Updated: Nov 13, 2021
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 tells us and how it applies to magicians.
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.
Let's talk about the most efficient ways to magicians master new skills, sleight, move or techniques, according to science.
How to Practice Effectively by Annie Bosler and Don Greene
Here is the best way to practice the art of magic, according to science
1. 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.
2. Go slow-mo to learn complicated sleights easier
Slow down your practice and think about each movement. Take 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 in bad habits.
Strive for the absolute best you can. Pay close attention to your technique now and save a lifetime of frustration.
3. 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.
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.
4. 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.
5. 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 tricks 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 personalities into each and every routine!