For Magicians

How Can YOU Learn Magic?

Read > Practice > Rehearse > Perform > Listen to Feedback > Repeat

Learn from Books


The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Magic Tricks by Tom Ogden (Beginner)

The Klutz Book of Magic by John Cassidy & Michael Stroud (Beginner to Intermediate – Comes With Props – Find them used.)

Joshua Jay’s Amazing Book of Cards 

Magic for Dummies by David Pogue (Beginner)

Magic, The Complete Course by Joshua Jay comes with DVD – I wish this was available when I was a kid!

The Practical Encyclopedia of Magic by Nicholas Einhorn (Nicely published with beautiful photos and good routines for kids – especially a rainbow confetti snowstorm… if you can find it.)

Scarne’s Magic Tricks by John Scarne – an old classic.  John Scarne was an assistant to Houdini.  VIEW THE FIRST 62 PAGES OF IT IT HERE FOR FREE ON GOOGLE BOOKS.

The Usborne Complete Book of Magic (A great beginner book for kids. Find used ones on Amazon.)


Mark Wilson’s Complete Course in Magic by Mark Wilson – Beginner to Intermediate.  This is the best single volume book on magic written in the second half of the 20th century – and an incredible buy today for $13. (Beginner to Intermediate)

The Magic Book by Harry Lorayne (Beginner to Intermediate)

The Royal Road to Card Magic by Jean Hugard and Frederick Braue (Beginner to Intermediate)


The Amateur Magician’s Handbook by Henry Hay (An older classic Intermediate to Advanced)

Any of the magic books by Karl Fulves available at your local book store:  general magic tricks, card tricks, mind tricks, paper folding magic.

Now You See It Now You Don’t Lessons In Sleight of Hand by Bill Tarr (Advanced)

Do I Recommend Particular Magic Sets for Gifts?  YES!!!

  • Melissa & Doug Magic Set – THE best deal on the internet.  Less than $25 delivered on Amazon.  They also have a couple smaller magic sets.  All are made of high quality wood.   The selection of tricks is quite good.
  • Fantasma Toys Super Deluxe Legends of Magic DVD Set.  The box turns into a magic table – great for performing a show.
  • Chris Angel Ultimate Magic Kit – See Barnes & Noble – The quality of props is above par.

Learn from Magazines

Go to School With Other Magicians

  • Take Private Lessons – Contact David Just $25 / half-hour for children ages 7-17.
  • McBride’s Magic & Mystery School, Las Vegas, NVJeff McBride, Eugene Burger, Dr. Larry Haas, Tobias Beckwith, Abbi McBride, Jordan Wright.  This is the most progressive and comprehensive magic education in the world.  The people who study here and work hard, they succeed.  Just ask Matt Franco, winner of America’s Got Talent 2014 and many, many others around the world.
  • McBrideMagic.TV – Can’t travel to Las Vegas?  Join the Magic & Mystery School for $25-$100 and participate in weekly Monday Night internet broadcasts with some of the best magicians in the world.  The first Monday of the month is FREE and introduces that month’s topic.  Your annual dues permit you to enter the secret LOCKED ROOOM classes.
  • Tannens Magic Camp & the more advanced “Magic Academy” with David Oliver & Co.

What Magic Shops Do You Recommend?

Favorite Magicians

  • David Copperfield
  • Jeff McBride
  • Eugene Burger
  • Lance Burton
  • Channing Pollock
  • Max Maven
  • Juan Tamariz
  • Luis DeMatos
  • Jim Sisti
  • Kevin James
  • Luna Shimada
  • Arian Black
  • Romany Diva of Magic
  • Jen Kramer

I seriously want to get my show on the road. What do you recommend?

  • Stop thinking. JUST DO IT. “A goal is a dream with a deadline.”
  • Write down your dreams and goals.
  • Set dates to complete achievable goals.
  • Work hard and provide the absolute best product you can.
  • Consider entering a magic competition with the SAM or IBM.
  • Take professional lessons with a very good magician.
  • Go to magic camp or to McBride’s Magic & Mystery School of Las Vegas.
  • Get performance feedback from only 2 or 3 people – one of whom is a theater person.
  • Practice and rehearse daily.
  • “Practice” individual moves in front of a mirror.
  • “Rehearse” entire routines from beginning to end without stopping. Even if something goes wrong, try to figure out how you will recover.
  • Video your rehearsals and critique yourself. Video is much better than practicing in front of a mirror. (Audiences don’t hold up mirrors for you.)
  • Only learn one trick at a time.
  • If a routine is not ready, do not perform it for an audience.
  • Get only 2 or 3 people you trust to critique you: a family member, a very good professional magician and a theater person.
  • Learn magic from books. It’s cheaper and you learn more.

Begin with the Classic Routines of Magic

  • Cut and Restored Rope & The Professors Nightmare (3 Rope Trick)
  • Liking Rings
  • Cups & Balls
  • Card to Wallet, etc.
  • BEKOS (
  • You can specialize later.
  • Get 200 stage or stand-up shows under your belt.
  • It takes that long to get comfortable being on stage.
  • Be yourself.
  • Do not copy other magicians.
  • Work hard and trust what you have inside.
  • You only need ten routines for a 50 minute show. Make sure you have variety and no more than two audience participation routines in a row.  (Otherwise it slows things down.)
  • For stand-up magic, a club or cabaret show is the most flexible because you can scale it up for stage or down for a home. A cabaret show is bread and butter.
  • Also, you do not need a lot of large props to entertain large audiences.

Prop Management

  • “Out of sight out of mind.” Only bring out what you’re going to use, then put it away. Clutter distracts people’s attention away from the magic. It’s about you not your props. Don’t bring anything on stage that you’re not going to use. Leave extra stuff out of sight.
  • Used an opened top case like the Solo 17.3″ Rolling Laptop Catalog Case because people can’t see inside it:  CLICK HERE.
  • For that matter, you can use most any open-top container like a nice box, a basket, a top hat or even a fabric folding storage cube is nice:  CLICK HERE.
  • Look at the audience when you’re talking to them. This is REALLY IMPORTANT.  Remember, talking to your props is rude – it leaves out the audience.
  • Never put your case or table front and center. The show is about you, not your table. Put it to one side of your performing area. If it needs to go in the center than put it “up” towards the back of the stage while you perform down front.
  • Perhaps the most simple thing to do is to have props on chairs covered with black cloths. (Large 36″ black silks work well.) These get removed as you need items.
  • Cloth covered TV trays work well, and so do waiters stands with props on a tray.
  • For a simple stand-up show, try performing with a catalog case resting on a chair or stool. Most any container that opens from the top will work well – people cannot see inside. A shoulder strap will let you to carry everything on stage as you enter. Just set it down and get to work!
  • Seriously consider investing in a quality suitcase table. Joe Leffler’s is great.

Sound Systems

  • Learn how to work with a corded microphone on a stand because they always work.
  • Carefully consider:  How much weight do you want to carry around?  Do you want a wireless mic receiver built in to the unit? (Makes life easier) Do you want quality sound up to 20Kz, or will 15 or 16 Khz be enough?
  • Get a small and very simple “Portable PA” sound system with a quality wireless microphone so 100-200 people can hear you.  The Happie Amps by Brian Happie are a good place to start, BUT you MUST get them with the extended annual warranty in case it breaks.  With the extended warranty, he will replace it for free for as long as you own it. Brian is excellent and stands by his products.
  • The Anchor AN-130bphh is the size of a lunchbox and sounds amazing.  You can get it with wireless microphones.
  • The Happie Amp comes with three wireless microphones, rechargeable battery. You can plug in a music player, and it only costs $230.
  • For larger crowds, the systems from Sound Projections are top quality.
  • Even better sounding and cheaper are the QSC active speakers – K series – K8, K10, K12 & KSub.  You will need to get your own microphone:  SENNHEISER, Shure or AudioTechnica.  Sennheiser G5 and EW100 are metal and travel well.
  • Anchor Audio also has the Explorer, Liberty and Beacon systems, but they are the most expensive. The Explorer gives you the best bang for the buck and weighs only 25 lbs.
  • At the very least, get a simple “Pignose” or Keyboard amplifier and a corded hand-microphone.  (Bheringer makes good keyboard amps for a bargain price – lots of features – NICE FEEDBACK RESISTANCE FEATURES.  Quality of Bheringer is less than some others, but if it breaks they’re so affordable you can just get another one.)
  • Purchase a quality wireless microphone from a company like Shure. You can take this anywhere, even on a plane. A handheld microphone is the most versatile.
  • For music, start with an iPod with a remote control and a 20 foot audio cord to the sound system. (1/8″ stereo male on one end, two RCA male jacks on the other end. They sell short ones at CVS, Radio Shack & Best Buy)
    • BACKUP BACKUP BACKUP THY MUSIC:  Keep all your sound tracks backed up on your phone, in a cloud drive like Google Drive, and on a USB flash drive.  Keep these with you in your case.
    • MIC A SPEAKER:  Have a small speaker that can be miked.  Even a $50 bluetooth speaker would be good enough.  For a conference room of 50 people where you don’t need a microphone TDK has very nice “Life On Record” portable bluetooth speakers with excellent sound quality.  (A2DP 2.5 is the quality feature.)
    • PC:  In a pinch try powerful computer speakers with a subwoofer.
    • CONVERT: Purchase a $17 “impedance converter.”  It’s a silver cigar with 1/4″ mono female at one end, and xlr male (microphone) at the other. Then you can plug your system into any house microphone input.
    • ITTY BITTY MIXER:  A passive mixer is about the size of a deck of cards and uses no electricity.  They are made by companies like Rolls (in the USA!) and allow you to mix 2-4 sources together.
    • I REPEAT:  Learn to do your act with corded mic on a stand – super reliable.  Microphone skills must be practiced.

For Bigger Shows: Think Lighting, Backdrop & A Cart

  • EUGENE BURGER REMINDS US:  “Everything weighs something.”  If you gather gear to do bigger and more elaborate shows, you will appreciate going as light as you can.
  • LIGHTING: If people can’t see you, what’s the point? When performing for larger audiences on the cheap, consider adding simple shop clamp lights with PAR38 flood lights (not spot lights). Use a wash of red, yellow and blue or a natural sunlight bulb. Do NOT use standard white lights because they will make you look harsh, stark and pale.  For LED lights, consider using the Chauvet LED Slim PAR Pro on a single lighting tripod.
  • CURTAIN: A backdrop can also help focus people’s attention on you. Abbotts “Jet Set” works well with a couple 16 foot lengths of dark crushed velvet thrown over the top. (Remember, it’s about you, not your backdrop.) The 8 foot Jet Set is better than the 6 foot. HINT: If you use two Jet Sets, you will have an 8 foot high by 16 foot wide stage.
  • CART: Finally, if you are lugging a lot of equipment, a “Multicart” is a an invaluable tool.  CLICK HERE.  NOTE:  Amazon sells them, but look at the main web page for all the different options and accessories.
  • However… the more you practice to be an entertainer, the more shows you do, the more you you can amaze thousands of people without huge props.  I can entertain 1,000 people for an hour with a shoulder bag.   Max Maven can do it with a manila office envelope.

You can perform strolling close-up magic with 3-5 good tricks.

  • Perhaps use smaller versions from your stand-up show.
  • Make these routines “reset” quickly or instantly.
  • See the Kirk Charles book below.
  • Also read the Magic Menu journal by Jim Sisti. Two two bound collections are available.
  • Courtesy and manners are extremely important in close social situations. See Eugene Burger’s book, “Growing in the Art of Magic” below.
  • Be completely professional even if you don’t make your living from magic.
  • Confirm your shows in writing.
  • Arrive to shows on time and dress the part (a bit better than everyone else at the engagement). Avoid sequins and stage names that end in “ini.”
  • Be charming and kind to your audience. NEVER put them down – it’s neither nice nor magical.
  • Send a thank you note after your show. It’s all about building relationships.
  • Success is defined by a steady stream of repeat bookings.
  • The Magic Tech Road: This series of articles discusses the technical aspects of a one or two person stand-up show. It covers portable public address systems, music, microphones, wireless remote music control, backdrops and cases. There is also an article about choosing quality linking rings and a conference review from Genii Magazine.

Read the following about performing

You can purchase most of these from,,
  • Growing in the Art of Magic by Eugene Burger
  • The Show Doctor by Jeff McBride
  • Maximum Entertainment by Ken Webber
  • The Professional Amateur by Toby Travis – Buy form Toby directly
  • Lecture Notes by Denny Haney (Scott Alexander)
  • The Banquet Magician’s Handbook by David Charvet
  • The Complete Guide to Restaurant and Walk-A-Round Magic by Kirk Charles
  • Magic & Meaning by Eugene Burger & Robert Neale
  • Also these classics on performance:
    • Magic and Showmanship by Henning Nelms
    • Showmanship for Magicians (Fitzkee Trilogy) by Dariel Fitzkee
    • Our Magic by Maskelyne and Devant
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