I hear and see many magicians discuss the genre of magic called "Street Magic". There are many arguments against it, as it is sometimes not considered a real performance setting and many seasoned magicians scoff the idea. I have heard many top creators say that street magic is only done when we are trying to film a dvd and sell it, or that it is only good for TV magic (David Blaine, Angel, Troy, etc.) and that we should be working on actual shows and performances for money. Should we encourage the practice of "street magic"? In short, my answer is YES. Street magic as I am writing is not the same as busking. With busking, we set up in a location where there is traffic and build up a crowd by saying we are doing a show and performing. I do not professionally busk, and never had. I have read some materials on busking etiquette and tips, but I have never worked a "pitch" or had an official "Hat call" so I will not discuss busking. I have had experience performing Street Magic. Why do I feel that street magic is important? Because it allows you to do many things that an actual gig will not allow you or inhibit you to do. 1. Street magic allows you to practice new effects. When doing a professional gig I will usually do my tried and true material. Rarely will I throw in something completely new and not tested on someone else or another audience. This is where street magic can come in. Go out and perform your new magic to anyone. If you mess up, oh well you will most likely never see that person again, or you can go on and do something completely different. You can almost even tell the person that you are going to show them something completely new and then try it out. Yes you can test your tricks with your family, but if your families are anything like mine they know a double lift and a pass and will not take in consideration your built in misdirection or answer your questions. They are your hardest critics. When performing street magic you can perform these moves and actually get away with it because they do not know what to expect (much like a real lay audience would). Another side effect of street magic is a sense of honesty between magician and audience. Many times if you do something wrong, there is less of an appropriate boundary for performance etiquette. If you mess up or flash, some people will defiantly call you out. This is a fantastic piece of advice for a performer. If you flash, then you know what to work on. If someone isn't fooled, then you can fix what is not fooling to make it more deceptive. 2. Builds Confidence. This is a HUGE advantage of street magic. Unlike a show or a paid gig, you actually have to introduce yourself and people are not prepared for a show. If requires you to go OUTSIDE your comfort zone and to become... uncomfortable. We cannot change ourselves if we stay comfy. If we stay in our safe zone, then we will never grow as a performer and going up to a total stranger on a street or a mall or festival and doing magic can be one of the most awkward things you will do. But once you do this and perform and see how awesome they think you are then you will see how easy it is to approach someone and introduce yourself and your magic. There is however a caveat there. What if they say NO!? Seriously!? People will actually say no to magic. Some people are too busy, don?t want to be bothered, and may also be just as nervous as you are to participate. Think about walking down a street and someone asking you to participate in a study, try a new hair product, to give some change, or to lean about our lord and savior Jesus Christ. I am pretty sure that you might not want to participate (I know I would be nervous). That is why by doing street magic you catch people off guard and not sure of your true motivation. When I do street magic, if I am not with someone filming (which I will touch on later) I will introduce myself and explain that I am performing magic for free or practice and be as honest as I can be. I will not go up to them and automatically put them on the spot or be rude, but I will be genuine and honest about my intention so there are no surprises. 3. Builds Fluency. Short and simple, by practicing, we become better and more fluid in our performance style and scripting and it allows us practice 4. Gives us practice. By doing street magic (same with a restaurant or strolling gig) it gives us several opportunities to work on a show or set. Every time, EVERY TIME, I go out and perform street or strolling magic I am able to find and learn something new about a trick I am doing or a routine I have been practicing. My greatest gains in routines and effects have come from what others have said or what I have found myself thinking in a particular moment during a performance. Also when I go out and do street magic I will often find a friend to come with me. This does 2 things. First it gives me someone to talk to when no one is around, and second it gives me a second pair of eyes / a camera man. I love filming my street performances or any impromptu performance because it gives me reference for later. I always try to have someone film my performances for a few reasons. I love to have promo material, and if a performance is being filmed and someone freaks out on camera, then I can use that later (if I ask permission). Second it allows me to see my performance and to determine what I did right and wrong. I always watch my shows and think to myself, well that could have been better, I guess I should stop saying "ok" or "you know" so much. Lastly I film because it allows me to see if the reactions from the audience are what I want or not. I honestly feel that with street magic it gives us many opportunities to refine our craft and to improve us as people and performers. From Practice, to confidence, to fun, it gives the best of magic. Heck, we can even get tipped from street magic if we want. Street magic is not just for promo vids and TV shows, but can be an essential part of our growth as magicians. TL;DR Street magic teaches us confidences, provides us with practice, and gives us an environment for honest opinions and criticism from someone other than our parents.