Why is coin magic so hard!

May 2, 2010
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Hey guys,

I've recently started working on coin magic after working with cards for just over a year now...and I'm finding it quite difficult!

Whereas with cards, it was fairly easy to pick up and perform (because with cards, even with a sloppy double undercut or double lift as a beginner, you can get by, because the audience really doesn't know that things like a DL/DU even exist)

With coins, it seems you have to be *perfect* with your sleights, your timing, your fluidity. A sloppy palm gets noticed, a coin hitting another accidentally gets heard.

I know there's some phenomenal coin workers out there. I'm looking to improve my coinwork, is there any advice you could give to a beginner? I mean, I know I should work on my palms, vanishes, routines, etc...but is there anything you should particularly focus on?

By the way, I'm learning from "In the beginning there were coins" (Noblezada) and working on Tom Stone's One Coin Opener too.

Hopefully this thread helps other coin magic beginners out there too!
 
Feb 9, 2011
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It all takes practice. Cards, coins, silks, billiard balls, doves, major illusions - doesn't matter. Not just the sleights/moves/steps themselves to get them smooth, but the routining that minimizes the unnecessary and maximizes the entertainment value to the audience.

So whether it's cards or coins (to stick to the contrast at hand) you must practice more. There's no short cut. If you know you're doing a sloppy double undercut or a sloppy double lift, practice more. Practice longer. Practice harder. Trust me, you aren't going to "get by" because you think the audience doesn't know about a double under cut or a double lift. It doesn't matter if they know *what* move you did - only *that* you did a move. The instant they know you did *something*, it's game over.

That said, "perfect" is also an illusion. Even the most polished pro is human. Things both within and beyond your control happen to everybody. But practice, and lots of it, is what gets us ever closer to that ultimately illusive goal of actual perfection and magically seems to minimize those out-of-control occurrences.
 
Nov 27, 2009
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I worked from Noblezada's dvd as well, it wasn't easy. I'm just getting coins down, and what makes it harder for me at least, is the fact that A) I have windows, and B) coins are shinny, so every time I'm even slightly off on something the coins flash (almost literally). I think both of those things make things much more difficult. I have noticed, like you, that there is no room for error. I used to to get caught all the time because my timing was TERRIBLE. This has gotten better, and I'm learning more routines that I can use.

Also, I found just reading through Bobo's Modern Coin Magic to be rather helpful. There are a few reasons for this. The first is that I've always learned magic from books, or through reading something, so now it's natural for me to read an effect and then follow it with my fingers. The second reason is that the book is extremely thorough in describing what's needs to happen to accomplish whatever it is that you're trying to do. Another reason it's been helpful is it's full of classic effects that contain the basic principles behind everything else we do today with coins.
 
Jan 21, 2010
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Also, I found just reading through Bobo's Modern Coin Magic to be rather helpful. There are a few reasons for this. The first is that I've always learned magic from books, or through reading something, so now it's natural for me to read an effect and then follow it with my fingers. The second reason is that the book is extremely thorough in describing what's needs to happen to accomplish whatever it is that you're trying to do. Another reason it's been helpful is it's full of classic effects that contain the basic principles behind everything else we do today with coins.

I second this wholeheartedly. If you are at all interested in anything coin magic related, get Modern Coin Magic. It has EVERYTHING you need to know. Sleights, routines, gimmicks, psychology, AND its 1/3 of the price of most DVDs. You won't regret it.

Also, doing magic and being lazy are mutually exclusive. Magic doesn't perform itself. You have to make it happen. For that, you need to complain less and practice more
 
Aug 17, 2010
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Hi tan567

I think coin magic is tough because of its nature; there are fewer plots, and the sleights don't allow you to be clean as often as card magic; once you've done a double undercut, you don't have to keep holding out any thing. Once you show a double, replace it on the deck, your hands are clean. Once you've done a retention vanish of a coin, one hand is still dirty until you clean it up somehow. And most people will figure it's still in the other hand - that just makes sense unless the routine's construction takes care of this.

Learning to hold out is tough - aside from overcoming the magician's guilt, there's also technique that has to be at a certain level at least. The palms have to be natural looking, you have to be aware of the angles, and you have to throw in enough subtleties to throw them off the track without 'overproving'; this is tougher than it sounds.

All I can say is practice and it will come. And keep up with the cards; learning to misdirect and finding the best moment to do the move is a skill that translates well to coins. If you put in the work, it will pay off. Do the moves for real in a mirror and try to have the sleights look just like it.

Bobo's Modern Coin Magic is about the best deal in magic - around ten bucks, and literally years of learning.
 
Sep 1, 2007
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It's a very difficult style of magic. Sadly, coin magic past a certain point becomes magician magic, not spectator magic. So there are even fewer plots for lay people to enjoy.

My main point with coins is - Always go SUPER slow. It sucks, and it's boring. Everything you do, stand in front of your mirror, and do it as slow as you can. That way you build muscle memory and can spot errors/windows in what will be a fraction of a second while you're performing. Even then, coins actually FLASH when you flash a sleight, so above all - go slow.
 
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May 2, 2010
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Thanks for your replies :) I was actually going to quote some posts in this reply but there are too many good ones!

I think I'm going to go for Bobo's Modern Coin Magic, but thing is, I'm already working on a couple of card magic books at the moment (Erdnase, Paper Engine) and I don't want to be overwhelmed. But of course, practice is key!

By the way, do you guys think spectators perceive coin magic to be "better" than card magic (especially as your opening effect) as it's more organic?
 
Sep 10, 2008
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QLD, AUS
Thanks for your replies :) I was actually going to quote some posts in this reply but there are too many good ones!

I think I'm going to go for Bobo's Modern Coin Magic, but thing is, I'm already working on a couple of card magic books at the moment (Erdnase, Paper Engine) and I don't want to be overwhelmed. But of course, practice is key!

By the way, do you guys think spectators perceive coin magic to be "better" than card magic (especially as your opening effect) as it's more organic?

Organic doesn't necessarily mean better.

It's all what you get your spectators to perceive. That being said, it's very hard to appear spontaneous with playing cards, if that's what you're aiming for. Not many people carry playing cards around on them. Everyone carries coins around on them.
 
Aug 17, 2010
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Good, strong magic can come from anything - could be cards, coons, or something else entirely. What works best for me may not work best for you.
 
Feb 9, 2011
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Whenever I've got an audience in the forest, I know that I for one always go for the coon tricks. Davey Crockett hat to live raccoon gets 'em every time! (Sorry JButterfield - I just couldn't resist ... do know that I completely realize it was a simple typo and that it in no way diminishes my respect for you or the excellent advice and counsel you always provide. But like Roger Rabbit hearing Judge Doom tap out "Shave and a haircut ..." I just couldn't resist. My apologies.)

And tan567, here's another word of advice on practice: Just when you've practiced until you're fingers are ready to fall off because you still aren't getting a move down, just when you're frustrated and start doing coins across the room instead of between your hands, just when you're ready to chuck it altogether and investigate stage magic, practice another few minutes. THAT'S when you'll get it. Like so many things in life, magic has a way of weeding out those who give up or don't really put the necessary work into it and bestowing manyfold rewards upon those who do. Don't quit!
 
Feb 9, 2011
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JButterfield: You should see my coons across and coons thru table. Modern classics. And I've got the bite marks and rabies vaccinations to prove it.

tan567: To follow-up on my previous advice (and at the risk of sounding contradictory with it) if you still don't get a move once you've pushed it past the point of your second wind, then do the opposite: take a break. Not just overnight, but for for like 2 or 3 days. Don't work on that move during that time. Go back over your real favorites among all the stuff you do have down when you do practice, but don't even try that troublesome move again for two or three days. Then start over with it. Act you you've never read the instructions in the book or watched the instruction on DVD or download. Skip nothing. This is something brand new that you've never seen. A few days' break and an instructional do-over has yet to fail me when I'm really intent on learning something.
 
Aug 17, 2010
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JButterfield: You should see my coons across and coons thru table. Modern classics.

I'll show you the hanging coons one day, and the coon assembly - you need pretty big hands to conceal a giant rodent, but it's pretty magical if you can; sliding them around on a close-up pad is kind of knacky, though.
 
May 2, 2010
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Thank you for all your replies :) and an interesting discussion about "coons" across LOL :)

As I've been practising more and more, things are coming along faster than I thought! (except the muscle pass though :(

And Darth Vader, you're absolutely right about practising a move so much that even the hardest of moves "click" at the very last minute...I've experienced it with cards...I remember getting so annoyed with the Lennart Green Top Shot at one point, and also the classic pass!
 
Sep 1, 2007
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Ideally card magic should be perfect too. Coin magic there's much less room for error though. However, you should be just as disciplined about card magic as you have to be with coin magic. Hopefully the experience of learning coin magic will help you with the effort you know you have to put into card magic.

Good luck!
 
Good, strong magic can come from anything - could be cards, coons, or something else entirely. What works best for me may not work best for you.

Nothing like pulling a raccoon from out of nowhere, now that is impromptu! People will be talking about that one for years! "Hey Bill, remember last year when JButterfield pulled a raccoon out of thin air and then it bit my date" *Bill* "Yeah, that guy was awesome!" lol

Yeah, I've noticed that coin magic is something you have to work on while still practicing card magic, or else you won't be doing any magic for a while. I know there is a guide somewhere out there on the internet on how to study BoBo's Modern Coin Magic book. Also, pick up Metal by Eric Jones, and David Roth's Expert Coin Magic Made Easy DVDs. I'm in the same boat as you, and right now I'm having difficulty figuring out how to actually use the sleights right away, so far now I just practice the sleights when I'm at work, or in the car. The only downside that Metal and Roth's Expert Coin Magic, is that the first routines they show you involve the classic palm, which is one of the hardest palms to master, and also making it look natural takes months-years or practice. Also, 3Fry http://www.theory11.com/tricks/three-fry-chris-kenner.php will be worth picking up for only $5 dollars, and it will probably be the only chance we (as in, us beginners) have of actually performing a nice looking trick with coins in the shortest amount of time, without having to practice for months-years at a time to be able to perform our first trick/routine.
 
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Best thing I can offer for advise is, you miss 100% of the shots you don't take. So go out there and use real people as practise, they will be very honest if you flash. Think about bringing a gaff with you as a finale to a coin routine so the spectator always leaves in awe even if you **** up. Lastly, always have coins on you and forget about dropping them, because you will.. and people will hear it.. just pick it up and keep practising.
 
Jul 17, 2011
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I'm sure its been said 100 times already, but it all depends on what you're doing (what tricks you decide to to learn and perform). Some is harder than others.

Why is it so difficult? I think a few points are relevant:
-The difference with cards and coins, essentially, is that their conventional purposes are drastically different. People are used to seeing a deck of cards in the hands, being moved and manipulated in card games and such. But with coins and bills, you hand them to people. You put them in your wallet. They're not usually part of a game or activity, they're used to buy things. So naturally, people get more suspicious when they are used for alternative things.
-With cards, you're using 1 to 52 of them (and they're all together, in a deck, as a single unit). You have a lot to work with. With coins, you're not using nearly as much, and they're not ever a single unit. (its always "I have 3 coins", it doesn't work like playing cards "I have a deck of cards", you're not gonna say "I have 52 cards here...unless numbers are specifically relevant to the trick.) I think the difference in perception of amount of each object greatly influences the audience's suspicion.

I hope this helps in some ways.

And, as everyone else said, practice practice practice.
 
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