I recorded this video a couple years ago at the end of a busy week teaching magic at circus camp. In 13 minutes I share more than a decade worth of experience teaching magic tricks to young magicians in the making.
Good things to do:
- Give kids an "easy win" and a feeling of success early in the class.
- Choose venue-appropriate curriculum, suited to your class size, and your ability to give personal instruction.
- Teach them a trick that will amaze their parents. That is empowering!
- Emphasise the difference between knowing HOW a trick is done, and knowing how to PRESENT it to an audience.
Things to avoid:
- Tricks requiring sleight-of-hand. Even if they learn the moves, the concept of misdirection, or making it appear magical, is beyond easy grasp.
- Using magic store props that they can't take home is a waste of time. Why learn something they won't be able to perform outside of class?
- When teaching basic magic there is no need to expose the techniques of magic. You don't want to take away their enjoyment of watching a magic show.
ANOTHER LESSON LEARNED: Watch out what you take for granted. Things are familiar to you because you have been on this earth a lot longer, and you're immersed in the strange world of magic.
One year I tried teaching the "Acrobatic Paper Clips" trick, and I was surprised to discover the youngest group did not know how paperclips work. They simply didn't know how to slide it onto paper, which end to use. In the moment I was able to pause the class and give a quick tutorial on paperclips, but it sure reinforced the idea of "assume nothing!"
Finally, I'll leave you with one thought from music educator Victor Wooten:
A child playing the air guitar, pretending to be rock star, will have a huge smile on their face! If you give them a real guitar and try to teach them chords, the smile goes away.
Don't let the technique take away the fun.