If you’ve been bitten by the magic bug and are starting out in magic, here are five steps to get you on the right path.
1. Check your public library for magic books and read every title that you can get your hands on. Learn a few tricks from these books, which often make use of everyday items found around the home or office, and practice and perform them for your friends.
Book Review: Magic for Dummies
Book Review: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Magic Tricks
For a fast start, check out our collection of easy tricks that you can quickly learn and employ items found around the home.
At this stage, if you can, choose your audiences wisely. Try to perform for those who are friendly, appreciative and can provide you with helpful feedback. Performing for a tough audience at this stage can be overwhelming. Remember that knowing the secret and being able to perform a trick is only part of the success of a trick. Most of the impact lies in your presentation.
2. The tendency early on is to go to a magic store, buy a variety of effects, take them home and try to learn them. However, magic effects may or may not be appropriate for your particular skill level. And buying magic tricks can quickly become expensive. For a list of tricks that we recommend for beginners, and that may be purchased at a reasonable price, please check out our list of The Five Best Magic Tricks for Beginners.
3. It’s important that you get in touch with other magicians. Not only can you freely show your new effects to other magicians without having to worry about failure and exposing secrets, other magicians can provide you with valuable feedback and even teach you better methods. Excellent magic organizations include the International Brotherhood of Magicians, and Society of American Magicians.
Both have local clubs where you can meet and work with other magicians. If you live in the Los Angeles area, check out The Magic Castle. However, you’ll have to know a member to get in.
If you’re lucky enough to have a local magic store in your area, visit it and ask if they host a club. In any event, most magic stores provide a gathering place where you may visit with other magicians. Just be sure to support your magic store by purchasing tricks and supplies. The local magic store is unfortunately becoming something of a rarity.
4. If you're serious about learning magic, you'll want to develop your basic technique. To get you started on this foundation in sleight of hand, check out our magic lessons.
5. Before buying magic tricks, books or videos, try to read reviews and get opinions. Here at Magic & Illusion, we provide lots of reviews of tricks and DVDs, which are updated weekly. For additional advice, you can ask the magicians at our forum.
Generally, books provide the best value because they offer the most techniques and tricks for the price.
DVDs may cost a bit more than most books and provide fewer tricks, but they let you see an effect in action. Some may find an effect easier to learn by watching a video than reading it in a book. I find that this depends on the effect.
The most expensive way to increase your repertoire is to buy tricks. Many tricks can cost as much as a book or DVD and you only get a single trick. When purchasing tricks, try to make sure that they are ones that you will use. Ask any magician and he or she can tell you about that drawer full of tricks that they bought and have never performed for whatever reason. Again, reading reviews and asking around will help you make the wisest purchases.
-Wayne N. Kawamoto