I could use some help.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by eduardo.ojeda9821, Nov 15, 2016.

  1. Hello partners, I need an advise, when I do magic I get very nervous and my hands start shaking, I say to myself "you just need more practice, and practice in front of other people" but I've done that and the only way I managed to avoid the shaking was in a bar with a shot of tequila. So any advise? Have you been through this? This really will go away with the time and practice? Thanks for reading.
    Brett Hurley likes this.
  2. As aspiring magicians I think we have all been there. I presume that the shaking is because you are nervous. The only way to get around this is to practice more. This nervousness goes away when your moves/sleights become second nature. You don't shake or get nervous when you reach for that shot of tequila, because your brain has registered that action countless times rendering it second nature. So my advice is to keep practicing. I used to get the shakes when performing my Ambitious Card Routine for people, now I just whip out my cards and do it. Hope this helps.
    CWhite and eduardo.ojeda9821 like this.
  3. Are you nervous when performing every effect in a routine? From personal experience, I tend to get nervous and get shaky hands during the first effect, but after that, I'm fine for the rest of the effects. If you are performing for a person or group you have never performed for, you don't know what reactions to expect from them. After that first effect, you now know what they think of you and your magic, for the most part. If there is a positive response, run with it. Hopefully you gain for confidence for the rest of the effects. Also, you've broken the ice after that first one, so the audience should be a little more relaxed. Secondly, you may are nervous because you are thinking your sleight of hand may not be great and you are afraid of messing up. If you know you have practiced the sleight hundreds or even thousands of times, when performing, just perform the move as clean as possible. If you mess up a sleight early on, by the end of the effect, the audience will most of the time forget about it because they are reacting to the "punchline" of the trick. The audience response at the end of the effect will sometimes provide you with information on whether or not your mess up was significant. Just try and feed off of the audience and gain confidence in the moment.
  4. The shaking is from a lack of feedback from the audience. It isn't a fear of screwing up, it is a fear of will they like you and your performance. A primal reversion to the times where is something didn't like you, it would eat you. Nobody likes to be eaten.

    In all seriousness, it is the same fear for public speaking or asking someone out or asking for a raise -- the fear that the person you are interacting with will reject you. Some of the time it is a fear of them rejecting you because they will screw up, the rest of the time is is whether they will think you are entertaining.

    As for the fear of screwing up - get over it. You will screw up. We all do. Learn a new phrase, "that didn't quite work out the way it was supposed to, but let me try something else...."

    Before you begin performing you need to engage the audience. Talk to them. Ask questions. When I start performing a show, I begin by talking and telling a story. By the time I start doing the magic, I've already established that the audience likes me -- or at least is laughing at my really bad jokes out of sympathy.
  5. you are right, I just get nervous at the first effect.Thank you very much.
  6. You helped me a lot. Thank you very much,
    Gabriel Z. likes this.
  7. Shaking is a result of anxiety on your body so your body will go into a fight or flight response. During intense anxiety, your body is flooded with adrenaline/epinephrine. Adrenaline is pure energy, and your body shakes as a result.

    So basically your excitement/nervousness over performing in front of people is causing your body to react with energy it's not use to handling and it compensates by shaking. The way to overcome this shaking is to have control on how your body is expelling energy. Deep breaths (make sure they are big, deep breaths) is a way of expelling this excess of energy. Another way to do it is to yell if you can find the appropriate way to do it (i.e. doing a street magic show and yelling "Hey everyone! Come check out this awesome show I'm putting on!"). Another effective way to expel this energy is to have fun laughing. A good mix of humor and playing around with the crowd can give you a good excuse to get in a good laugh and thus lower all the adrenaline your body is producing and will instead focus on producing endorphins which will make you feel good and happy during your performance.

    It's really hard to get rid of anxiety before a show begins even if you have been doing it for several years. I get a little nervous all the time right before a big show. What I have learned from doing several performances over the last two years is how to channel my anxiety and use it to give me energy into my performance. Try to keep in mind that it's the magician that makes the trick and not the other way around. Have the crowd focus on your character and have your effects be an afterthought to the character. This takes less heat off of the mechanics in case you slip up and your audience will be more focused on the story you are trying to present to them. This also allows you to have more fun with your audience so if you blow a trick big time you can play it off as a joke and use another effect to recover.

    An audience can pick up on when your really nervous so if you notice you are shaking, don't freak out! Instead slow things down with a subtle yet deep breath and focus more on the story you are trying to tell. If you can crack a joke or two and laugh along with the audience, this will help them to forget that you are nervous then you can go into your effect. Once you deliver the effect and let them soak in the moment, they are going to be entertained by your show and will not give a second thought to you being nervous earlier.

    A good example of what I'm talking about is Kyle Eschen's performance on Fool Us with Penn and Teller. During the performance you can clearly see he is nervous and his body shakes at times. Whenever you see his body start to shake, you will notice he slows down his act for a moment and focuses on delivering a joke and uses the audience's laughter as time to collect himself. It's a beautiful performance of comedy magic that should give you a visual representation of what I'm talking about.

    Hope this helps!
  8. I, too, like to open with something that requires no physical skill. For a long time I opened by reciting a poem which was a 2 minute bit. No tricks, just showing some cards while I talked. It let me relax and gauge the audience before I did any real work. After that my first 'real' routine didn't use any sleight of hand, either.

    It really is just a matter of perfecting your material, and then performing it until you figure out how you can handle your nerves. Everyone has their own way of doing things and you will figure out yours if you just keep at it.

    One odd suggestion - make sure you eat right before performing. A lot of people get nervous and forget to eat, so on top of the adrenaline rush they are also working on poor nutrition.
    CWhite likes this.
  9. I suffer from severe social anxiety disorder.
    The alcohol does help, but soon it will become a need not a want. That is a very dark journey you don't want to go on. As for the shaking, like the others more qualified than I have said.."practice, practice, practice". However doing so in front of a mirror or camera won't help. You have to perform in front of people. A lot. Good luck with everything and let everyone know how it's progressing. Cheers!
    Gabriel Z. likes this.
  10. Do you find that your hands shake at all other times? I have an "essential (fine) tremor". For me it's very slight and barely noticeable in a normal day, but when I get nerves, my hands shake. Trying to take a drink on stage is a nightmare. Nerves make it worse. People with Essential tremors find that alcohol helps, as well, there is medicine that can help a bit (though it can also make it worse!). For me I have to tackle the nerves directly. That means I must start with an effect I have loads of confidence with. I'm not learning it or worried it might fail. I could do it in my sleep. Beginning with that level of confidence reduces the anxiety of starting. I also learned how to fan cards in a way that helps keep them steady while a card is being picked (bracing the fan with my other hand, and using less cards in each fan).
  11. I do similar things, Justin.Morris - subtly bracing my hands or whatever when I may feel shaky.

    I also sometimes just make a joke of it. When I do the fair in CT my first performance of the day is kind of early and I'm often a tad shaky. When I do Through and Through I make a joke saying something like, "It may seem like I'm nervous about this but I assure you, I'm not - But all I've had today is coffee and as you can see, they brew it strong here."
  12. If you're doing magic that contains a lot of sleights, it's going to be hard to successfully perform while shaking. You may want to practice performing less technical magic for a few weeks until your hands stop shaking. Build your confidence with easier effects and concentrate on engaging with people. After you master that, slowly build up to more sleight-centric magic. Best of luck!

    eduardo.ojeda9821 likes this.
  13. I'm not too experienced but it sounds like you are shy, so maybe try some self-working tricks or other things where shaking doesn't matter. Hopefully over time as you perform for people you won't be as nervous and won't shake, and can do more things involving cards and sleights.
    The Magic X and CWhite like this.
  14. David Stone has even said after years of experience he still gets nervous. Try doing things to get the adrenaline out like jump up and down or do some pushups or something... it sounds weird but the shaking is just pent up adrenalin (like relation said, so you can run away from that thing trying to eat you.) Once you get these nerves down you will be less shaky... Though this doesn't always work for everyone, you may need to fin your own way to calm yourself down.
  15. I perform in front of people every week and time to time still essential tremors. I just tell people I shouldn't of had a red bull before performing. :)
    I think mine probably come from more of an adrenaline rush of performing than being nervous as I don't really get nervous any more.
    eduardo.ojeda9821 likes this.

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