Question about teaching magic...

Luis Vega

Elite Member
Mar 19, 2008
Leon, Guanajuato Mexico
Question about teaching magic...
Hi everyone!!

It´s been some time since I came to this forums... today I have a question... and I want your opinion!!

as a preface, I am part of a magic club I created along some magicians here in my city...and it has been good... but something happened the other day and I want your input...

A new member arrived, it´s a kid of about 12 years old, he has good moves and willing to learn!!... I still have to see if he has potential...but he has willpower..which is good!!

Anyway, the club is planning an all-stars show with all the magicians, and since some of us are seniors, we were assigned a young magician to mentor him for his performance in the show... I was paired with my old student which is great!! since I have missed him, teaching him magic and else...

But the new kid is with other of the seniors... and let me describe it for you... he is mostly a card magician, and he has a lot of knowledge and I think in terms of card magic...he has the best sleight of hand... that said, he always says he is a full time magician and he spents all his time practicing routines and tricks... but he only had done a couple of shows, since he feels he is the "best of the crop" with nothing to show for it... he thinks that because he has read a lot books... he knows more than all of us (without real world experience)

He is forcing the kid to read a lot material (by downloading them pirated), refuses to teach him anything and he says the kid should take magic he must work a lot and he will only give insight...

To be honest... I don´t agree... let me explain...

I agree that magic is a serious bussiness when it comes to shows, clients and spectators... I know it... and that reading books and new material is extremely important... BUT I don´t agree that he is making the kid feel the magic as some kind of "homework" or "job" which to a 12 yrs old, is nonsense... the kid has no idea where to begin with, he told me the other day that this magician is really obnoxious and strict with him... that he told him he must look for all the material by himself, and he will only review it...

Anyway, I have taught kids magic in the past, and I feel that sparking and increasing the interest in magic is a lot more important to do first than doing all the hard stuff AT FIRST... that a kid should look as magic a fun hobby and not as a job or some kind of school...

I haven´t said anything since this matter is not of my direct concern...but I would love to read your opinions...
Sep 1, 2007
Yeah, this "senior" magician is a pompous armchair magic never-was. Full-time? And he's only done a couple of shows? Somebody needs to put this smug know-it-all in his place.

Mastery is achieved not solely through academia but from real world experience. If he never has this kid performing then he's just going to turn him into a copy of what this curmudgeon is now: a useless windbag demanding respect that he hasn't earned. A good teacher doesn't browbeat a student with textbooks. He facilitates learning.

I think you should start teaching this kid behind the other guy's back. He's completely unqualified to be a teacher and I would wager he's probably the worst showman among you. There's nothing truly useful that he can teach this kid. I suspect he imagines himself some sort of zen master, being difficult on his student and trying to tear down his preconceived notions to evoke enlightenment in him. But this guy can hardly be considered a master himself, so he's really just a hack who has no business trying to teach a dog how to bark.


Elite Member
100% agree with everything Steerpike said.

Sounds like the guy is more of a magic historian than a performer, therefore his high status should only be viewed as a historian and not magician. He also sounds very lazy and disinterested in actually mentoring the kid.

I agree with you. It makes no sense for the kid to start studying magic like an academic course. Learning a hundred ways to do a double lift is not going to help him grow as a magician at this point in his life. He should learn a routine he likes, no matter how simple it is, and practice the sleights involved, and presentation. Most of all, he should have fun performing. That should be the main focus. The thrust of magical knowledge will grow as long as he loves what he is doing.

Since everyone is assigned a mentor, can mentors be changed if the kid requests it?

When you started the club, did you guys enact bylaws to govern the club? Pirating magic is usually against a lot of magic clubs bylaws, and encouraging one to do so can get you kicked out.
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