Practice – A Tip

What is the best way to practice? Well – I think I agree with something Steve Beam wrote in THE TRAPDOOR magazine.

Practice. Fast.

You see – it is only by performing a trick at a fast pace (in rehearsal) that the actions will be come automatic. And it is then you will be able to perform the trick without thinking. This is the approach you need in order that ‘muscle memory’ starts to kick in. Of course – this is just in order to master the ‘order of the sleights’ of an effect. Later rehearsals can be done at a slower (ie performance) speed in order to practice other aspects of the trick. But – it is important to aim for a state where you can perform the ‘method’ of an effect without any thinking. This is important since – when you throw in patter and the variables of a live audience – you need to be able to deal with the ‘method’ part of the trick with the ‘automatic/subconscious’ part of the mind…

And speaking of ‘fast’. I agree with Darwin Ortiz that too many amateurs perform at too slow a pace. Something else to watch out for…

Anway – I can’t find the Steve Beam article at the moment. So – apologies if I have screwed up an aspect of his thinking. I just wanted to throw this out so you guys can chew over the ‘gist’ of what Steve is saying…

5 Comments Add yours

  1. Rob says:

    Finding the right pace is difficult. I’m conscious that when nerves kick in I speed up, which can lead to a bewildering performance so I’ve been making a determined effort to slow myself down a bit. Give moments a bit of time to sink in. I don’t think I’m in danger of going /too/ slow just yet.

  2. cardmagic10 says:

    I hear what you are saying. But – if you can perform the sleights/method without any thinking – then it seems possible that this aspect of the trick will be immune from nerves. Still – it is not an easy option since this sort of ‘mastery’ takes ten times more practice time than you might usually consider neccesary for a trick…

    All the best,


  3. Eric Fry says:

    I’d make a distinction between practicing at a slow pace — with enough time to think about what you’re doing and adjust it — while you’re learning a move or trick, versus practicing a move or trick more quickly to add dexterity and sureness later on.

  4. Eric Fry says:

    Oh, another point. Some sleights are more convincing and less suspicious if they’re done slowly and deliberately in performance. Sometimes slow IS “at speed.”

  5. Justin says:

    That Ortiz comment is funny… I often find him rushing his technique and presentation at odd places. Has anyone else noticed that? It was worse when he was younger, but I still find instances that make me cringe.

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