Friday, October 14, 2005

Bad News For Magic Beginners

There you are, at the start of an exciting journey. You have your first magic set, or magic book or video and you are learning your first tricks. Congratulations, you are starting along a path filled with discovery and wonder.
Unfortunately, I have some bad news for you. Please do not take it personally since I don’t know you, but I have been where you are now and I have the need to let you know something that I was never told. I apologize in advance for being so blunt, but I have to be. I’m sure you will understand in time.

Dear beginner in magic.
You are going to suck!
There, I said it. It’s out there and I cannot take it back.
You are going to suck.

I tell you this so that you may avoid the pitfalls and problems that I and a majority of other magicians have faced in our careers. You see, when you start out, you really don’t know anything about magic or performance. I know that the first magic tricks you learn will fill you with excitement that you desperately want to show someone, anyone. I know because I was there also. The first real magic trick I learned with the disappearing hanky and I showed it to my good friend Bill. I thought he would see what I was doing; he didn’t and was somewhat impressed. I thought “Hey, that went great! Now I can show EVERYONE!”
Oh yes, that false sense of confidence. You’ll feel it too, and you will probably act on it, showing everyone and their brother those first few tricks before you are ready to show them. People will be polite. They will say you are good, but your not. You suck!

You see, magic, much like other arts or even trades, requires dedication, practice, study and time. You cannot read a card trick, learn it, practice it and perform it within a five-minute period and expect it to be any good. But you will, we all did it so don’t feel bad.

There are so many problems associated with starting out in something, but there is a problem unique in magic. That problem is, “Where can I go to get good?”
You see, comediennes have a place to be bad. An open mike night at a local comedy club. You get about five minutes to try out your first pieces of material in front of a forgiving audience. If you bomb well, you are supposed to bomb those first few times; it’s part of the learning process. Also, some comedy clubs offer lectures for new timers on how to write material, how to present it and the business of comedy.
What about musicians? Most musicians learn in a class type setting, as either part of a school band on in private lessons with a teacher. In those cases, you have a person or persons available to tell you when you suck, why you suck and how to stop sucking. They can also track your progress so that they can tell you when you stopped sucking.
Even skilled trades have a learning plan in place. In the mid 90’s I was an apprentice electrician. My job was to do the crappy jobs and learn from a licensed electrician. Over time I would be given small jobs that were aimed at teaching me something. Over time, and with guidance I was supposed to stop sucking and learn about how to be an electrician. It would take years of study, but in the end I would no longer suck and would be a full-fledged electrician.

Unfortunately magic seems to no longer have a mentor/student mindset of days past. As well, these days many of us learn on our own through books, magazines and video’s meaning there is no teacher to help with the learning process. As well, there is no place for us to publicly suck, like at a comedy club. Many of us will start performing magic for kids birthdays, which will turn out bad. You will suck, the show will suck, and the parent who booked you will think all magicians suck and never hire one again. Don’t feel that bad, though, we all did it. We all felt bad after and we all vowed to get better as fast as possible.

So yes, when you begin magic you will suck and suck bad, but there is light at the end of the tunnel, which I will address in my next post.

Next Post: Sorry, no light. I lied, my bad. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You will NOT suck.

Card tricks are very easy to learn.

Check out to learn free easy magic card tricks using a normal deck of cards. The tricks are not hard to learn, explained with photo's and videos.

6:10 PM  

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