‘I’m 14 and have been doing close up magic for just over a year. I find it hard to perform in front of a crowd. I really need help with this.’ – Kieron
That’s an awesome question Kieron, and one that we get asked a lot, so you are not alone there. We call it close-up magic, but often, there is nothing close-up about it. You start off showing a magic trick to a couple of people, and before you know it, you have a huge crowd all around you. Pretty scary stuff.
Part of the anxiety is stage fright. That never really goes, but does decrease over time as you get used to it. The key is experience. The more you expose yourself to those kinds of situations, the more used to them you will become. The best way to face this is to get out and perform as much as possible.
Due to your age, finding good venues for your magic can be tricky, but community events, fetes and charity fundraisers would make ideal practice gigs for you to become more used to performing for the public. Contact a few local organizations and ask if you can attend for free to perform.
Ideally perform for the general public, with your parents also attending. Preferably in front of non-magicians so you can get ‘real’ feedback. If your school has a drama club or there is a local theatre group in your area, we highly recommend that you join. You will learn so many valuable skills that will transfer directly to your magic.
Putting in the time to go out and get experience will REALLY pay off whilst you are a young magician. Far more than any private practice can bring you.
We recommend that you read this advice from Ben Williams:
A great technique from Seamus Hayes
Breathing exercises before performing often help.
If you have a lot of anxiety, there is a “Tapping” method, which may help you…
“Could you believe it if I told you that you can tap yourself out of an anxiety? Yes, actually tap away your anxiety.
Anxiety about your golf stroke, anxiety about your performance at work, anxiety about achieving your personal goals, anxiety about your family, anxiety about being bullied, anxiety about how you appear to other people, anxiety about coping, in fact anxiety in whatever shape or form it raises its head may be eliminated through focused tapping.
Consider the following. There is a rat in a box on your desk. Notice how the thought alone can create a reaction.
Now, do the following while thinking of the rat on your desk:
1) What is your anxiety?, is it fear? Is it panic?…
2) Rate the intensity of the anxiety between 0 and 10 (10 being the most intense).
3) While tapping on the “collar bone” repeat 3 times “Even though I feel this anxiety I totally & completely accept myself”
4) Now, while Repeating the Words “This anxiety”, tap 7 times
a) Above the eye,
b) Below the eye,
c) On the collarbone
d) Under the arm, (about half way between the belt line and the armpit)
5) Rate the intensity again. In most cases the intensity has decreased.
Will this simple technique work for everybody? I have witnessed, in my own practice, a lady who had not done exams for over 30 years, release severe exam anxiety in less than 30 seconds with this simple technique. In a few cases, no immediate result seemed to occur, however comments like “I feel calmer”, “I feel more in control” or “I feel less tired and full of energy” surface in conversations days later. A small percentage of people need a longer version to achieve results, however, persistent work always facilitates some change for good.
Philosophers and Psychologists have always recognized the fact that thoughts influence behavior. In the case of the rat above, if you have a negative perception of a rat, as you think about the rat, you will reflect your thoughts in your body as an emotion (anxiety, tension, fear…): Your body’s energy has been disrupted in some form. Focused tapping or pressure on acupuncture points restores the balance to the disrupted energy. By tapping on these pressure points, you begin to separate the emotion from the thought. By thus doing, you increase your control over the situation. I have seen people, who suffered great anxiety at the sight of a mouse, actually hold the mouse in their hand without any negative emotion within minutes.
Is this simple method “off the wall”? Users of reflexology and acupuncture will easily understand the philosophy behind this simple technique. Chinese Medicine, from which this technique comes, has been successfully treating the “whole person” for centuries. Today we call it Energy Psychology. It blends in easily with today’s lifestyle. It’s free, easily applicable and within the personal control of each person who may choose to use it.”
– Seamus Hayes – Source http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/Hayes2.html
Do you have some advice that would help Keiron and others like him who are facing fear of performing in front of a crowd? Please post your advice in the comments section below: