‘How Long Did it Take You to Learn That?’ A Close Up Magician Reveals The Answer
I started at 6.
And it’s been a few hours since then, so not very long. (What can I say? Comedy clearly comes naturally to me).
Hilarious jokes aside, this is a question I get asked a lot while performing.
The Honest Answer
While it garners gasps and impressed looks on the faces of adoring onlookers, telling people that I spent ‘years of my life’ practicing a move or a trick simply isn’t, most of the time, true.
Are you ready for an honest (and slightly less awe-inspiring) answer?
The vast majority of the tricks I perform at events (and hundreds that I don’t) didn’t take very long at all to get to grips with. I’m talking a few hours at most.
Now, I understand that this sounds like trumpet-blowing of the most shameless kind, but let me clarify.
Imagine leaning to play tennis, having already been playing squash for years. The foundations would be there – fitness, precision, and swinging technique (my racquet sport expertise simply oozes off the page). The only extra bits you’d need to pick up are the rules.
I Wasn’t Born With it
If I would have tried learning the tricks I perform now before I’d covered the fundamentals of sleight of hand and performance technique, they would have taken far, far longer to master.
How long did learning the fundamentals take me? The short answer is: longer than it takes to learn to play tennis from scratch at a proficient level.
The slightly longer answer is: many, many hours over many, many months. I won’t say years, because I wasn’t exactly consistent when it came to practising. Suffice it to say that from the time I started to the moment where I could honestly say I was at least capable was roughly two years.
Is That All?
So do all close-up magicians take about the same amount of time to learn?
All sorts of factors such as overall ability, time available, the effectiveness of the practice itself, and especially the level of skill a magician is comfortable reaching play a huge part in how long learning the fundamentals and, indeed, new tricks takes.
All in all, learning this craft isn’t a task to be taken lightly. But it has been a hell of a lot of fun!