Marco asks: ‘How long do you need to practice magic tricks to become a professional magician?‘
That’s a good question, but it does need clarification.
To answer that, we need to define what a professional magician means. It could have two meanings:
1) It could mean a someone who performs magic tricks to the public for money. A professional treats a subject as a business. For professional magicians, the factors that are important to success are just as much about marketing and business as they are about how to learn magic tricks.
2) Professional magician could refer to someone who attempts to master each magic trick that they choose to learn. They treat the subject seriously and develop their technique and performance skills. Unlike a causal performer, you treats magic as a toy or recreational activity, the magician takes on a professional approach to developing their skills.
For Marco’s question we have assumed option 2. A way to rephrase it would be to ask:
How long does it take to learn magic tricks?
In short, the answer is as many as possible!
The first thing you need to do to learn magic tricks proficiently is get a good practice routine set out. Some of the magic tricks you should learn will need you to practice individual sleights and moves separately before rolling them all into one routine, which can then be drilled. Other magic tricks will require you practice the whole routine from start to finish as they only work when performed in a flowing manner.
There is a book called Outliers in which the author Malcolm Gladwell talks frequently of the “10,000-Hour Rule”. This rule states that the key to success in any line of work, to a large extent, is a matter of practicing your specific task for a total of 10,000 hours.
This is a good guide for how long one must practice to learn magic tricks inside out and upside down. This amount of practice will shape you into a technical and very skilled magician. Unfortunately, it won’t make you an amazing entertainer. This is something to keep in mind when performing professionally; entertainment is paramount.
In order to learn magic tricks to a professional level requires far more skills than sleight of hand. More experienced magicians will already have developed their performing style and have knowledge that they can apply to each new trick that they take on. How long it takes to learn a magic trick, really depends on your previous experience, just as much as the amount of time you can commit to learning.
The secret to learn magic tricks faster.
The secret isn’t sitting alone running through a magic trick 10,000 times. It’s about practicing the moves, rehearsing the presentation and then getting out and performing it as much as possible. Professional magicians may perform some of their magic tricks 20-30 times per night. That’s a LOT of repetition. If you are not doing magic commercially, you still need to drill a new trick as much as possible, so you can master it.
Learn magic tricks that are good for beginners.
We shan’t give you actual names of magic tricks to learn as everyone is different, but we can guide you by telling you what to look for in a good magic trick when you begin your journey.
In general, you should learn magic tricks that are short in execution and routine, long winded routines can become boring for spectators. It can take a lot of your attention to remember all the process involved in a long routine; this will definitely show in your performance, which is not good.
Try to learn magic tricks that can be described in one sentence. For example, ‘I selected a card and it appeared on the other side of the window!’. If you find magic tricks to learn that are easily explained then your audiences will talk about your performance to others, this is a good thing.
It is best to learn magic tricks that are not too far out of your comfort zone. It is great to push what you do but as far as practicing magic that you intend to show people it is best to learn magic tricks that are not too advanced. Performing magic tricks above your technical abilities will show when you perform them to people, and they may see through your technique; this will ultimately end up ruining the magic.
Don’t try to learn magic too fast. Slow down, master the basics first. By all means practice magic tricks that are out of your comfort zone as this is the only way to push forward. However you should resist showing people these magic tricks until you have perfected them and can perform them with patter flawlessly.
Image source: A mechanical clock
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