How often do you learn a new trick?

Ask a Magician, a series of blog posts answering your questions! - Issue V

David recently emailed me to ask about my process of learning new magic. I thought it was an interesting question so here it is in this issue:

How often do you learn a new trick, and how many times do you practice it before it's ready to incorporate into your act?

magicians notebookThis a great question! I'm always playing around with different ideas and in fact I often meet with a trusted friend once a week for a deep dive on how we can both push our magic forward. Magic really is a welcoming community. Of course all of the best ideas find their way into one of my secret (and treasured) notebooks! Every great magician has several.

And we don't just discuss tricks, we also talk about how we can improve the service for our clients. As professional magicians, that's a big part of what we do. It's worth noting that as I've been doing this since 2001, you can be sure that if you hire me for your event, you're getting someone who has already made and solved many of the mistakes a beginner magician hasn't even thought of yet.

Back to the tricks though! Learning something new, whether that's a new physical skill or a developing a different presentational slant that fits my personality is always beneficial because it keeps my skills sharp, and widens my experience and knowledge of magic. Not all of that work makes it directly into my working repertoire, but I still believe it's useful to have a wide ranging knowledge of all aspects of magic.

And if I do want to try something live, I need to first learn it well enough to not give the secret away (spoiler alert, I'm not actually a witch!) When I do start performing a routine for the first time, it won't be at paid shows straight away. Instead, I'll run through it a few times for friends, family, other magicians and on the occasions I have a charity show where I'm helping out for free or for a reduced price, then I may try some new material there too.

If I don't feel it exactly fits me, I might share it with other magicians. Just recently in fact, I wrote a set of lecture notes (and a lecture) that provide a mix of some of my working material and some of these quirkier ideas. Professional magicians can purchase it from my magicians only page.

jumping off points lecture notes

If a routine does eventually progress to a paid show, it's about developing it slowly. I'll put that routine alongside other more established material. That's a nice way to ease that material and learn some of the timing and the presentation.

My working material is quite well rounded now, so few routines get to this stage, but as with many things, looking for ideas is a bit like panning for gold. A lot gets discarded, some of it gets broken apart and used as the springboard for other projects, and occasionally (and oh, it's such a great feeeling when this happens) some of it just appears fully formed!

 

Got a question to contribute? I would love to hear it! Leave a comment, or click here to email me.

YOUR INCREDIBLE EVENT IS
JUST A FEW STEPS AWAY

1. CONNECT

It's easy to get in touch with me, either:

2. DISCUSS

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.

3. AGREE

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.

4. ENJOY

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.

3 Comments

  1. […] of developing new routines I am also moving more towards stage magic and because of that, I run a regular night of magic […]

  2. […] I’m also one of the few magicians in the UK who performs professional stage magic on a large scale. That uses even more techniques that you can’t just pick up quickly. My shows on stage build on my experience in acting, in comedy, and the many many times I failed (don’t worry these were in practice sessions, open mic nights or free events!) See this post for more on that! […]

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