How to do Magic

So you want to know how to do magic? Well, I have good news and bad news for you.

magic face

First, the good news is that learning to do magic is not difficult.  You don't need to be a genius or have any special talents for it.  A good imagination, is helpful if you wish to invent new magic effect, but even if you imagination is a bit rusty, you can learn from others.

The bad news is that learning how to do magic effectively is going to take some effort on your part. How much effort it takes, is really determined by how far you want to go in magic.

Many magic effects are self-working, or nearly so, some require a bit of special planning or equipment or some other variation, but virtually all magic which you will ever do will require a certain amount of practice.

Even this bad news isn't so bad if you are determined to learn how to do magic and are willing to spend the time necessary to learn you craft and then devote yourself to do enough practice that will allow you to present your show in a believable manner.

Debunking the myths

wandMagic writer Paul Zenon, explains that it is a popular misconception that the hand is quicker than the eye. A great number of magic tricks, especially those selected for this website, do not require what is referred to as sleight-of-hand. In fact, for our purposes, it would probably be more correct to say that "the hand is quicker than the mind", because in many cases what we really do is create an expectation that something is going to happen and then do something entirely different and surprising which "appears" magical. This is commonly called misdirection.

Deconstructing Magic

It's helpful, in learning magic to divide the tricks into separate parts:

  • The Effect is what your spectator sees -- the miracle -- which you, the magician performs.
     
  • The Secret and Preparation is how the effect is achieved, and includes the props you'll use and what you need to do before you start.  For most of our magic we use common every-day items, and very often items which we borrow from our spectators to make the effect even more miraculous.
     
  • The Presentation is what you actually do and how you perform the trick. Very often this is considerably different from the effect and is why the trick actually works.

The Rules of Magic

wiz-hatMaybe you're like me and don't particularly like "rules," but if you know what they are and why they exist, you can at least make an informed choice about whether of not you want to follow them.

  1. Never tell how you do a trick.  The entertainment, mystery and glamor of magic comes from "not knowing" how it is done.
    To this end, I encourage you to take the oath, so that if you are pressured by someone to tell them how you did it, you can honestly tell them, "I'm sorry I can't because I took an oath and promised I wouldn't."
     
  2. Never say what you're going to do in advance.  If your audience doesn't know what to expect they won't know what to look for and are more likely to be baffled by what you do.
     
  3. Never repeat a trick for the same audience.  Once they've seen it done, they are more likely to be watching for the things you don't want them to see.
     
  4. Always practice your tricks before you do them. This is probably the most important of the rules because it is the ease and naturalness of your actions which lend credibility to your actions and your words.

All of these rules are completely voluntary on your part,but following them is part of the honor and respect for the thousands of magicians who have gone before you and created such an entertaining and fascinating activity.

So if you're ready to enter this intriguing and provocative world let's get on with it. Use the drop down list below to start your exploration of this spellbinding topic and get started on how to do magic.

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