I’ve never understood how anyone could begin to discover the secrets of magic yet fail to become obsessed with it. It simply makes no sense to me.. It’s so completely outside how I think or feel.. It’s like trying to put myself inside the mind of an alien.. Since the day I walked into a juggling shop in Plymouth in the 1990’s to discover my first magic prop.. I’ve been head over heals in love with magic…
For most people, it’s not like that at all. The majority drop away very quickly. I know this in detail because MoM holds a large amount of data about the customer journey through magic, from the first few self working tricks, to the refill supplies of the working pro. The shop has to understand the needs of its customers through each step of their journey into magic, so that the team can recommend items that are suitable for each step, and ideally, try to push beginners past various plateaus. Here’s a solid fact that may surprise you, especially if you are full of the passion of a new hobby:
The average life span of a beginner in magic is just 6 months.
- As a performer that’s not a bad thing… It’s to my advantage to ‘rare’.
- As a magic shop owner, it’s a bad thing.. I want a LONG relationship with my customers.
- As someone in love with magic, It’s sad.. Those people miss out on the whole journey.
Why on earth would anyone stop doing magic tricks?
There are 4 basic steps to learn magic:
- The discovery of a secret.
- Learning a method to hide a secret
- Practice and Rehearsal of the method
- Giving a performance.
I enjoy each and every step, but some people don’t see it that way. They just want to learn one or two tricks to have fun with.. Maybe for a party, or just to fool a friend of family member. These people focus on steps 1, 2 and 4 of the process. They skip step 3. They can still become quite good at the tricks.. Maybe because of the natural showmanship that pulled them towards finding some ‘party pieces’ in the first place.. But there is no respect or love for magic.. The tricks are just quick tools in the same pool as a few good jokes or some bar bets stunts.. It doesn’t go any deeper.
People stop doing magic tricks because life gets in the way.
Remember when you first discovered magic? Were you obsessed? I know I was.. I wanted to live and breath it. Magic was all I thought about.. It was like being in love. Then things moved on… Other matters became the focus of my attention.. I would have dropped away from studying magic if I hadn’t already taken the jump to performing commercially, and enjoying the income from it. For many people, life moves on completely and magic is forgotten. This is especially common when you are very young.. Other interests take center stage.. For me, I had something that bridged that gap, because I was getting an income from magic.. For others, when ‘something else’ grabs their attention and becomes their new hobby, or a new relationship, career, family.. Magic moves to the background and becomes lost in the shadows of everything else.
It takes 2 for the magic to happen
Playing with magic tricks alone in your room can be fun, and a wonderful escape into fantasy, but it’s not really magic.. There is no performance. A make believe spectator just doesn’t cut it.. Magic needs to happen in the minds of the audience. There are huge pitfalls faced by anyone who can only show magic tricks to family and friends. Very quickly the interest, goodwill, and encouragement can fade.. If your audience is small, you must continually seek out new material, and by doing that, you are robbed of the ability to master your performance through repetition. Sadly, one of the biggest reasons that beginners stop doing magic tricks is not running out of material, It’s that they run out of audience.
To fix this, it’s vital to find a regular venue where you can show new people your magic. A community center, local retirement homes, open mic venues.. Anywhere that will welcome a live performance and where you feel comfortable. If you really look, you WILL find places that are crying out for performers to entertain their communities. You will improve your magic, stay motivated, and do good in your community at the same time.
That one special trick we have all been looking for
Beginners are always on the look out for tricks that are easy and quick to learn.. Because they skip step 3 (Practice and rehearsal) magic tricks become quick consumable items to learn and then forget. None of them are fully mastered, so each one feels unsatisfactory. This leads to a constant search for ‘that one special trick’ that will complete everything… There is no such trick… The missing part isn’t an effect, it’s the practice that creates mastery. This leads many magicians to become something quite different… Collector.
Beginners stop doing magic tricks and just go shopping
Are you mistaking shopping for study? We all do it.. We can’t help it.. Browsing magic shop sites, watching magic DVD’s, reading magic magazines, posting on magic forums and groups… NONE OF THAT IS MAGIC PRACTICE. How much of your ‘practice time’ is really spent browsing magic related sites, and reading or learning about OTHER MAGICIANS doing their magic? Let’s face it… It’s easier and more fun than drilling a magic routine. Shopping for new magic is easier and more fun.. It’s part of the joy of magic that keeps us going.. We are a compulsive lot, with a fierce urge for knowledge.. Acquiring magic secrets satisfies that urge. For many of us, that’s the final destination of all our efforts in magic.. We build a collection of new magic items, books, and downloads. For many beginners, they slowly drown in the sea magic, magic knowledge they build up, it sucks the fun out of the whole thing. Others go on to become collectors of magic props, and become obsessed with the politics and creative referencing of magical development. Nothing wrong with this.. It’s fun and a lifelong pursuit.. But it’s also one of the reasons beginners waste their potential and stop doing magic tricks.
I don’t want to stop doing magic tricks. How can I avoid this?
If you want the best chance of building a long term love affair with magic, then the following tips can help keep the passion flowing:
- Slow down. Learn one magic trick at a time. Take pleasure in choosing… Browse, research.. Then CHOOSE one and COMMIT.
- Practice… Practice.. Practice.. Stay focused with a structured and consistent magic practice program to keep you on track.
- Find an audience outside of your family and friends. Do this! It’s the hardest step, but be brave, and FIND IT.
- Resist the urge to buy magic tricks just to find out their secret (What am I saying… I’m a magic dealer.. Well, it’s true) Choose new magic because it entertained you, and you think that YOY could perform it in an entertaining way too.
- Never let life get in the way. I know that I’m now too old to grow up! Join me..
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