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Michael Vincent

John McDonald: Wow Michael that is a hard question! I am really pleased you asked it.

Magical secrets are more available now that ever before through video and DVD and the internet. Most of the material is put out by magicians themselves or magical companies that are often run by professional magicians who use this as a supplement to their performing income.
It would be hard if not impossible to stop this now as some people would feel that they were losing out as others were gaining if there was a restriction on the selling of a trick. However, most magical products are expensive and it is this cost side of magic which usually keeps a secret exclusive particularly with illusions and the "real work" on some effects.

Aside from cost another excellent way of reducing secrets is to use the apprentice model like they do in China and Japan. Shoot Ogawa being the most recent example, a disciple of Masahiro Yanagida who has "adopted" another nine students a bit like Mr. Majagee in Karate Kid. Remember Wax on... wax off....

To restore the dignity and respect that Magic deserves we should learn to copy your example Mr. Vincent. You perform magic so skillfully and with such respect that that is what is communicated to the audience.

I think as magicians we must all throw away the quick fix guide and really dedicate ourselves to performing a few tricks really well.

Reading the preface to the Royal Road points magic in the right direction,

"we cannot emphasize too strongly that knowing the secret of a trick is not the same as knowing how to perform that trick and that knowing the secret of hundreds of tricks is of little value unless each can be performed smoothly and entertainingly. It is far better to know only a few tricks that can be performed with grace, skill and effect." (Royal Road pg. 11)

Accordingly then magicians should place all their energies on the improving the performance of their magic and not on the discovery of secrets.

(That also means practice, practice and practice again....)

Michael Vincent: (Quoting Michael Jay) This is quite possibly the most difficult question that we, as magicians, need to answer. And, I don't think the answer is going to be one, simple solution.

We are now in the information age. The fact of the matter is that the pros are out there selling their material and, in order to keep up with the competition, it is almost required. On your own web site, Mr. Vincent, is an area for magicians with a simple question for entrance (possibly the most simple I've ever seen to access a restricted area of a site) and, in that area, you have your own material for sale. Please understand this is not an indictment, just a point which is directly related to the question.

Your point about my website is absolutely right. The question is easy YES but originally there were three question and the questions were never the same, they changed each time you went to the site. Do you realize I received e-mails from magicians from around the world who didn't know the answers to some very "easy" questions. (Graham Nichols will back me up on this because he designed my website and the magicians only page.)

I did this only to encourage dedicated students. This resulted in poor sales. I was caught by the tail in this case.

I was hoping that my lecture notes and videos would appeal to the more serious students of our art.

I admire you taking the responsibility to teach young people first hand so that they will get a real insight into the art of magic. Having taught a few students myself over the year, I am very proud of my approach to teaching because my students have developed a great passion for magic, it's secrets and the people who came before us.

Your comment beautifully captures the secret to my initial question. I feel we will need to return to a point were magic is taught first hand from master to apprentice along side the tools we already have at our disposal. Books, Video's, DVD's and personal research.

Thank you for your comments, this is exactly the response I was hoping for.

Sybilmagic: I completely agree with the above comments it is nice to think that there is a true RESPECT for magic secrets.

This is a question directed at everyone, I live in the North West Preston to be exact (which is near Blackpool and Southport) UK.

The question is how do you go about 'making' yourself a student of a magician?

It would seem wrong to approach a magician that lives in your area at a convention and say "Hey you live near me mind meeting up every X night a week to teach me your skill"?
Added in with all the small talk lol.
What I am really saying is that there needs to be a willingness on the magicians part to take his time out. I can not think of anyone in my area that can do this. Although I know of a few that live in my area Tom Owen and Brian Gore I would not know how to tackle it without causing possible disappointment to myself and whoever else is involved.
You all offer a perfect solution to a problem I agree with but the solution is one that can only be described a troublesome.
If anyone can suggest a possible mentor I would be very grateful!!

Michael Vincent: Your challenge is difficult one. When I was younger, I learnt all of my magic from books before meeting Alan Alan. This was and is the first part of the equation. Any teacher I feel must see within the student the capacity for self-discipline.

A mentor is a guide and director as Alan was for me and also Slydini. I learnt the effects, they taught me how to perform and make the effects look and feel magical.

Here is a tip which was passed onto me by Richard Kaufman twenty years ago. Learn one or two effect from the repertoire of a great magician. When you get the chance to see them work in person, approach them and be prepared to show them the effect of theirs you have been working.

This will do several things; it is a great compliment to the magician in question and most importantly, it shows that you have at least taken the time and trouble to learn the trick. In this situation, you haven't blatantly asked the magician to show you how his tricks are done, you have shown him your presentation in stead.

This approach has endeared me to some of the finest magicians in the history of our art. Many of which have become not only great teachers but personal friends of mine.

The teacher student relationship is a precious one and one which cannot be forced. This is a symbiotic affair were both the student and the teacher, teach each other.

The teacher helps the student to learn and teach himself and the student actually helps the teacher to communicate and teach with clarity.

I hope this helps you in your quest; remember, the first move must come from you.

John McDonald: I understand where Sybil magic is coming from as I have often felt the same way. I live about 300 yards from Peter Kane. An undoubted genius with cards and Jerry Sadowitz's hero, (Whatever we think of Jerry's presentation he is undoubtedly a highly skilled card man.) yet I would feel highly uncomfortable knocking on Peter Kanes door.

I studied form books for years but felt fed up from time to time because there is a right way and a wrong way of doing things. When I was young I did not appreciate this and picked up a lot of bad habits which I am still trying to unlearn.

Apart from the books what also made it difficult was that I did not even know where to go to find people who performed magic. There was no information about magic clubs. ( It is still not even possible to join the British Ring until you are sixteen.) I would have appreciated someone to show what I was doing and tell me if I was going wrong.

I wish that I had taken the step to join a magic club earlier than I did. I joined one recently in Manchester and found it very supportive, great in fact. It was amazing to meet people who are highly skilled in all areas of magic. Many of whom are professionals.

Sybil magic, I do not know if you have found a magic club near you or are a member of a club but I would say that in a club you have an environment where people will be able to listen to you, watch you, encourage you without too much threat of exposure of magical secrets. You may have to audition but in my experience if people see you are genuine they will support you and give you some help.

In people's experience do Magic clubs set up the conditions for growth?

Is it right for magic clubs to advertise to bring in new magicians or is this seen as exposure?

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