Friday, December 9, 2011

"The Royal Road to Card Magic" review - takes you from novice to pro in one read

If I go and search my dusty library of card magic books from my youth, I know there are quite a few written by Jean Hugard. The first card magic book that I ever devoured cover to cover (which is really the only way to use this book) is "Royal Road to Card Magic" by Jean Hugard and Frederick Braue.

As is suggested by the authors, if you want to become a competent card conjurer, read and practice the methods in this book in the order presented and by the final chapter I guarantee you that you'll be pretty damned good. And the really beauty of the book and the teaching method of these to magic literary giants is that you don't have to first learn all of the moves and sleights and
then, finally, at the end of the book, learn some tricks. Hugard and Braue teach you a manipulation and then a practical and pretty amazing application of that move.

Many years ago, when I was performing close-up, table-hopping, sleight-of-hand magic in restaurants, I would also teach sleight-of-hand magic a couple of evenings per week. In many cases I was starting from scratch with the student just wanting to learn, and having spent no time mastering even the most rudimentary tricks. They just knew that they wanted to take up a new "hobby."

I learned very quickly, that if I spent the full session just teaching them how to do the mechanics of sleight-of-hand and not actually teaching them "a trick," that they'd probably get bored and not want to come back (or pay me). Plus, if they didn't quickly master the sleight, they'd get frustrated and decide that this magic crap isn't for them.

So, what I would do every week was first demonstrate what I considered to be a really cool close-up magic trick or routine, and tell the student that they were going to learn to do it at the end of the lesson. There are literally thousands of essentially simple to perform tricks (remember, it's usually all in the presentation), and once you become proficient at the more difficult ones you can throw in the really easy ones (which often are more astonishing that the ones you spent countless hours mastering).

So, before I would force them two learn two or three double-lift methods, I'd show them the something like the penetrating match trick and then show them how to do it at the end of session.

That's essentially what Hugard and Braue do with "The Royal Road to Card Magic." You learn a method of performing a specific sleight, then you learn an effect using that sleight. Next you move to the next technique or method which also utilized the first sleight you learned, then again another effect, and so on.

I strongly recommend purchasing this book (it's also available for your Kindle or Kindle app for your Smartphone) and reading and practicing EVERYTHING in the book in order. Once you're done, I guarantee you will be a pretty damned good card manipulator.

So do it, or screw it.

Private Sleight-of-Hand Magic Lessons via Skype with cards, coins, cigarettes, matches and more.

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