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Emazdad
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Plymouth UK
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I get the kids to say a magical oath, but then explain to them that if they tell someone how their tricks are done, the next time they do it that person is liable to give the secret away and spoil it for both them and the person they are showing the trick to. I tell them it's best not to show even there best friend or brother/sister the secret as they may get jealous of you being the centre of attention. but they can tell their dog or cat as they are good at keeping secrets.


As with anything you do with kids if you add a little humour it tends to sink in a bit more.
Yours Funfully
Clive "Emazdad" Hemsley
www.emazdad.com

"Magic is a secret, without the secret there is no magic"

Remember there are only 3 types of people in the world, those that can count and those that can't.
Rupert Bair
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Emazdad do you teach them tricks then? I bet their are loads of cats and dogs watchin magic shows sayin I know how that's done!
magic4u02
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I have most all my kids take the oath and have found that most truely respect it. The reason for this is because I let them know I take it very seriously and I talk to them seriosuly about it. I will not go forward teaching them without a 100% commitment from them all about the oath.

I also handle it like Clive ina way. I show them that they will not have as much fun with the magic if everyone they show it too is told the secret. They seem to understand.

Once they take the oath, then we begin teaching the effects and then working as a hands on workshop to learn them and learn presentation as well.

Kyle
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Rupert Bair
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I think what you need is tricks were they can put their acting abilities into use.
Matt
magic4u02
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You really wants tricks that are easy to learn and easy to teach. This way the child can get energized and enthusiastic about the art of magic instead of frustrated with it. Build up their sense of accomplishment and you will have them hooked.

Kyle
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mghia
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Quote:
On 2004-07-18 09:56, magic4u02 wrote:
I will not go forward teaching them without a 100% commitment from them all about the oath.

You are lucky you can do that.
Where I teach this is not an option. They pay too much or too little to REFUSE teaching.
Example- Last week a sent a letter home to the parents that stated if the children did not bring their props in the next day for class they would not be able to participate.
Fair right?
The administration who has to OK all mail going to the parents edited my letter stating
"The parents pay to much to tell them their kids can not participate. "
They edited the letter to say that they would have "DIFFICULTY in participating."

And in other camps and summer programs, whenever I tried to be strict, I would be told that "the kids are hear to have fun not follow strict rules"

So you are lucky if you can just REFUSE to teach them anything if they do not follow the rules.

When you are concerned with those few kids who can not keep the secret, the administration will just say "they are only kids." To them they understand the idea of the protection of secrets but in the end, they default to the children having fun since their parents are paying for them to be there.
Jeff Alan
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I have taught hundreds of kids magic classes in homes, magic shops and public schools and I use to get upset if they did not take the course seriously or if they revealed the secrets. But now I agree, they are just kids! Plus these days, many of them are being raised to never have any kind of secrets for safety sakes, kid's take everything literally and so they don't like having secrets. So it's important that what we teach them be decided on very carefully. NO THUMBTIPS! (I use to teach it!) We still must try to teach them the value of magic secrets. Plus make them feel like part of a "special" small group who knows the secrets (like a club password), I often tell them that they are special now, and must not tell the Muggles of the world the secrets!

BTW, never let them take home supplies until the END of the course! Many items I don't give them even after they learn it, until the last day.
Aim high and you won't get your shoes wet.
magic4u02
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Well I handle this by telling the clients up front on the phone as well as having a signed contract with them before I do any teaching lessons for libraries or any event.

The client gets educated on how seriously I take magic and how we will have fun, the kids will have a good time, and the kids will get a lot out of it.

BUT they also know that these classes are going to be professional in every way. That I do not simply give away secrets. I show them how to appreciate an artform I take seriosuly and expect every student of mine to do the same.

Most clients do not have a problem with this at all and infact many complement me for my love and approach to the art of magic. This kids also get a lot more out of it and I tend to weed out the kids just wanting to learn secrets from those really truely interested in learning the art.

Kyle
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20Robert04
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As always everyone here is a huge help. Just a little update for you guys, ive been to my libary and checked out EVERY book on magic they had. Im now weeding threw them looking for the easy entertaining effects.
Thanks again for the advice and the stories, this is truley a wonderful place.

Paul
magic4u02
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Paul.

You are most welcome. Good luck on your reading and your research. If we can be of any help to you, simply let us know.

Kyle
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Hamilton
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This has been a very interesting read for me as I have been considering doing a little magic camp but have been debating these very ideas. I am curious Mr. Peron and others what tricks you would teach for a 101 week long class. I just finished assisting for a week long circus arts camp that ended with a very simple stage show for some of the parents and families.

I would like to focus on performance even more than just doing tricks.

Some sort of easy story patter routine performance with some simple effects throughout would be my approach.

Any thoughts?
Michael Baker
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I have been teaching a week-long Magic Camp each summer for the past 8 years. The past two years have been double camps (1 morning, 1 afternoon), 43 kids in all this year. WOW!

The main consideration is the age range. We divide ours up 1st through 3rd grade & 4th through 6th grade. There is a world of difference between what those different ages can handle.

The younger kids need 99% self-working magic. The other 1% consists of really basic sleight of hand (simple coin vanish). At this age, you really need to keep things very basic: rubber pencil/wand, multiple out mental choice, upside down George. Buddah Papers works well with an in depth story. I make one up along the lines of a Jack in the Beanstalk tale with an old lady (witch) trading a magic paper wallet for the kid's family cow.

Physical dexterity takes longer for them to get a handle on than a week will allow. Surprisingly, many of these kids can program their parents' DVD players, but they can't work a paper clip.

Now for the older kids, you can get much more in depth. But you still need to give them a lot of self-working stuff, too. The reason for this is you want them to attain some short term goals. Some kids get very frustrated very quickly if they don't see results. Granted, these learn today/show your parents tonight tricks are not going to get polished that quickly, so you have another angle for them. Teach them these kinds of tricks early in the course, and develop them into more refined performance pieces through the week.

At the same time, you can give them some more challenging tricks, with the understanding that they are going to have to work harder for these; they won't happen tonight. The basic cup and ball routine as sold in every slum magic set is wonderful with styrofoam cups and pom-poms. Don't get into big loads or anything more elaborate. The basic penetration through a stack of cups will absolutely thrill them... and they will probably fool their parents with it, as well.

Another thing to remember is that a stack of 11x17 copy paper and a bunch of crayons and pencils will go a long way if you let them know how important it is to advertise their show with posters. This works great, even for the older kids, it gives them a break from the learning - practicing - learning - practicing, and you'll really be amazed at the creativity these kids will show with their work.

Keep it fun, keep control, and give them breaks. You have to remember that this is a generation used to getting their information in doses of less than 30 seconds.
~michael baker
The Magic Company
Hamilton
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Thank you for the info mr. baker. I just got "Magicians in the Making" and between it and here am planning out the structure for next year.
magicbern
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Visit the late Brian Flora's site (his business and product line is kept alive by his wife Jan)He has an audio tape called Teaching Magic Classes for kids...and also a video tape on the same subject. Lots of good tricks as well as invaluable advice.
To be frank I wasn't too impressed with Magicians in the Making...lots of padding and not very informative for those looking for more advanced tricks to teach. Not all kids who attend these classes are magically-inept! Just my view though....others may beg to differ.
spatrick
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I don't know if this has been adressed in this topic yet, but if this is a theater group why not teach them about staging as well as the magic. Teach them about audience control, lighting, stage direction, sound, as well as how to turn tricks into routines.

I think too much emphasis is on the trick nowadays and too little is placed on professionalism.

S. Patrick
Hamilton
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Thank you magicbern for the Brian Flora reference and the evaluation of "Magicians in the Making". I have been away for a bit so still haven't started it yet, so it is good to know what to expect.

Mr. Patrick, I agree that emphasis should be placed on performing arts and not learning secrets if you can't perform the basics there is no need to learn the advanced secrets.
magicbern
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You're welcome! Anything to help a fellow magicafe member. You'll find the Professor (Flora)'s stuff still very workable today!
magic4u02
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S, Patrick is right. There often times is not enough emphasis placed on the Presentation part of magic. So many times we teach tricks and effects without ever giving the student the most important advice we can give them.

Magic is NOT about the trick. it is NOT about fooling anyone. Magic is about entertaining people.

We need to teach them not only the effect, but simply ways to entertain and how you entertain. This to me is even more important for the student to learn at an early stage in their development.

Teach them things like patter, presentation techniques, routining skills, movement. character and style. All of these will serve the student very well.

Just my 2 cents worth.

Kyle
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Hamilton
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Certainly valued at more than two cents, Kyle. I agree whole heartedly, this is the area I want to focus on for them.

Along those lines.

I have the Once Upon a Time by Punx and Sheherazade by Ulf Bolling-Borodin.

It seems to me this would be a good place to start from when teaching. The tools learned from telling a story with magical effects as accompaniment will serve them well whatever they want to do with their careers. They can always become more minimalist later if that is where they want to go artistically but the process of learning to tell a story in front of an audience will build all those skills Kyle mentions above and self esteem as well.

Any other references for real story line patter examples? I am looking for age appropriate stories and effects that go with them. Both the Punx and Borrodin books are pretty much adult material.

I have to temper this ambitious approach with reasonable expectations of what the kids can do as well.
magic4u02
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Another thing I do with my SYM students is to teach a very simple effect. this effect should be easy enough that anyone can learn it fairly fast. This empowers the student andgets the effect out of the way.

We then use that trick to explore the fundamentals of presentation and routining and patter. Since everyone knows the effect, we are not stuck on that.

I also show them that a simple effect like Professors Nitemare can have such a vast different entertainment value simply by the way it is presented.

Because I have the help of other magciians at my meetings, we each take turn doing the EXACT same trick but each with his or her unique style of presentation.

The students immediately understand now how important it is for the presentation to be a part of the magic and that they need to work together.

Kyle
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