Centuries ago, magicians and illusionists were feared by the public. They were perceived as witches, or mystical people who did the devil’s work. In today’s world, we see them purely as entertainers. People enjoy watching magic mainly because we like to be shocked and surprised. For that reason alone, more and more people are trying to learn how to become a magician. As you keep reading though, you will realize that it takes more than just wearing a top hat and knowing a few magic tricks.
The Life Of A Magician
A magician is an entertainer who performs magic tricks and illusions in front of an audience. They are usually seen in public at magic shows, weddings, functions, or social gatherings. It is common to see both part-time and full-time magicians. A typical magic routine will involve the use of props, such as cards, coins, dice, and animals. These tricks can be done with the aid of an assistant, guests in the audience, or with no help at all..
There are different degrees of magicians, which is dependent on how much training and experience he or she has. Advanced magicians with impressive tricks and a knack of connecting with the audience are usually the ones who get full-time gigs and who are the most successful. Therefore, is extremely important that a magician constantly learns new tricks and illusions. Learning how to communicate with the crowd and display good showmanship is just as important, otherwise you will lose their interest quickly.
The average salary of a full-time magician varies, but typically they make around $50,000 a year. They may work on their own as an independent contractor, or can be hired on a contract basis. No formal education is necessary to become a magician, although most have at least a high school diploma. However, taking a training course to learn new tricks can be beneficial as some magicians have trouble coming up with new material from time to time.
Tips On Becoming A Magician
1. Watch other magicians – Get out there and start watching your favorite magicians perform. If you don’t have anyone to idolize, start researching online to see who is considered great and why. Go to some local magic shows as well as the popular ones and see what types of tricks they use, and how they execute them. See which magicians appeal to you the most and why. Take notes on small nuances like on how they speak to the audience, their movements, and how they introduce and end their tricks. Nowadays, you can just watch magic performances online so you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your own home. Some great magicians you may want to observe are David Copperfield, Lance Burton, Harry Houdini, and Dynamo.
2. Learn as many magic tricks as possible – What good is a magician without any tricks? Quantity isn’t everything when it comes to being a magician, but you want to have a wide range of magic tricks in order to become successful. That doesn’t mean you should try to take on ten tricks at once though. Learn them one by one so you don’t confuse yourself and complicate things.
In the beginning, start off learning simpler tricks from the internet or magic books. Card tricks and coin tricks are always good to practice first. It’s easy to carry those types of items around at all times, and doesn’t require any setup.
Another way to learn magic is by reading magic books or watching DVDs. These sources will usually provide step-by-step instructions on how to perform a specific trick. Make sure these are quality tricks rather than something too simple like a children’s magic trick toy set. The luxury of learning this way is that you can study at your own pace, and always rewind or flip back a page if you didn’t understand the first time. The only downfall with this, however, is a lot of other people who read the same material will know how the trick works. But this is a good way to start off if you are still new to magic tricks.
There are also private magic schools and workshops that you can attend if you want some hands-on training. The classes are usually taught by actual magicians who can work with you one-on-one or in groups. Usually the first lessons are focused on getting you into good habits and lay the foundation for self-teaching. You can attend as many of these lessons as you like, however, most magicians eventually learn new tricks on their own so they can be unique from everyone else.
3.. Practice, Practice, Practice! – This should go without saying, but you should try and practice tricks whenever you have the chance. When you learn a few new tricks, practice in front of the mirror until you can do them naturally and smoothly without having to think about it. And when you get to that point, you still want to practice it more so you can really sell it to the audience. Think about what you want to say, your movements and gestures to give your trick more presentation.
And don’t perform a trick that you just learned the day before. It’s too much of a risk of messing it up, or the audience might even be able to notice that you don’t know it that well yet. Some tricks will take longer than others to fully master. At the same time, be realistic about what tricks you can learn at your current experience level. Trying to learn a trick that only the elite magicians know about is reaching a little too far.
4. Perform in front of an audience as often as you can – When you feel ready to perform in front of a crowd, give it your best shot. Gather your family, friends, relatives, or even people you don’t know to watch you perform your tricks. You will notice right away that practicing at home and performing in front of people are very different. If you have trouble with public speaking, you will definitely want to continue performing in front of people as often as possible to help get over that fear. Even if you fail on one of your tricks, it’s not a big deal. This is the opportunity to learn from your mistakes and get a good feel for what it’s like to actually do magic tricks in front of a live crowd.
5. Meet and befriend other fellow magicians – Join a magic club or society and start socializing with other magicians. Although it can be a competitive environment, most professionals are more than happy to help out other aspiring magicians. They can give you pointers on how things within the magic industry work, how to work the audience better or creative outlets on coming up with new tricks.
The internet is also another great outlet for meeting new people. There are tons of online forums, the biggest being The Magic Café. This way you can communicate with magicians all around the world with different experience levels. Forums also provide good tips and strategies for beginning magicians.
6. Know the key rules of a magician – There are a few unspoken rules that every magician should follow. One of them is “The secret of a trick or illusion should never be revealed, unless to a student of magic who also takes this same oath”. If a magician were to ever break this oath, even by sharing a trick to a family member or loved one, that magician will be looked down upon from the magic community. Once a secret is revealed, it can be spread to anyone and everyone, making your trick nothing more than a hoax. This can also greatly affect your colleagues and students.
Another ethical code for magicians is that “a magician should never claim to have supernatural abilities.” This doesn’t mean you should give away the secret to your tricks, but don’t lie by saying you are beyond normal in any way. An untrustworthy magician will have a difficult time making friends and getting gigs.
7. Be original – Once you’ve mastered the basic tricks and have a basic foundation of being a magician, it’s time for you to work on being yourself. Think about what kind of magician you want to be, and what type of tricks you want to use. Do you want to be a street performer? Are you going to add humor into your tricks? This is the time to be innovative and creative. If some of your ideas don’t work out, then try something else new. You can always use other magicians as references to see what you like and don’t like, but don’t steal any of their styles. The best magicians out there are the ones who are original, yet unique.