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Mike Powers

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Reply with quote  #1 
I know there are a number of musician/magicians on this board - ergo:

Thelonious Monk's advice for musicians. There are some that apply to magic.

http://www.kottke.org/17/02/advice-on-how-to-play-a-gig-by-thelonious-monk
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JohnnyNewYork

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Reply with quote  #2 
Mike -- having a music background I've always found obvious similarities between the two art forms, and I'm surprised no one has ever applied some of the approaches associated with the study of music to the study of magic; after all, they both require intense effort and practice, and they are both subject to nervousness, adrenaline, and of course, making yourself somewhat vulnerable to those who view your performances.   Most magicians seem to advocate simply practicing various routines and thus indirectly mastering the required sleights as well.  Musicians, however, seem to use a more systematic approach -- daily practice sessions involving a specific warm up routine, working on standard drills and exercises, preparing standard repertoire, etc.  Even non-musicians are familiar with numerous academic music methods that have been developed over the years (Suzuki, Kodaly, etc.).  I guess Aaron Fisher has streamlined the study of magic in his Miracle Man Method and breaking macro moves into several micro ones, but I am not really familiar with his approach; I have not seen too many other examples of this.

Regarding your post, Monk was certainly a genius -- creating highly complex music with notoriously limited "chops".  From the list you cited it is amazing to see how general and direct his tips were (I guess that is consistent with his approach to music and is part of his genius!).  This is a very interesting topic -- I hope others will chime in.  Thanks for posting this on the Forum (I was unaware of Monk's list) -- johnny
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Michaelblue

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Reply with quote  #3 
I have a feeling a lot of magicians have done it this way. They may not know the similarities to music and all, but yet they still do the same things.
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Bob Farmer

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Reply with quote  #4 
Great advice. Having put myself through university playing sax and guitar in bar bands, and picking up a few extra bucks on the breaks with bar bets, all of this advice is gold. I've always learned magic with a rhythm and a count, especially card tricks. Musicians like to practice--you have to to get the muscle memory working. Many times, when I have forgotten some routine I've invented, I pick up the cards and the moves just come back--that's from practicing. 
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Harry Lorayne

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Reply with quote  #5 
         Problem: I can't carry a tune in a basket!!
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Gareth

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Reply with quote  #6 
Great post Mike,

"Music is imagined." as much by the audience as by the musician I'd argue. Ears don't hear music, hearts and minds do.

"a note can be small as a pin or big as the world it depends on your imagination."

and that of the audience.

Both sentiments immediately applicable to performance of magic.

As a self-taught guitarist (please understand I use that term very loosely) there are huge similarities in the practice regimes specifically as Bob and Johnny have noted eg. muscle memory.

Here's an interesting question; What would constitute Magic's keys? What would constitute Magic's scales?

Another question; should magic be always played in a Major Scale. Is there minor key magic? For it to be art it probably should be there somewhere in the mix. 

I always equated the diagrams at the front of Card College to those diagrams on the first pages of all Guitar teaching books. this is the bridge.....this is the nut.....this is how you hold a guitar.....

In the words of Chris Hannibal "This is my instrument"

Again great post Mike

Gareth

PS Big Clapton fan too!
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Mike Powers

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Reply with quote  #7 
I think scales in music correspond to moves in magic. They are practiced independently of the music in which they are used. Just like moves are practiced independently of the tricks in which they are used. Repetition, repetition until mastered.

I don't see a way to have an analogy between keys in music and something in magic. However, major/minor could have an analogy in magic I think. Minor keys generally go to a different emotional hook than major keys do. Major goes to happy/uplifting. Whereas minor goes to sadness/reflectiveness etc. So presentation can be used to guide spectators into either a major or minor feeling in magic. A show with "texture" will use both modes viz. major and minor.

BTW there's not really any "self working" music. At least that's recognized by an audience as generated by a musician. An interesting distinction between magic and music is that the magician's skill is hidden. The best magicians don't seem to be doing anything. Whereas, stellar musical ability is apparent to an audience of non-musicians. At least to some extent. Certainly other musicians are more qualified to judge a given musician just as in magic, magicians are better judges of other magicians abilities.

Mike
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Bob Farmer

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Reply with quote  #8 
Here's a magic/music technique connection. In playing the guitar, there are two ways of playing a G major chord in the first position (not counting a barre chord): one way uses the 1st, 2nd and 3rd fingers and is favored by beginners; the other way, is to use the 2nd, 3rd and 4th fingers, and is favored by pros. 

What's the difference?

It's all about smoothness. To move from the beginner's G chord to a G7 chord all the fingers have to do a dance and take a new position; but, with the pro version, only one finger moves. This makes the transition smoother.

There are endless examples of this approach in playing any musical instrument (e.g., the saxophone as several different ways of playing a Bb but the best way is the way that makes the smoothest transition to the next note or from the last note).

I've applied this principle to sleights. For example, there are several different ways of turning a packet of cards over and then doing an Elmsley Count. I worked out the way that has the smallest number of physical moves (I don't mean sleights--I mean moving the hands and fingers). I always do this for any routine or sleight.
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Rudy Tinoco

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Reply with quote  #9 
This is completely beside the point, but I just stopped and smiled to myself and said, I have Mike Powers and Bob "Friggin" Farmer conversating on the Magician's Forum.

[smile]

Rudy

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Bob Farmer

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Reply with quote  #10 
Who's Mike Powers?
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Rudy Tinoco

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Reply with quote  #11 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Farmer
Who's Mike Powers?


Mike Powers is one of the most creative, friendly, and knowledgeable magicians that I know. I'm so grateful that he is a member of this community and appreciate that he so freely shares his thoughts and ideas with us.

Here's one of my favorites.



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Bob Farmer

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Reply with quote  #12 
Mike has been a friend of mine for decades.
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Mike Powers

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Reply with quote  #13 
Hi Bob!! Great to see you here.

Outside of magic and music, my favorite memory of you is the time we were in the mall in Buffalo and you discovered a T-shirt shop selling rip off Rush T-Shirts. You put the fear of the lord into those guys!

Moral: Don't mess with Bob Farmer.

We miss you at 4F BTW. It's not like the old Forks Hotel days, but it's still great.

Mike
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Bob Farmer

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Reply with quote  #14 
Hi Mike:

Yes, that was a laugh. My schedule these days doesn't allow much concention going.

Bob
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roymcbrayer

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Reply with quote  #15 
I am a slap upright bass player (Rockabilly)  in Austin, TX.  For those that aren't familiar with slap upright, it takes care of the bass line and the percussion normally handled by drums. Basically, it lets a trio cover some of the same ground as quartet with drums. Example - https://myspace.com/themoonhowlers/music/song/oochie-coochie-13134436-12935620 (You have to endure the ad before the music starts.)   For me, when I am performing magic or giving presentations at work, I can always tell when I am getting in trouble when the pacing and rhythm start to break down.   Just like when playing music, you have to be able to press on and recover the rhythm/pacing.    Its hard for new musicians (or magicians) to make that recovery until they get the experience to know how to "jump back on a moving train." Sometime, you may be a little bit " jazzy" for a few bars but you smile and act like its exactly what you intended until you are back on board. I read, in a blog by D. Angelo Ferri,  that Slydini performed at 72 beats per minute.  I've also seen posts by others that say they practice with certain music in the background and that gives them their performance rhythm.   Clemens Stahmer-Igner has a good set of lecture notes on the correlation between music and magic.  You can contact him on Facebook.   There are many similarities in practicing also.   Focus and discipline is required for both.
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