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How To Get Started With Magic
Since you are here, we suppose you want to get into magic and start learning tricks to perform for your family and friends or to kickstart your professional career. In the following paragraphs, we will share numerous tips that will help you at the start of your magic journey.
A friend or family member showed you a simple magic trick. You were swiping through your Instagram and saw somebody vanish a pencil. Or maybe you watched a famous magician fool everybody on TV. We all have different first experiences with magic.
It doesn’t matter how you discovered this beautiful craft. Welcome! We are going to give a few pieces of advice on how to get started with learning magic.
Find a Reliable Source
It is crucial to start learning things correctly. When you develop a bad habit, it is difficult to get rid of it. It may then take months to correct it. So finding a great and reliable source is essential.
A lot of young magicians today learn their first magic tricks on YouTube. Nothing is wrong with that, but you have to be careful about who you learn from. There are several brilliant teachers on YouTube - Sean Devine, Asad Chaudhry (aka 52Kards), Xavior Spade, Chris Ramsay, and Alex Pandrea, to name a few.
As we love magic books, we cannot go without mentioning them. We believe magic books are a brilliant source for studying magic.
Here are some great books for each different genre of magic:
- Card Magic - The Royal Road to Card Magic, Card College Vol. 1
- Coin Magic - Modern Coin Magic
- Mentalism - 13 Steps to Mentalism
- Magic Theory - The Five Points in Magic by Juan Tamariz is one of the easier-to-understand books about magic theory.
Get the Basic Props
Quality props will help you straight from the beginning. They don't have to be the best and certainly don’t buy the most expensive products at the start. They will be mainly for practice, get damaged, and you will need to replace them.
Start Shuffling Today
For example, Bicycle Rider Backs and COPAG 310s are a perfect choice, and not only for beginners. Both are high-quality decks of cards. They feel great in the hands, fan and spread flawlessly, and last a long time.
One advantage the COPAGs have over Bicycles is they include a double-backer, a useful gimmick in card magic. On the other hand, Bicycles are more widely used. Therefore, you can find more trick decks and gimmicks with the Bicycle design.
We recommend the COPAGs to young aspiring magicians because they are a little thinner and softer than Bicycles. It will be easier to control and manipulate them if you don’t yet have built muscles in your fingers.
Something Round, Red, and Squishy
Maybe you’re not that much interested in cards. Initially, many of us dabbled in magic with sponge balls since they are included in every magic kit. Many cheaper sponge balls are not as “spongey” as you need for magic. That is why we carry only one kind of sponge balls. Those are super soft sponge balls by Gosh. Countless professional magicians use them in their shows.
You can get into magic with sponge balls with the Ammar Trilogy DVD set. It is an excellent and massive source for learning card magic, coin magic, and many others.
Make Coins Vanish and Appear at Your Fingertips
Do you want to get into coin magic? If you have already tried to find a set of coins online, you have noticed their prices can reach hundreds of euros. The late Mark Southworth created a much more affordable option for beginners called Sucker Punch.
Sucker Punch contains two identical sets of red and blue poker chips, including two gimmicks. Eric Jones, one of the best coin magicians, filmed over an hour-long tutorial for Sucker Punch, explaining numerous sleights and tricks. We have to point out that these poker chips are much lighter than coins, so handling coins will feel different. But after you master the tricks and sleights with the chips, you’ll get used to the coins quickly.
Put In The Practice and Practice Right
"Practice does not make perfect. Practice makes permanent. Perfect practice makes perfect." - Dai Vernon.
All magic needs practice before you can start performing for spectators. It doesn’t matter if the effect requires sleight of hand, misdirection, or a captivating script.
How to practice sleight of hand? There are two things you can start doing right away. You can film yourself with your phone to simulate the spectator’s point of view. You can also stand in front of the mirror, watch yourself performing the sleights, and look for any sensitive angles. Some techniques need the spectator to be to your right, and some require them to be to your left.
When you advance in your magic journey and start learning more complex effects and techniques, you might appreciate a 3-Way Mirror. This is a unique mirror made from a shatterproof material you can take anywhere. It can also serve as a close-up pad. Thanks to this mirror, you can watch yourself from three different angles and get a clearer idea of how it will look for your spectators.
If you want to read more about practice and different approaches to it, check out Eugene Burger’s Teaching Magic or Rafael Benatar’s column in the October 2022 volume of Genii Magazine. Eugene Burger discusses the different uses of mirrors and cameras, explaining that they both serve a purpose in the learning process and should be used.
It is a little bit more complicated with misdirection and scripting. You can’t practice these on yourself, so the only way to get better at both is through performing and getting feedback from your spectators. There are great magic books covering both of these areas, but as with everything, practice makes perfect.