Practice, does it really make magic perfect?

Updated: Jun 30, 2020

The challenges in learning magic is deciding when you are ready to perform a trick you’ve been laboring over.  The tendency is to get excited and to rush out and show someone.  It is a natural reaction that comes from the excitement of being able to perform a new trick.  We’ve all been there!

Before you perform something, make sure that you really have it down.  Can you repeat it multiple times without an error?  Do you still have to think about what comes next?  Or can you perform it smoothly and without concentrating on the method?  If you can do that, you’re likely ready.

An expert will tell you that they are still working on tricks they’ve done for decades.  The improvement may be slight, but they are always looking for ways to make tricks better, more fooling.

Don’t forget also that presentation is at least as important to the success of a trick as the method.  Some would say even more important.  

Plan a presentation.  Don’t just say, “Watch this!” and then do the effect.  Have a way of introducing the trick and then something to say during and even after the trick.  Magicians refer to this as patter.  Patter can be a story or it could just be a description of what you are doing, but it should be rehearsed as much as the technical aspects of the trick.  

The patter should sound natural, and should accentuate the effect.  Patter can also be used to help create misdirection.  If you want a spectator to look away from your hands, ask them a question and look them in the eye.  The majority of the time, the audience will look at your face.  This is a rudimentary form of misdirection that can serve to deflect unwanted attention.

Finally,  the title says ‘Practice, does it really make perfect?  

The answer is yes and no.  The correct answer is that perfect practice makes perfect.  If you practice something incorrectly all you will accomplish is to be able to perform it wrong consistently.  The key is to begin slowly.  Learn the steps of the tricks, the moves in slow motion, and only when you begin to understand what is supposed to be happening do you then increase speed.  Do not rush sleights but perform them as naturally as possible.  Nothing looks more “fishy” than a quick, jerky move.

Try to never look at your hands when accomplishing a secret maneuver.  If you have to look at your hands to be able to pull it off, you’re not ready!  Work on building up your muscle memory.

This may all sound like a lot to think of.  I can assure you that your reactions are going to increase the more thoughtful practice you put in and the more you work to hone your presentation.

Practice perfectly, it’s worth it.

Magician Ray J

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