g. you are hired to perform and teach tricks for a scout group or theatre group are attend for some other reason. For these kids I'd suggest teaching the most simple of tricks that can be found in magic books in their school library. No moves that a pro might use. e.g. 21 card trick.

2) Kids who have chosen to learn magic but don't want to be a magician. These tend to be school holiday programs or drama groups. These kids have limited dedication and only a passing interest but do want to be involved. I'd suggest teaching them the same as the first group but also teaching a french drop or some such move that requires practice. Also get them designing their own costume or character as a fun exercise!

3) Magic fans. Those who want to learn magic and are willing learn. Teach them a force (e.g. criss cross), a control and a revelation to start. Don't move on until they learnt the first ones. No use getting them to run when they can't walk!

That's my thoughts!
Caleb Wiles
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I have taught the cups and balls in magic classes before using paper cups and pom pom balls. Sometimes I also teach the jumping rubber band. I have had magician friends tell me that I shouldn't teach the cups and balls, but I only teach the simple version that is in all of the beginner's sets anyway. The children are impressed and feel that they are learning really good tricks, but are still not going to know how a professional magician's cup and ball routine works.

Does anyone else have any thoughts on exposing the cups and balls?
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NJJ
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The problem with teaching and cups and balls routine is that everytime those kids see the trick they'll think (and probably say) "Oh, I know that one!"

Beginners and children don't tend to recognise the difference in skill between beginners and advance versions of these routines.

Also, kids who get a magic set and LEARN cups and balls have to make and effort. Your exposition just requires them to sit and watch!
mghia
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I am the 2004 Magic Instructor for the New Jersey Workshop for the Arts.
I also have taught magic classes over the years for other schools and groups.

I agree with some of the advice given. Magic takes time to learn. Even what we think is easy is not for them. They might UNDERSTAND it but try to have them show you and most will not be able to do as well as you think without much practice.

Where it gets sticky is that if you are teaching one time at a group or a summer at a camp, they are there to have FUN and when it comes to practice, they only will want to do it for a short time.
They do not want to be magicians but learn the tricks.

Drilling them on the rules of magic only takes you so far before they zone out. Believe me, they will think they know the trick and even if they do it well before they leave, they can mess it up when they show their parents or even in front of you the next day.

My problem is that I teach them good stuff. Tricks I grew up with as a child. THe problem is that after working out a routine for my demo, I am reminded that even the most basic of effects, can be professional and entertaining.

I wish people would stop saying to find material in books and be free to use it. My point is, some of the BEST secrets are in these books if presented properly.
THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A KID ONLY TRICK that is just fine to expose. It does not make any difference if it is in a childrens magic book or from Tarbell.

It gets stickier than if you are trying to not give them anything too good. They will be bored if you only show them the rubber pencil trick.

To give an example, since I have 78 students this year, and they pay a materials fee, they all get magic sets. These sets contained magic milk pitchers. I thought it would be great. BUT now regret showing them the secret. I had one when I was there age so what is the problem? Some baby doll bottles work on the same principle so what is the issue? I just felt that the dedication I have had with the majority of students was such that they learned something too good. IF they were dedicated to practicing at home and paying attention in class, I might feel different. But really they did not DESERVE to learn it and learn it properly. My goal is to teach them the PROPER way to do the effect. This means I teach them some of my inner thoughts. To teach them the poor way to save some of the secret only has 70+ kids showing others the WRONG WAY. So I am forced not to show them at all or only present it the RIGHT WAY if there is any hope to have good junior magicians.

The same was with the beautiful sets of double changing scarves they received. Here we have a self-working effect. I am shocked how many STILL flash the gimmick or wrong end. These sets were better made silks from USMI and the end only sticks out just enough so if performed well, it will not flash. It is SELF WORKING yet takes some skill. I was shocked how even 8-9 year olds did not "get it" after 8 days of practice. Again, I had these at their age and thought I did fine with them. What could be more self working? But then, I did want to be a magician and was performing for groups by that age.

Before I am flamed about teaching stuff like that, let me explain this is a camp that has everything from TV PRODUCTION-FENCING. It is an Arts workshop taught by pros in their feild. MAGIC has been one of the most popular courses for over 10 years. They have a waiting list and parents with the money to pay for it. They pay a kit fee on top of the steep class fee. They expect a little more than magic with pencils, coins and bands. (we do that during one week)

MANY of these kids take the course year after year until they are ready for Magic 2 which is the older group.
This group learns the cups and balls up to phase three if they will master the French drop (Most do not get it ever a year later since they do not practice)
I have had trouble with having them PROPERLY do cut string/straw trick and the gross motor skills for some to do the jumping rubber band just do not cut the mustard and they end up exposing it.

My point to all of this that what you teach will vary on age and skill level. It will break your heart to see something like the jumping band exposed. It seems so simple but some will not get it down and ruin it for the others who can. I still pull that trick out in a pinch and it is not a throw away effect.

Even the ball vase they will screw up since someone will slip and the shell will pop into view. I have seen it happen. Heck, I have had it happen to me once or twice in my life time. All you need is one to expose the effect for the rest. Most magic classes you can not pick and choose who gets to come in.

To teach magic properly you really need kids who WANT to do it right. They want to WORK and PRACTICE. BUT you can not dictate who takes your class so wind up with some will make you regret shown any of them.
There are very few tricks that can not be presented professionally and you will find a new love for the "tricks in books" once you start working with them again.

Try some optical tricks like with the arches. Let them cut them out and learn the effect. Stick some coins to your forehead. (air pressure method) They love that one. I would say for a short term thing, PERFORM a few cool effect but only explain the silly and fun stuff.
The hole in hand is very magical as well as the floating finger based on the same concept are strong since they trick their mind. They EXPERIENCE magic so have the fun. MOST can do these things instantly.
(Some like myself have trouble since we are MONOCULAR and can not do tricks with 3-d like sterograms or were you need both eyes to work at the same time. so be aware if a child looks upset for not being able to do such a trick when most can.)
Any questions?

Nicholas,

I disagree with what you said about cups and balls if one actually teaches it hands on.

I show my Magic 2 class phase one-three basics and then show them a tape of Johnny Ace Palmer doing his chicky routine with the cups. EVEN though they know the basics and were taught a basic vanish (most of the core routine JA uses) they still ask many questions and ask if I will teach them what he is doing.

I do not explain his routine but say all I have taught them was used in his routine so PRACTICE AND STUDY.

So you can see, they are thrown off track from the basics since he does it so well. The pros have their handling variations that change how the effect works.

Sure the kids MIGHT be able see a POOR magician do the cups and see the EXACT moves they learned.

But remember that many should transition to the "magician mode" and be more intrigued and impressed with the new moves they are seeing when a pro does it.
They should not be yelling out I KNOW I KNOW but rather having a brain freeze when they loose track since the magician is going beyond the basics.
So while they might start thinking "I know how to do that" they should end saying "but I do not know how he did THAT."
magic4u02
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Just a bit of background. I am one of the co-leaders of the Philadelphia Society of Young Magicians. I have been terachings kids ages 7-17 the art of magic for over 11 years now and have realized a lot about what to do and what not to do when teachings kids magic under any setting.

With this in mind, many folks above are correct. There just is not enough time or devotion to teach the kids sleight of hand magic.

The bottom line is that you want to motivate and empower the children. Give them a touch of confidence and self-worth and make them love magic not get frustrated by it.

By saying this, you want magic that is easy to learn or that is indeed self-working. The child needs to be able to perform this trick with little practice and with ease. This encourages them to want to learn more and empowers rathers then frustrates.

I also make sure that the kids always take a magical oath and make sure they realize how serious a thing it really is. I also emphasize the need for practice before ever showing a trick to anyone and also talk a lot about presentation versus showing off.

Kyle
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mghia
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Kyle,
I think you will agree, that they will hardly EVER believe the oath is a "serious thing" when compared to how a working magician sees it.
I do have some students who will follow it to the letter. Some have given me reports how they asked how something worked and the child would not tell.
But many will just feel we are being over dramatic.
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