Monthly Archives: July 2015

The Beauty of Magic and Performing

imagesgirl magicianI’ve been writing a lot about kids and magic. Maybe its because I don’t remember ever having so many new kids coming in around the same time for the first time. Most of them, if not all, had never been to a magic shop before. To me they are delightful.  I know it’s because of the city day camps that they are coming in droves and I’m happy to see that this new crop of future magicians, those that hang in, will have had the experience of going to a magic shop, of seeing tricks demonstrated live, no trick cameras, etc.

Each child is so different. Yesterday I had a little girl of about 9 years old. She was so full of personality. After her mother purchased the magic I said I would show her how a particular trick was done, as in spite of being relatively easy to do the instructions were not well written, even for an adult. The little girl made her mother leave the shop and did not want her to hear the explanation. She was so bright, she caught on immediately, even with my broken french. I showed her how to do a second trick as well. She thanked me profusely and danced out of here on wings.

Today one child came in because his father saw the sign and was curious. The boy looked about 7 or 8. He was one of those deep quiet children. I did Zig-Zag Rope and Double Color Changing Silk for him. I was sure his eyes actually popped out of his head. His  mouth dropped open. A look of pure amazement. All he could say was “How did you do that?” after I did each trick. I said, “That’s magic!” and he said, at his tender age, “There’s no such thing as magic!” I let him know that he was capable of doing it too, but I couldn’t tell him until after he bought the trick, as with the trick he was also buying the secret.

All the parents that come in are encouraging their children. I think I know why. I have grandchildren around that age and when they are practicing magic, its one more activity that keeps them away from their iPads.

My granddaughter was in the shop and saw a pair of Devil Sticks which she desperately wanted. I didn’t give it to her at the time, even though  I know that as a grandmother, I’m supposed to spoil her, but I didn’t want her to think she can just say she wants something and gets it. However she slept over the other night and I brought it home for her. She spent lots of time with it and was doing a spin over and over by the time the day was done.  Even I tried it and she was coaching me! Good exercise. I’ll have to take a set home for me.

All of this gives the kids something to work on until they get it right. Then they can go out and perform with confidence, and it builds their  confidence and they need that in this world.  That’s the beauty of magic amd performing!

 

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Don Alan and his Chop Cup : A Classic in Magic

This past week I had the good fortune of coming across a clip of Don Alan on my facebook. It’s an clip from 1960 and a lesson in presentation and simplicity if there ever was one. I’ve spoken about patter before, probably several times. Patter and timing are perfect in this skit and just when you think its over he hits you again, and then again. then he does another routine, The Rising Card. Also a portrait of perfection.

The thing is, I have the feeling that today’s young magicians would take a look at it and say “Oh, I know that. It’s the Chop Cup and Rising Card. I know how he does it.” They might even proceed to tell you how its done. Everything else would go way over their heads. “I can do that trick.” or “I have that trick.” The question is, how can you get this younger generation to appreciate, not the trick, but the wonder and amusement they provide while performing it. Any Suggestions?

https://youtu.be/owxXuRhvxUA

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A Few Tips For New Magicians

Last week I wrote about all the kids exposed to magic and doing magic these days. Some of them pick it up on their own and have no guidance so I wrote out a few “rules” for them. I probably forgot a lot of stuff so let me know if you think of anything else.

There are certain “rules” you should know about performing magic before performing magic.

Perfect MAGIC RULES

  1. You must learn how to keep a secret.

How do you keep your friends and still keep secrets from them?

What do you say when they ask you how you did that trick?

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Possible answers.

  • It’s part of the magicians code not to tell.
  • It would spoil all the fun for you, if I told you.
  • Never mind that, let me show you this.
  • YOU learn a magic trick and if you are serious about magic we can discuss it.
  • Ask them “Can you keep a secret?” (they will say yes). Then say, “So can I.”
  • Go to a magic shop and buy the trick and you’ll find out.

If you tell them how it’s done, next time you do the trick, they might say, “I know how you did that.” And they might tell everyone the trick, so not only do you spoil it for them by telling the secret, they spoil it for you when you perform. This brings us to the next situation.

  1. Let’s say someone else or a magician comes to entertain you and you know the trick they are doing. What do you do and what do you say? images

Correct Answer: Nothing. Not even to your best friend. Even after the show. If you have to tell someone, tell your mother.

It may be hard not to tell your friends, but if you want to perform one day, you will understand why it’s important not to tell.

  1. Why Do A Magic Trick at all? Put a check mark in one of the following.
  • To fool people? ☐
  • To show how smart you are? ☐
  • For everyone to be surprised and for them to have fun. ☐
  1. If they ask you to do the trick again, what do you do?

Don’t do it again. The first time you do it you have the element of surprise. The second time they know the outcome and are only trying to catch you. Tell them they already saw it and show them something else instead.

Top Hat and Stars

  1. What do you do with a trick after you have performed it?

Put it away. If it fits, put it in your pocket. If it doesn’t have a shopping bag or some kind of case that you could put it in. Do not leave it lying on the table. People are curious and may want to handle it. It’s yours. You are always the boss of your magic. No one else should play with it. If your magic tricks are out of sight they are less tempted to go over to touch them. There are special tricks you can leave out because you want them to handle them, because that will make them more puzzled than ever, but most of the time put them out of sight. 

  1. What do you do after a trick when everyone claps?

Clap

You look at your audience and smile, and say Thank You. They applaud because they liked what you did. You smile and say Thank You to show that you are happy they liked it.

7. How Does A Magician Become Really Good?

Practice and Preparation and more practice and even more practice.

AudienceIt’s easy to do magic when you are alone, but when there’s an audience it’s different. You should think more of the audience than of your trick so you have to know it inside out and backwards so that you can focus on the audience.

What is Patter and When & Why Do You Use It?

Patter is what magicians say while they are performing. What do you say while you are performing a trick?

Talking is a form of misdirection. When you talk they are listening so they are not 100% focused on what you are doing. Also if you say something amusing, they will laugh. That means they are having a good time and are likely to like you more as a performer. When they laugh you get a brief moment to make a move you may not want them to see. Timing is everything.

8. What do you do if you mess up the trick?

oopsmagic mistake

It’s might be a good plan to say a magic word like ” and Abracadabra” and you produce whatever. If it doesn’t work out, you can say,”See what happens when you use the wrong word?” and laugh and just move on. If you don’t worry, they don’t worry. (I’m not talking about big illusions here!) It called “Outs”.

So these are a few of the things I thought might be of help. If any of you old pros have something to add, I’m sure it would be appreciated.

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The New Generation And Magic

Being summer, there are all kinds of specialized camps including magic camps. Children are exposed to magic and magicians as never before. While it’s true that back in the day, we in Montreal,

had a weekly TV Magic show with “Magic Tom” Auburn,

Magic Tom Auburn, Eugene Burger, Phil Matlin

few of us saw live magicians, except if you had your birthday party at Piazza Tomasso, where you would see Magic Tom perform live. He performed at my nephew’s party there before we were in the magic business. It was special.

Now it’s a different story.  Daycare Centers, camps including sleep away camps and city camps, schools where magic is a course children can take at lunch time or after school and they learn magic. Magic at parties, street magic, TV shows like America has Talent, Fool Us with Penn and Teller, Wizard Wars,  and Fairs, etc., give ample opportunity for many to be exposed to magic and many at a young age.  I have kids that are coming in fresh from day camp to buy stuff. There are many girls and boys eager to do magic. One wanted to start witih Multum In Parvo. She had seen it on TV and wanted to do it. It’s not a cheap trick for a beginner of 11 years old, and it involves liquids which could spell disaster for someone’s rug, so I discouraged her.

I showed her a Svengali Deck which she was familiar with and knew exactly how it worked and proceeded to tell me and everyone else in the shop how it worked. I gently explained to her that we don’t do that and she asked why not, “We’re all magicians here.” I had to laugh to myself. She already considered herself a magician although she had never performed.

Part of any course should include the serious business of etiquette, manners, history, the relationship between the performer and the audience, patter, misdirection, and how they should act even if they know the trick, when they are the audience and not the performer.

It may seem alot to teach a 5 or 6 or 10 year old, but, that’s the age they absorb everything. They listen, even when you think they don’t. They can understand the difference between doing a magic trick as something clever to fool people and make them feel stupid, and performing a trick to entertain and have people enjoy themselves. But someone has to tell them about it. They can’t just know all by themselves about the art of magic. And when they do understand, their audience will appreciate it, and the response will build their confidence which will serve them well throughout their life.

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