Improving magic literacy

Conjurer's Coffee Break - Episode 012


- Hello, and welcome to a slightly shorter episode of the Conjurer's Coffee Break Podcast.
- It's an espresso, if you like!

- I was at a show last week, and whilst chatting to one of the guests after the event, he mentioned that he hadn't seen a lot of magic, but he really enjoyed my performance.

- OK, great, a nice pat on the back, for me there.
- But, I try not to let those types of compliments go to my head.
- We all know that when someone says, "You're the best magician, I've ever seen." What they actually mean is, "you're the only magician I've ever seen."

- And that got me thinking about this idea of "magic literacy."
- The truth is most people won't see a lot of magic throughout their life, so when they see your performance, you are shaping their entire understanding of magic.
- Therefore, it's our responsibility to make sure they see the very best we can give them, right?

- Now, related to this, I've been listening recently to How Magician's Think, the podcast by Joshua Jay.
- I really liked it, and I especially love that it's a project for the general public, designed to improve their knowledge and understand of magic. Their magic literacy.
- Definitely check it out.
- I spoke previously about thinking in terms of projects rather than gigs, and wouldn't it be great if there were more projects like this.

- Another shout out to events like The Magic Lab in Boston and The Curious Cabaret here in the UK, which both run regular public shows with a variety of magicians on the bill.
- If you're near those, or a similar one near you go support them.
- If there isn't one near you, why not be the person who sets it up?
- They're great because not only do they serve magicians by giving them a place to perform, but they also serve the audience by giving them a way to see not just one magician, but several with one ticket.

- This next bit is not unrelated, I promise.
- You know how, the way to learn how to appreciate wine or whatever, is to do comparative tasting. You don't just open one bottle, you open three, so that you can compare and decide which you like best and why.
- It's the same with magic.

- And here's the key. It would be great if the general public had more knowledge about which type of magic they liked or didn't.
- But for magicians, it's vital.
- What sets us apart as magicians is our style, our thoughts and opinions, and our personality.
- Part of figuring out your style is to be able to say, "that's great magic, but it isn't to my taste, or it doesn't fit me because..." and then the reason why.
- You know, it's funny how once you dive into a topic, it shows itself everywhere, and so I was surprised to hear something similar to this in the Masterclass by Carissa Hendrix, that I was watching recently.
- There's lots of useful content in there, so do check it out if you're interested.

- So, here's my goal for you going forward.
- If there's a magic show in your area, then go to it.
- Watching more magic and forming an opinion on what you like and what you might change, is all part of getting closer to what works for you, and that ultimately makes you a better magician.

- And if you can't get to a show right now, I maintain a youtube playlist of "great magic"
- And to be clear, I try to include anything that is objectively a good performance even if it's not something that would fit my style.
- I'll link to that and everything else mentioned in today's episode in the blog post that accompanies this post.
- Please check it out at and if you have a video you think I should add to my "just great magic" playlist then please let me know. What are your favourite performances?

- I promised it was a short one today, so that's it.
- As ever, subscribe if you're liking these and I'll speak to you next time.
- Thanks for listening.

Additional Show Notes

- Please support your local open mic magic shows. Here are few I am aware of:

- The Curious Cabaret, Nottingham

- Magic Mic, Coventry

- The Magic Lab, Boston, USA

- And why not sign up to perform at them. They are a great way to improve your parlour magic and stage magic skills, which a) is something that not many magicians focus on, so it's one way to differentiate yourself, and b) the skills of stage magic do play into close up too. A large round table of 12 will often see similar material to my parlour show.

- Also, check out the Joshua Jay Podcast - How Magicians Think.

All episodes and links to podcast platforms here

There's also a book - How Magicians Think

And if you haven't already, and you like podcasts (I'm guessing you, as you just listened to mine), then also see my blog post - 7 Best Podcasts for Magicians

- I also mentioned the Carissa Hendrix Masterclass. There's lots of great information in that, which you can find here.

- And finally, here's that playlist I mentioned...

- I hope that, like me, you see the importance of this topic, not only for yourself, but also for helping the public improve their magic literacy. If people know what they prefer they can decide if they like your style of performance. Of course, some people won't like you, but others will love you! And those people will become your true fans, your supporters and your advocates.

Have your say!

Contribute to the conversation by going to the comments, which are found below the footer.

Leave a Comment