Louis writes :
I have only really just started, but I have come a long way in a short time. I would really like to be able to handle the cards better and know more about caring for them. I would love to learn some more mentally orientated magic.
Also, every time I perform, even for my family, I get these shakes in my hands which are quite inhibiting for card handling. Is there any way I can stop them or are they just performance nerves and go away with time?
I would really like to improve my general card handling and make moves like double lifts and false cuts more elegant and smooth. Any tips?
That's great news that your magic is coming along. It sounds like you are really putting in the work!. You ask three questions here, so lets look at them one at a time:
1) Mentally Orientated Magic
Starting out with mentalism can pose some unique challenges. Unlike most sleight of hand that you are learning, the core techniques in mentalism fall into the realm of presentation. Many of the magic tricks have very simple methods, but relies on the magician creating the right presentation and interaction with the spectators to 'sell' the premise of the magic trick to them.
The good news is that there are several core texts or DVD's for beginners to start learning. Here are a few mind reading and mentalism training sources that we recommend.
2) Most people get nervous when they perform their magic tricks.
Family and friends can often be a far worse cause of shakes than performing for strangers. However, even professional magicians performing magic tricks for the public can get nerves just before a new show. The secret is how you deal with those feelings, and if you allow them to affect your performance. The good news is that the more you perform, the more control you will have over your nerves. Here are some tips to help you reduce the impact of nervousness on your magic performance.
3) Making your sleight of hand smooth and elegant is a key goal in magic practice.
It's very tempting to rush through the moves when you practice, but the key to building an elegant style is to slow down your practice. Be mindful of the finger positioning when you handle your playing cards. Ensure that you hold the deck with a light grip, and that your fingers and not hiding the anything or covering the deck more than they have to. Being mindful during your practice sessions with the help of a close up mirror that you can make yourself will soon show a positive change in the way you handle your props. In short: slow down your practice drills, to half the speed you are currently going. Focus on clarity of movement, over speed. It's a slow process, but the habit builds quickly.