I’m often asked where I learnt magic from, and occasionally someone is interested in magic themselves or knows someone else who wants to learn. The short answer is from books.
If you are already a hobbyist magician and wanting to find out about performing magic check out my other site: How To Be A Professional Magician.
Although it’s pretty “boring” nowadays, the best way to learn card magic is by books. Actual books made of paper so you can sit down, read, look at the pictures, absorb and practise.
Unfortunately there is a growing trend nowadays for instant downloads that promise amazing magic by some trendy hipster with fast editing and energetic music. However, if someone is serious nothing beats practising the basic fundamentals which will open up a whole world of possibilities, as opposed to just trying to learn another trick.
The first book I’d recommend is the Royal Road to Card Magic by Jean Hugard. This really does start at step one but works through the fundamental card sleights using tricks to illustrate each point.
The sister to this book is the Enclycopedia of Card Tricks by Michael Bailey. Although it’s easy to think of this a book of tricks from Amazon, there’s a lot of tricks in here used by professional magicians.
If someone really does enjoy sitting down and learning/practising card sleights then Expert at the Card Table by SW Erdnase is the daddy. It was written by a gambler over 100 years ago and goes through some very interesting – and hard – techniques. Not for the beginner. Actually, this book had such an impact on me I put together a talk/demo about it. (Earlier this year I was teaching my local WI group false shuffles and fake deals!)
Branching out from just card magic then I very highly recommend the Complete Course in Magic by Mark Wilson. This at first glance is easy to dismiss as a kids book, but actually contains tricks and routines covering all genres of magic, and many of those are used by professionals in their act today. It genuinely is the complete course, but so often overlooked purely because of it’s cheesy cover!
This really is just the tip of the iceberg, but should give a good foundation to build on. Once you have started learning the basics you can then you can start looking at shops that specialise in selling magic tricks and materials directly to magicians. Check out Vanishing Inc Magic, a great online magic shop that supplies to magicians in the UK and USA.
Work out what your style is. Card magic is very popular as all you need is a deck of cards, and of course coin magic means that as long as someone has some change in their pocket you will always be ready to perform a miracle when you are out with friends. You may wish to specialise in mind-reading (mentalism) or sleight of hand with everyday objects. I do recommend that even if you have a preference you learn techniques of other styles as often there is a cross-over of skills – even if it doesn’t look like it.
I am often asked by amateur magicians about how they too can become a professional magician (either on a full-time basis, or as a sideline to their regular job). I’ve set up a separate website (www.howtobeaprofessionalmagician.com) to help. As well as articles, lessons, videos and even a podcast, there are also a selection of courses to help. See How To Be A Professional Magician.
Please feel free to contact me at any time in the future. In fact, I’d absolutely love it if you emailed me in the future to say you’ve read all of these, and then I can point you in the direction of the really good stuff!
Please note that the above links are affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission for referring you should you decide to make a purchase. This doesn’t add any cost to the products, and this does not influence me in what products I recommend (which is based on my own personal experience).