Do you struggle to set a consistent speed and pace when performing your magic tricks? It all seems to go well in private, but as soon as you perform in front of people, you tend to speed up and rush through the magic trick. That’s a very common problem magicians face, and it’s easy to fix.
When you practice your magic tricks, you are performing to yourself. You run through the trick at the speed that feels right for you. However, that can often be close to your thinking speed. A persons inner dialog or voice is much faster than they naturally talk. Unless you take this into account when you reach the rehearsal stage of your practice, you may find that you perform your magic tricks to fast.
Testing out your practice and performing pace.
Magicians don’t suffer from this alone. Comedians, MC’s and professional speakers all have to train themselves to present their ‘act’ at a slower pace than feels natural to them.
A great way to see this in action is to take part in a small magic competition or open mic night for magicians. In these situations, you will often have a time limit. The ‘act’ that you put together will run perfectly during private practice, but you will be shocked at how time changes when you are on stage. Many magicians run through their material at such a pace that they end up having to improvise more material at the end, then lose their timing and get a red light for ‘going over time’.
Slowing down your magic tricks.
Once you have practiced the mechanics of a magic trick, it’s important that you take the time to rehearse the full performance in natural time. Saying the full magic script out loud and building in natural pauses and breaks in the patter.
Run through the full presentation at half the speed that feels natural to you. That’s probably close to the speed that you should perform at in public, to sound natural and relaxed.
The old saying in magic is that the hand is quicker than the eye. This is, in itself, a trick. In reality speed makes people suspicious. The best sleight of hand is performed slowly and NATURALLY, and that’s just the same with your patter. Talking and moving fast suggests nervousness. Smooth, graceful, easy actions look more professional, and it’s just the same with your speech.
Do this: Invest in a metronome. Perform your favourite magic trick and time it. Now set the metronome to a pace that is half the speed. Practice running at this slower speed. It will feel very unnatural at first but will soon become second nature.
When you perform for the public, take a moment to stop. Just breathe and relax your body, now continue at at half speed and notice how much easier it all feels. Your spectators will relax as well, and they will appreciate your magic tricks more, and you will get a big improvement in the feedback from them.
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