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Mike Powers

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The great Jazz pianist Thelonious Monk gave some advice to other musicians. Some of it might apply to magic.

Thelonious Monk

and - where was this guy when I was in high school?

Creativity

Mike


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arthur stead

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Reply with quote  #2 

While we’re on a musical kick, in 1968 the great jazz saxophonist Wayne Shorter wrote:

“When you’re playing, the music is not just you and the horn - the music is the microphone, the chair, the door opening, the spotlight, something rattling.  From soul to universe.”


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Michaelblue

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Reply with quote  #3 
I like what monk said: a note can be small as a n or big as the world, depends on your imagination
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Mbreggar

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Reply with quote  #4 
Following the theme of Jazz greats provide advice to magicians ...

“Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple,
awesomely simple, that's creativity.” Charles Mingus
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HarmonicHaggis

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Reply with quote  #5 
As bari sax player I'll throw my 2 cents in

It's all about creation and surprise. It just needs to be appreciated and watered like flowers. You have to water flowers. These peaks will come again. ~Sonny Rollins
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Bmat

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Reply with quote  #6 

“If we are to achieve things never before accomplished we must employ methods never before attempted”

Francis Bacon

Sorry about the font, I cut and pasted and this is how it came out. 


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Rudy Tinoco

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Reply with quote  #7 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Powers
The great Jazz pianist Thelonious Monk gave some advice to other musicians. Some of it might apply to magic.

Thelonious Monk

and - where was this guy when I was in high school?

Creativity

Mike




I'm sorry to say I've never heard of Thelonious Monk. Sounds like a guy who knows his stuff!

As far as it pertains to how his advice would apply to magic..."Leave them wanting more" is something that I always try to do.

When it comes to making music, this quote made me smile.

"DON’T PLAY THE PIANO PART, I’M PLAYING THAT. DON’T LISTEN TO ME. I’M SUPPOSED TO BE ACCOMPANYING YOU!"

I totally know what he means by that. I've been guilty in the past of overplaying and not leaving space in the music.

Anyway, great post Mike!

Rudy

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Mike Powers

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Thanks for resurrecting this post. It's worth thinking about.

M
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arthur stead

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“Music, of course, is what I hear and something that I more or less live by.  It’s not an occupation or profession, it’s a compulsion.”

 -Duke Ellington


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EVILDAN

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WHATEVER YOU THINK CAN’T BE DONE, SOMEBODY WILL COME ALONG & DO IT. A GENIUS IS THE ONE MOST LIKE HIMSELF.

So true.
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Dave Campbell

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Reply with quote  #11 
Having played music for a living for a number of years, one thing I learned that also applies in a huge way to magic is it's not always the notes you play, sometimes it's the silence. The pauses, the slowing down, the playing on the off-beat.
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Mike Powers

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Absolutely agree Dave. Melodic players know how to use silence. It's not just a barrage of notes.

In magic I notice magicians who are trying to be funny often step on the moment of magic. They think that silence must be filled with a line or a gag. People need space to process mind blowing experiences. Don't step on the moment of magic with a gag.

Mike
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Rudy Tinoco

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Reply with quote  #13 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Powers
Absolutely agree Dave. Melodic players know how to use silence. It's not just a barrage of notes.

In magic I notice magicians who are trying to be funny often step on the moment of magic. They think that silence must be filled with a line or a gag. People need space to process mind blowing experiences. Don't step on the moment of magic with a gag.

Mike


Indeed. One of my pet peeves is the magician who tries (often unsuccessfully) to be funny. I’ve rarely seen it work well. Actually, David Williamson and Michael Finney are the only two who I can think of at the moment.

Rudy

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Mike Powers

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Reply with quote  #14 
The real issue is whether you are trying to be a magician who is sometimes funny or a comedian who does a little magic. If you're a comedian, silence is deadly and you immediately try to fill it with a gag. If you're a magician, you can use gags judiciously and not step on the magic. 

Mike
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alexandercrawford

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Reply with quote  #15 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Campbell
Having played music for a living for a number of years, one thing I learned that also applies in a huge way to magic is it's not always the notes you play, sometimes it's the silence.


There is an apocryphal story about Michelangelo, who was supposedly asked about his creative process in sculpting his famous sculpture of David, and responded “It is easy. You just chip away the stone that doesn’t look like David.”

My mother, who is also a sculptor (albeit not of such renown;-) , taught me to look at sculpture in the same way “look at what is not there (and how it moves as you move round the sculpture) to understand the sculpture”. She also encouraged me to look at other things in this way - reducing them to a core of what was really necessary and leaving space around what was left.

As magicians, we have a great advantage over sculptors - one chip too many with Michelangelo’s chisel and David has no nose - however, we can afford to try removing potentially unnecessary “bits” or adding extra silences - and, if we’re wrong, just add them back.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Campbell
sometimes it's the silence. The pauses, the slowing down, the playing on the off-beat.


..after my little diversion into sculpture, I want to give my thanks and appreciation to Dave for this - I am now going to rethink my magic with respect of each of these individually - the pauses, the slowing down and the playing on the off-beat.
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Mbreggar

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Reply with quote  #16 
I love the music analogy. It is so apt. I have found magicians who recognize the juxtaposition have very. Carefully constructed routines that also model the dramatic construct of beginning-middle-end.

The comments about pauses and silent gaps is also meaningful. Here, I think of the great comedians who got their biggest laughs when then said nothing. Check out any Jack Benny routine. Watch Jackie Gleason and you will see what I mean. You need not have a silent act .. just know when to STOP TALKING
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arthur stead

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Reply with quote  #17 
Very good point, Mbreggar!

 


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Mike Powers

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Reply with quote  #18 
Two good principles:

1. Give people a beat or two of silence so they can enjoy the moment of magic. Let that astonishment really sink in.

2. Don't look people in the eye while they're experiencing astonishment. I think it's easy to want to see what the reaction is. Let your peripheral vision do the job.

Mike
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ianmcrawford

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Reply with quote  #19 
Thanks Mike.  As I read these I kept thinking "yup, yup, ooo thats good, true dat."

Thanks for these words of wisdom. 
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Blathermist

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Reply with quote  #20 

As noted it’s good to see this thread revived. I’m as big a music fan as anybody and am constantly reminded of the similarities between Music and Magic.

One of my surprise Christmas presents was a book called "Nothing Is Real" by David Hepworth. The book is subtitled: "The Beatles Were Underrated And Other Sweeping Statements About Pop".

It’s a collection of essays from here and there; music magazines mostly. All written by Hepworth.

My first glance at the book involved a quick page riffle. By chance–free choice no force–I stopped at a short chapter titled: "Seven Things I Would Tell A Young Band". The first "thing" is this:

"The most precious resource is not your music, it’s the audience’s attention and therefore you shouldn’t allow that to drop for a second."

Food for thought? Sweeping nonsense statement? Or just Rubbish? I think it’s on the button. Of course the music is precious, but if we’re putting on the top hat and tie and playing in public (for money or free) the only way the show is going to happen is if the audience takes notice and likes what it sees and hears. Repeat gigs ditto. Wonderful that we’re having fun,but is anybody else?

It’s not at all difficult to substitute Magic with Music.

Anyway, that’s what we think over here in the cheap seats.

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