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Topic Created Posts Views Last Activity
Magic & Mystery School Jun 30th 2016, 17:59 1 2,637 on 30/6/16
What am I doing? Jun 2nd 2014, 15:59 1 3,484 on 2/6/14
Observations from a school assembly performer May 12th 2014, 17:54 2 3,782 on 3/3/15
Philosophy of Performance Nov 8th 2013, 10:24 1 2,836 on 1/5/14
Amazing Apr 13th 2013, 09:16 2 17 on 19/5/13

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Magic & Mystery School mikezart on 30/6/16
I wanted to share my experience at the McBride Magic & Mystery School. Our journey began at 2:30am Eastern Standard Time leaving Philadelphia to make it to the Magic & Mystery School by 10:30am. We made it by 10:32 and 11 hours later. Because of the time difference my wife and I were dazed & confused when we arrived in Las Vegas. It was easy to spot the house because there was a McBride Mask on the front lamp post. As soon as we entered we were welcomed by Will, the school’s host. You even had Abigail make snacks before she goes off to work to feed us. So thoughtful is she that she puts a card out with the ingredients. What one notices at the McBride house is the magic of hospitality. We went upstairs to start what is called the Opening Circle. The circles were probably my favorite because you get to share and listen to others including the teachers Jeff, Larry & Eugene. We were asked to set goals for what we wanted from the school. Jeff stated he wanted to take more notes than anyone else which challenged us students to take copious notes.

At lunch time we ate at a local Chinese restaurant. A small gathering since we only had 11 students which makes for great learning of magic but also to know the people who attend. After lunch we were able to see other students do some magic which was appropriately called “works in progress”. We the students get to comment on sheets to give to the performer. Jeff, Eugene and Larry who take notes come up to what is a small stage and a practice area that Jeff uses in his house. . They offer what they like and suggestions to improve the work. They take questions from us and the learning experience is like no other. Here’s the amazing thing (and there are many amazing things in our three short days at Mystery school), you have world class award winning magicians teaching you secrets in a very down to earth way. As a teacher myself I was impressed by their quality of teaching. They can rightly be called master teachers.

Our second day we start by spending quiet time in Jeff’s private library. And what a library it was! This was another favorite aspect of Mystery school for me. We start the day with a vision council which is all of us sitting upstairs in a circle taking about vision, goals and things we did the night before. Again, a great way to get to know everyone. Later that afternoon we get to look at the what was for sale from our three teachers. But let me tell you this was not a dealer demo or high pitch sale. I felt that what they had to offer was material to sincerely help us in our careers as professional magicians. Speaking of sincerity another thing you notice at the McBride house is the magic of sincerity. People who are concerned with your success as a magician and as a person.

On the third day we wrapped up with the closing circle. We shared our experiences and what we learned and what actions we planned to work on as soon as we left. Benjamin Sander is a classical musician who talks about his art and that when we perform we should leave people with a gleam in their eye (Check out his TED talk https://youtu.be/mjMgrLC50M8). The feeling where yours eyes light up with joy from an experience. We definitely saw that gleam in the room. Even the teachers had the gleam!

I would to end with a recommendation. I have known about the McBride's Magic & Mystery School for 15 years. I have always wanted to attend but for economics or other reasons I never made the commitment. My advice for those of you who are serious about magic as a career or wanting to explore the possibility of entering the fascinating world of magic borrow the money to go! I do not say that lightly. But the interest you would pay on the loan or credit card is an investment. Most people put money in stocks or mutual funds hoping to get a 20% return on their investment and that is considered phenomenal. Your investment in the McBride’s Magic Mystery school will return you 100%. If you want to be a professional magician and take your art to the next level “Do it now!”
What am I doing? mikezart on 2/6/14
What is it that I am doing when I perform magic? Without words I am asking my audience to enter a world of wonder. To capture inside themselves what has been given to us by our creator. Something inside of us that asks that eternal question why and how. It seems odd that as a children's performer I would have such lofty ideas. But its something I think about. One tragedy of today's culture is that our young children have somewhat lost the sense of wonder. As a magician I want to re-awake that idea in them. It's through sincere communication appropriate to their age level that I can give them back part of a childhood our culture seems to take away from them.

Whether I achieve this or not I really have no idea but its something I think about in my performances for school assemblies. But to reach these little ones I have to act like a child. Its not a childish task but a work of serious reflection of each performance. The question I ask myself is...did I reach this group? Did they laugh at my bits. Did I communicate the message. In my show the message is safety. The silliness, the bits and the things I do all have to work towards getting their attention and reaching their sense of wonder. My success can be seen by the pictures taken of my audience. When I see on their faces that natural God given sense of wonder - I have succeeded!

This philosophical idea of performance leads me to develop my style and my character when performing. Aah the character!. My character is a teacher who happens to use magic to teach safety lessons. With my character I have decided to share my magic powers with my audience.

Here's an example: Silks to cane. I can show two silks and produce the cane. Sure I'll get a few aahs and oohs but all I've done is a trick. By asking, "What am I doing?" Why do I have 2 silks? Can I achieve something else with this prop? Can I involve my audience? Here's what I came up with. I tell my audience the rules for a live show. Clapping and laughing is OK etc. I would like to do a clapping exercise with these 2 silks. If you follow my directions I will let everyone here do some magic. When I raise the silks you clap when I lower them you stop. I raise the silks and hold them up and ask them to clap louder. This gets them use to clapping since many have not seen a live show and don't know what to do. Through this action I get control of the crowd. I play a little game raising the silk higher than an lower. Through this little bit I let the kids know I am a humorous presenter. I tell them what a great job they did. I tell them together we are going to do some magic. "I count to 3 and you say the magic words abracadabra" I wave the silks up and down and throw the silks up about 10 to 15 feet in the air (space providing) and it comes down a cane. Truly visual!! And I've accomplished many things to help achieve my goal of creating wonder in the kids.

What am I doing? You'll be surprised that your answers will help you be the best magician you can be.
Observations from a school assembly performer mikezart on 12/5/14
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.
Philosophy of Performance mikezart on 8/11/13
As a student of magic I am indebted to the Magic Mystery school for taking me deeper into the art of magic. To go beyond the trick. It led me to ask myself why I like doing magic? Is it about me? It can be but I think common sense will tell us that is a very shallow and empty response to the question. I believe this question can help us achieve a good direction of where we want to take ourselves as a performing magician. Here's my answer that helps me develop my character as a performing magician. I like to do magic because I like people. In order to relate and communicate with people you need to connect with them. Whether they are 3 or 93, magic is an enjoyable way to connect with people. It is entertaining for me to see the different reactions you get from all sorts of people. The reaction is the connection and for a moment there is mutual enjoyment. That's ENTERTAINMENT! It seems this answer is not about me it's about us. My audience and me the performer. Together we create an environment of wonder and awe. Something I believe people long for but some are not sure how to get it back. We all had this sense when we were young children.

This now brings me to another important question. What do I hope to achieve by doing magic? In entertaining people, I hope to communicate that the real mystery in life is eternal and those things are the ones that go beyond explanation. The effects witnessed, even though they are mere tricks and illusions, can be stepping-stones into higher thinking of what is true. This may sound lofty & philosophical but I believe all art try's to answer life's mysterious questions. Art has the luxury of communicating beyond the spoken word. If we want to raise our magic to a performing art I believe we must ask ourselves these types of questions. I want people to see how they can enjoy each others company in an environment that does not put people down. Good entertainment can be experienced by wholesome means. These are my answers to the questions. How do you answer?
Access to Purchased Lesson syhoff on 14/4/13
Go to your "My School Home" button
Under "Your Content"
Click "My lessons"
You should see next to the black square "choose a lesson" click it
A drop down menu will appear and you should see Kings of Poker