Thursday, March 15, 2007

Paco's Private Lesson

Last night and tonight rocked at the City Walk. It died early, but I did good for the couple hours a night I worked. Good connection, good crowds, good reactions, good money. It will be nice when the season kicks in.

Yesterday I taught a private lesson in Santa Monica. A young man named Paco from Mexico City wanted to learn some magic. I had met him a few times on the Promenade months back.

I enjoy teaching and think that I am getting good at it. Just when I’m convinced I’m a moron, I see how much information I can effectively convey in an hour.

I asked him what he wanted to learn, he said he wanted to learn some coin tricks and bills.

Next, I asked him if he knew any thing about coin magic. He said, all he knew was the french drop, that I taught him months ago as a teaser on the street.

I asked him to do it for me. It was hideous. It never fails to impress me how much a layman can butcher a simple move. I made Paco take notes and I emphasized the importance of knowing what the sleights were called. His limited english made me want to slow down and make sure he knew what I was talking about.

So we spent a good amount of time on the french drop learning the fundamental basics of misdirection. Acting, conviction, framing the action (Henning Nelms kinda stuff). We discussed the importance of finger and coin positioning as well as coin size and thought about that.

Next we covered a few basic palms. The classic palm: finding the sweet spot, exercises to enhance dexterity while palming coins, Tension and Focus (thanks Aaron), Back Palm, Back Clip, Downs Palm; launching into a brief story about T. Nelson Downs and making him write the name down as well as the book title, “The Art of Magic”.

We learned all the moves with both silver dollars and quarters. He got the hang of the downs palm vanish and reproduction nicely.

The second half of the lesson was to teach a trick that used one of the sleights. I taught him Tenkai Pennies (with quarters, just like when Sol Stone taught it to me all those many years ago at Rueben's Deli in New York City, bit I digress) It’s a great trick and forces an understanding of angles. We took a few minutes to talk more about this going back to Downs Palm as an example. Understanding where their eyes line of vision is and so forth.

As an after thought I showed him a nice follow up to Tenkai Pennies using the Gallo Pitch. We went over all the sequences many times.

Then we reviewed everything he learned and went over his notes a bit.

What was supposed to be an hour lesson turned into 90 minutes, but it was a good time. I know I gave him a lot to think about. He said he might want to take another lesson next week.

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