Many magicians find that they practice a magic trick until it seems to flow perfectly, but when it comes to a live performance, things don’t go as well as they should. There’s a BIG difference between live performance and a practice session. We are going to recommend that you change how you practice your magic tricks. It’s a very small change to make, but should give you a huge step forward in your performance.
A magic trick practiced Vs. a magic trick performed.
Magicians build up to a magical event happening, after all, that’s the whole point of their magic tricks. However, many magic tricks have several magical events happening in a series. When magicians practice a magic trick they usually do it in private, towards an imaginary audience. It’s this audience of ourselves, silent in its reaction, that causes us a problem. We already know what’s going to happen, and our attention is on the next part of the routine to be performed. We don’t react to each magical event and give ourselves the same feedback that a live audience does. We run through our practice sessions, mastering the moves, then work through our rehearsal sessions, polishing the routine, but we never work on the feedback we will get when we perform. Here’s Dominic Reyes talking about this, and how it relates to magicians performing for the public:
During a performance, it’s tempting to move on to the next magical event in the routine, without stopping to allow the reactions of the spectators to play out. As soon as the coin vanishes, or the playing card changes, we start talking about what will happen next. We sweep the spectators along to the next part of the act.
Being eager to move on, prevents the spectators from giving your magic the reaction it deserves. It reduces the impact of a magicians magic tricks and turns the performance into a passive form of entertainment. Being a magician is as much about engagement with the audience as the magic tricks themselves.
DO THIS: Make a note of each magical event that happens in a few of your favourite routines. As you practice them, pause at the moment that something magical happens. Relax. Imagine making eye contact with some of the spectators and smiling. Make a little comment and imagine an answer to it. Breathe. Then move on to the next phase of the trick.
When you perform, pause after something magical happens. You want to slow down the performance, and also focus the spectators minds on what they have just witnessed.
Use the moment of misdirection to set up the next phase if needed, but once you are in the clear, smile at someone and laugh with them. Make a comment or answer a question. Make your audience feel that this isn’t a magicians stage show, up close. You are with them, performing something that they also play a part in. You will be very pleased with the results!