Magicians: According to science, this is how you should be practicing

Are you learning a new magic trick or sleight? Do you want to learn how to become a better magician? We all want to improve. If you've heard the saying "practice makes perfect" let's look at what science is actually tell us and how it applies to magicians. Let's explore

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How to practice effectively by Annie Bosler and Don Greene

In this TED ED Lesson from Annie Bosler and Don Greene, share the latest science in practicing.

Becoming a magician isn't just about tricks.

There are many factors beyond magic tricks that make successful performers, including personality, character development, storytelling, humour, marketing, and branding. In this article however, we are talking specifically about the science of practicing magic tricks.

Before we dive in, remember tricks and methods are just one element of becoming a successful magician. How well you attach your personality to your routines is what sets you apart from 100,000 other magicians BUT being a magician is the ability to execute complicated sleights without your spectators figuring out the secret.

It's not magic without mystery.

So, lets talk about the most efficient ways to master a new skills, sleight, move or techniques, according to science.

What does this mean for magicians?

Here is the best way to learn magic, according to science

Focus on your task without distractions

Eliminate all distractions. Understand your practice session is about being deliberate and focused. Mute your phone and alarms, find a quiet place and remove any triggers that will pull your focus.

Go slow-mo to learn complicated sleights easier

Slow down your practice and thinking about each movement. Taking care to strive for the best execution in slow motion you can. This will help your brain get through the basics and build a solid foundation. You don't want to train yourself bad habits. Strive for the absolute best you can. Pay close attention to your technique now and save a lifetime of frustration.

As you make progress, speed up the actions

The point here is to always push your brain a little further and further. As your vocabulary of skillsets increase, so too will your ability to pick up new moves, sleights and magic skills. The idea behind accelerating your speed is to increase repetition while maintaining your efficacy. Gradually increasing your speed is like increasing the rate on a treadmill. Our mind and bodies respond to stress, the speed increase will cause your brain to work harder. Speed shouldn't sacrifice the quality of rehearsal.

Practice with consistency and take breaks

This may be one of the most significant and most misunderstood parts of how our brains respond to new skills. Walking away and taking breaks is essential for deep learning. Stepping away allows your subconscious mind to do its magic in the background. Sleep may be one of the most important ways to accelerate learning. Sleep and proper nutrition are essential-- you can't expect your body to do all this work if you are neglecting the basic necessities for brain function. Provide your body and mind with an opportunity to succeed.

Practice without practicing.

The idea of repetition is obvious-- next time put down the cards and do it entirely in your mind. Think through each move, sleight or moment. Being able to clearly think through the steps ensures you know every part of the routine or move.


Practicing magic requires repetition. When learning a new trick or move, focus on slowly executing the movements and doing them as perfectly as you can. This is the foundation for all your practice, don't create lazy and bad habits. Start speeding up your movements. Increasing speed forces your brain to work harder. Science shows us that sleep is crucial for learning new skills. Practice when you aren't practicing by thinking about the moves in your mind.

And finally remember, the most successful performers find ways to weave their own personality into each and every routine.

Want more? A lesson on creativity for magicians

Interested in learning about the creativity process for magicians? Learn this trick and the process behind creating it. Take the free Magicians Masterclass now:

What are you currently practicing? Share your progress and helpful practice tips in the comments.

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