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Top 10 Rules for Magicians

Timothy has been writing about magic online for over five years. He's a long time magician who loves sharing his tips.

Follow these rules and your act is sure to be a hit!

Follow these rules and your act is sure to be a hit!

Here Are the Real Magic Secrets Revealed!

Who is The World's Greatest Magician? Why, you are, of course!

I mean this very seriously. When you are performing magic for your friends and acquaintances (and doing it well), to them, you are the greatest magician in the world.

No doubt you have had the experience of watching a magician and being totally blown away by what he did. It's quite a rush, isn't it? To you, it seemed almost like real magic. You may even remember, think, and wonder about that trick years later.

Well, when you do a magic effect, and do it well, you have the same effect on your spectators. However, there are some very important rules that you should remember for being a magician. These are essential if you not only want to be entertaining and give people a good time with your magic, but also want to be thought of by your audience as "The World's Greatest Magician."

These are important and fundamental rules of magic. If you break any of them, not only will you destroy the element of wonder that you have just created, but you will lose the credibility and respect you would otherwise have gained from performing the effect, as well as all the time and effort it took to practice it to perfection.

Therefore, read over these rules for magic carefully and memorize them well! They will make you a far better and more entertaining magician so that you, too, in the eyes of your audience, can be "The World's Greatest Magician!"

Rules for Magicians

  1. Never be a showoff.
  2. Always respect your fellow magicians.
  3. Never tell the secret.
  4. Never repeat a trick for the same audience.
  5. Only perform magic under the right circumstances.
  6. Have something to say when you perform a trick.
  7. Don't force your magic on people.
  8. Always leave the audience wanting more.
  9. Don't try to learn too much at once.
  10. Practice!

1. Never be a showoff.

Never perform with the attitude of "Ha, ha, look what I can do and you can't figure it out!" Magic should always be an entertainment, never a challenge.

This is the most common mistake of young, beginning magicians. Performing your magic in a challenging manner will merely encourage the audience to take up the challenge and to try to mess up your tricks.

It's far better to perform at the attitude of "I discovered some cool things you might like to see" rather than "I'm so smart and you can't figure it out."

2. Always respect your fellow magicians.

Never tell other people how a magician does his tricks, even if you know. If someone asks you, say, "He did it very well." If they pressure you, just say you don't know how it was done, even if you do. It accomplishes nothing to expose other magicians' secrets.

By the same token, when you watch a magician, you should watch the same way that you hope your audience will watch you. Be polite and respectful and never, ever shout out your theories as to how you think the trick was done.

3. Never tell the secret.

If you do a trick well, most people will ask you how you did it. Just make a joke out of it and say "Very well, I thought." The fun and mystery of magic lies in the secret. Expose the secret and the fun is lost.

Why is this? This is because the secrets of most magic tricks are rather simple. When people learn the secret, they are "let down" to discover how easily they were fooled. Rather than enhancing the magic, exposing the secret merely ruins the effect.

The only exception to this rule is if someone is truly interested in magic. But are they really interested or do they simply want to know the secret? The answer to this question is how much time and effort they're willing to put into practicing and learning to become a good magician.

If they are truly interested in magic but they haven't learned how to do anything yet, rather than explain the trick you just did, simply explain a different one instead. You can teach them a very simple trick, such as the jumping rubber band, and see how they do with that one.

4. Never repeat a trick for the same audience.

They are merely trying to figure it out the second time. Only this time, the trick will be robbed of its element of surprise and they will know what to look for! They will have a much easier time figuring it out the second time than they did the first.

Rather than repeating the trick, show them a different one instead. If they insist and start to become annoying, simply say, "I think that is enough magic for today," and conclude the magic show. If there are other people present, they will probably be annoyed at the one who was pestering you.

5. Only perform magic under the right circumstances.

There are some tricks that require exactly the right conditions in order to be effective. For example, some tricks cannot be performed with people standing behind you. Others require the proper psychological set up in order to be effective.

Some tricks require you to be seated at a table with the audience on the other side, and others require that you be wearing a jacket with pockets. Some tricks even require a stage to be performed on with a curtain that can be drawn so that everything can be set up in private.

Understand the different types of magic: stage, platform, impromptu, close-up and street magic, and only perform tricks that are right for the circumstances.

6. Have something to say when you perform a trick.

What you say as a magician is important. This is part of how you create the overall ambience, the atmosphere of the illusion you are presenting.

After all, you have not only your hands but your voice to put a trick across—you might as well use both! For this reason, it is important to put a little thought into how you present your trick.

What you say as a magician is known as "patter." This should be more than just describing what you're doing to the audience: "And now I have an ordinary piece of newspaper. Now I am forming it into the shape of a paper cone. Now I will pick up this pitcher of milk. Now I am pouring the milk into the cone." And so on. Why describe to the audience what they can already see for themselves with their own eyes?

On the other hand, you should not fall into the apologetic form of patter either: "You know, I really don't do this trick right. I gotta practice some more, but I'll show you how it goes anyway."

While you are practicing, put some thought into what you are going to say when you do a trick. This is not to say that you should memorize it word-for-word, but you should have a good idea of what you are going to say during the trick.

Your patter can be in the form of a bogus explanation for how the trick works, such as "magnetism," "static electricity," "rearranging molecules," but there is certainly an endless variety of things that you can say as you perform the effect.

Want ideas? Watch some of the top close-up performers work. It is easy to do online nowadays. Watch, but do not copy! Use it as a source of inspiration and ideas.

7. Don't force your magic on people.

Don't force your magic on people. Ideally, you should only perform magic when asked. If you mention to everyone you meet that you are a magician, chances are you will be asked many times to do magic.

You should always have a few tricks practiced and ready for such an occasion.

8. Always leave the audience wanting more.

This is a classic show business rule. This ensures that you don't start to bore people. You can test things out with one trick and see what the reaction is. If the audience asks you to do another trick, then you can continue. However, know when to end and never do too many tricks for any occasion. Some people enjoy magic more than others, so this will require some experimentation.

9. Don't try to learn too much at once.

Learning one trick really well is better than learning 100 tricks poorly. One trick done excellently will stick in the memories of the audience much better than several mediocre ones.

Of course, you can expand your knowledge and learn many tricks, but you should focus on only a few and truly learn and practice them to perfection.

Practice practice practice!

Never perform a trick that you don't know perfectly. Practice a trick until you can do it several times without making a single mistake...and then practice it some more!

Practicing in front of a mirror is a good way to begin. After you master that, practice it in front of your webcam—you may spot mistakes you missed during the mirror practice. You can even practice it with the camera at different angles to spot things that people might see if they are standing at different angles from you. Then you can figure out ways to work around them.

These are the basic rules that are followed by all the top magicians, including those who are probably your favorites. Keep these rules at heart and you can be, to your own audiences, The World's Greatest Magician!

Here's Why You Should Practice...

Also, don't stand behind someone when he's doing a trick!

Guestbook Comments

Daniel Andam on January 03, 2020:

I really love magic and am at the age of 17 and i really wanna be a magician. I have started practicing some few magic tricks especially, the card trick.And am a bit perfect with them now.

Please i will love to know more of the rules so i can make my dream come true.

buhbuh gunus on August 10, 2019:

hello, can i ask why do magicians do magic

i have to do a speech and i really would like to know

Thanks buhbuh gunus

Venice/Vsabay on August 04, 2017:

Tnx! I never thought about any of these. I'm sure I'll do great the next time I try. Also you got me laughing in the last one:)

Mike from Cape Town on November 29, 2015:

Great article - I would love to run this on our website - we keep emphasising the practice as much as possible.