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,
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.