Teaching a friend magic who's also into magic

Pete Pridanonda

Elite Member
Jun 13, 2009
402
35
Hey everyone, so one friend of mine in my high school got started in magic because she've seen me perform magic a lot a school and one day I decided to teach her a few simple shoelace and card magic to get her started. The problem is that everytime she watches me perform magic, she wanted to catch how I did it and begs me to tell her how it was done. In the first few times, I used to tell her how every single one of my magic was done after my performances but now I felt that I'm just giving this knowledge to her on a silver platter. Then after a while I performed my new effects or routines and I refused to tell her how I did it because for one reason I know that she wouldn't be able to perform them due to the lack of props or little skill on presentation to make the effect memorable. I offered her one of my magic books but she told me she hate learning from books. i would be more than happy to teach her a few of my magic once in a while but for the most part i wanted to keep the secret of my better magic effects to myself. i told her the reason i did this is because I don't want to ruin the secret becasue I've been working on this for a long time but sometimes she gets mad at me. What do all of you think would be an appropriate reply to avoid this situation in the future? Thank you in advance.
 
Feb 7, 2011
362
1
It's a lovely idea. But it's going to be hard.

One possible solution, when she see's an effect she wants to know how to do, set a date for her to learn a move, a staple move like the glide, the double lift or the elmsley count. If she learns it by that set date she can learn the other trick she wanted.
Thats a bit complicated but i believe it's what you're looking for.

Second and best option. Tell her it's not happening, and if she wants to play piano, she has to start with chopsticks. Id say in about a week and a half she'll be finished with magic.
 

Pete Pridanonda

Elite Member
Jun 13, 2009
402
35
It's a lovely idea. But it's going to be hard.

One possible solution, when she see's an effect she wants to know how to do, set a date for her to learn a move, a staple move like the glide, the double lift or the elmsley count. If she learns it by that set date she can learn the other trick she wanted.
Thats a bit complicated but i believe it's what you're looking for.

Second and best option. Tell her it's not happening, and if she wants to play piano, she has to start with chopsticks. Id say in about a week and a half she'll be finished with magic.

Now that is a GREAT idea, thank you!! Though I don't quite understand the second part, how does chopsticks relate to piano and how does all of this has anything to do with magic. Also, I don't think she will be finish with magic easily, she's very passionate.
 
Dec 11, 2010
124
0
California
I have taught a few of my friends magic. What I always tell them when they want to know newer tricks is that they need to get the basics down first. Once you see that they improve on, lets say, the double lift, I would show them how some other trick works as a "reward" and move them on to the next basic move.
 

WitchDocIsIn

Elite Member
Sep 13, 2008
5,739
2,854
If someone I know, who's learning magic, tries to get me to tell them the method to one of the tricks I think is too advanced for them, I just tell them the source I learned it from. I also make a point of telling them if I think something's too difficult for them just yet. I do this tactfully, of course. I've never had a student that was learning only from me, though.

Teaching is a skill, just like magic or whatever. You have to learn how to say, "I'll teach you that later," and stick to it. You need to guide them through the basics without letting them bite off more than they can chew.
 

RealityOne

Moderator
Nov 1, 2009
3,577
3,848
New Jersey
Telling someone how something is done, isn't teaching - which is why you are starting to feel uncomfortable about this. The difference is that when you are teaching someone they want to learn how to do something NOT how just how something is done. Think about that for a minute and you will understand where I'm going with this.

I would suggest teaching her one effect at a time. You teach her how to do an effect. She has to learn, practice and perform the effect before you teach her something else. This way ensures she wants to know the secrets to perform not just because she wants to know how it is done.
 

RickEverhart

forum moderator / t11
Moderator
Sep 14, 2008
3,655
465
43
Louisville, OH
A lot of good advice has been given.

You need to take baby steps with her. I like the idea of having her learn a sleight that might be used within the effect and her her demonstrate it proficiently to you first before you go on with the remainder of the effect. This shows that if she truly wants to learn it that bad that she will put in the time as you did.

She is doing this because we all know it is a lot of work to get to where most of us are and she wants a short cut. Part of that makes me mad, not at her, but in people in general who want an easy way to get the instant gratification.

Part of me thinks that if you give her the option of learning the sleight first that she will be done in a few weeks as well and move on to something else.

You cannot and should not be handing things over on a silver platter. The reason you are angry is because you know how long it took you to read / learn / practice the effect. Now one exception to this rule would be if she was in fact paying you as a student would a mentor. When I first started out I was paying my mentor close to $40 per (1hr. and 30 minute) lesson.
 

Casey Rudd

Social Director // theory11 interactive
Staff member
Jun 5, 2009
3,050
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Charleston, SC
www.instagram.com
A few years ago I had a close friend wanting to learn magic. He bought gaff decks, illusions, etc for Christmas and we got together and practiced, gave each other advice, and I was teaching him the basics of card magic because that's what he was most interested in. This was my first and only close magic friend in my area, but unfortunately he was one of those guys who is in a hobby for a little while and finds something else.

But during that time it was fun teaching him the basics, and he was excited about learning them cause he saw the reactions I was getting. Because he was my friend, he didn't want to steal them away from me, we "double-teamed" and together we performed magic to our friends and other people. If I forgot an effect to perform, he would silently tell me the name of the trick that he thought would go over well, or just simply try and see if goes well. It was an awesome experiment and I wish he got back into magic again.

Just a few days ago I was doing some card magic for some friends at the lunch table and I ran out of stuff to perform. I got a "writer's block" for magician's. To be honest, I wasn't prepared to perform at all that day. I was just doing Cardistry at my desk all day just to be occupied. But when I ran out of stuff to do, my friend who was into magic was sitting at the table gave me a suggestion of an old effect that I forgot about. I did it and the table went wild.

It's awesome that he still remembers effects and the basics that I taught him. Maybe I should try and get him back into it because he's supportive of my magic all the time. Interesting thread Pete. Thanks for sharing! Made me reflect on my own past experiences. I agree on all past advice that was given, they spoke the words that I was going to say.
 
Dec 18, 2007
1,610
13
61
Northampton, MA - USA
It's a lovely idea. But it's going to be hard.

One possible solution, when she see's an effect she wants to know how to do, set a date for her to learn a move, a staple move like the glide, the double lift or the elmsley count. If she learns it by that set date she can learn the other trick she wanted.
Thats a bit complicated but i believe it's what you're looking for.

Second and best option. Tell her it's not happening, and if she wants to play piano, she has to start with chopsticks. Id say in about a week and a half she'll be finished with magic.

This is quite close to how it used to be when Brick & Mortar shops were still around and frankly, when magic clubs like the IBM actually fulfilled the "call" they claimed to serve -- to preserve and encourage the growth of the art vs. becoming a good ole boy's drinking society such as we find all too frequently these days.

While I can understand people having difficulty learning form books you really do need to emphasize the fact that she is going to need to INVEST into the art and not rely exclusively on you in that such things can (and usually do) lead to problems. The alternative however, would be to make her your partner and start doing gigs as a team. You could do the traditional magic and she could be the Psychic for an example; put her into a Spirit Cabinet or do a Two-Way Telepathy styled act, something that features her so as to appease her ego and desire to perform while keeping the two of you "different" from one another. It's a very commercial way to do things, just look up Willard the Wizard and how he did his touring show. Most of it was traditional magic and then he'd segue into Mentalism featuring his daughter Francis as a Spirit Medium within a simple Cloth & Pipe cabinet (and here's the other Spirit Cabinet they do -- btw, the lady is the daughter of Willard the Wizard and has been Mike Ammar's mother-in-law for a good number of years now).

It's just an idea to think about in that you will have a wonderful amount of time smoothing out such a program by the end of college life (let's say 25ish) and ready to go full-time with a truly professional quality program. Not to mention the fact that I know of two kids that started a similar act during their Junior year in High School and before they hit their 20's were already pulling in over $2,500.00 a show with a simple 20 minute act.

Yes, I'm evil for putting such thoughts in your mind, but it is an option. Especially if you and she decide to become more than just friends.
 

Pete Pridanonda

Elite Member
Jun 13, 2009
402
35
Wow, thank you very much everyone for chiming in! I really did not expect so many feedback and so many great points for me to think about! I really have no idea what to say next except thank you very much to all of you, I'll tell her about this and if I have any further problems, I will let all of you know.
Another thing is that I am okay about teaching her self working magic and occasional magic that uses a few sleights. I taught her how to do the double lift(she got it down but the handling looks very stiff), double undercut(she did very well), pivot change aka shake change (she gave up on), classic pass (she gave up), charlier cut and thumb fan(the latter she is still working on). I will definitely use all of your advice next time she asked me for the secret. You see, the only problem is that once in a while I like to do gimmick effects and as all of you may know, the use of some gimmicks can help enhance your sleights and made the effect look that much more impossible. Now after I perfrom a trick that uses gimmicks in some way, she ALWAYS asked me and begs me to tell her how it works( keep in mind that she thinks I'm using intense sleight of hand). I really don't want to tell her how they were done because for one I don't want to tell her the secret of an effect that uses something that I know she doesn't own and Iwhenever I perform the trick, she sometimes interrupts me during the performance and tell everyone to watch this hand carefully, mention something that normal audiences will never notice or suspect during an effect etc...What would be the most appropriate reply for this situation? I always told her that I worked really hard on this trick and I don't feel like sharing a secret with you right now. But then she gets upset and sometimes try to call out some of the sleights that she knows I'm doing to the audience.
Thank you again for the advice and feedback everybody! Rick, Reality One, Casey, and Craig, your advice really is very helpful to me and I greatly thank you for your time and support.
 
Feb 7, 2011
362
1
So she's walking all over you, making demands and embarrassing you in front of your friends, sounds like a marriage without the fun parts. Tell her to wise up. I dont think you need magic advice for this part, i think you need friendship advice. This would be the same if a friend was undermining any hobby or pastime you devote your time to, especially in front of friends.

Also, something I wondered when I first read this thread but forgot to ask. What qualifies you to teach or mentor another magician? It's like any craft, there are right ways and wrong ways of doing things that can only be ironed out with experience, you seem relatively young, 15 maybe 16? Thats the cold reading kicking in now. However my point is valid, if she wants to learn magic she should be learning the moves from a book or other resource, not from you. I say that with the best intentions.
 

Pete Pridanonda

Elite Member
Jun 13, 2009
402
35
So she's walking all over you, making demands and embarrassing you in front of your friends, sounds like a marriage without the fun parts. Tell her to wise up. I dont think you need magic advice for this part, i think you need friendship advice. This would be the same if a friend was undermining any hobby or pastime you devote your time to, especially in front of friends.

Also, something I wondered when I first read this thread but forgot to ask. What qualifies you to teach or mentor another magician? It's like any craft, there are right ways and wrong ways of doing things that can only be ironed out with experience, you seem relatively young, 15 maybe 16? Thats the cold reading kicking in now. However my point is valid, if she wants to learn magic she should be learning the moves from a book or other resource, not from you. I say that with the best intentions.

I believe you can teach someone if you have more knowledge then they do and are serious about that particular artform? I am 16 years old yes how do you know did you saw my youtube videos or judging from my post about a friend in high school? The thing is she hates learning from books, she gets bored so easily but then I guess it's her loss in the end. Tomorrow I will talk to her about this and maybe show her this thread. Thak you for your advice as well, I really appreciate your help.
 
Feb 7, 2011
362
1
It seems like a school situation, that and how you present yourself, i guessed, that makes it cold reading rather than hot reading. Not very difficult cold reading mind you.
 
Nov 2, 2011
8
0
...It isn't like magic is some secret society that only the guys in the know are able to be a part of... You can just be radically honest ..."this is too difficult for your skill level, and will take a really really long time to master, but tell me something you like so that I will remember it." This already makes you a nice guy helping another person out, and it also plants a seed in their subconscious that with practice, time, and skill, they will eventually get to learn the cool stuff you're doing.
 
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