HOURS OF PRACTICE

All beginners in magic should address their questions here.

Postby Guest » 09/26/02 09:13 AM

Allright m8s how are you all doing, Fine i hope. I am just starting out in Magic David Copperfield is my hero, What i want to know is how many hours a day do you put in practicing.

Also how many hours do you put in learning card tricks. Any help or information recieved will be a big help thanks for your time and help it is very much appreciated.

Best and Kind Regards

Take Care all of you
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Postby Guest » 09/26/02 03:03 PM

Hi Jamed,
As much as possible. Practice has become an ellusive secret in our art. It really has. Everyone looks for the quick "easy to master" fix. They buy a book and ask someone who doesn't even know them, what they should read first. Or how they should "approach" the book. My method is to OPEN IT...and start studying. Anyway, practice will always be what separates the men from the boys in ths business. No excuses.
I couldn't believe that on Lance Burton's Young Magicians special, he actually suggested that its better to practice a little here or there, instead of something more intensive! Did Lance really get where he is today by working on the doves for 5 minutes, then an hour or two later after watching some tv, work with the candles for 5 minutes, and then the next day spend a few minutes thinking up an idea for an illusion? No. We know that Lance worked very hard, and surely practiced a lot, to get to where he is today.
But you love Copperfield. That man never stops. Sure, he's usually practcing or rehearsing bigger things, but the size isn't important. Its the practice and the rehearsal that we are discussing.
Card tricks? My great love. I practice with cards more than anything else. But I couldn't tell you specifically.
Its tough sometimes: Book the shows, do the shows, (and the million and one things that go along with each: Set up, phone calls, letters, travel, etc), and still keep your love in focus. Sometimes, even when I'm working, I'm looking forward to coming home and PRACTICING.
This has been ONE MAN'S OPINION.
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Postby Guest » 09/26/02 03:12 PM

Thanks m8 you have been most helpful
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Postby Guest » 09/27/02 09:23 AM

Id like to second what John said. There is only one way to achieve any sort of competence in this art, and that is through diligent, thoughtful practice. Id like to extend this to say that practice of all aspects of performance is important. The time you spend on character development, voice training, script writing and editing (please remember that a first draft is just a FIRST draft) is just as valuable as the time you put in on perfecting your classic pass.

Please dont misunderstand and think that I am advocating sloppy technique. I am not. However, a successful magic performance is a combination of technique, timing and character, and all of it requires practice.

May I suggest picking up a copy of Eugene Burgers Mastering the Art of Magic. This is a collection of his earlier works that spends a great deal of time on just this issue. (Available on this website.) Particularly read the sections Secrets and Mysteries for the Close-Up Entertainer and Intimate Power. Not only does he tackle the subject of how much to practice (answer: as much as possible) but character development and audience management, as well as having some true take-no-prisoners effects to add to your repertoire.

Finally, dont give up. It takes a lot of time and effort to achieve anything even close to perfection, but it is so very, very worth it in the end.

Good luck,

Zech Johnson
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Postby Jeff Haas » 09/28/02 12:55 AM

And then, once you've got a piece to the point where you want it, you have to keep your chops up!

For advanced sleight-of-hand magic, if you have to get "back in the groove," it could take several sessions to renew the muscle memory. And then you've got to rehearse your script and blocking so it's as good as the last time you performed it.
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Postby Pete McCabe » 09/28/02 10:25 AM

The only way to get good at magic -- or anything else, for that matter -- is to spend a lot of time doing it.

However there are some scientific studies that suggest that we learn more from six ten-minute blocks than a single hour-long session. So if you're going to put in a long session of practice, you might choose to work on several different things over that time rather than just one single sleight (or whatever).

My advice on practicing is to make a list of what you consider the factors that most influence your audience's experience of magic. My (personal) list is this:

1. Your likability
2. Your abilities as a performer
3. Your script
4. The magical effect produced
5. The technique used to produce the effect.

If your list looks like this then you should allocate your practice time in approximately the same proportions. I know very few magicians who follow this example, though. Only the very most successful ones, in my experience.
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Postby Guest » 10/01/02 06:03 PM

Pete

That's a great post...

I Love the idea to use the time say... 2hours and work in 10 minute intervals. Even if you can afford 4 or 12 hours. That would still apply!

The mind works in mysterious ways. And I think that the 10 minute interval will be great. Work on one thing for 10 min. then switch. the mind will be challenged with a new thing. But just might figure out what was wrong in the first segment... (err. or a radical improvement)

Love that

Keep it coming

Timothy Laws
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Postby Guest » 10/01/02 06:13 PM

Sorry I was caught up in the moment.

My short answer is this:

Find out what field of magic you wish to perform and practice every chance you get.

That can vary greatly from one guy to the next.

If your young. Then all the better. Do your homework then practice till you fall asleep. (Forget about girls.... the'll come later... hehehe)

This young magician thing keeps popping in my head... If your interested young then you have ample opportunity to study the art... While the parent's are fitting the bills that is... At Christmas ask for books!!! Birthdays some cool closeup stuff.... and graduation an Illusion instead of a car!!!

ok... enough of that.... Practice all you can my friend... fame will come when your practiced better than anyone else!!!!

Later

Tim
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Postby Doug Dyment » 10/01/02 07:44 PM

The amateur practices until s/he can do it right.

The professional practices until there is no way s/he can do it wrong.

... Doug
... Doug :: Proprietor of The Deceptionary
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