So you are looking to learn a new skill and, one way or another, you have ended up here of all places! So if you've ever even briefly considered learning magic, let me try and convince you as to why you should!
Why learn magic?
We are so lucky to live in the world we do today, the information age. There is so much information out there; it is truly staggering. It can quickly become incredibly overwhelming. However, magic is a strange one when it comes to this sort of thing since as we know, Magician's never reveal their secrets. This a stupid saying for the most part, since if they never told their secrets, all performance magic would have to continually be rediscovered from scratch, which is blatantly not the case.
What are the benefits?
Whether you are looking to have the kids distracted while learning a new skill, discover some magic yourself to surprise a loved one, provide a new kind of corporate team building, or perhaps even begin your career as the next great Magician, there are many great reasons to learn magic:
• Understanding another's perspective
As you get better at magic, you have to learn to see things from your spectator's point of view. You have to understand what they will see, hear and feel in order to elicit the best possible reactions. Whether you are learning a close-up magic effect or a grand illusion for a stage performance, if you can't put yourself into your audience's shoes, you will never create great magic.
Understandably, this skill has far-reaching benefits from helping with negotiations, communication and just about anything that involves interacting with another human being.
• Improved hand-eye coordination
Learning any kind of sleight involves precise and careful movement of your hands in a particular fashion. You will have to learn to develop muscle memory, as when you are performing a magic effect, you can't be watching everything you are doing, you have to worry about what you are saying, what is your audience doing, are they engaged and many other tiny details.
Even so-called "self-working" magic effects require you to have your hands and eyes cooperate in a way they have never done before.
Learning any new skill and becoming proficient at it will lead to an increased amount of self-confidence. Magic, though, is a performance skill, which means you have to go in front of an audience and perform. Time and time again, this has been shown to be one of the most terrifying things we can do, so if you can learn to conquer your fears of performing to a crowd, you will be amazed at how the confidence from that will bleed into all other areas of your life.
• Detail Focused
Of the many things that magic has taught me over the years is that when you get ready to perform, there is an enormous number of things to think about when performing. Are your props where they need to be? Will you have a surface to use when performing? What does your outfit say about you? How will you handle when something unexpected happens?
All of those little things and many more have to be considered before you can begin a complete "act". You will learn this first hand when you start trying to put your own act together, and it will improve each time you do it. Not only that, but there is a cumulative effect whereby the more you do it, the more tiny details you will realise could be introduced to help improve your performances.
• Handling mistakes
When you are in the middle of a performance, and you make a mistake, you can't stop, restart the performance and act as if nothing has happened. You have to learn to make a mistake and be okay with it. To let it happen, and to keep going. You learn how to turn an accident to your advantage. There have been plenty of times when I have actually improved one of the effects I perform because while doing the effect, I realised at that moment how to do it better so that it doesn't happen again. I've even ended up doing it a completely different way in the future to avoid the mistake or found a way to integrate the effect into my show, so I actually hope for that mistake to happen again.
I'm sure that misdirection is one of the first things that comes to mind when you think of magic because the two have always gone hand in hand together. Magic is the art of misdirection. And misdirection is everywhere in the world that we live in, whether we realise it or not. Once you learn to understand it and to use it for a performance, you will begin to recognise it elsewhere.
Misdirection is not the big, brash distractions that people think it is. Often it is confused with someone pointing and saying, "Hey, look over there!" while they do something sneaky where you aren't looking. This is not the case; it is so much more subtle than that, playing off the parts of human nature that most of us aren't even aware exist.
How to learn magic?
Having concluded that you want to learn magic, the next question is how to go about doing it! And when it comes to learning magic, there are a few different ways to learn, all with various advantages and disadvantages. In the modern-day and age that we live in, though, I find a combination of all of the following gets me the best results.
Magic books are almost a cliche at this point. Coming across as an outdated method of learning with the advent of more modern approaches that certainly provide a host of advantages. Books, however, trump the other formats simply because of the absurd amount of information that is contained within each one, particularly if it is one of the great classic magic books such as:
The Royal Road to Card Magic by Frederick Braue and Jean Hugard
Mark Wilson's Complete Course in Magic
Modern Coin Magic by J.B. Bobo
There are many others of course, but these books alone contain some of the best material out there for new and old magicians alike. The significant disadvantage of books though is of course that the images are static and often, especially with certain classic books, the use of drawings, or less than high-quality photos, to convey complicated handling results in nothing but confusion for the student.
The thing to remember is though that almost every magic concept, sleight and effect have already been created and they are all probably written in a book getting dusty on a shelf somewhere, so don't turn your nose up at magic books!
I have heard many magicians complain that "young magicians today, they have it so easy" because of the easy access to instructional DVDs. These are incredible, and my collection seems to be forever growing more extensive. DVDs allow the instructor to convey their points far more quickly by showing moves repeatedly, from different angles and at different speeds. This is, of course, a huge leg up on learning from books.
There aren't many disadvantages for using DVDs to learn from that aren't also present for books, which is, of course, the ability to ask questions, as you will inevitably want to do.
To me, this will always be the greatest way to learn magic. And not just because I'm trying to make a living teaching online these days! This is because I started out using books, DVDs and online courses to learn magic. Still, it wasn't until I was able to sit down with a professional, albeit retired, Magician that my performances moved to the next level.
Since magic is inherently a live performance type of art form, it is crucial to get feedback from someone other than your audience. Magic is the only art form where you practice to conceal your hard work. Therefore it is all the more necessary to get a keen eye to look at how you perform, how you handle your props and how you conduct yourself, as only they will be able to know where you should direct your focus and attention.
My first mentor was a man by the name of Jim Holt, who had been an incredibly successful clown that had toured all over the world, performing to thousands of people. Jim taught me a great deal, most importantly, though, was the need to have a "kicker" ending. It is all good and well having the most polished magical effect ever created, but the end (and the opening) are all your spectators will remember. Having someone like Jim to shoot down effects that didn't belong in my act made it far easier for me to streamline my shows and give my audience the kind of entertainment I had always imagined being able to provide.
Another benefit of a mentor is that they don't have to, nor should they, spare your feelings. Much better than they are harsh to you in private so that you can succeed in public. I always remember how my far too obliging family members would tell me how amazing each and every effect I performed was. I showed Jim my performance, and he quickly had me remove over half of my act, because as he put it, "you did the same thing five times!".
To get the best out of your mentor though, you need to be learning magic on your own time, and coming to them with questions and areas you want looked at with their professional eye. Otherwise, you may just end up sitting there twiddling your thumbs!
Tutoring with Me
If you have made it this far, then we know you want to learn magic, you want a tutor and your wondering what I offer that is so special or different? I'm not a mind reader so that I might be a little off, but I do pretend to be one from time to time!
Well, whatever your magic-related needs, I offer 1-on-1 lessons teaching you magic in whatever form you need. I can and will teach you the kind of magic effects you can be proud to show off in any setting. While practising by yourself is an essential part of being a good magician, if you really want to improve, it is not only helpful but necessary to have some input and guidance from an experienced mentor.
No matter what level you are currently at with your abilities, I can help you master moves and techniques from the most basic to the highest standard. On top of this, I can offer advice on everything else that goes into performing magic, be it the psychology, the outfit, the presentation and theme of your style, all those little details that that will allow you to elicit much stronger reactions from your audience. If you are interested in monetising your hobby, Maximillian can also offer advice on how to go from performing in front of the mirror to entertaining an audience anywhere from 5 to 500 people or above.
Over the years, I've taught and mentored many new magicians, of a variety of ages and abilities. But don't just take my word for it, here are some reviews:
Lottie - Max is a brilliant magician - engaging, enthusiastic and knowledgeable: all make for an amazing magic teacher. My son is entranced and is now a confirmed card-trick-crazy teenager! We would thoroughly recommend him to anyone wanting to learn some clever, fun and mind-blowing tricks!!
Alice - Really enjoyed my lessons with Max! A great teacher and very inspiring. Most of all the lessons are fun, engaging and I really hope to be impressing my friends with my new skills very soon!
David - I've had Max perform at many events over the years, but one of the best decisions I ever made was to have him teach magic to my children. They are both quickly turning into little performers, and I cannot thank Max enough for his professionalism and skill and managing them! Cannot recommend highly enough!
The structure of my teaching
In order to ensure you get the absolute maximum possible out of learning magic with me, I have a very simple tried and tested structure to my lessons.
The first step to learning any skill is to create a baseline. So we know where you are starting from, where you want to go and how best to get there. I've had students in the past with arthritis, meaning a lot of sleight of hand is out of the window, and other students who are only interested in mentalism, and a performer who wanted to move into kids magic, close-up magicians who wanted to transition into stage magic, the list goes on. I can help with all of these.
Depending on your skill level is also which program you will be put into (Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced)
• Learning and Development
This is, of course, the largest part of what we will do together. Teaching you moves and effects that use them, so you can learn the moves in a way that means you can practice them in a routine rather than solely in isolation. As your skills improve and you start to learn entire routines, we can start trying to construct your very own magic effects that will be just for you.
• Creating and Act
Now that you have a whole bunch of magic that you can perform, it's time to put it all together and create your "show". After all, why have all these skills, if you aren't going to put them to use!
How do we do the lessons?
While this sort of lesson may not be appropriate today, when social distancing becomes a thing of the past, I will return to being there in person for the lessons as this allows very accurate guidance that isn't hindered by dodgy internet connections! I can also bring props with me to introduce you to them so you can see how quality can affect the outcome. These lessons can happen in your home, at my home or a suitable meeting place where we won't be too distracted by the world around us.
By far the best method given today's climate, I have an ideal set up at home allowing for multiple angles so I can demonstrate all the necessary moves. This can also make things easier when we have multiple students so everyone can get a close-up view of what is going on.
• Stage Presentation
When it comes to teaching corporate clients or doing larger scale birthdays, this format allows for the introduction of different skill sets and concepts that are crucial to magicians. I would recommend that this particular style is only used once or twice to introduce the topic as after that it begins to make more sense to be hands-on at a more personal level to ensure everything is being understood to the best possible level.
Get in touch today
Give me a shout for a free consultation on what I can do to help bring the right kind of magic into your life!