• Should I buy a magic kit to get started?

  • May 13, 2019

  • Answering this question is not as simple as a quick yes or no. It depends on you as a person and how you learn best.

    For most people, I would say that yes, it is worth investing in a cheap one, at least to start with, so you can dip your toe in the water as it were. The problem with buying these kits is that they usually come with a bunch of props and so-called "self-working" effects. Admittedly, this can be a good thing as you can open the box, read a paragraph of explanatory text, turn around and perform it to the nearest person more or less perfectly.

    I realise that this sounds like a good thing for budding magicians which may contradict the tone of my writing. That's because it is a good and a bad thing. For me, growing up, I would learn a few effects right out of the box, and then get frustrated that I couldn't do anything else. These self-working props and effects are so easy because that is all they can do. It's a bit like riding a tricycle, you can get around on it and get where you're going, but you're not going to be able to do anything too unique or impressive on it. "Proper" magic is more like a high-end motorcycle, it can go fast, pull off amazing stunts, but you have to put in the time and effort to master it; otherwise, you'll fall flat on your face. Which could lead to embarrassing yourself or even hurting yourself (albeit emotionally rather than physically when it comes to magic unless you do certain dangerous tricks involving razor blades, spikes and the like!).

    Good magic is not easy. You won't be able to learn it straight out of the box without practising for quite some time in order to get the intricacies just right. When it comes to performing magic, there is so much more that goes into each effect over and above the secret moves, or sleight of hand, or misdirection. It is the performer's job to bring everything together, into a seamless performance.

    The patter has to flow as you perform the secret moves all the while justifying each motion, either explicitly or implicitly. Both the moves and the patter have to occur seamlessly alongside one another, as if either one falters for too long, you leave a gap for your audience to "notice" that something is wrong.

    They may start asking questions, if not out loud, then at least at the back of their mind; such as, "why did he have so much trouble moving that card?" or, "why did his arm twitch like that?" When you do a magic trick, you walk your audience down the garden path to where the fairies and magic are hidden. Though if these questions start popping up, your spectator will get pulled out of the moment, losing their footing on the path you laid out for them, leaving them confused, but not in the way you might hope.

    It is worth saying though that a magic kit can be a great starting point. Especially when you consider that the effects included will often have a variety of magical principles included that do a great job of introducing the many varied concepts that go into magical effects as your begin understanding the art form. The critical thing to realise though is that to take it further, like learning anything, you will have to put in the practice, find what works for you and what doesn't. From there, you can build a routine made up of the magic that you enjoy and resonate with as a performer. Rather than just a hodge-podge amalgamation of whatever you could get your hands on!

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