Beginner In Magic

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Theory 11

The first thing you want to do is pick what kind of magic you want to do. Coin tricks, card tricks, stage magic, they're all very different animals.
Chris Kenner


The Easiest Tricks Beginner Magicians Can Learn

I'm often asked by beginning magicians just what are the easiest tricks to start with. In this article I share my answer with you - and the answer may surprise you! However, be assured that many beginners who have taken this advice are the ones who got off to a really good start and became very impressive performers. Why not read on and join their number?


Most beginners who ask me what the easiest tricks to start with are seem to expect me to give them a list of specific trick routines to go away and learn, or even particular gimmicks or gadgets to buy from their local magic store. But I never do! I have much better and more useful advice to give than that.

So what do I tell them?

For one thing, I tell them not to go and waste a lot of their hard-earned cash on magic products. Oh, sure, there's a time and a place for going magic shopping but as a beginner you need to realize that the basic skills you must acquire and the objects you need to make a great start in magic are all free. You just need to get the right information and practice. And practice. And practice.

So what are these basic skills and what is the right information? Easy!

The basic skills are firstly to understand the fundamental techniques of psychological manipulation known collectively as 'misdirection'. There are a wealth of articles that explain how these techniques work and the best way to practice them. You can get my own series on this very subject completely free from the link at the foot of this article. It's a series of articles that covers everything you need to know about misdirection and, more importantly, how to put those techniques into action to turn any magic trick you ultimately perform into a high-impact experience for your audience.

Secondly, you need to learn to be able to do magic anywhere and any time, at the drop of a magic hat, so to speak. So, instead of spending a fortune on gimmicks that you can't carry with you all the time or require too much set-up, I strongly advise you to start with un-gimmicked card tricks, un-gimmicked coin magic, levitation such as the Balducci levitation and simple mentalism routines.

That way, you will quickly learn the fundamental skills of object manipulation, patter, performance, building rapport, timing and exposition that are the true skills that mark out a genuinely powerful magic performer from anyone who has just spent a lot of cash at the magic store! All the objects you need will be the loose change in your pocket (or someone else's!), any pack of normal playing cards, a pen, a piece of paper; simple things that you can always carry with you and often simply borrow from your audience. If can borrow a coin and make it vanish, transform into a different object and then reappear in your audience member's own closed fist, for example, you are very quickly going to earn a reputation as a mind-blowing magician.

And in fact, those sorts of routines, always favourites with any audience, are the easiest to learn and perform once you have practiced the basic techniques outlined above to a reasonable standard.

Of course you are going to need to get some of the secrets of these magic tricks to try your skills out with and good magic secrets that explain particular effects and routines (rather than principles and techniques) don't come free - for obvious reasons! That someone is prepared to pay for this knowledge is some indication of their sincerity in wanting to learn the magic and perform it properly. You can also pay for one to one instruction if you are lucky enough to find a good teacher.

One of the most popular and best ways to build up a repertoire of fundamental tricks and effects is through video: you get the teacher, the demo, explanation and hints all in one. Whilst DVDs from the magic store can be very expensive (up to hundreds of dollars for a single effect) you can also get instant downloads for pocket-money prices that are plenty good for the beginner. In fact I've seen talented beginners build up great routines very cheaply from a collection of these video instructions. They just had that bit of flair and imagination, coupled with the discipline to practice, that enabled them to save a lot of money and build great routines.

There's no reason why you shouldn't do the same.

So in summary, don't spend a fortune on gimmicks (there are some useful gimmicks, but they can all be made at home out of stuff you can find around the house!) Give yourself a good, solid grounding in the fundamental principles and techniques that apply to all magic performance. Build a simple repertoire of card tricks, coin vanishes and productions, mentalism routines that you can do anywhere and really will build your reputation. If you can't find a teacher, go for video downloads as a very effective method of learning that won't burn a hole in your pocket.

Then it's really down to you. You can do it. I know you can if you really want to do this right and put in the practice. It's loads of fun and a great way to bring wonder to others and a cool reputation for yourself. All the best and share the magic!

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