Monday, May 6, 2013

Tips on Managing Nervousness

Performing close-up magic can be a challenging task especially if you perform for a group of people. If it's your first time to perform, you are bound to be nervous. Of course, this applies to everyone and the question is how well you manage your nervousness. 

One of the most useful techniques that I learned over the years is "pattering" that really can effectively bring down your adrenaline. The reason is because when you patter with your hand movement as well as your eye contact, you take your time to relax and at the same time, you build a rapport with your audience. Performing magic is meaningless if you do not build a relationship with your audience. You have to make them like you, your magic as well as your charisma as a performer. 

By the time you patter, say after 30 seconds, you will find that you may in a relax mode. When you patter, as I mentioned earlier, you must build an eye contact with your audience. Just remind yourself that a good magic should start with a good storyline. Once you are in a relax mode, and then you are able to give full concentration in performing your magic.  Performing any magic should be in a relax manner that includes your whole body should not be in a stiff mode. Tell yourself that performing magic should be a lively and fun experience. 

If you are like me, performing card magic stresses on your hand movement and it should be gentle and graceful in handling cards. As the old tip still proves to be very useful; that is to perform in front of a mirror and try to practise and see for yourself how well you carry yourself when you perform on real situation. The level of confidence that you have also proves to be of paramount importance as well.

In addition, choosing an ideal spectator or table for you performance is one of the crucial factors in increasing your confidence in your performance. For instance, when you approach a spectator, the first thing to do is try to find a suitable table or a spectator that tends to be friendly and thus, giving you the confidence in building a rapport with your spectator. How do you know whether you have chosen the ideal table for your performance? The answer is if that group of spectators show their warm and easily entertained by your magic, this is regarded as an ideal situation for you to put up a good show. 

I always find that women are the most responsive to magic, you can tell by judging their enthusiasm and expression by your magic. If you spot the ladies, by all means show your magic to them.

Once you have chosen the ideal spectators, approach and greet them confidently. Introduce yourself and explain to them that you are about to show them something special or spectacular to cheer up the day. It is crucial not to forget to seek their permission whether they would be interested in watching some magic. Based on my experience, especially some people they would like to have a private conversation or meal with their partner. Therefore, it is advisable not just chip in and perform your magic. Seek their approval first before performing and remember, be courteous always as a performer.  

Another tip I would like to share is you must familiar with your routine on what you are going to say on each of the phases because I believe any routine you do is somehow divided into phases. Each of the phases is very critical because it has elements of surprise, misdirection, execution of moves or sleights and so on. Plan each of the phases well and of course, you could start performing a routine that you find very easy to do that stresses on effortless card magic.

For example, card magic that utilises card principle and you may ask your willing spectators to do all the work and the like. That is the time where your patter comes into play. Once you find yourself in a less nervous mode, you may proceed to performing something that you find challenging. 

Perhaps allow me to share with you an example that I went through in those days when I first time to perform for public as a part-time performer. I remember vividly when I tried to perform for a group of 5 people as I know they loved gambling. So, the first routine triggered my mind was “Royal Highness” (you may find this at my online store) and I set up the cards earlier beforehand. Without undue hesitation, I performed and pattered accordingly to the requirement of that routine. Surprisingly, I realised that my nervousness slowly fades away. Eventually, I had the confidence to go on with my challenging card routines. 

In a nutshell, managing your nervousness is critical to your performance success as well as the brand that you carry as a magician. As we know it, we hate to screw up our tricks or doing mistakes during our performance that due to our nervousness. It is our goal to present our professionalism being as a magician. If you are a person that easily become nervous, perhaps try to apply some of the techniques above and I hope you are able to manage your nervousness well. 

I sincerely wish you in every success of your magic performances. 

ALSH