Beginning Magician

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Tarpazanx, Jul 9, 2012.

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  1. Hello,

    I'm new to this website, and also new to magic, i really want to learn magic, and i'm already learning Cardistry (just to be better with cards). But i would really appreciate it if someone can tell me what great reads are for someone who is new, and what i need to know for tricks, and maybe also with tricks are good for a beginner.

    Thanks in Advance!
  2. Welcome Tarpazanx,

    You've come to the right place. In the beginning it will be hard for you to stop yourself from buying everything you can get your hands on....try to refrain from this because you'll end up with hundreds if not thousands of dollars sitting in your drawers or in your basement.

    Invest in some beginning books like Mark Wilson's or Josh Jay's complete course in magic to get an overall foundation. If you solely want cards I recommend Card College or Royal Road. Check out the thread a few below this title "Good Reads for Proficient Performers". You'll have plenty to pick from. The Tarbell books are also outstanding. Don't forget, your local library probably has 5-10 magic books as well. I started out this way before I had money to make purchases.

    Don't get discouraged with magic. Some things are picked up very easily and others take weeks, months, and years to master. There is a varying learning curve for magicians. Some of us can use rubber bands and do complicated moves within a few days but can't classic palm a coin to save our life in performance. You'll find your niche. See what you enjoy. That's why I think you should view the big picture first and pick and area that you want to try out first. You may only like Close Up magic, you might prefer stage with expensive props, etc.

    As far as Theory11, learn to use our search function, check out our effects, cards, and The Wire which has many affordable downloads.
    Learn to take constructive criticism and don't let others be too harsh on you here....including myself. I'm trying to be a little more positive to the new guys...ha ha.

    Don't be afraid to ask questions. Most of all have fun and soak it all in. It's going to be a great ride for ya!
  3. Now this post should be a sticky! Well said.
    I second "Royal Road to Card Magic", in my opinion it's a better book for complete beginner than Card College, since it's only one book. 5 Books may seem intimidating to a beginner. Also RRTCM will teach you all of the essential slights plus tons of great tricks (some of which I use to this day).
  4. Thank you very much! I really helped me allot, but just another question, i got poker cards, but they seem to be much smaller than the cards magicians use, is this true?
  5. There are usually two sizes of playing cards (excluding a jumbo deck and a mini deck), and those are poker size cards and bridge size cards. Poker size cards are what most of magicians use, and what I recommend you to use too.
  6. Just do what Dai Vernon did and read and practice 'Expert at the Card Table' by S.W. Erdnase

    In about 10-15 years of obsessive practice (by obsessive I mean abandoning friends, family, school, work etc...) you will be a competent card manipulator, and ready to move on to more advanced things. ;)

    Okay couldn't hurt purchasing the book, you can get it for under $10 dollars.

    Best of luck!

    - Steve
  7. I am not trying to be rude here but in my honest opinion telling a true beginner to buy a book titled "expert" anything is horrible advice. Expert at the card table is an amazing learning tool BUT not for a beginner.
  8. My sincerest apology if my humor did not come through before that particular line of text that you quoted. I do not feel that there is anything implicating that I was being serious. Because to have a beginner (Tarpazanx in this example) to take on the task of reading, absorbing and then literally practice something as advanced as 'Expert at the Card Table' by S.W. Erdnase, would be ludicrous.

    Just as I believe the first 200 characters or so in their various forms (letters, numbers, punctuation marks, etc....) indicate precisely.

    It was only a simple suggestion that it would not hurt for someone (even a beginner) to purchase a classic such as the aforementioned book, because it is at such a great price and there are tons of useful information that they will eventually care to learn when their skill level dictates such an endeavor.

    So is telling a true beginner to buy a booked titled "expert" anything horrible advice? Absolutely. And with that being said, it is obvious your observation skills are of the highest caliber dear sir, and I salute you.

    Thank you,

    - Steve
  9. Hmmm...

    But really I fully believe that any magician, not just a beginner, buying a book or dvd that is too advanced for them is a bad idea. I don't do "cardistry" so it would be like me buying some advanced flourishing dvd without knowing the basics and not understanding why I can't do the things they make look so easy on the dvd.

    People get discouraged easily and in this case thats what I think would happen if OP bought Expert at the Card Table.
  10. Again, you fail to also include the relevant text such as when I said:

    Directly below this was:

    Which you also carelessly forgot (intentional or otherwise) to also quote which would have put everything else that I had said in a much clearer context.

    And it does not mean in anyway shape or form that if the OP bought 'Expert at the Card Table' by S.W. Erdnase that they would become discouraged at all, whatsoever.

    In fact it could and more than likely would have the opposite effect.

    Would they be able to execute the maneuvers in the book? Probably not, but it would also give them something to look forward to.

    It would give them a goal to reach for and if and when this goal was met then the feeling of achievement would be extraordinary.

    If we're go to go this route then according to you this means that a beginner at American Football shouldn't watch NFL games because it is too advanced. An aspiring chef should stay clear of watching Emeril Lagasse or Wolfgang Puck. A 12 year old who just picked up a guitar should only stick to the pentatonic scale and avoid watching a Steve Vai concert.


    Maybe you get discouraged easily if you pick up a book and or a DVD that is beyond your capabilities, but it is rather irresponsible and short-sighted to place such attributes on others.

    - Steve
  11. I don't mind the conversation but lets stay professional fellas.
  12. Watching football, a concert or a chef on tv have nothing to do with this topic. Watching tv has nothing to do with going and doing what you just watched. An aspiring football player would have to learn how to catch a football first before getting a NFL deal. An aspiring chef would need to learn how to boil water before knowing how to make chicken cordon bleu. And a guitar player has to learn basic chords before getting a record deal.

    If a person with no skills in football, cooking and guitar playing tried to play in the NFL, cook chicken cordon bleu or try to get a record deal and failed everytime they would get discouraged. Its human nature it has nothing to do with it just being me.

    In this case, a beginner magician starting with a book made for and by experts will have the same outcome. Failure and discouragement. And if you have never been discouraged by failure in magic you must truely be an expert and I congratulate you.
  13. Sam, without failure and set backs their is no achievement. If we could so something at our very first attempt then it would mean nothing.

    Our greatest achievements are through our failures and set-backs.

    Being discouraged is one thing, being discouraged and throwing up your hands to never pick up a deck of playing cards again, is totally something else.

    Also you're insulting the intelligence of a beginner by implying that they would be so naive enough to think they have the skill necessary to accomplish what they read in a book such as Expert at the Card Table.

    I believe they are well aware that they do not yet possess such skill, hence why perhaps they come to a form like this and ask questions. Just as a novice guitar player would take guitar lessons, a beginning chef would go to culinary school and etc...

    My original post was made out of light-hearted humor while also letting someone know of another resource available to them, and I trust their judgement and intellect to determine if that is something they care to pursue.

    Because regardless of what I say or a hundred people say, what they do with that information is entirely up to them.

    Now, if you want to continue to nit-pick go right ahead but please don't start back tracking when I use your own words against you...unlike properly performed sleight of hand, even a beginner can see it.

    - Steve
  14. #15 Sam Hindrichs, Jul 10, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 10, 2012
    If I was insulting the OP's intelligence by sticking up for a possibly young and naive beginner magician (when an older more knowledgable magician tells him to buy a book that is far to advanced for him, instead of telling him to buy a book that starts him at step 1) then I am in the wrong and I apologize.

    No matter what you say I will not back track. When you use my words "against me" it will only help me more (especially when I am right) because a beginner starts at step 1 (royal road) not step 100 (expert at the card table).
  15. #16 HaveOuts, Jul 10, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 10, 2012
    It all comes down to the fact that you apparently didn't see/find the humor in my original post, maybe because it actually wasn't funny or just not funny to you.

    That is of course, subjective.

    What is also subjective is your claim of being 'right'. Even though this wasn't even an issue of being right or of being wrong.

    It's obvious you took a light-hearted comment and turned it into something of malice intent, (as if I was attacking them, with your "sticking up for" comment) when clearly that was not the case.

    You repeatedly quoted things I said and inputted negative views concerning that line of text, but conveniently left out the other text that would put it in it's proper and intended context.

    I made over 100 post thus far on this forum before making that original post on this thread, and not once has anyone accused me of giving bad/horrible advice, even when 90% of my post start out much in the same way (comical).

    I find it very pompous of you to use "sticking up" for someone when there was no reason whatsoever to stick up for them in the first place. I have read through several of your past post and a pattern that is reoccurring is how self-important you think you are.

    To me the worst mistake in magic (or in life in general) is to take oneself too seriously and to be pretentious, if you were as good in magic as you are at being those two things, then you would make the likes of Vernon, Copperfield, Burton, etc....look like custodians at the Magic Castle.

    You continue to nit-pick and you jumped in the conversation with a bad attitude from the start.

    Why that is, I honestly have not a clue.

    - Steve
  16. This. Your advice was spot on, RRTCM is an excellent place to start.

    For a broader course in magic, I recommend checking out Mark Wilson's complete course. It has an incredibly wide variety of material in it (including cards, which OP said he was interested in) and is quite cheap (less than $16 at Barnes and Noble). If you have access to an ebook reader, it could prove to be very useful. The entirety of the Tarbell Course, which normally retails for $200, is available for less than $10 (when I last checked) as an ebook on Amazon. That being said, the Tarbell might be a bit much for you to chew on.

    My advice: Read Royal Road to Card Magic. If you learn half the material in that book, you'll have more tricks in your repertoire than many online/"Youtube" magicians. It's a great starting place. Once you have read and practiced those, if you decide that you still want to pursue card magic, then read Card College. Jason England (a staff member here) has a great video on what to read that is definitely worth checking out.

    Try not to drown yourself by taking in too much material. I did, and I'm worse because of it. Books will be cheaper per trick than DVDs, while videos may give you the sleight edge (see what I did there?) that you need to fully understand a move (Jason England's 1 on 1s are a great example of this [they are well done and definitely worth checking out if you want to go the card/gambling sleight route]).

    Anyway, I hope that this has been helpful, even though most of it was echoing what Rick said :) .

  17. Easy-to-Do Card Tricks for Children (Become a Magician) by Karl Fulves, was published in 1989 when I was 12 years old (when I started doing magic) and it was one of my very first card magic books. You can find it on for under $7 dollars, also Card Control: Practical Methods and Forty Original Card Experiments by Arthur H. Buckley, (1993) was another I got a lot of use out of.

    - Steve
  18. Also "Easy to Master Card Miracles" by Michael Ammar. AMAZING DVD set full of great routines that are easy to master (hence the title). So once you are done with Royal Road, go check this DVD set out, it is going to be a perfect sequel to your card learning experience.
  19. You're right. I was being pompous "sticking up" for a beginner when he was given bad advice.

    I was being pompous when you said:

    and when you said :

    and when you said :

    and even when you said :

    I can see where I was being pompous this entire time by sticking to what I said in the first place instead of back tracking and bouncing around and changing my views the way you did.

    But in reality I do see my views as the "right" ones for the fact that I point people in the right direction the first time, instead of thinking a person who has no knowledge of magic material isn't naive and then tell them to buy a book that they will have no use of for at least a year or maybe more in their learning. Who's to say he isn't naive and goes out and wastes the money you just told him to buy? Who's to say he won't go out and buy Expert at the Card Table and sees that magic can be really hard and gives up?

    And the conversation between us is about being right and wrong. You were wrong to suggest a book the OP will have no use of for a very long time and I called you out on it. It's as simple as that. Right/Wrong. Black/White. Sorry.

    The whole point of this post :

    was to show you that maybe you should think people ARE naive and will take you seriously, especially when you say :

    What I was getting at was to maybe be serious sometimes and make this your first post :

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