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Observations from a school assembly performer

May 12th 2014, 17:54


Joined: Apr 1st 2013, 19:06
Total Topics: 1
Total Posts: 2
I perform 3 to 4 shows each day and as many as 4 schools. The grade levels I perform for is Kindergarten through 4th grade. When setting up my show I have always asked myself what am I getting ready for? My answer...a magic event. When considering my stage set up I need to take into account my time. I find that 25 minutes set up time & 25 minutes tear down works best. And if rushed I can do it in 10 to 12 minutes. Sometimes when time is crunched because a school starts late... I must plan for bare minimum set up time.

As I set up my stage my philosophy of stage set up is this....I am like a painter. My canvas is the stage. I want it to look as beautiful as a well drawn painting. My subject is fantasy with a focus on magic. I want to convey to my audience as soon as they walk in that something is going to take place. That something Is magic! I want them curious. As part of my canvas and as the students walk in for the assembly I use music that will convey mystery and interest.

As soon as my show starts I lay down expectations. I give the students live show instructions as most only see entertainment through television . I tell them its Ok to clap...ok to laugh but if the speaker is talking that's me, Mr. Michael no one else can talk, cause if your talking and I'm talking someone's not listening and if your not listening you may miss something important about safety or miss something fun because today's program we will have lots of fun as we teach our safety lessons.

In today's ADDH world the school performer must be a skilled magician & a skilled practitioner in the art of classroom management. I was taught by a wise principle that if there was no classroom management there could be no learning. I would encourage anyone doing school shows to study techniques teachers use to bring student back on task.

As a former teacher there a few techniques I've learned through the years that have helped me in my shows.

1. Have student repeat simple phrases. " let me hear every one say, "stop, drop & roll!" What this does is to get the kids gathered to do something together. The child that is not paying attention looks up and wonders what he missed. Then the magician can continue to teach and have the kids attention when doing his magic.

2. When a group gets loud I have them whisper a phrase back to me. Let me hear you whisper, run yell & tell. This brings the volume in the assembly down and you can continue to do your magic or teach your lesson.

3. Kids are hyper they have the energy we wish we had. The laws of physics says stored energy must eventually be released. Halfway through your program play some music with a beat and get them clapping. This will release some of that energy.

These are just some classroom management techniques you can use. There are many more and it would benefit any school assembly performer to study this art as you study the art of magic.

One last word, there are times that no matter what techniques you use the students will not settle down. My rule of thumb is to use 3 techniques to quiet the kids. Learn to realize when a an assembly is a talkative group. You will need to hook and curve and finish the program. Practice the ability to not let anything ruffle your joy of performing even though inside you are very frustrated. This is very hard skill to acquire but one that will make you a true professional.
Mar 3rd 2015, 18:31


Joined: Apr 29th 2010, 15:37
Total Topics: 36
Total Posts: 53
these are VERY useful tips.. this year in my PEP talk I go over my techniques. the talk is called MAXIMUM PARTICIPATION…and it is full of tricks and tips like yours Mike..thank you for sharing… my talk will be up soon in the members area of the PEP talks