A question magicians are often asked is ‘how can I learn magic tricks?’ Magic is a clandestine art, and magicians are forbidden from exposing their tricks. The Magic Circle, the world’s most famous organisation for magicians, expels members who are found giving away magical secrets.
So how does anybody learn magic tricks in the first place? The idea behind the secrecy isn’t to make it impossible to learn magic tricks, but rather a way of ensuring that newcomers are serious about learning magic. The study and practise that is required ensures students treat magic with the respect it deserves. When you learn a magic trick, you are receiving knowledge that other magicians have spent years developing, and honed through thousands of performances. Magical secrets are gems that you have to work hard to discover.
And it is well worth the effort it takes to learn magic. Magic tricks can be an ice-breaker when you meet new people, you can use them to improve your presentational skills at work, or they can help to impress that girl or boy you like. Magic tricks have allowed me to do many exciting things. I have performed at exlusive clubs and parties, and I have entertained royalty, politicians and the heads of some of the world’s biggest companies at corporate events.
Learning magic tricks from books
The best way to learn is from books. You will be able to find magic books in your local library or book shop or online. A good beginners’ magic book will teach you a broad range of tricks. As well as helping you to learn tricks, it will show you the variety of magical styles there are, so that you can decide the sort of magician you want to be. Do you want to do close-up magic, like magician David Blaine? Or do you prefer the more psychological style of a performer like Derren Brown? Or you may want to perform on stage, or at children’s parties. There are many forms of magic and no one style is better than another. It is up to the individual to find what suits them best.
Take magic lessons
You may be able to attend lessons in your area to learn. Local councils sometimes have courses where you can learn magic tricks as part of their higher education programmes, as does City Lit.
Look for magic shops where you live. London is home to Davenports, the oldest family-run magic business in the world. Tell the people behind the counter that you are a beginner and they will be able to recommend some good tricks to get you started. Davenports also runs a course where they teach magic.
There are other magic shops you can visit in London, such as International Magic and Magic Cave, which has a stall in Covent Garden. They will be able to give you tips on how to learn magic tricks.
Magic clubs are also a good place to learn tricks. Check the internet for magic clubs in your area.
When you start to learn magic tricks, it is a good idea to see some professional magicians performing. Not so that you can copy them – you must develop your own style – but so that you learn what good magic looks like. You will begin to understand all of the elements that go into a strong performance – scripting, timing, speech, movement, posture etc.
Check the internet and newspapers for shows in your area. In London, Magic Night is a twice-monthly magic show held at Madame JoJo’s cabaret club in Soho. There you can see some of the UK’s top magicians in action. Covent Garden is world famous for its street performers, and at Magic Corner you can watch magicians from all over the world.
It takes hard work to learn magic tricks, the same sort of effort that is required to play an instrument or learn a foreign language. But it is enormously rewarding, so practise hard and have fun!