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Regular user
Utrecht (the netherlands)
134 Posts

Profile of pepijn
Hey everyone!

Lately I have been thinking a lot at where I want to go with magic. What would I like to and so forth. But there are things that are really stopping me from perfoming magic to people. At the moment I know that the best thing I can do is practice practice etc. But does this also involve going out there and trying. I just feel that it isn't fair to people who have spend I don't know how long on making effects streamlining etc. that I go out there and I may 'tip the gaff' I believe is a frase to use. I mean sure you don't perform effects that you haven't practiced enough but I mean I could make a mistake, for instance flash a card while doing think touch turn, that just wouldn't be faire to Marlo (okay not the best example but I guess you understand what I mean) and not to Bill Malone from who I got the handling.

And also when should I perform I am not good enough (in my eyes at least) to start to go to restaurants etc. So I guess I would like to try on the streets an public transport etc. Is this a good idear or do any of you have any better places to try,
I mean I have perormed for friens family, I started performing in front of the university I am in. places like that but I tend to keep it small. Because I just feel that there may be a change of flashing a double lift for instance.

So does anybody have any tips for me?
I guess this has been discussed etc. and I have done searches and read through posts but maybe some has some more advise,

Thanks a lot!
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Veteran user
Chicago, IL
397 Posts

Profile of BerkleyJL
Everyone makes mistakes. All you can do is practice until you know you're ready to perform. An additional step I take is to analyze every moment of each routine to find what could possibly go wrong...then I plan for it. If I can save the moment and make it magical--great! If not, how can I make it funny and keep my performance entertaining?

If the audience thinks you made a mistake, they'll be embarassed for you and thus--uncomfortable. If you plan for the inevitable foible, you can let them think it was all part of the act.
I need a stage name.

Joe Berkley
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Inner circle
1552 Posts

Profile of Chrystal
Hi Pepijn,

You asked some really good questions. Besides practising for your family you can volunteer your talent at a seniors home or children's facility. Most of these types of places love having entertainment. Just remember however, that the magic needs to be very visual so cards may not be the best at these places. It's a win win situation as you are gaining experience performing for a group and they enjoy having you there. (Once you feel comfortable and have gained experienced however it's better to refrain from working for free.)

There are two schools of thought regarding performing for families. They may be harder or softer in their critique, yet I still think performing for them is the best place to start. They will let you know if you've flashed or been caught whereas a stranger may be too polite to comment.

Practise by placing a mirror on the table infront of you - you can check your angles. Record or video tape yourself - and try to be as objective as you can. Does your patter sound realistic and flow nicely? Or does it sound stilted and rehersed. Those are the things you can work on by yourself.

Continue to perform for family and eventually a larger number of friends. Good for you for worrying about exposing a secret! Many newcomers are so anxious to show others what they have been doing before they are ready they do a diservice to magic.

Yes, you will continue to be nervous but the more times you perform the more natural your patter and less shaking of your hands. You are correct practise does make perfect.

Hope this helped and I'm sure many others will offer good advice.

Good luck with your magic.
Kent Wong
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Inner circle
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
2458 Posts

Profile of Kent Wong
Many people say that magic is a performance art. I don't necessarily believe this to be true. I believe magic is an entertainmetn art. There is a fine distinction.

Compare magic to playing the piano. You can take lessons and practice for years on end, but never have a public recital. Does that mean you are not a pianist? No. This only means that the person is not a professional pianist. Many people learn things for the sake of making their own lives richer, and not necessarily for the entertainment of others. It's called self-actualization.

Such may also be the case with magic. There are many magicians who collect tricks that interest them. Those same magicians may practice in front of their mirror for hours on end and be quite technically skillful. Yet those same magicians may choose never to perform for others, instead, being satisfied with the knowledge that they have mastered the technical skills of the effect at hand.

Other magicians don't even collect tricks. Instead, they are extremely well read academics or historians of magic. They have a sincere love for the art, but no desire to perform, even for themselves. They are completely satisfied with the knowledge they possess and their ability to pass that knowledge on to others.

Yet, institutions such as the International Brotherhood of Magicians and the Magic Castle recognize all of these various types of individuals as magicians. The key to deciding which "type" of magician you want to be is to ask yourself why you are interested in magic in the first place. Then you must focus all your energies on reaping as much of that interest as possible from the art form.

You see, magic is an entertaining art - but first and foremost, it must be entertaining to you. Figure out what it is about the art that entertains you and then go after it with all your energy, regardless of what other people may say or do. To thine own self be true.
"Believing is Seeing"
Frank Tougas
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Inner circle
Minneapolis, MN
1712 Posts

Profile of Frank Tougas
I agree with Magicman,

If you are out there to perform magic you are not there yet philosophically, if you are there to have some fun, you are getting closer. If you are there to cause some fun for others - then you are becomming a performer.

Sounds like you are still at the stage of being worried over the technical aspects or the technology of the magic. Practice and you will overcome this and move on to having some fun with it.

There is no exact road to becomming a performer but going from being a good technician, to having fun, to creatuing fun for others is a valid three step process for it's achievement.

I think it can be similar for other aspects of magic such as collecting. Here you are out to find as much as you can, then you simply enjoy the process of the hunt and finally you are happiest when you share your new found wealth with brother collectors and magicians. Comments?

Frank Tougas
Frank Tougas The Twin Cities Most "Kid Experienced" Children's Performer :"Creating Positive Memories...One Smile at a Time"
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Regular user
Utrecht (the netherlands)
134 Posts

Profile of pepijn
Thank you very much for the tips so far,

Chrystal I will definitly try to do something for kids facilities and senior homes I guess that's a great place to start.

And what magic is for me, well I am a performer, I play cello on quite a high level and like to perform. I like to share this sort of thing. I have practiced hard and done everything to make 'a story' from a piece and be able to tell that to an audiance. the same probably goes for magic, the only difference I have at the moment between the two, is the experience. I have reached a certain level (or have started to reach may be better you are never going to be quite there but that for me is just a fact of life) where the technical level is starting to get good enough to stop worrying about it a lot. sure there are going to be notes that I have to worry about if they are going to be correct and you can make mistakes etc. but it's not going to be so much that it starts to hinder the performance, and I feel that that may be a little different with magic. The mistakes May have a bigger consequence. But I guess you can prepare for that sort of thing like magicman stated!

So I guess for me I hope it becomes and entertaining and performing art

Thank you very much all, and I hope I'll be seeing you around!


any other tips are still higly appreciated and maybe some people can tell me how they started and got over this point?
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Elite user
466 Posts

Profile of acmp
I'm new to this too. I tend to just pop one trick off to some one I know. This helps if I mess up, like messing up a DL as only 1 person has seen it.

When things do go wrong I try to cover it up. But the reality is that I think, man that was a bad move they must have seen it, but they don't. I guess it's because they don't know what they are looking for. So I just keep going.

I recently did a small selection of tricks for around 20 people at a church youth group and though I was nerves as hell It went OK, I have no idea how they missed the mercury card fold, but no one saw it.

I keep practising at home, pestering my wife whenever I have a new move/trick to try but that only helps with the technical implimentation of the trick, I feel that you need to perform for others to get the patter, style and natural look to the trick. This is because you get feedback from them as you perform and this helps you to involve them and have fun with the trick.

When that card pops back to the top they either love it or are getting board with it. If they love it you can keep going and they are having a good time and so are you. If they hate it the get out of the trick. The only way to find out if you enjoy performing is to do it and see. If the audiance are having fun so will you.

I may have poped of topic a bit, but I hope it helps.

"Well if I had one wish in this god forsaken world, kids
It'd be that your mistakes would be your own"
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Veteran user
Moscow, ID, USA
353 Posts

Profile of saxmangeoff

I think you "get it," and you're on the right track with the analogy to music.

I play jazz and blues saxophone (hence the screen name). All through school, I played in band, and could play the notes, but I wouldn't consider myself to have been a musician. Over the last few years, I've really focused on the "musical" side of music. Now, when I play, I'm rarely thinking about the technical issues. I'm thinking (though not in words, or even in directly conscious thought) about the music. I've performed enough now that I know people will like what I'm playing, and I'm relaxed and comfortable. In fact, I enjoy my playing as much as (or maybe more than) my audiences. And I mean that in all humility. That is not an arrogant statement at all.

Now I'm renewing my focus on magic. I've been interested for over 30 years, but I would say only rarely have I done magic for someone (as opposed to tricks). Now, I want to do magic. I want to do magic like I play jazz. I want my focus to be on the emotional journey the spectators and I are taking together. The sleights (like the scales and fingerings) have to be automatic. I should be thinking about (even experiencing and enjoying) the magic in the moment, along with the spectators.

How to get there? The woodshed. And lots of trial and error in front of real people. I've traveled the path before, and am ready to travel it with magic.

So, I would say, approach magic the same way you have approached music, and you should arrive at the same level magically that you have musically.

"You must practice your material until it becomes boring, then practice it until it becomes beautiful." -- Bill Palmer
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Special user
Manhattan, NY | Studio City, CA
624 Posts

Profile of MattWayne
As far as going to restaurants to perform- you don't need much material. Now, if it's every other day and you have 'repeat customers' then you'll want to work on new material every day. Pick some of your best close up pieces. Perform them spiratically in the restaurant- meaning not all at one table. This will thus in return heighten the entertainment value- because you'll be known for performing a vast degree of 'illusions' and then won't be considered a 'one trick wonder.' Then the management might see you as a 'keeper' and will be glad to higher you again, and possibly keep you at the restaurant weekly or daily. But always work on new material. Even if it's not your best- you need to get exposure with people, and restaurants is a great way to perfect new material. You can always turn a flub/mistake into a comedic bit. That usually works for me and fits my perfoming persona. Keep in touch!
Matt Wayne
The Celebrity Magician™ / / /

Creator of, 'Got a Light?' and others.
Spokesperson behind, TouchTricks
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