is the best way to get started in magic as a hobby? from
Bobby Thickwillow, Wilkes-Barre, PA
A. Great question! And,
not so oddly, it is of interest to a growing group of folks
that are just trying to get started in magic. The problem
if there is one is that the question is fairly broad and various
'experts' will have differing views on how to get started.
That said let me give you some tips that 30 years in the business
teaching, writing, publishing, etc. have taught me:
#1- Have fun. PLEASE .... have
FUN! If you are having a good time learning the magic craft
you will project that out to those for whom you end up performing.
#2- Use the library! You may
be amazed at how many books on magic you find in both the
children's and adult's sections. Library folks are wonderful
people, but they do not necessarily know which books are supposed
to be in which section and you can find some gems in the Children's
#3- Goes with #2 and is axiomatic:
READ as much as you can find. Some of the best material I
have come across over the years has been in the oddest books!
Gain as broad a knowledge as you can.
#4- If you can find a copy of
the Amateur Magician's Handbook by Henry Hay .... DO SO and
read the thing. The two articles at the beginning of the book
on theory and practice are superb.
#5- Learn and practice the BASICS.
Magic is a craft that needs practice to perfect the movements
and techniques that are then used to produce the MAGIC EFFECTS
that startle and amaze folks. Learn to LOVE to practice. (Personally,
I have always loved the PROCESS involved in learning and perfectly
what I have performed and taught.)
#6- Buy solid BOOKS, VIDEOS
and TRICKS that are classics. Look for items that have stood
the test of time.
#7- Look in your area for a magic
club. Both the International Brotherhood of Magicians and
the Society of American Magicians have groups all over the
U.S. and the world! They both have web sites with useful information
on joining. If you don't have a local group contact the above
organizations and get suggestions on starting one!
#8- This is perhaps the most
important suggestion for a beginner: Although it is no particular
fun to be caught, busted, found out, etc. ..... IT WILL HAPPEN!
Try not to let it worry you. In every instance try and figure
out WHY they busted you. Learn from these mistakes. Many of
the best techniques I now use were discovered after blowing
a trick and trying to figure out why. Don't let it get you
down. Magic is a big part of my life, but getting busted will
not cause more famine in the world. It will not cause a cascade
of horror and bloodshed. It will not cause cancer, nor will
doing a trick perfectly cure cancer. Magic is a wonderful
hobby a superlative manner in which to make a living, but
trust me there are more important things in life. Have a good
time and enjoy. The more relaxed you are the LESS likely you
are TO MAKE A MISTAKE!!! Fear can be a killer when you perform.
Relax and do it. |TOP|
do you have some recommendations on what to buy to learn the
basics? I am particularly interested in sleight-of-hand,
close-up magic. Martin Crenslaw, Cleveland, OH
A. Martin, you bet. There
are any number of books that are terrific. At the top of my
list for card work are the new Card College books volumes
1-4 by Giobbi. Truly killer material. Well organized and wonderfully
presented. For coins Bobo's New Modern Coin Magic by J.B.
Bobo is terrific (in the hardbound edition if you can find
it. If not, the soft cover reprint Dover edition is still
terrific. The reason the Dover edition is not the best is
that it is missing all the updated material.
As a general all around book
one of my all time favorites is the Mark Wilson Course in
Magic co-written by the incomparable Walter Gibson. What a
great book and available for about $30 most magic stores or
here on the magicwebchannel..
On the Video front I would recommend
my Basics of Expert Card Technique vols 1-2 and my Small Packet
Basics. My 3 videos on coins will give you a solid foundation
in the manipulation of small round metal disks. For those
with a basic foundation already in cards the Card Encyclopedia
tapes by Daryl are superlative. If you can find it in a used
book store in the hardbound edition The Amateur Magician's
Handbook by Henry Hay is one of my all time favorite books.
The paperback edition is ok, but the type and photos are pretty
small and much harder to work with. Anyway, the above should
get you going! Oh, if you find some books in your local library
always check the bibliographies. --
us your question - try and stump me!
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