The art of magic, also known as prestidigitation, is a wonderful art form that creates the illusion of the impossible and builds a connection between people. It is a passion that is shared throughout the world by thousands of hobbyists and allows some of them to become full-time professionals that tour the world amazing their audiences.
These are some of the methods that you can use to start learning:
- Books – This is where many magicians have started and all the best secrets are kept. You will find books at your local library and at any good local or online bookstore. I would recommend the Royal Road to Card Magic by Jean Hugard and The Tarbell Course in Magic for a thorough set of basics.
- Videos – In the modern age magic has moved online [Read: Internet Magic vs. Live Shows] and you can buy plenty of videos and effects from digital stores. It is a growing industry with a lot of material available, however, be wary of all the latest and greatest items because they will not replace a quality education. You can also use YouTube as a resource but I would recommend against it as there are many bad “magicians” who teach badly and therefore give you bad habits. They cannot replace a quality book or teacher.
- Mentors – Back in the day this was the only way that you could learn the art of magic. You needed to find a magician and persuade him to train you. These days this is not as common thanks to many resources being available. However, a mentor can be an amazing gift if you can get one as they will teach you all the real world details of performing and give you real-time feedback that will help you improve faster. If this is a route you would like to try then find a local magician in your area and send them an email asking nicely.
- Clubs and societies – All over the world there are clubs that magicians join so that they can learn and enjoy magic together. Two of these are IBM Rings and Magic Circles which have affiliations to a larger brand. You need to apply to these organisations, pay an annual fee and you may also have to do a small performance to join. The Cape Magicians Circle will be turning 85 years old in 2018 and is affiliated with the Magic Circle in the UK.
- Schools – There are a few small schools around the world that can teach you the art of magic. However, if you live in South Africa then you are exceptionally lucky to be close to the world famous College of Magic. The only one of its kind in the world, it is a school that teaches you how to become a magician and so much more through a 4- to 6-year curriculum.
- Conventions – There are magic conventions all over the world such as Blackpool in the UK and Magic Live in Las Vegas. These are multiple day events where magicians from all over the world come to perform and watch lectures from the best magicians in the world.
- Immersion – When you want to learn anything you need to surround yourself with it. Read magic books and www.magic.africa articles, spend time talking to magicians and attending club meetings, watch TV shows and perform your practised material to anyone that wants to watch.
It is important to understand that magic is an art form which means that knowing the secret is only 10% while practice and performance is the other 90%. In the hands of a master magician, even a simple children’s magic kit effect can be turned into a powerful miracle. This is going to be a journey that will take you many years, but it will be exciting and give you many different skills that will benefit you in other aspects of your life.
Recommendations for parents with younger children – Buy them a children’s magic kit and let them perform what they have learnt to you and their relatives. It will build their confidence and teach them fine motor skills in their hands. This will help them get the magic bug which will propel them into investigating all of the above-mentioned options.