Originally posted by Philip Kim:
Am I too old to start practicing card magic? I'm 31 by the way. Are my hands too stiff already?
Nope, you're not too old by any stretch of the imagination, especially if you are a musician.
I (also a musician--guitar and bass, primarily) began serious study of sleight-of-hand at age 43. I now perform sleight-of-hand for money, unselfconsciously. But it took a long time.
Pete McCabe's ideas about choosing the best sleights is right on the money. Jamy Ian Swiss says the same thing in his writings and teaching sessions.
Learn sleights as you need them for routines. But don't be in a hurry. I've been working on a strike second deal for about two and a half years, and I'm only now about ready to undertake Dunbury Delusion (from Expert Card Technique).
It helps if you have a routine to connect a sleight to. It gives it meaning and purpose. Then at some point you'll have to perform it for people.
Some years ago Jon Racherbaumer had an interesting piece in Magic about letting go of performing for the mirror, and being willing to go out there and get caught. I think a point comes in the learning of every sleight where you have to be willing to do the scary thing and try the sleight (as part of a routine) in front of somebody. You might get caught, but when you start NOT getting caught, you'll appreciate the deceptiveness of the sleight.