Matt writes: 'What close up magic would you recommend for someone like me? I'm not very confident at performing tricks. The magic tricks go wrong when I try them on my mates.'
Many thanks for getting in touch. This can be a common problem with people starting out in magic. We will of course help but there is so much more to magic than just the tricks involved, true deception and truly fooling someone comes from a great performance. So we will try to help you with all of it!
The danger of too many close up magic tricks
Firstly, try not try to look at getting lots of new magic. Stop and try to look at why the magic tricks you have tried so far are going wrong. Most problems aren't solved simply by adding more tricks to your workload. Cut right back to a bare minimum of a few tricks to work on. Continuing to pile on new material just avoids having to do the real work of practice. We will of course help out as much as possible but there is only so much we can do, it is your job to make sure you practice, practice, practice and learn all you can and focus on where you think you are going wrong.
Confidence performing magic tricks
You mentioned in your email that you are not very confident when you perform. Confidence can be a big problem because it will negatively impact what you do, causing your mind to go blank leading to hesitation. When you hesitate, you give people moments to look at things they shouldn't be paying attention to. Essentially when you are not confident and nervous you are not presenting magic like it should be and people will catch you out as they are not misdirected or engaged.
Build your confidence as a magician
Here's some advice from Ben Williams on the subject of confidence:
'Lacking confience when you perform magic tricks doesn't mean all is lost. When I first start performing I would shake violently, have heart palpitations, sweaty palms, blank mind, just about everything that you could have as a physical manifestation of fear and nerves. I have personally experienced. Here is a blog post I wrote about overcoming nervousness. It talks about some of the things that really helped me, techniques for breathing, focusing your mind and relaxing.'
Running before you can walk
If you have practiced your magic and know what moves you have to do and are not cheating yourself, the rest is all in your head. Magic tricks go wrong if you are not properly practicing your magic before going out to perform them. Lack of practice will lead to you naturally making mistakes. Make sure you are not cheating yourself and performing things too soon just because you are excited. Also, just because it goes right 5 times in a row in front of a mirror that does not mean it is performance ready. When you perform in front of a group the experience is very different to being in front of a mirror.
Caring too much
This is a weird one. You should try to not care so much. Within your performance try not to give off an intense vibe, try to relax and act like it nothing bothers you. If something goes wrong, it goes wrong, it really isn't the end of the world. If people try to make you feel bad for getting it wrong by laughing or stating how badly it went wrong then shrug it off.
Never get into an argument or try to deny that it went wrong, this will only inflame the situation. Instead you can say something like, 'yep, that wasn't at all like when I learned it at Hogwarts!' This will get a laugh and diffuse the situation for you. If you can relax then so will your audience, they will stop trying to figure out how it works and begin enjoying it!
With all of this being said, here are some suggestions of great magic to help you ease into it. These are all pretty much self working, so you can concentrate on your performance. Basically I will list a whole load of links for you to help you out Matty!
FREE ARTICLES FROM BLOG RELATING TO PERFORMANCE
TRICKS YOU SHOULD LOOK UP
FREE TRICKS AND EBOOKS
We hope this helps Matt, please let us know if there is anything else we can do for you.