How long do you practice for?
Ask a Magician, a series of blog posts answering your questions! - Issue XV
This weeks reader question comes from Caroline, who asks:
How long do you practice your magic tricks for?
As a professional performer, my audiences rely on me putting on a fantastic performance for their event. As such, it's really important that I keep my skills sharp through regular practice.
I must admit that repeating my current material over and over again is usually not the best use of my time. I perform at a close up magic event multiple times per week, so I have plenty of opportunities to keep this material at a consistently high level, through regular performance.
Instead, my main practice sessions tend to be focused on learning and improving new material, or improvements to my working repertoire. For example, at the time of writing I am working on a very advanced coin routine. I already perform a fair amount of close up coin magic, but this routine is designed to be presented to a larger group, of about 10 to 20 people. I think that would be a very worthwhile and useful addition to the events I find myself performing at with increasing frequency these days.
I am also currently working on some new mind reading magic, again with a larger audience in mind. So, that's one goal for my practice sessions, to round out my repertoire and make sure it fits the types of events I'm working at and the audiences I'm meeting.
Also, for the clients that rebook me for a second or third time (my record is performing a Christmas party for the same company seven years in a row), it's great to have a new season of magic that I can share with them.
Another situation where I would put in a lot of time for practicing would be when I have a show coming up and would be required to perform a few routines that I haven't performed in a while.
One example of this, was a few months ago, I was booked for an event for a group of teenagers at a high school. I have a few routines that I knew would be perfect for this group, but as it's such a unique situation, I don't get the chance to perform them that often. I spent a few weeks revising the routines a few times at home, and then I ran through them at a local open mic night.
That's actually an excellent point. As well as practicing at home, I also look for opportunities to run my stage routines for real at open mic nights, or my close up magic for friends and family. Think of these as a dress rehearsal. It's doing the magic for real, but in an environment with lower pressure than a real event.
So now, to answer the question. Well, it's difficult to give a specific answer in terms of hours, as sometimes it might be five hours a week, and sometimes it might be fifteen hours a week. Generally though, magic is always on my mind. It's something I'm always thinking about, discussing with friends and colleagues, and playing around with ideas.
By becoming engrossed in magic, it allows me to explore what's possible to the fullest extent, and allows me to be more creative, which while not exactly the same as pure practice, is another way that I spend my time improving my magic. As well as making the moves better, it's also important that the words I say, the script are also fun, funny and engaging for audiences.
Overall, when you see my magic, it's the result of a sustained effort over a long period of time (I've been doing magic for twenty years), Isn't that how you get good at anything?
And you know what, all of that practice allows me to create incredible performances and receive reviews like the ones below.
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During a short phone or video call, we'll talk about your event and your initial ideas. Don't worry, if you're not sure. I've helped to plan many events so I can advise on the best use of magic and other events entertainment.
Once all the details are agreed, I'll send you a booking confirmation and ask you to make the first payment which confirms your date in my calendar. Then it's time to start looking forward to your big event.
I'll check in with you in the week before your event, and on the day of the event. All you need to do now is enjoy the magic, mind reading and conversational comedy.
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