‘I’m struggling with my hands shaking when I do sleight of hand magic. What can I do to help?.
If you find that your hands start to shake when you are performing a trick, don’t worry, you are not alone at all. It’s a common problem that beginners face when learning how to do magic tricks. Assuming you are healthy, and it’s not a medical issue, those shakes come from three sources:
- Hand Tension
It’s OK to be a bit scared.
It really doesn’t matter how much you practice your magic tricks in private. The moment you try to perform it for a spectator, it’s going to be a bit scary. Suddenly the smooth flow that you have when you run through it on your own is gone, and you feel like you’re taking an exam rather than doing card tricks.
The ONLY way to fix this problem is to become relaxed doing the trick in front of people. The more you do this, the less anxiety you will feel. If you are just starting out, you probably won’t have a large audience of spectators to practice on. Your family and friends are not ideal for this type of training as you need experience with total strangers.
DO THIS: Get out and perform to a large number of total strangers: Look through your local newspaper of what’s on’ websites and find a local charity event or festival. Contact the organiser and ask if you can attend for free to perform some walk-around magic tricks. Many events will be very open to receiving free entertainment, so you should find this quite easy to set up.
Avoid doing this in bars and just on the streets. Bar’s and clubs have their own social dynamics and are not so good for cutting your teeth as a beginner. Street magic requires a license, but more importantly the spectators are very wary, busy and generally not there to be entertained by someone stopping them on the streets. You want to choose a location, where the spectators are already open to being entertained by a performer. You want to focus on performing the tricks for people happy to stop and watch them, and not have to deal with selling the idea of stopping and watching first.
Check out this information on reducing nervousness when performing magic tricks
Relax your hands.
Learning a new magic trick means that you have to concentrate on every move. Your focus is on the technique just as much, if not more, than the performance of it. Once you add a total stranger staring at you while you perform, the tension you will feel increases considerably. You may look relaxed and happy, but tension builds up in your hands, and can express itself, through shaking.
DO THIS: Before you start the magic trick, shake your hands around and stretch out your fingers. Now try to remember to keep a relaxed grip on the props as you hold them. Imagine they are made of glass, and just need a delicate touch. Being aware of tension building in your hands, will greatly reduce any hand shaking that may occur.
When is the magic trick ready to perform?
Before you perform a trick to spectators, make sure you fully understand it. If you rush into performing it before the moves have become fully ingrained, you will be at a disadvantage. You need to be able to forget about the moves, and just enjoy the performance and interaction with the spectator. This comes from practice and rehearsal of the magic trick over and over. If you find you freeze when you start performing, or get shaky, it’s a sign, that more work has to be done, running through the whole trick as a routine from start to finish.
DO THIS: Don’t practice just the moves in silence. Once you learn the moves, push your practice to the next stage, and run through the whole trick in full with the patter, as if you were doing it to a spectator. Don’t stop to adjust a move or the set up of the props, just go through the whole routine. The more you do this, the less thinking you will need to do, when you perform the magic trick live. Concentration on the process, creates an inner dialogue of self doubt, which builds tension. Familiarity comes from repetition, and that will help solve this problem.