“How did you do that?”
That’s the question I get most often from children. The question I get most often from adults is “Can you make my wife disappear?” but that’s a whole different blog!
“How did you do that?”
I’m sure it’s a question children have been asking since the first magic tricks were performed back in ancient Egypt. What the children really want to know is “Can I learn to do that?” And, of course, the answer is yes, anyone can learn to perform magic. What’s changed over the years is how children learn magic.
Let’s Go Back 50 Years
(Yes, I know most of you weren’t around 50 years ago.) When I was a kid I learned all my magic from books. Initially, from books I borrowed for the Abingdon town library. The library’s still there, and so are the books. Some of the same books are still there because they are great books. Classics. Here are three books you should look up if your son or daughter wants to learn magic, and they should all be available in your local library.
Of course, when I was a lad we only had books and magazines. We didn’t have video. We certainly didn’t have the Internet, and YouTube would have been considered pure science fiction.
Kids today are so lucky to have all that at their disposal, but be warned that many of those teaching magic on YouTube are, by and large, beginners themselves, and what they’re doing is not so much teaching as showing off.
That’s not to say there aren’t good resources on YouTube for budding magicians. Indeed, during the Covid lockdown I ran Magic Peter’s School of Magic for the children who were stuck at home while the schools were closed.
Each day I posted a new trick, and by the time the summer holidays came around I had posted 100 YouTube videos that kids could watch and learn some magic. (I may put it up again over the Christmas holidays.)
Before Covid came along, one of my favourite jobs was running magic workshops where I taught children some basic magic or balloon models. I ran these as after-school clubs, but of course they can be put on anywhere children are gathered together: School Classrooms; Scout and Guide Troops; Church Groups; Older Children’s Birthday Parties; and so on. And, of course, children who attend my workshops are automatically enrolled in my School of Magic, so they have access to the 100 YouTube videos after the workshop has finished.
The Next David Blaine?
Hopefully, when the pandemic is behind us, I can get back to passing on the fun of performing magic to another generation of Dynamos and David Blaines.
Until then, look after yourselves, and if you children are interested in magic, get them along to the local library and have a look for the three books I mentioned above – there are many, many magic books in libraries, but those three are, in my opinion, the very best. And of course you can download my book by joining my mailing list. And its free! Can’t say fairer than that.
I hope your children have as much fun learning and performing magic as I have over the past 50 years.
Stay safe, and I hope I see you at one of my shows soon.