You want to learn magic, which is great. And the nice thing about being a Toronto magician is that you have access to some of the best magic prop suppliers in the entire world. And no, if this is your first time being exposed to the secret side of magic, let me tell you now, it’s not that easy. You don’t just go into a store, buy some props and put on a show. In fact, that’s pretty much what the point of this article is.
When starting out as a magician, one of the worst feelings is going to a magic shop, seeing some tricks and paying big bucks for them, only to read the instructions and think “That’s it?” While there are many famous tricks, and some modern miracles, that utilize really clever and complex props, the bulk of them are really quite simple and plain when you get right down to it.
When you see great Toronto magicians and awesome Toronto kids magicians performing their tricks, almost all of the amazement and entertainment value comes from their own personal presentation and skill. It’s not that they are using different secrets or props than those in the shops, they just know how to add all the right flare.
Parents don’t always get that, and end up being a bit upset when they buy certain props for their kids. It’s rare to find a trick that doesn’t feel overpriced once you get it in your hand. Remember though, chances are the magician showed you the effect before you bought it, and you were pretty blown away, otherwise you wouldn’t have bought it.
The key is to look at the end result. Is the end result of the thing you are buying worth the price you are paying? It almost always is, provided you put some effort into it, and don’t just stick it in a drawer and never touch it again. All magic has its place, so go take a look at a trick you want to start off with and see what place you can put it in.
One of the best ways to start learning magic is with videos. Your local magic shop will have all sorts of DVDs to choose from, but you can also find a lot online.
At www.magicsecrets.ca you can watch an ever growing collection of magic instructional videos. From tricks with cards and coins, to tricks with store bought magic props, you'll be able to build a repertoire of amazing material.
It's hard to recapture the feeling that a really great magic trick conjures up in you. This is a feeling you generally get when you are a kid and the magician does a trick for you that completely amazes you. It's when you see something that's inexplicable and it leads you to believe that something incredible, and even impossible, actually happened.
Why is this a big deal? Because you were a kid. You started off in the world with no knowledge of limitations, and slowly learned about the realities in the world, and that certain things weren't possible. You learned that things didn't just float, solid objects couldn't just materialize, and when something was broken, it didn't just fall back together.
Then you saw a magician. Maybe you were four, or maybe five or six, but you were young and had learned that there all these restrictions in the real world. And this magician came along and did something you couldn't believe. Maybe he made a ball fly, or a coin appear out of thin air. Maybe she tore a piece of paper and magically restored it, or cut a rope and half, tied it together and dissolved the knot.
Some people around you may have immediately wondered what happened. They'd have known they were tricked, but how. Was it mirrors, was it misdirection or was it sleight of hand? Maybe it was fake rope, and maybe there was a magnet attached to the floating ball. They knew that somehow they'd been fooled into thinking something magic had happened, but they knew this wasn't a really magical magician.
You, you were lucky. You didn't know enough to question what you saw. You hadn't learned that you brain could be fooled. That's why you were able to believe in what you saw as being real magic. And that's likely why you remember the moment to this day. You remember because it's nice to hold onto that first feeling of real magic.
I've been performing as a Toronto kids magician for some time now, and one of the things that I got used to hearing the most was the inevitable outburst: "It's in your sleeve!" This is the magic cliche, of course, and kids all around Toronto and I'm sure everywhere else know about it. They also know that if they can't think of any other explanation to how a trick is done, it must be in the one place they've heard rumors about, which is the magician's sleeve.
Is it true, though? Do magicians really hide things up their sleeves? Well, I can't speak for other magicians in Toronto or elsewhere, but I can speak for myself. The answer to the question is no. No, I don't hide things in my sleeves. Nothing except my arms, of course, however that's hardly meant to be a secret.
The idea of hiding things in sleeves goes back many generations. It was a tool magicians did use centuries ago, and probably more recently as well. Getting things into the sleeves was never an easy task, but they figured out the means and managed to pull it off just fine. Now it's the technique cartoons and caricatures of magicians rely on when supposedly revealing how a trick was done.
Because the knowledge is out there, kids fall upon it when they need reason. Magic show often throws them off balance, challenging all they've learned about the world. Not wanting to be stuck in the midst of wonder, some kids cling onto the only explanation they've been given. To believe it's in the sleeve means they can believe the world is still in order.
Still, it's hard to stop in the middle of a show and attempt to prove that there is, in fact, nothing up the sleeve. That's why you'll find that I tend to perform with short sleeves these days. It means I don't wear a suit as often, which means I have less places to carry extra props, but at least I don't have that big obvious hiding spot. That's the theory anyway. Kids still look at me, the magician, and insist it's in my short, short sleeves.
A lot of people look at magic sets and think they are kiddy stuff. In almost every case, they're marketed that way, so why should you think anything different? The truth is, of course, they are kiddy stuff. The props you'll find in a typical magic set are cheap plastic, don't look all that flashy, and aren't really built to last. No one is going to take those props and hit the road with their very first magic show.
With that in mind, I assure you, there is still nothing wrong with buying and using magic sets like those. Even if you feel you can afford to buy your child better props, and you have one of the big friendly Toronto magic shops two doors down from your house. The reason is that, while the sets aren't usually high quality items, they still contain functional magic that uses the same types of techniques the "real" tricks use.
The other perk is that the instructions are written with the knowledge that the person reading them doesn't have years of magic experience behind them. This means that a child learning magic can start with the basics, and still get the job done. Still, there are other reasons why these sets are so good for beginners. A magician to-be doesn't have much exposure to the different types of tricks there are. A complete set allows them to get a feel for a whole lot of styles and versions of effects. The important thing is, when starting out with this type of magic, to reinforce the idea that, done right, the magic is still very effective. Just because it's cheap doesn't mean a bit of practice won't make it look professional and amazing.
Learning to be a magician with a friend or family member is probably one of the best decisions you can make, whether you want to become a magic professional, or just a learned hobbyist. If you don't know anyone else who would be interested in learning along with you, but you live in a big city like Toronto or the surrounding area, you'll surely find someone to fill that void in a very short time. For this, just check out local magic shops, or even one of the local clubs, where you'll shortly meet like minded people looking for the same kind of learning you are.
For children learning magic though, one of the best things that can happen is to have a parent learn along with them. It's such a great hobby to begin with, and if you and a parent -- or you and your child -- can share this type of interest, you'll both have a wonderful journey in learning to perform magic shows of your own! Perhaps the best thing about this is that magic can appeal to people on so many different intellectual levels, meaning the adults of the pair won't have to feel as though they have to fake their enjoyment... or at least, their genuine enjoyment of learning something with their child won't dwindle as time goes by.