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Nymzo

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Reply with quote  #1 
I don't think there's anything wrong with revealing just enough so people who actually want to learn magic can start creating their own illusions, but where I think YouTube hurts the learning process is in the format of the explanation.

Instead of focusing on what the experience should be like for the spectators, people who only explain the method for the sake of the method do nothing to help the magician. The method is not as important as the effect and the effect happens in the spectators mind. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this and expand this conversation.
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Michaelblue

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Reply with quote  #2 
If a person has a youtube channel and teaches his or her own stuff, i think that's fine. Jay Sankey does that. But there are those who teach other people's stuff and that is not cool. 

There's lots of ways to learn magic without youtube. 

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Harry Lorayne

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Reply with quote  #3 
    Absolutely, Michael. 
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Michaelblue

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Reply with quote  #4 
Thanks, Mr. Lorayne  [smile]
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Steven Youell

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Reply with quote  #5 
In my opinion, the worst thing to happen to Magic in the last 30 years is YouTube. [mad]

Almost without exception, the "Tutorials" I see on YouTube are taught by people
who don't understand Sleight of Hand, don't understand how to teach Sleight of Hand
and for the most part "teach" incorrect or inferior methodology. And by the way,
just because
you can do something, doesn't mean that you can teach others to do it.
Those are
two entirely separate skill sets.

The other issue is that those who are trying to learn Sleight of Hand from YouTube
simply don't have the discernment to know if they're being taught crap or not.

Think this isn't serious? I took a clip from a YouTube video made by a guy who
has close to 1,000,000 subscribers. That's right-- almost ONE MILLION Subscribers.



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Tom G

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Reply with quote  #6 
There's people on Youtube trying to teach magic that can barely hold a deck of cards without dropping them.  I do love the messy bedrooms though.
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hitlab

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Reply with quote  #7 
I dislike the channels that do reveals just for reveal sake. Not even teaching, just revealing to satisfy people's curiosity.
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Nymzo

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Reply with quote  #8 
Just because you can do something, doesn't mean that you can teach others to do it. Steven, I completely agree with you on that one.
It feels bad to see a trick you love performing, being taught on YouTube. On the other hand it forces me to be more creative with my magic.

I personally started focusing more on the interaction (to feel out how familiar people are with tricks) and the on and off beat.
Funny thing happens when I do that. Suddenly I don't feel any pressure to perform the sleights, and I can take my time to develop the story.
In the meanwhile, I also figure out if the people are worth performing for and if they're good people in general.

Last year a pickpocket style magician did a trick for me, and he didn't know how to create the off beat.
I honestly think that I would've been fooled if his misdirection was better.
He was just storming through the routine, focusing on the moves, instead of my perception.
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Nymzo

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Reply with quote  #9 
@Tom G There are people teaching magic on YouTube who would never have the guts to go out and perform those tricks for lay people.
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magicfish

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Reply with quote  #10 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nymzo
@Tom G There are people teaching magic on YouTube who would never have the guts to go out and perform those tricks for lay people.

That's because they aren't magicians.
Magicians don't expose secrets on Youtube for all to see.
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Slowdini

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Reply with quote  #11 
Just the other day I saw a video by Chris Ramsay revealing 3 methods of 'coin through table' - (thats the first trick I saw as a young boy). His video really pi$$3d me off. I sent a comment letting him know what I thought- not that he cares.
He recently quit his job at illusionist to make reveal videos for a living. So he reveals other peoples work to get video plays so he can colllect from the bootlegging of other peoples work.
I think it cheapens magic. I dont care if it makes magicians more creative because the point is the kid that will google that effect after seeing it will only blab it around. Goes without saying that any old effects are new to every new generation.
All this is obvious.
A magician creates a new effect and its only new til a shmuck like that learns the work and exposes it on youtube for video plays so he can buy his next 12 pack of Ramen noodles.
Theres nothing good coming out of that. Anyone interested in learning magic should buy a book and earn the knowledge.
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Waterman

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Reply with quote  #12 

I'm an optimist. I hope that the people who log into the You-Tube tutorials are doing it for the same reason I checked out my first magic book at the public library.
That book was not the best book to learn magic from. It didn't teach me how to present the tricks, contained no history of the art, or even remotely credited other magicians who may have contributed in some way to the tricks being "exposed" throughout its pages. It was all I had at the time and for all I knew the only book that existed where a 9 year old kid could learn magic from!

However, I did learn a few of the tricks and performed them to, what I felt, were legitimately amazed responses from friends and family. I was also humiliated and angry when a classmate later signed out the same book. His intent not to learn the tricks, but to tell others how I was doing them.

I could have accepted back then the fact that magic secrets are never truly going to be hidden from the general public and moved on to collect stamps, or build a model railroad in the basement. But it was too late. The magic bug-bite had infected me and I knew the only cure was to pursue my passion for it...regardless of what types of exposure might be gleaned by the non-magicians of the world.

You-Tube exposure is not going to stop. Crappy magicians and unethical individuals have always existed and always will. But so have devoted and decent folks who are willing to continue their love for something regardless of the obstacles that can sometimes be frustrating and unfair. If we can grasp magic as being more than a trick that can be exposed...and we convey that when we perform magic for non-magicians... You-Tube might not be as  threatening to our art as it can sometimes be perceived.

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EVILDAN

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Reply with quote  #13 
There are a lot of home owner do-it-yourself tips on youtube.
I don't know any of them because I never took the time or initiative to watch.

I have watched some videos on how to change some car parts that I needed to.
But, on the other hand, I never watched the videos on how to change parts I was never going to touch.

The point is, the information is out there.
In the past, the way you learned magic was to learn from a master magician.
Then someone started printing magic books. Now magical secrets were as close as your local library.
Then someone started producing magic videos. Now you didn't have to read and figure out details like finger placement or the right grip for yourself, it showed you!!
And these were available at your local magic shop.
Then they started revealing secrets on TV. The masked magician wiped out the careers of generations of magicians. All you had to do was tune in to the show that night and labor through the inane dialog.
And then they started revealing secrets on YouTube! These weren't even seasoned magicians. Some were just malicious spoiled little crumb snatchers with nothing better to do.

And despite all this progression magic survives. I think it's because those in the field of magic are always creating new magic and people are inherently lazy.
To get these magical secrets they have to go to the library, take out the magic book and then read it, or go to the magic shop, or do a search on youtube for???? They don't even know what to look for.
Granted some may. But I'm guessing most won't.
Lazy. If they don't need to know, or have a really strong desire to know, they aren't going to go to the trouble to find out on their own.

I don't like all the exposure on youtube, but I'm not losing sleep over it.
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Steven Youell

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Reply with quote  #14 
Quote:
Originally Posted by EVILDAN
I don't like all the exposure on youtube, but I'm not losing sleep over it.

It's not the exposure that bothers me nearly as much as the people who purport to "teach". I've
fooled many people who thought they knew what a double lift was after they saw it on YouTube.
How? With a double lift!

The vast majority of "teaching" Sleight of Hand on YouTube is so horrendous that's it's akin to
arming terrorists. Then those people go out and tell their friends they're magicians. And that
then becomes the standard in the minds of those "spectators".

If you went to a 5 Star Restaurant and they served you a Big Mac for $20, would you be likely to
go there again? Probably not.

If you see someone who claims to be a Magician and you can see everything he does, would
you be likely to hire another magician? Probably not.

The morons who think they're "teachers" on YouTube do more to harm magic than those who expose on YouTube, IMO.

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gregantic

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Reply with quote  #15 
There's two types of reveal channels:

  1. Typically a young kid trying to get attention
  2. Trying to build a channel to make money from it

Both have issues.



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Steven Youell

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Reply with quote  #16 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gregantic
There's two types of reveal channels:
  1. Typically a young kid trying to get attention
  2. Trying to build a channel to make money from it
Both have issues.


They don't have issues. They have entire subscriptions.

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JordanWDyk

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Reply with quote  #17 

I know this is a lengthy post, but I feel this topic deserves such a response in order to properly address both sides of the argument.

I think there are a few important distinctions to be made when it comes to "revealing" magic.
The way I see it, there are three ways through which magic is revealed:

 - Exposure
 - Explanation
 - Education

To "expose" magic is to blatantly reveal the secret workings of the trick(s) with no regard to the nuances or subtleties that contribute to the success of the trick. Think along the lines of the Masked Magician...almost like a middle finger to magic. Needless to say, I do not condone or support the exposure of magic in any context.

The "explanation" of a magical effect is a grey area, because it can have positive or negative repercussions. This involves revealing the secret of a trick, within the context of a performance. In Expert At The Card Table, Erdnase addresses this by commenting: "The simplest trick should be appropriately clothed with chicanery or plausible sophistry which apparently explains the procedure, but in reality describes about the contrary of what takes place." One great example of this would be Dai Vernon's performance of the Cup and Balls. In his performance, he explains that this trick must use an extra ball. Of course, this is true, but he uses the apparent explanation of the effect as a set-up for a greater revelation (in this case a large white ball), which retroactively contradicts his earlier explanation. This results in a greater mystery overall.
On the other hand, the explanation of a trick can have a negative effect as well. By explaining part (or all) of the proceedings, without the proper thought and structuring of a trick, it can ultimately destroy the magic of the moment, rendering it merely a display of skill or dexterity. If you have read Erdnase, you know his thoughts on "...the temptation to parade digital ability..."
The key word for this method of revealing magic is CONTEXT; without the proper context, the explanation of an effect slips treacherously close to the edge of exposing magic.

When it comes to the "education" of magic, I believe certain conditions must be met. First, the teacher should have the intention to further Magic, as an Art, through his or her tutelage of an effect. Their motive should come primarily (not solely, necessarily) from a desire to advance the knowledge and ability of the magical community. Monetary gain should not be the ultimate goal in teaching magic. Second, the teacher should provide EXPERT tutelage and guidance; meaning, they have spent the necessary time to test, revise, and refine the trick, to the point where very few, if not no one else, knows the subtleties and nuances of the trick as intimately as they do. This is necessary in order to raise the expectation of what is considered "good" magic. Third, in order to teach a certain trick, method, etc., you must have conducted extensive research into the origins of the effect and/or obtained the proper rights (which is a different conversation entirely).

That was a lengthy preamble in order to say the following:

I think revealing magic on YouTube is inevitable, whether you believe it should, or shouldn't be. Throughout the ages, magic has seen constant advancement in the mediums through which it is delivered; from spoken word, to written word, to VHS tapes, to DVDs, to downloads/streaming. YouTube is the next logical step in providing magic. Like its predecessors, YouTube is a tool that can be used to help magic, but also a weapon that can be used against it. Books, videos, downloads...they all have been used and abused in the sharing and distribution of magical knowledge. The common misconception is that the tool/medium is the cause of the problem; in reality, it is the person who uses it for good or bad. A knife is a tool until someone uses it as a weapon.

I understand that with merely a click of the search button, I can find an abundance of magic trick reveal videos, poor quality performances that expose the method, bootleg tutorials, etc. However, I can also name many channels that take pride in providing expert high-quality lessons in magic, which they create for the love of this fine art. Furthermore, without these channels, many people in certain countries would not have access to the expert-level training which we are privileged to enjoy.

It’s not our place to dictate the right medium through which magic is shared, for these views differ from generation to generation, person to person. However, we can promote and encourage sharing magic in the correct context and intention in every medium. It is our job to educate (not admonish) those new to magic in the ethical way to reveal and share magic as Magic (the art) evolves. We need to discourage the EXPOSURE of magic, teach and refine the correct EXPLANATION of magic, and uphold and provide quality EDUCATION in the magic community.

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Steven Youell

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Reply with quote  #18 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JordanWDyk
This involves revealing the secret of a trick, within the context of a performance. In Expert At The Card Table, Erdnase addresses this by commenting...

First, Erdnase.

Erdnase was a genius, however I have no evidence to demonstrate that he knew much about performing magic. Do you? If so, I'd like to see it. And I genuinely mean that. I don't have any evidence that he didn't know much about performing magic either so if you do, I'd genuinely be interested in that as well. It was always my impression that most of the ideas in the Legerdemain section were "lifted". 

Until then, I think I'm going to go with the theory that he was repeating advice that he read/heard and I think you may have misinterpreted him. Is it possible that he was expressing the same thoughts as C. Lang Neil in The Modern Conjurer:

Quote:

Conjuring consists in the performer’s audience being led to believe that certain definite actions have been carried out before them, while they presently discover that the results of those actions are something directly contrary to any natural law.

They immediately recognise that they have been deceived completely, but without knowing how or when the deception took place, for they are not fools enough, nor is it desired to make them think, that the supernatural has occurred.


In this quote, Neil is referring to the idea of expositional presentation, not explaining how the effect works or even pretending to explain how a trick works. I don't believe this has anything to do with explaining how a trick works, but is referring to a type presentation. For example, "I put the coin in this hand..." when you really don't. And yes, I do understand that pretending to explain how a trick works could actually be a presentation, however I don't think that's what either author was communicating.

Second, the medium through which Magic is learned:

People value knowledge in direct proportion to the amount of time and effort they spend in getting it.

This advice was given to me by my mentors and they got it from their mentors. I firmly believe it is true. This is also why Mentorship is the best way to learn magic. I cannot tell you how lucky I was in having mentors. They'd direct me to the best books and ideas and they'd do it when they knew I was ready for the next step.

Certainly it's not the only way, but it's the best way. IMO, the study of books supplemented by videos is the second best way.


"Teaching" Magic on YouTube is almost always done by people who do not value the knowledge more than money or status and they demonstrate this by just giving it away to anyone. And it always harms the Art.

Sorry-- I won't budge from that position. Ever. But if I misunderstood you, please let me know.


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JordanWDyk

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Reply with quote  #19 

Steven -

I do agree with you on many points. If you'll permit me, I just have a couple of clarifications and questions.

Pertaining to Erdnase and his "working" knowledge of magical performance:

You are correct, neither of us have evidence to either support/disprove that he had any experience in performing magic, and I too would be interested to see any that anyone else might have. Nonetheless, I think the idea that he expressed (wherever it may have originated) still proves accurate. The only difference between saying "I put the ball in my right hand..." and the presentation that Dai Vernon used in the Cups and Balls is merely a question of the degree to which you take the statement:

"The simplest trick should be appropriately clothed with chicanery or plausible sophistry which apparently explains the procedure, but in reality describes about the contrary of what takes place."
                                                                           
 One interpretation of this could be as simple as "I place the coin in this hand..." which is a direct deception because it is not, in fact, in the hand you just addressed.

Another interpretation could be, as I said before, akin to the way Dai Vernon presented the Cups and Balls. When he says, "Of course, you must be thinking I use a fourth ball to achieve this. You are correct," he is actually telling the truth about the procedure.  However, although this seems to be an expository presentation, his truthful statement actually becomes part of the deception once he says, "Of course it's a little bit bigger than the rest," and reveals the large white ball. This still supports his statement of the existence of a fourth ball, but subverts the expectation of the audience that the fourth ball is the same as the other small, red balls. This is an indirect deception.

The point I'm trying to make with the grey area  of the Explanation factor in revealing magic is in this difference of presentation. (However, I should point out that this Explanation-type presentation can easily be avoided if one changes the approach to, for instance, telling a story.) If your presentation consists of a commentary-like approach (i.e. "The coin goes in this hand," "I'll lose your card in the middle of the deck", etc.), it opens up a greater probability to direct questioning and doubt from the audience. It becomes a game of "Did he actually do that, is he telling the truth?", in which case, a trick can be easily reverse engineered (especially if it's presented on YouTube where you can watch it over and over). This, I feel, tends more toward the exposure end of the spectrum. Exposure, in my opinion, doesn't always happen purposefully, which I should have made more clear in my previous post. Sometimes, people present a trick in a way that they believe to be deceptive, but, for the large majority of those that watch it, actually exposes it.

Whereas, the indirect deception of telling a truth (which the audience is probably already thinking) only to negate or subvert it later, is, in my opinion, the stronger deception. Regardless of whether you present it as a false exposition of the trick, or whether you take a more meta approach and address the fact that "it's hard to believe you aren't using another ball"; however you present it, you are directing the audience's thoughts down a path so that when you subvert their expectations, they are left with no where to go, fewer ways to reverse engineer the trick. If this is the way you want to present a trick, then I think it can be very effective.

This was much more detailed than I had originally intended to write, but I hope I clarified what I meant.

Pertaining to the medium through which magic is shared and learned:

I would agree that, for the most part, that statement is true. The journey or search for a secret or bit of knowledge, especially in magic, is just as, if not more, important that the knowledge you seek. Now, there are instances where I would say that philosophy doesn't hold true; but they are meager and do not pertain to what we are discussing.

I also agree that mentoring and the one-on-one relationship with a teacher in magic is the most highly valued, and highly sought after method of learning magic. I, too, believe it is one of the best ways to learn magic. However, I did not have a mentor in magic until I was 23. I grew up in Billings, Montana, where the only magician I had access to was one who lacked both technical proficiency and an attitude of mentorship, not to mention manners. So, once I outgrew the kid magic sets, the only access I had to learning magic was through books. At the time, I had no concept of online magic shops, or even YouTube, so books were my main source of knowledge and magical education. Again, I agree wholeheartedly that books are one of the next best ways to learn magic. Later in college, I discovered online magic shops like Penguin, Ellusionist, and Theory11. It wasn't until I moved to Portland that I finally found a magic community, and a mentor.

I do not believe YouTube is the best way to learn magic. But I cannot in good conscience condemn it entirely as a bad medium to teach magic, because I have been spoiled in how I have learned magic. Even though I was deprived of having a mentor until I was a grown man, I still had books, videos, downloads, and props that I could find and afford. My issue with condemning a free platform like YouTube where you can learn magic, comes when I ask the question:  what about those who are less fortunate, and/or less financially blessed than I? I wasn't rich, by any means, but I could still afford the occasional prop or download, and I had a library card where I had access to books. What of the people who live paycheck to paycheck who can't afford to pay for the props or books from the magic companies? Or what of the people in other remote parts of the world who don't have access to mentors, or a library, or magic shops? Do they not have the same right to learn magic as I do? Why should my financial status or geographic location grant me more access to an art form than anyone else? What if one of these people could have been the next Johnny Thompson or Tamariz? What if one of them could bring something entirely new to this art, that we have never even dreamed of, but were unable to because they didn't have the access? These are the questions that occur to me, and I think more people should think about them, too. I believe that anyone who has the desire to learn magic (not just the secrets) and perform it should have access to it, regardless of location or financial status. At the moment, I think YouTube is the best answer for this problem, because most places on Earth (certainly not all) have access to the internet. (I do not however, have a ready solution for the places that do not have access).

So now, we have a new platform for magic that can be accessed "universally". The problem now is the teaching part of it. There most certainly is an overabundance of people on YouTube who claim to "teach" magic, but they do so very poorly, and therefore, fall into the Exposure category of revealing. I do not support this. That is why in my original post, I stated that in order to be a teacher of magic, I thought one should have to be an expert, one who knows the secrets more intimately than the majority. Furthermore, I also stated that one should have done the necessary research and obtained the rights to teach it (if applicable). The problem with YouTube is that we have no way of regulating the quality of the teachers and their ability to teach. I don't have an answer for that problem...But that doesn't mean there aren't good teaching channels. I think 52Kards, for one, does an excellent job of providing quality lessons that are accurate, credited, and clearly taught.

As far as when you say teaching on YouTube always harms the art of Magic, can you explain your view as to what way it harms the art?

I completely understand the position you are coming from, and I respect your opinions, and even share some of them. I look forward to further discourse.

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Steven Youell

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Reply with quote  #20 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JordanWDyk
I believe that anyone who has the desire to learn magic (not just the secrets) and perform it should have access to it, regardless of location or financial status.

So what you want to do is grant access to anyone who "really" wants to learn, not just secrets. How do you check on those millions to make sure they "really" want to learn and aren't just interested in secrets? You can't. You have to take their word for it. See where I'm going? It's everyone or no one. Your ideal is very problematic when it comes to an Art form that is based on secrets.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JordanWDyk
At the moment, I think YouTube is the best answer for this problem, because most places on Earth (certainly not all) have access to the internet.

Currently only 40% of the world has access to the internet. I'll bet that those who have access to the internet probably live in developed countries and could probably scrape up enough to buy a book on magic.

And YouTube is the worst possible place to learn magic. The people looking have no discernment as to what differentiates good and bad instructions. So they'll settle on what's most popular. That's the way humans think. And the video above I posted is from someone who has close to ONE MILLION FOLLOWERS. Why would anyone who's been interested in magic for a few weeks NOT think that he's a competent instructor?

Second, all of your questions make the assumption that quality instruction on magic is available on YouTube. I'm not sure it is. And if you were to name even a dozen channels where it is, then my question would be... how do you make sure people get to that quality instruction when they don't know the first thing about magic? Again, the ideal is nice but it's very problematic.

Rather than go into the other issues, I'll just say that the logistics of your ideal make it an impossible one to achieve and most probably there's no way to even get close to it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JordanWDyk
But that doesn't mean there aren't good teaching channels. I think 52Kards, for one, does an excellent job of providing quality lessons that are accurate, credited, and clearly taught.

You've put me in a bad position here because I am NOT going to comment on a specific channel because I have no desire to hurt anyone's feelings. I even tried to take out all identifying information on the bad video I posted above. But I will repeat what I wrote above so you don't have to look for it.

If you could name a dozen channels that gave quality instruction on Sleight of Hand, then my question would be... how do you make sure people get to that quality instruction when they don't know the first thing about magic? Once again, you can't.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JordanWDyk
As far as when you say teaching on YouTube always harms the art of Magic, can you explain your view as to what way it harms the art?

I'd rather not repeat my posts, however look at the video I posted. He has close to 1,000,000 followers. Even if only half of them are following because they can't believe he's that bad, that still leaves 500,000 people who think they've been given sufficient instructions on the Pull Through Shuffle. Could you tell me what that isn't harming magic?

Now you said "always harms the Art of Magic". I'm not really of that opinion. But look at the sum total. If 98% of the tutorials harm Magic and 2% don't, then the bad so outweighs the good that the good ceases to exist for all practical purposes.

Thank you for being so respectful-- your love for the Art shows.


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