I feel that some magicians think to much at times and there should be a little less thinking in magic and a lot more performing magic in front of audiences.
I guaran-f*cking-tee you that Al Baker spent a heckuva lot more time in front of an audience than you have...
ditto for Tamariz, Fitch, Close, Wonder, Swiss, Henderson, Brown, Weber, Kurtz et alia.
The thinking that we're talking about is thinking that is intimately connected with the realities of performance and informed by (in the case of the gentlemen cited above) decades
of experience in front of an audience.
Constant performance will provide you with the bedrock of proficiency that is absolutely essential for excellence...and thinking without performing is empty...
that said, it is only through concentrated reflection that you are going to maximize the benefits of performing experience...e.g. "these tricks that I thought little of got huge reactions -- are there common elements involved in them that I can use to make my material stronger?"
but, more importantly, all the performance in the world will not give you the unified intention that separates powerful, memorable, performances from those which are simply amusing distractions (keep in mind that 'amusement' is, literally, the muse negated by an alpha privative -- it is an occupation of the mind that is unholy)
the performers who really separate themselves from the crowd: Derren Brown, Penn and Teller, Mac King, David Blaine, Harry Anderson, Cardini, Del Rey, David Berglas all share in common one hugely important element: however basic it may be, there is a unity to each performance...Each is a distinctive character that has a message -- something inherently fascinating about him that is developed by every piece he does...
this intention, this message, so critical to excellence CAN NOT
be acquired solely by thoughtless performance! It certainly grows with performance, and we learn about ourselves through performance, but this progress can only be made by reflection upon our performances...and our work onstage must be rigorously thought about before we perform -- and then adjusted when we are confronted by what we find in being faced with an audience...
no one, particularly not Brad Henderson (to whom you are responding and who makes his entire living performing superb magic, mentalism, and hypnotism across the country, and whose lecture notes are aptly titled "Theory into Practice
" emphasis mine), is suggesting that we confine ourselves to magical masturbation -- sitting down in our living rooms thinking about magic whilst insulated from the world of performance. Far from it! But to refuse to push yourself in reflection about magic is to fail in your preparation and to short-change yourself and your audience.
I apologize for the harsh tone.