teacher and disciple

All beginners in magic should address their questions here.

teacher and disciple

Postby Guest » December 30th, 2002, 6:36 am

I was just curious as to how many of you had a teacher or a master and you were his disciple? Does it exist in the world of magic or does everyone learn from books and videos? What about the time when there were no such things as instructional vidoes?

Posts: 61
Joined: January 18th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Waterloo, IL

Re: teacher and disciple

Postby jimmycards » December 30th, 2002, 11:05 am

As a very young teenager, I learned strictly from books. Didn't even know that clubs existed. We are talking circa 1960. At an early age, I saw John Scarne on the Jack Paar show and was turned toward card magic for good. Books are great, but should not be the only tool. They should be for reference. You can pick up a lot of bad habits by your interpretation of what you think the author means or how a sleight is shown in a picture.
In 1976, I met and became friends with Ed Marlo. Spent nearly 5 years almost every Saturday at the round table. I then learned the difference between card 'tricks' and card 'magic'. I know this is a little out of the ordinary because not everyone has the chance to know an "Ed Marlo" or a "Dai Vernon" but there are many top people in close up who can direct you and give a better understanding of sleights rather than just reading it in a book. I guess that's the rage of today with DVD's and Video's. You actually see the sleight performed instead of interpretating a line drawing in a book or just understanding a lot of text about sleights you never heard of before. Which brings up the another quirk with books. Beginners may not know what to buy at first and good luck if you get into something that is aimed at the intermediate or advanced card worker.
My advice is to belong to a group if possible or at least session with people to get information and use books as references.
Jim Molinari

Jonathan Townsend
Posts: 7384
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Westchester, NY

Re: teacher and disciple

Postby Jonathan Townsend » December 30th, 2002, 11:17 am

Originally posted by Philip Kim:
...how many of you had a teacher... does it exist in the world of magic...
The modern condition of rapidly evolving context and content makes this tradition most difficult to preserve. We truly live in 'interesting times' where sure knowlege of who/what to to offer is unknowable.

Also, as an American, I found the illusion of individuality in a mass market culture (or now global monoculture) is at odds with the procedure of laying a solid foundation and framework before customizing the furnishings. As a result we have almost glamorized quirks and disorders and just about lost deep understanding of the 'classics'. This process was observed and commented upon some time ago by the writer Jonathan Swift in Battle of the Books and his introduction to Gulliver's Travels with its mention of the 'facile reader'.

Now some good news: I have met two Slydini students who have learned from the man. One can do the material as taught. The other uses the approach and some of the techniques to accomplish his own ends. Both have learned. There is also a student of John Ramsay in Scotland who has preserved the material as performed. From some observation of these magicians, it is clear that a good part of what makes magic work is a very personal fit in attitude and body language which is organic and can not be taught. This is another factor in the crafts NOT being easily transmitted through apprentiship. It would take longer to find the right teacher than to to study from first principles using other magicians as examples.

Hope this helps.
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time


Re: teacher and disciple

Postby Guest » May 17th, 2004, 4:37 pm

I personally have a teacher. It does help learning slights and such. Instead of having magicians help you in forums, you can have someone in person helping you. Plus instead of just teaching the effects, you get performance tips, etc.


User avatar
Pete Biro
Posts: 7125
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: Hollyweird

Re: teacher and disciple

Postby Pete Biro » May 17th, 2004, 6:11 pm

I was fortunate to have several mentors, if you use the term... Ken Brooke, Fred Kaps, Jay Marshall, Mike Caldwell... all hammered on me to do things right.

I spent a lot of time learning magic from Slydini as well, and his teachings served me well.
Stay tooned.

Return to “General”